Eastern Creek Tip (raptors) and the Hawkesbury area, Sydney - 14th Sept

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Subject: Eastern Creek Tip (raptors) and the Hawkesbury area, Sydney - 14th Sept 2003
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 07:07:30 +1000


Today, I began my first official bird survey of the Eastern Creek Waste Services Tip (approx. 40km west of Sydney CBD, near Blacktown) after being granted special permission to conduct these surveys by NSW Waste Management Services. Hopefully this will be first of many good bird surveys within this area of great potential. Besides being Sydney?s main waste tip, the area has a well vegetated tree line water course (Eastern Creek itself which looks ideal for Black Bittern) and large expanses of grass land (which looks potentially good for quail / button-quail). Well over a thousand Sacred Ibis and a number of Whistling Kites are using the creek to nest and to roost which is adjacent to the main tip. The rubbish in the tip attracts all the ibis as well as 0 numbers of Pelicans and Silver Gulls.


It was not long after my arrival, I saw the star bird, a nice BLACK FALCON circuling over the grassland and then later (if not a second Black Falcon) over the rubbish tip allowing good views for several minutes on both occasions. I am so pleased to no longer have the need to travel hundreds of kilometers to see this favourite raptor of mine, but only a few minutes from home. This follows my sighting of a Black Falcon at the same Tip a few weeks ago while watching from the car park. There were also lots of Whistling Kites (definitely 7 seen at the one time but because they were scattered everywhere, with some Kites flying (a few in thermals with the Ibis and pelicans) and some perched with the ibis along the creek there could have well been a dozen or more ? certainly the most I?ve ever seen besides seeing 10 recently at Prospect Reservoir next door to this tip). Many of the Kites were easy to approach as they perched in the eucalypts above. The tip also has what is intended a bird distraction unit playing from some speakers which sounded like a Crow (it got me excited when I first heard it as I though I had another Sydney tick) but of course does not work.


A list of raptors seen at the tip for the two hour duration is as follows:


Whistling Kite (7-12 plus)

White-bellied Sea-eagle (1-2)

Black-shouldered Kite (1-2)

Black Falcon (1)

Brown Falcon (2)

Australian Kestrel (2)


I later checked out a few places in the Hawkesbury area (20 km or so north of the tip) when winds picked up (mainly gale force westerly winds making birding very difficult) were I saw 3 Wedge-tailed Eagles on the Richmond Turf Farms (including a very good view of one eagle perched in  a leafless tree, 30-50 metres from the roadside while I was in the car), 5 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and 5 Red-kneed Dotterels at Bush?s Lagoon (Richmond), a nice adult Spotted Harrier and Brown Falcon at Pitt Town Lagoon and finally, very good looks at 3 Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens in heath land burnt by last summers bushfires (good to see that the heathwrens have moved back into their territory). 


Another good day birding.


Edwin Vella

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