Lake Illawarra 8TH Dec

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Subject: Lake Illawarra 8TH Dec
From: "Simon Blanchflower" <>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 10:44:46 +1100
Hi all, went down to Lake Illawarra yesterday and saw 53 species all in the same location - within the reserve and on the fast drying lake just south of the Oasis Caravan Park (thanks Chris Chafer for his earlier posting).
Highlight was at least 1000 Sharp-Tailed Sandpipers present. Also present were 10 Marsh Sandpipers, 4 Greenshank, about 200 Red-Necked Stints and about 50 Bar-Tailed Godwits. I also saw a bird of interest but couldn't get close enough to it to be confident of an ID. Unfortunately it was spooked by a Black Shouldered Kite that was hanging around before I could get clarification on the pattern on the birds scapulars. The bird to me looked close to a Little Stint, as it had vague plumage features which are more akin to Little than Red-Necked (I think). Little and Red-Necked Stints would be hard to separate in winter plumage.
The following features are the points of interest:
1) Head shape appeared more "rounded" than the nearby Red Necks;
2) Plumage was brighter than nearby Red-Necks with a striking crown pattern (point 2)- the bird stands out, even after it flew to another location some distance away I easily relocated it in the scope with about a group of 40 RNs.
2) The crown was a rufous wash with a dark "stripe" through the centre :- looking head on appeared "Broad-Billed Sandpiper Like" (this was the most outstanding feature)
3) The Scapulars appeared to have a pattern although this wasn't the distinct white V pattern - more like a broken line / slight change in colour through the scapulars. However there was no obvious rufous colour to any of the wing feathers.
4) Given the "freshness" appearance of crown and wing feathers I would suggest that this was a juvenile bird
Anyway, I wouldn't be confident enough to claim a Little (didn't get enough detail at close range) or "non Red Necked", but it might be worthwhile checking out the spot if you're in the area - there's heaps of good birding in any case.
Other birds present inlcuded both Royal and Yellow-Billed Spoonbill, plenty of Whiskered Terns a lone Little Tern and in the bush reserve adjacent to the lake Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Fan-Tailed Cuckoo, Red-Whiskered Bullbulls making plenty of noise with their distinct call and a flock of Yellow Thornbill.
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