Birding in the Hunter and Hawkesbury areas 13-15 December 2002

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Subject: Birding in the Hunter and Hawkesbury areas 13-15 December 2002
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 20:33:01 +1100

Took some time off to show a friend of mine from Tassie, David Walker, a few birding spots in the Hunter and Hawkesbury areas. The weather was fairly hot most of the time, but we saw a good variety of birds at the following places:


WOODBERRY SWAMP (approx. 10km west of Newcastle CBD or c170km north of Sydney CBD) (13/12/02)


I would strongly urge anyone birding in the area to check this spot out. I have stopped here a few times in the past few years but last Friday was excellent. Most of the surrounding wetlands (Minmi, Pourmalong, Hexham, Tarro etc appeared to have very few birds but this place was a magnet for 27 Glossy Ibis, 3 Pacific Herons, hundreds of Cattle Egret, 400 plus Whiskered and 15 White-winged Black Terns, 300 plus Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, c20 Marsh Sandpipers, 100 plus Pied Stilt, c40 Pink-eared Duck, hundreds of Grey Teal, 3 Whistling Kites and a Swamp Harrier. Looks excellent habitat for Bitterns, Painted Snipe etc.


IRRAWANG SWAMP (approx. 20 km north of Newcastle CBD) (13/12/02)


This had 6 Red-kneed Dotterel and a couple of Latham?s Snipe


DUNGOG AREA (13-15/12/02)


Met up with Dick Jenkin who kindly showed us a number of spots around his area (all new areas for both myself and David). We visited the Telegherry and Jurasalem State Forest Parks (on the outskirts of Barrington Tops National Park) and had good views of a male Rose Robin, 4 Spectacled and several Black-faced Monarchs, several Rufous Fantails, Leaden Flycatchers, 2 male Logrunner, several Superb Lyrebirds, Brown Cuckoo-doves, lots of Scarlet Honeyeaters, but unfortunately none of the specialties such as Paradise Riflebird and Noisy Pitta which are regularly seen. It was rather quieter in these state forests than usual.


On the night of the 13th, we also found a good variety of frogs - Bleating Tree Frogs (L. dentata), Dwarf Tree Frogs (Litoria fallax), Lesuers Frogs (L. lesuerii), Peron?s Tree Frogs (L. peronii), Laughing Tree Frogs (L tylerii), Broad-palmed Rocket Frogs (L. latopalmata), Leaf Green Tree Frogs (L. phyllochroa), Striped Marsh Frogs (Limnodynastes peronii), Common Eastern Froglets (Crinea signifera) and Dusky/Smooth Toadlets (Uperoleia laevigata/fusca). Other animals seen were lots of Red-necked Pademelons and a Boobook Owl heard.





We visited the Barrington Tops Guest House for some late afternoon birding but again it was quieter than usual here. Apart form many tame Brush Turkeys and a Wonga Pigeon walking around the tennis court and guest house we did see 2 Regent Bowerbirds amongst a group of Satin Bowerbirds, a few Superb Lyrebirds and heard Green Catbirds. We also had nice looks of a good sized Land Mullet (Egernia major), which is a huge dark skink. Spotlighting that evening well made up the shortage of diurnal birds with an excellent and deafining chorus of frogs (most were seen) including Red-eyed Tree Frogs (Litoria chloris), Bleating Tree Frogs (L. dentata), Dwarf Tree Frogs (Litoria fallax), Lesuers Frogs (L. lesuerii), Peron?s Tree Frogs (L. peronii), Leaf Green Tree Frogs (L. phyllochroa), Great Barred Frogs (Mixophyes fasciolatus), Striped Marsh Frogs (Limnodynastes peronii), Red-backed Toadlets (Pseudophryne coriacea) and a new one for me, a Fletcher?s Frog (Lechriodus fletcheri). After a very long dry spell, it is great to hear so many of our amphibian friends. We also saw a good variety of mammals including good views of both a Northern Brown and Long-nosed Bandicoots, both Mountain and Common Brushtail Possum, 2 Greater Gliders (both dark phase), Brown Antechinus, Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Red-necked Wallabies and heaps of Red-necked Pademelons. The only nocturnal birds however, were a couple of Tawny Frogmouths and 2 Boobooks heard.


We also spotted an Echidna on the road back to Dungog that night.


BUSHELL?S LAGOON (approx. 55km north-west of Sydney CBD) (15/12/02)


While at Dungog, David Mitford on mobile gave the news of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Bushells Lagoon. So myself and David headed back home early on Sunday morning via Bushell?s Lagoon followed by Dick from Dungog where we would have hoped to see this new bird for all 3 of us. And as it often goes we dipped (along with many other birdos) but can not complain after seeing a Dunlin there a month or so ago. I have missed the Buff-breasted Sandpiper twice in NSW in the last ten years.


At Bushells we did see 3 Yellow-billed Spoonbills, 2 Glossy Ibis, 3 Australian Shelducks (a male and 2 females, a rare bird for this area), 31 Pacific Golden Plovers, 4 Red-kneed Dotterels,100 plus Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, a black? flagged) Pectoral Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 2 Marsh Sandpipers, a Wood Sandpiper, c50 Whiskered Terns, a Latham?s Snipe, a Whsitling Kite and a White-bellied Sea-eagle. The Buff-breasted Sandpiper could have been anywhere but we did check the area where it was seen and the other side of the cause way without intruding in the ?No Go? areas.


FERNLEIGH?S LAGOON, RICHMOND (approx. 55km north-west of Sydney CBD) (15/12/02)


Again the Ruff and 5 Little Curlew were easy to find in the heat of the day as well as 4 Glossy Ibis, a Freckled Duck, 6 plus Red-kneed Dotterel, c30 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, a Marsh Sandpiper, a Greenshank, 2 male Brown Songlarks and a male White-winged Triller.


BAKERS LAGOON, RICHMOND (approx. 55km north-west of Sydney CBD) (15/12/02)


Fewer waders than last weekend (there were 400 plus Sharp-tailed, a Bar-tailed Godwit etc here on the 8/12/02) but with more water, there were still c50 Sharp-tailed and 2 Marsh Sandpipers, a Greenshank and a Swamp Harrier.


All in all, a good 3 days.


Edwin Vella


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