Spent a few days over the border with Jo Wieneke last weekend. On Monday 27/4
headed up to Casino to see what we could see on their swamps and wetlands,
checking out sites supplied by Steve McB. of Ballina. Jo was keen to see
Pink-eared Duck again, and I was wondering whether the Freckled Duck sightings
in SEQ would extend into the Northern Rivers.
First stop was the Casino STW (permission is required) where dozens of
Pink-eared Duck gladdened Jo's heart, and a sole Black-tailed Native-hen
strutted its stuff amongst the Coots. Australasian Shoveler and Hoary-headed
Grebe were amongst 33 species seen.
Second stop was a swamp half-way down Queensland Road, on both sides of road.
We counted a total of 40 Glossy Ibis here, along with Royal Spoonbill, Jacana,
shoveler again. Total of 25 species.
Third site was at Llewellyn's Road, west of town, where the highlight was a
pair of Blue-billed Duck. Raptors were in evidence with a pair of Hobby making
repeated swoops, whilst a pair of Swamp Harrier patrolled the margins,
constantly disturbing the large flock of Cattle Egret. Whistling Kite and
White-bellied Sea-eagle soared overhead. Australasian Shoveler, Hoary-headed
Grebe, Wandering Whistling-duck and Glossy Ibis also present. Total of 28
Fourth site visited was the Banling St. swamp, unfortunately 95% covered with
water hyacinth. We spied a few White-necked Heron in the nearby paddocks, but
not much more.
Fifth site was the swamp at Fairy Hill, on Fairy Hill Station Road. Here we
found all three grebe species, as well as Brown Quail with young (looking like
brown cotton-wool balls on tiny legs),and 3 more Blue-billed Duck. Total 24
Final site was the swamp at McMahon Rd., east of town, where we got our only
Black-necked Stork and Yellow-billed Spoonbill. More Hoary-headed then
Australasian Grebe, some Red-kneed Dotterel, and a Tawny Grassbird were
included in the total of 29 species.
Our day-trip amongst the swamps gave us 75 species, including 12
ducks/grebe/swan and 8 raptors.
On the previous day we had visited the Byron Bay Wetlands, their
decommissioned sewerage treatment ponds. They are now a wonderful wetlands with
plenty of birds and easy walking paths. We tallied 55 species in a little over
2 hours. A pass is required to enter.
Russ Lamb, Maleny,SEQ
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