My wife and I have recently returned from a short trip to Newcastle following
the birth of our first granddaughter. To pass some time during non-visiting
hours we checked the various spots on the HBOC Newcastle Wetlands Birding
Route. The various wetlands associated with the Hexham Swamp area have a lot of
water in them at present. There were not many "shoreline" birds as in most
areas we visited the water was right up to the vegetation, with very little in
the way of exposed mud flats for dotterels and the like.
First spot was the Lenaghan's Wetland area near the freeway. Highlights here
were several black swan pairs with cygnets, lots of Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal
and Pacific Black Ducks. Also one pair of Australian Shovelers (a tick for me).
There were terns working, presumably Whiskered Terns but too distant for a
positive ID, and a Swamp Harrier.
Next to Pambalong Nature Reserve where we added, among others, a group of about
10 Masked Woodswallows, and an Australasian Grebe. We finished up at Tarro
Recreation Reserve, adding a Darter and several Royal Spoonbills.
The next day, 21/9, we visited Hexham Swamp Nature Reserve where I walked out
along the old railway embankment. There are hundreds of Straw-necked Ibis and
Sacred Ibis here, as well as some very inquisitive horses that seemed to want
to eat my field guide when I placed it on the ground so I could use the 'scope.
Nothing new here, so on to the Newcastle Wetlands Reserve near the rail line
across from the Wetlands Centre. The highlights were the Darters and Cormorants
nesting in the melaleucas, Hardheads on the water, Magpie Geese on the shore
and Red-browed Firetails flitting around on the track. Finished up at Warabrook
Wetland where the main item of interest was a pair of mating Mallards.
41 species in 2 days of not very serious birding. We are still novices and not
into counts, but enjoyed it a lot. We look forward to seeing the populations
change as the water dries up more migrants arrive. Might even manage to tick a
Latham's Snipe next time.
Little Pied Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant
White Faced Heron
Straw Necked Ibis
Australian Shoveler (tick)
Pacific Black Duck
Swamp (Marsh) Harrier
Clamorous Reed-warbler (heard)
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