David Mitford and I
enjoyed a good morning in the Hawkesbury area (approx. 55km NW of Sydney CBD) today,
15th January 2006. The
highlights were scoring 2 King Quail (a lifer for David) and seeing 17
Red-necked Avocets (an uncommon visitor to Sydney).
Pitt Town Lagoon is hosting a good variety of water birds including
2 Hoary-headed amongst 30 or so Australasian Grebe; 6 Great and a single Plumed
Egret; 16 Royal Spoonbill; 25 Hardhead; 20 plus Australasian Shoveler; about 400 Grey and 30 Chestnut Teal; 100 plus
Black Duck; 95 Pink-eared Duck; 1 Red-kneed and 2 Black-fronted Dotterel; at
least 25 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper; a Latham’s Snipe; 7 Red-necked Avocets
and 70 plus Pied Stilts.
We flushed 2 (male and female) King Quail amongst at least 8
Brown Quail near the mound. Small numbers of King Quail have been seen a number
of times over the past years close to this mound (I had 4 King Quail in the same
spot a few years ago).
Other birds seen included a Collared Sparrowhawk,
Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo, 3 Channel-billed
Cuckoo, Sacred Kingfisher, both Double-barred and Zebra Finches and several
Chestnut-breasted Mannikins in the reeds.
Along Pitt Town Bottoms Rd was another
Sacred Kingfisher, a Brown Goshawk, a Black-shouldered Kite and Nankeen
At Bushells Lagoon near
Wilberforce, there was a Cattle Egret in breeding plumage (previously only a
winter visitor but more and more can now be seen in summer around Sydney. They breed
now each year in Doonside and possibly elsewhere in Sydney), 20
Hardhead, 30 Shoveler, a few more Pink-eared Ducks, at
least 35 (possibly more) Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Greenshank, 10 more Red-necked
Avocets and at least 80 Black-winged Stilts.
I flushed a few more Brown Quail on the edge of Bushell’s Lagoon and heard some Stubble Quail as