A Marvelous Day in the Hunter Region and Central Coast area 23rd June 20

To: <>
Subject: A Marvelous Day in the Hunter Region and Central Coast area 23rd June 2002
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 21:28:56 +1000

Today I decided to head up north of Sydney to check out a few wetland areas in the Hunter region as well as the Honeyeater/Swift Parrot activity in the central coast of NSW (about time I though for the later). The weather was glorious and so were the birds.


At Shortland (approx 180 km north of Sydney CBD and in the NSW Hunter region), I was surprised to hear and see 2 Torresian Crows which is as far south as I have ever encountered them. I have also seem them at Seaham (approx 20 km further north) which I thought was there southern limit. They are however a common corvid in the northern parts of the Hunter region, like Gloucester and Taree areas). Also at Shortland were the usual 60 plus Magpie Geese, 50 plus Australasian Shovelers, 50 plus Hardheads, a Fan-tailed Cuckoo and a Spangled Drongo. I did not see the Black-necked Stork (Jabiru) reported recently but suspect it could be on Ash Island were I have seen one female in the past. With so much water in the area the few Jabirus that frequent the Lower Hunter area are probably well spaced.


At Lenaghan, I was lucky to catch up again with 10 FRECKLED DUCKS at the same swamp I saw them last December just off Lenaghan Drive and south-west of Hexham swamp. These were amongst 50 plus Pink-eared Ducks, atleast 100 plus of both Hardhead and Australasian Shovelers and thousands of Grey and a few Chestnut Teal. Also nearby were 2 Swamp Harriers, atleast 1 Whistling Kite, 2 Brown Falcons and 10 Glossy Ibis. There were probably and highly likely a lot more other water birds and raptors around Heham swamp. At nearby Pourmalong Nature Reserve, there were close to 1000 Black Swans sharing a small swamp. I wonder if a Northern Shoveler is out there!


Just before noon, I arrived at Wyee Point (on western end of Lake Macquarie and approx 140 km north of Sydney CBD) were I was lucky to encounter 3 REGENT HONEYEATERS among an abundance of other Honeyeaters (Noisy Friarbirds; Red and Little Wattlebirds; White-naped, Lewin?s, Yellow-faced, Yellow-tufted, Fuscous, White-cheeked and Eastern Spinebills). All were feeding on the flowering Swamp Mohaganys in the forest along the shores of the lake and in the reserve at the end of Bay Street. The Regents fed mostly below the canopy and there beautiful colours displayed well  in good light. I watched one gleaning insects (?) from the trunk of a swamp mahogany and another calling (giving a few cat like ?mewing? calls with bill-clapping and head bobbing, a fairly common behaviour. Also saw one display in flight). There were also several Little Lorikeets feeding among them and 13 SWIFT PARROTS flew very high overhead towards Morisset (on the opposite side). A Grey Goshawk (grey morph) flew low below the canopy and landed in on of the trees close to where the Honeyeaters were feeding. On one of the tracks, I noticed a dead Brown Antechinus with its intestines hanging out (which is what happens often to the male after mating!)


Along Bath Street, I encountered another 50-60 more Swift Parrots (this could be an under-estimate) but It?s amazing how quite they can sometimes be in a tree, even when there is 50 of them feeding in it. I watch small flocks of Swifties fly out of one tree, and just when you thought they were all gone, there still more yet to fly out. Many fed quite low offering great views.


After spending about two hours at Wyee Point, I decided to spend the remaining time around Morisset where I found another 30 SWIFT PARROTS feeding on  Swamp Mahoganys in the grounds of the Hospital and with much more Little Lorikeets and several Musk lorikeets. The Swift Parrots and Little Lorikeets were mainly feeding in the flowering Swamp Mahogany where as the Musk Lorikeets were feasting in the Spotted Gums (?) and planted Mugga Ironbark (both in flower). I saw a Little Lorikeet twice showing aggression towards a Swiftie in one of the Swamp Moganys (as if to say ?move away it?s our tree?). Fairly large numbers of Grey Kangaroos were present in the Hospital grounds.


Before heading back home, I decided to walk along Pourmalong Creek (which runs just north of the Morisset Hospital) where I found atleast another 15 Swift Parrots and more Little Lorikeets. Also in this area was an active Osprey?s nest. I met another birdo here who tells me that a few Black Kites are being seen in some yard at Maitland (these Kites are rather rare in coastal NSW). He was trying to photograph a fairly obliging male Mistletoebird along the creek, which I also saw.


Have the numbers of Swift Parrots dropped off in the other areas of the central coast (Bateau Bay, Budgewoi etc) or have I found more Swift Parrots. If I had more time I would have searched more further a field. There are still lots of trees in bud in the areas I searched today, and I would not be surprised that these Swifties will continue to hang around the central coast of NSW till the end of their season on the mainland.


A good day to be outdoors indeed!


Edwin Vella


PS Debbie, I have some survey sheets heading your way soon.



<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU