A damp day in Sydney's northwest

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: A damp day in Sydney's northwest
From: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>
Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2007 18:23:52 +1100
Hi all
I spent much of 2 November visiting sites in Sydney's northwest with my Dad. All up, with 113 sightings and 7 voice only, we recorded 120 species, despite some activity being curtailed because of thunderstorms, heavy rain and diversions due to traffic accidents. The lagoons are all pretty full, so there was not much mud for waders - we only saw a few - where are they all? (Perhaps they are at some of the less explored or not accessible lagoons - there's a lot of puddles up that way at present?) Highlights for us were:

Cornwallis Rd/Cupitts Lane - 3 pair of Brown Quail and a Pair of King Quail (cracking views of the latter for my Dad as I flushed them and they flew straight towards him over 15 yards). We also flushed one single bird - it was very small and had pale buff outer wings/primaries and was darker towards the body. It had a dark head but a paler belly - we assumed it was a juvenile King Quail as we couldn't get anything else to fit - any suggestions? Lots of Cisticolas here and a pair of Black Shouldered Kites passing food in mid-air. There was a single Azure Kingfisher (presumably en route from the river to Bakers Lagoon) and 2 Chestnut Breasted Mannikins. Elsewhere along Cornwallis Rd a big flock (40+) of Zebra Finches, 1 White Winged Triller "trilling" and Brown and Rufous Songlarks.

Bushells Lagoon - about 20 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Brown Quail (far end of causeway from Brewers Lane), 9 Sharp Tailed Sandpipers, lots of White Necked herons (seemed the be plentiful at all wetlands); 20 Glossy Ibis; 2 Musk Duck

Castlereagh NR - my first visit here - delayed a bit by the weather! After about 45 minutes sitting out a thunderstorm in the car, the birds were active when we finally made it in. There was a female Red Capped Robin tending to at least 3 spotty fledglings at the gate next to the breakers yard and 2 Weebill here too. A single Dusky Woodswallow about 500m in. 1 Crested Shrike Tit at the same place. Plenty of Fuscous Honeyeaters, Speckled Warblers and Buff Rumped Thornbills. Spotted & Striated Pardalotes with young birds. 1 White Throated Gerygone and 1 Brown Headed Honeyeater as we walked along the service track for the electricity poles

Pitt Town lagoon - 2 Spotted Crakes - 1 in front of the mound, the other along the eastern shore; 2 Little Grassbirds in front of the mound; 20 Glossy Ibis in a bay on the eastern shore; a few Shoveler; flushed 4 Lathams Snipe; 2 Red Kneed & 1 Black fronted Dotterel and 1 very aggressive Willie Wagtail by the path down to the gate.

Laughtondale Gully Road - my first visit here, but by the time we got there, time was running short and the weather was closing in again (after 15 minutes the rain was really too hard to make birding a viable activity!). A flock of 25+ yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, a Pallid Cuckoo calling strongly; 1 Common Bronzewing and 1 Double Barred Finch.

Tom Wilson

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