White-necked Herons and other Drought related movements in NSW

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Subject: White-necked Herons and other Drought related movements in NSW
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Sun, 7 Jul 2002 17:37:16 +1000
Hi Everyone,
Comments about an increased number of White-necked Herons being seen in the Sydney-Central Coast-Newcastle area because of the effect of the drought in inland NSW , are spot on! Here on the Central Coast, White-necked Herons, which  normally are only seen on 6-8 occasions per year, can be found at any wetland, often in small groups. Birds can also be found in wet paddocks, playing fields, drains and some small coastal saline lagoons. It is certainly the highest number of birds on the Coast since the Central Coast  Birding NSW Group began collecting records in 1988.
From Thursday-Saturday 4-6 July, I made a quick trip to Coonabarabran, Baradine & the Warrumbungles National Park, in relation to planning a trip for the Birding NSW members to travel the "Baradine Bird Routes" in August 2002. I could not get over how dry and cold it was, and how few birds there were in the bushland. There was almost a complete absence of honeyeaters, the usually common Spiny-cheeked, Yellow-faced, Striped, Blue-faced and Fuscous Honeyeaters and Noisy & Little Friarbirds and Red-wattlebirds were all missing! White-plumed, White-eared & Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters were the only ones seen and then only in small numbers! While Yellow-faced & Fuscous Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebirds & Noisy Friarbirds may well have come to the coast following the flowering of the coastal gums and banksias (there are certainly plenty of them here!), where the Spiny-cheeked, Striped & Little Friarbirds have gone to is any ones guess?
Some good birds seen during the three days were 3 Ground Cuckoo-shrikes near Twerridgerie Ck, west of Baradine on 5/6/02 and 21 (15 in the one flock)  Turquoise Parrots near the Woolshed, in Warrumbungles NP on 6/6/02. Seperate to these sightings, David Johnson has had Grey Goshawk in Baradine 1-5/6/02, Shirley Grey has had several sightings of Azure Kingfishgers on the Castlereagh Rriver in Coonabarabran (normally they do not occur here); 5 Rainbow Lorikeets were seen in Coonbarabran on 28/6/02 by Bill Hatfield, rarely reported in this area; Scott Filmer saw 6 Swift Parrots at Camp Pincham, Warrumbungles NP on 15/6/02; while Grey Falcons were reported at Willie by Ray Jones, on the Warren-Carinda Rd during June.
Swift Parrots still can be readily found in Lake Macquarie & Wyong Shires, and are still around my house in Murray St Bateau Bay in large numbers, now 8 weeks since they were first seen! There has been a recent sighting of 70+ Regent Honeyeaters in area to the south-east of Morissett by Allan Richardson. It would appear to be a night time roost as only a few birds are present in the day, first seen on 1/7/2002 and still there today. Small numbers of Regent Honeyeaters are still being seen at a number of sites around the southern shores of Lake Macquarie particularly close to Morisset and possibly may be these birds going to roost.
Other interesting sightings on the Central Coast include a Peregrine Falcon sitting on powerlines at Mingara Estate, Tumbi Umbi seen by me on 3/7/02 and an Osprey with a fish at Woy Woy Bay on 6/7/02 seen by Robert Payne.
Alan Morris
Central Coast Group, Birding NSW
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