Hawkesbury Birding (with the Yellow Wagtail) - 26th December 2002

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Subject: Hawkesbury Birding (with the Yellow Wagtail) - 26th December 2002
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 19:45:55 +1100

Today, myself and David Mitford visited Bakers Lagoon and had good views of the YELLOW WAGTAIL at Bakers Lagoon in Richmond (approx. 55km north-west of Sydney CBD). Though both of us has seen it on a number of occasions up in Newcastle in NSW, this location was well within the Sydney region, hence a Sydney tick for both of us. The first record of the Yellow Wagtail in Sydney was at this location in the 1980?s according to Ern Hoskin?s ?Birds of Sydney?. We did not hear our bird call but it was very active along the muddy edges of the lagoon and constantly wagging its tail up and down as usual. There were a good number of waders here including well over 200 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 15 Marsh Sandpipers, 3 Red-necked Stints, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Red-kneed Dotterels. Other wetland birds included a Black-tailed Native-hen, 2 Australasian Shovelers amongst many Grey Teal, a Swamp Harrier and a Peregrine Falcon which spooked many of the waders. I find some of the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers quite entertaining, and have seen a number of them getting into a bit of a dispute with each other. I have seen a few individuals with their tail cocked up and wings outstretched, charging at each other. One Sharpie today was seen chasing the other in a few circles.


We also looked at nearby Fernleighs Lagoon (off Powells Lane) but most of the birds seen over the last few weeks have now disappeared from here (including the Ruff, Little Curlews and all the Sharpies) but we did saw 40 Plumed Whistling-ducks ( I normally encounter these ducks in autumn or winter at this location). In the paddocks beside Powells Lane, we saw 1 or 2 Singing Bushlarks (one seen calling on a nearby fence), 4 male Brown Songlarks and heard a few Stubble Quail very close by.


Before I headed back home, I also made a brief visits to both the western and eastern side of Bushells Lagoon at Freeman?s Reach. On the western side were only about 20 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, a Red-necked Stint, a Greenshank and another Black-tailed Native Hen. Only 13 Whiskered Terns were present on the eastern end.


On the 2 small lagoons either side of Argyle Reach Rd (to the east of Bushell?s Lagoon), were 5 Freckled Ducks, one Pink-eared Duck, 20 Hardheads, 4 Red-kneed Dotterels, a Baillon?s Crake and in nearby paddocks 90 Little and 3 Long-billed Corellas.


With all the good numbers of birds (induced by the drought) and a good string of rarities for the year, 2002 has certainly been a good year birding in the Hawkesbury and certainly one to remember.


Edwin Vella

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