To: "" <>
From: "Vella, Edwin" <>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 98 07:11:00 PST

Last Saturday afternoon, I went with my birding mate, David Koffel, to   
find him a Lewins Rail to add to his life list.

We started the afternoon at about 1 pm at the McGraths Hill STW (near   
Windsor), hoping to see if any unusual waders have popped in. There were   
about 8 Red-kneed Dotterels there but the only migratory shorebirds   
present there, were a Double-banded Plover, 2 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and   
a Black-tailed Godwit .  A good number of both Teal species were also   
present aswell as a few Australasian Shovelers.

About this time last year at this STW, I saw one Long-toed Stint,   
together with 2 Sharp-tailed and 2 Pectoral Sandpipers all in breeding   
plumage. I was hoping for something similar on this Saturday afternoon.

At about 3:30 pm, we arrived at Dharug NP at the western side of Mill   
Creek. We were off to see some Rails at a section of the park which is   
off limits to the public as you have to get to a swamp via a private   
road. I was granted permission beforehand with a NSWNP ranger, who   
resides at the end of this private road. We saw here one (and heard   
another) Lewins Rail aswell as a Buff-banded Rail and Spotless Crake. The   
good thing about this swamp is that you can get very close to the Rails   
almost within 1 meter of them (and I am not exagerating, even without   
playing a tape, because the clear muddy sections were they feed is   
limited. The Rails feed away taking little notice of you and at times, I   
have been looking at the both rail species from above them).

Others birds of interest seen along the private road that afternoon, were   
4 Brown Quails, 3 Brush Turkeys, 8 Wonga Pigeons and Azure Kingfisher.   
Glossy Black-Cockatoos were also heard upon departure.

We went spotlighting around Central Colo on about 8 pm, hoping to see a   
Masked Owl, but had a fine view of a Barn Owl on a fence post there as a   
complimentary prize.

A fine afternoon and evening indeed !

Edwin Vella

P.S. I saw atleast 88 Plumed Whistling Ducks yesterday afternoon (Sunday,   
22nd March) at the Richmond Turf Farms.

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