Good birding in the Newcastle area, NSW - 4th April 2004

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Subject: Good birding in the Newcastle area, NSW - 4th April 2004
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2004 21:05:30 +1000
I had a good morning and early afternoon today (4th April 2004) birding
around Newcastle area (about 170 km north of Syndey CBD).

>From the northern breakwater at the mouth of the Hunter River I was thrilled
again to watch a White-winged Black Tern in full breeding plumage (a very
impressive bird indeed!) and saw another juv. bird about the same area.
There were a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters moving about very close to the
breakwater, an Immature White-bellied Sea-eagle near Stockton beach and 2
Pomarine Jaegers also seen in the distance. A few kilometres further up
stream there were still at least 35 Common Terns.

At Stockton bridge, one Broad-billed Sandpiper was still about and I had
incredible views as close as 5 metres of this bird (I can't get better than
this) where I could clearly see through the scope and binoculars its nasal
groove, olive legs, its claws, pale base to the lower mandible and a tinge
of rufous breeding colour on the edge of the mantle. It was feeding,
preening and even sleeping during my observation at close range (showing no
signs of being wary or concern of my close presence) and it was great to
compare it with Red-necked Stints (6 in total with most coming into breeding
plumage) feeding with it as well as 2 Double-banded and 12 Red-capped
Plovers. Also around Stockton Bridge were 3 Grey-tailed Tattler, 9 Red and 4
Great Knots (2 with dark spots on breast), 140 plus Bar-tailed Godwits (a
few in full-breeding plumage but most of the rest were probably juv. birds),
6 Whimbrel, 74 Eastern Curlew, 20 Pied Stilts, 2 Red-necked Avocet, a single
Pied Oystercatcher and 13 Caspian Tern. There were also at least 60
Black-tailed Godwits moving about the nearby dykes after being disturbed by
a passing Sea-eagle. The Black-tailed Godwits were probably intending to
feed at Fullerton Cove and not with the other shorebirds near Stockton
Bridge. Brown Honeyeaters and Mangrove Gerygones were also present in the

At Leneghan (about the south-western edge of Heham Swamp) I saw 8 species of
raptor in about an hour including a Grey Goshawk (flying over the wetlands
and farmland), 4 Swamp Harriers, 3 Whistling Kite, a Little Eagle, a pair of
adult White-bellied Sea-eagle, a Brown Falcon, an Australian Kestrel and  an
Australian Hobby. I also saw here 14 Wandering Whistling-duck, 300 plus
Black Swan, a few Pied Stilts and 16 White-breasted Woodswallows.

Finally at Pourmalong NR on the other side of the freeway there was a single
Freckled Duck with 6 Australasian Shoveler and a few more White-breasted

Edwin Vella

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