Prospect Reservoir near Blacktown NSW (Swift Parrot Survey) - 15 to 16th

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Subject: Prospect Reservoir near Blacktown NSW (Swift Parrot Survey) - 15 to 16th May 2004
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 07:07:39 +1000
I have just completed the Autumn Swift Parrot survey at Prospect Reservoir
(approx. 35-40km west of Sydney CBD near Blacktown) over 2 mornings,
Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th May 2004.

The first morning (15th May), I was fortunate to find within the first half
hour a single SWIFT PARROT (and as I predicted) feeding in a few of many
flowering Eucalypts in the grounds of the Prospect Reservoir catchment area.
Being part of Sydney's water supply, the whole area apart from the picnic
areas to the east, is out of bounds to the general public and I had to go
through the necessary authorities in order to gain this access. This is the
second year I've had Swifties at Prospect Reservoir and have also seen them
in the surrounding suburbs in other years. I only saw this single Swiftie
for a few minutes but very well until it flew away. I unable to identify
some of the Eucalyptus currently in flower (a few of these trees are
probably uncommon in the area, including one Mahogany species) but the
Forest Red Gums (Eucalyptus teriticornis) and Spotted Gums (Eucalyptus
maculate) are the ones I could identify that were in flower about the north
side of the reservoir.

Birds were abundant (plenty of food everywhere) in the forest and woodland
surround the reservoir with thousands of Honeyeaters about, mainly
Yellow-faced, White-plumed and White-naped Honeyeaters and very few
Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills, Red Wattlebirds and a single
Bell Miner (so far they have not established a colony in this area after
seeing my first two in the ridge to the south).

Beside the Honeyeaters mentioned above, a number of other birds that I saw
at Prospect have arrived in good numbers to escape the winter of more
southern parts of Australia and the higher altitude area including Crimson
Rosellas, several Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes, Rose Robins, Golden Whistlers,
Grey Fantails (quite numerous and some appear darker than the usual
residents), 2 Brown Gerygones (some move out of the rainforest into the
drier forests of the Cumberland plain), Silvereyes and many of both Spotted
and Striated Pardalotes. Other birds seen in the forest included a Whistling
Kite, 5 Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, Crested Shrike-tits, several groups
of Variegated Wrens, Varied Sitellas (a flock of 16 birds together and
another of 6 birds), Weebills, Mistletoebirds and Olive-backed Oriole. I am
almost certain I also heard a Grey Goshawk (which I saw there over a month
ago. The Noisy Miners were going off a number of times and was probably this
Goshawk moving through the canopy. Also I saw a Black (Swamp) Wallaby
feeding in front of me in the middle of the trail before it moved off and
disappeared in thick cover.

In the forest and picnic area around the ridge just south of the reservoir
there were more honeyeaters about, mainly Yellow-faced and White-plumed  but
also several New Holland and Scarlet Honeyeaters. There were planted Mugga
Ironbarks, Forest and Spotted Gums in flower there, and surprisingly the
absence of the larger Noisy Friarbirds and Wattlebirds. The other birds seen
in this area included a Collared Sparrowhawk, 9 Bar-shouldered and 6
Peaceful Doves (one recently fledged Peaceful  Dove sitting still for quite
some time on the ground)  around the picnic area, many tame Eastern Yellow
Robins (fortunately still quite common), hundreds of Red-browed Firetails
(feeding in the Kangaroo Grass, Themeda australis), Double-barred Finches,
Nutmeg Mannikins, Olive-backed Orioles and a Spangled Drongo (excellent
views of its bluish spangles on its breast) and watching it snatch 5 insects
in a matter of a half a minute.

The fruiting privet further down the slope unfortunately was attracting and
abundance of Red-whiskered Bubuls, Silvereyes, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters,
Starlings, Blackbirds and a few Goldfinches.

On the reservoir it self were 50 Great Crested Grebes (the numbers are
starting to build up again), a few Australasian and one Hoary-headed Grebe,
7 Whistling Kites, Hardhead, 5,000 Coots etc.

An enjoyable time birding in the local area with 80 species recorded.

Edwin Vella

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