hawkesbury&sydney birds

To: "Keith Brandwood" <>, "birdingaus" <>
Subject: hawkesbury&sydney birds
From: "Ricki Coughlan" <>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 20:11:07 +1000
Hi Keith
According to my records and recollections, numbers are on the rise in the Royal National Park and Heathcote National Park. Below is a long version, but if you want the short version, numbers are up.
Down here I saw one Wonga Pigeon and heard two others on the weekend. I've been sighting at least a couple of Brown Cuckoo-doves along Lady Carrington Drive each outing (very easy species to call in - even if you look like a nutter when doing so!). More and more Rockwarblers, pretty frequent Pilotbirds, regulars like Yellow Robins, all local Scrubwrens, Thornbills and Gerigones very common, Parrots in good numbers, V Sitellas - regular good flocks, definite large increase in Red-browed Finch flock sizes over last few years, V and S Fairy-wrens in stable numbers, Crested Shrike-tit family groups all with at least 2 juveniles (boys on the bark - girls on the leaves... God lerv 'em). Crested Shrike-tits have not been common in the Park for some time but are now reappearing to the point where I see them every weekend. Satin Bowerbirds are quieter, but around, Green Catbirds (totally AWOL), Whipbirds everywhere and lots of juveniles, legions of Lyrebirds (and chicks starting to appear), plentiful Pardalotes, more than the odd Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Currawongs, Butcherbirds, Azure Kingfishers in great supply, very competitive chest-to-chest calling from Golden Whistlers (great to observe) as they vie for territory in the face of greater numbers (excellent breeding season observed) and limited dispersal options. Big increases in Eastern Spinebills, stacks of Silvereye blow-ins, significant increase in W T Treecreepers, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters in better numbers than recent years and pretty well everything else seems to be at least stable or increasing.
Same story in the dry sclerophyll forests with plenty of raptors (many juvenile Brown Goshawks and Nankeen Kestrels spotted recently). I have never seen so many White-browed Scrubwrens and Brown Thornbills as I recently did on the Garrawarra Ridge Top trail. Stacks of juveniles among them and breeding season is not far away for many of these little brown fellas. Also good numbers of Little Lorikeets there. Good numbers of Yellow-tufted and White-eared Honeyeaters in Heathcote NP too.
Out on the Heath I observed massive numbers of all of the local Honeyeaters (New Holland, Yellow-faced, Wattle birds, some White Cheeked(!), Tawney Crowned and even a few Scarlets, especially juveniles) all are just over a big breeding season. Quail and Bronzewings are in good supply too. Raptors of several type in good supply out there, picking off the happless chicks, grasshoppers and reptiles. Beautiful Firetail Finches are definitely bouncing back after the devastating fires of the mid 1990's where it seemed for a while that they'd been lost. I have observed good numbers breeding through the summer and out on Curra Moors several pairs breeding in the Autumn on each outing. Southern Emu-wrens, V and S Fairy-wrens and Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens are also up in number. The Emu-wren groups have all increased in size (studies on dispersal for these guys would be interesting).
Stand around Sutherland Hospital any day and stare straight up. You'll see wonderful numbers of Little and Rainbow Lorikeets on the move at the moment - heading north-west.
Even in the parks surrounding my home in Sans Souci there are many Eucalypts in flower which are full of parrots and honeyeaters (more so than last year) and the fig trees are full of Figbirds (which seem even tamer than usual). Yellow Thornbills are up in number this year around my home as well. I'm even seeing Eastern Rosellas checking out nest holes already.
I could go on, but dare not. I feel very encouraged by what I've been seeing of late in our parts and am a happy birder right now. Sorry to hear that things might be a bit slow. Every time I take a tourist out, it appears that way too though.
Appologies for the verbose reply.
Regards -  Ricki
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