Good Birding on the Central Coast of NSW 20-21 September 2003

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Subject: Good Birding on the Central Coast of NSW 20-21 September 2003
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 21:03:59 +1000
On Saturday 20 September 2003, Follow That Bird Tours (formerly ASIT), organised a trip to the Central Coast. First stop was at the garden of John and Carole Carpenter, at Murrumbung HSD Mardi, near Tuggerah. The house is set in a Spotted Gum/Ironbark forest, and coming to the Carpenter's bird feeder each day are up to 19 Brown Cuckoo-Doves, 8 Wonga Pigeons and plenty of King Parrots. Tawny Frogmouths roost near the house, White-winged Choughs nest in the garden as do a pair of Pacific Bazas and a pair of Sparrowhawks. Traffic to the bird feeder this morning was a bit slow because the Sparrowhawks made a few passes so scattering the birds and the Bazas did not show!
The group moved off to Wadalba Hill, where local ground orchid and bush expert Boris Branwhite joined us. Wadalba Hill contains a Spotted Gum/Ironbark woodland with some lovely old trees with many hollows and has a fairly open grassy understorey.There were plenty of Sun Orchids to see waiting for the day to get a bit sunnier before they open completely while in places Caladenia alba seem to carpet the ground. In one particular spot a pair of White-throated Gerygones were found constructing a nest in a sapling and nearby a pair of Grey Fantails were putting the last minute touches to their nest. At this spot a late Spangled Drongo kept swooping for insects, a male Leaden Flycatcher fed near both nesting species (this is the first return spring record this year for the Central Coast), and Yellow Robins, Rufous Whistlers & Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were busy feeding. About 150 m away we came across another feeding association of both Superb and Variegated Fairy-wrens feeding and fighting in the understorey while in the trees were feeding a mixed flock of White-naped, Brown-headed & Yellow-faced Honeyaters, Sitellas, Rufous Whistlers, Silvereyes and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes. Olive-backed Orioles were calling and a Brown Goshawk circled overhead. Boris also showed us nesting Eastern Rosellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Wood Ducks.
At Toukley Bridge at Gorokan, on the shores of Budgewoi Lake we were entertained while having lunch by a flock of about 100 Little Corellas coming down to drink and feed on the lawns, both Hoary-headed & Little Grebes feeding with Black Swans in the seagrass beds, Darters and 4 species of Cormorants on the Lake with many Pelicans. In the afternoon we stopped off at Lions Park, Chittaway on the shores of Tuggerah Lake, near the Chittaway Creek outlet onto the Lake. Here were roosting and feeding Sharp-tailed and Curlew Sandpipers, Bar-tailed Godwits, Greenshanks & Red Knots, and a few Black-winged Stilts & Caspain Terns. Two days before at this site there were 43 Caspian Terns  and 23 Whiskered Terns roosting with the waders, in addition to a Sacred Kingfisher, a Buff-banded Rail and Red-necked Stints. Striped Honeyeaters were nesting in the vicinty and hundreds of Black Swans and a few Little and Great Egrets can be seen here. Earlier we had checked out the Tuggerah STW and there were still 6 Pinkears among the hundreds of Grey Teal, Hardheads & Coots.
While we were all enjoying these birds Robert Quinan was doing a seawatch at nearby Soldeirs Pt Norah Head, where he saw Great Skua, Huttons, Fluttering & Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, 23 White-fronted Terns and a lone and very early Little Tern, in addition to Sooty Oystercatchers, Grey-tailed Tattlers, Ruddy Turnstones & Pacicfic Golden Plovers etc
Elsewhere on the Central Coast the Koel and Channel-billed Cuckoos have returned, one of the 8 pairs of Bush Stone-curlews that live around Brisbane Water have commenced to nest, and Masked and Powerful Owls have seen seen recently. With a birdlist of 350 species, for the two local government areas of Gosford & Wyong, it can be truthfully said that there is good birding on the Central Coast.
Alan Morris
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