Good Birds - Northern Hunter Region

To: "'Mick Roderick'" <>, "'Birding Aus'" <>
Subject: Good Birds - Northern Hunter Region
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 10:21:25 +1100

Glad you had a good trip in the Northern Hunter Region area Mick.


We now await for a confirmed breeding record of the White-eared Monarchs at Crowdy Bay/Harrington and the Radjah Shelducks at Mungo Brush!!




-----Original Message-----
From: [ On Behalf Of Mick Roderick
Sent: Monday, 30 January 2006 6:26 PM
To: Birding Aus
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Good Birds - Northern Hunter Region


Hi all,


Myself, my brother Steve and Allan Richardson took a trip up to Crowdy Bay NP last week (25-27th) hoping to catch up with some good birds that have been reported from there in recent times.


We expected the Grass Owl to be a difficult species to locate, although on the first night we had a responding bird within 30 seconds of call-playback. A bird then appeared above our heads within 2 minutes. We worked our way thru more suitable habitat and located a further 3 birds (calling). The following evening we set up for photography of the birds, playing a few calls about a 1/2 hour before dusk. Just after dark a pair of birds literally rose out of the heath directly in front of us and hovered / jinked above us for a good minute or so, calling. By true Murphy's Law, our spotlight failed to work for the photo's but we did get some fuzzy ones. They then proceeded to hawk over the heath nearby for about 15 minutes, occasionally passing us (we did not continue playing calls).


To see them emanate from the heath 20m in front of us, calling furtively, was an incredible sight. Perhaps they had moved closer to us along the ground during the pre-dusk call-playback?


We had a similar experience with the White-eared Monarch at Figtree carpark. Two birds were heard, with one bird virtually perching on our shoulders. This bird had very dishevelled tips to the tail feathers, suggesting a possibility that it had been sitting on a nest (?). Varied Trillers and Spectacled Monarchs were also found here.


North of Old Bar we were pleased to see numerous (20+) fledged juvenile Little Terns amongst at least 100 adult birds. Amongst the waders here were 46 Sanderling, several Lesser Sand Plovers and around 200 Pacific Golden Plovers. Up at Harrington we found a Grey Plover on an estuary mudflat. A pair of Beach Stone-curlews were also seen nearby.


We were able to locate a Square-tailed Kite nest in Coopernook SF, although no birds could be found.


The pair of Bush Stone-curlews at Lemon Tree Passage were both resting at the time we were there. I am really not sure about the breeding status of these birds, although the enclosure erected by the NPWS is obviously dog-proof and until any chicks are able to fly, they certainly could not leave it.


The Radjah Shelducks are still in the Myall Lakes NP, although they appear to be spending the vast majority of their time at Legges Camp, not Mungo Brush. Interestingly, reports suggest that both birds are male, with no obvious differences in the breast band. Has anyone who has seen the birds have any input on this? (I personally did not see them).


No rare waders, but good birding within reach of Sydney / Newcastle nonetheless. Thanx to Edwin Vella and Brett Campbell for their assistance too.





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