Newcastle Area 03.08.02

Subject: Newcastle Area 03.08.02
From: "Dean Portelli" <>
Date: Sun, 04 Aug 2002 11:45:43 +1000
Hi All,

No Northern Shoveller but plenty of other good birds to make the trip from Sydney worthwhile. My birder companions were David Koffel, Edwin Vella and John Duranti.
The best follows:
- At least 23 BLACK KITE, 1 WHISTLING KITE, 1 WHITE BELLIED SEA-EAGLE, 1 PEREGRINE FALCON, 1 BROWN FALCON and 1 SPOTTED HARRIER (which gave the best views of any bird for the day - overwhelming, what a beaut raptor!!!) all at, yes you guessed it, where else but Maitland Rubbish Tip, not the most scenic of places to bird but the 6 species of raptor was a charm (we saw five other species during the rest of the day - 11 ain't bad in a day considering our target was a duck not BOP). - Up to 6 FRECKLED DUCK and 1 female/eclipse male BLUE BILLED DUCK at Lenaghan's Swamp, also 150+ PINK EARED DUCK - gorgeous bird. - No Cotton Pygmy-Goose at Minmi Treatment Ponds but a PACIFIC BAZA made up for it, also a Spangled Drongo - 64+ RED KNEED DOTTEREL at Ash Island, all in a loose flock, largest number we had ever seen (anyone seen a large flock before possibly inland???? - this is possibly drought related). Also 1 BLACK TAILED GODWIT which had apparently been present the day before also. - SPOTTED HARRIER (again - twice in the one day in the Hunter!) at Ash Island, SWAMP HARRIER was also present at the same site (unfortunately not at the same time though!).
- An obliging AUSTRALIAN SPOTTED CRAKE at Ash Island
- The worst sighting - 150-200 COMMON MYNA at the tip - largest flock I'd ever seen - scary!!!

Well, hoping the Shoveller turns up somewhere, hopefully McGraths Hill in Sydney!!!!!

PS - Just reiterating does anyone have any descriptions, however minor or incomplete, of plumage characters of WESTERN/MALLEE WHIPBIRDS that they have observed. I promise that full credit will be given to observers!

Cheers to All

Dean Portelli

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