To: "" <>
From: "Vella, Edwin" <>
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 98 08:20:00 PDT

Highlights for this day were as follows:

1) Upto 40 White-winged Black Terns in Newcastle Harbour. No less than 30   
birds were in "complete" or almost complete breeding plumage. A stunning   
sight indeed, and for me, the main highlight of the day. With Jet-black   
body plumage and underwing coverts and very contrasting white wings, rump   
and tail, these were like a different Tern species altogether compared to   
those birds I saw a few weeks earlier. Atleast 2 to 3 juveniles were also   
present. Newcastle is a regular spot for these beautiful Terns and have   
been present in hundreds there at times in the past.

2) 2 to 3 Arctic Jaegers (one light-phase and possibly 2 dark-phase   
birds) were harassing Gulls and Terns up the harbour. These Jaegers are   
regularly seen within the Harbour and are easily spotted with there quick   
dashing movements as they harrass the Gulls and Terns. A Wedge-tailed   
Shearwater was also seen following a large boat into the harbour with its   
prolonged glides and lazy wing beats. Only 2 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters   
were seen on the day.

3) 10 Red-necked Avocets at Stockton. 9 Red-necked Avocets were seen   
along Stockton beach (I have never seen them before close to the sea)   
just a few metres north of the breakwater. One was also seen fairly close   
with Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey-tailed Tattlers and Lesser Golden Plover at   
Stockton Bridge. I have seen Avocets in their thousands within the area   
in past years, but have not seen them until now in the last 2 years.

4) A Lesser Golden Plover in "complete" breeding plumage at Stockton.   
This is sure a stunning bird in complete breeding plumage with entire   
black face, breast, belly and under-tail coverts, bordered by  white   
plumage and with a speckled gold and black back. Also seen at Stockton,   
were atleast 50 Grey-tailed Tattlers, a few Terek Sandpipers and Whimbrel

5) A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper displaying at Kooragang Island. One S-T   
Sandpiper was seen chasing another with wings outstretched and tail   
cocked and fanned up (Sharp-tail). An impressive sight indeed, which I   
have seen on a couple of occasions before, the last being in January this   
year. Also at Kooragang Island were 3 Double-banded Plovers, 300 other   
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (many in full breeding plumage), 100 plus   
Red-necked Stints ( a few in breeding plumage), 50 plus Curlew Sandpiper,   
White-fronted Chats etc.

6) A very inquisitive Brown Honeyeater. I was at Shortland Wetland Centre   
to show my mate a Brown Honeyeater. I squeak one out, and the bird was   
seen hovering in mid-air a metre in front of me,  as if wanting to land   
on me (just a bit too close !). A fair number of White-breasted   
Woodswallows (20 plus) were also present at Shortland WC)

In addition, large numbers of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and a few Eastern   
Spinebill and White-naped Honeyeaters were moving about at Nobby head.   
Most of the Honeyeaters appeared to be attracted to the bittou bush   
growing along the dunes. Noisy Friarbird flocks were also seen about the   
town centre.

Another fine day in the Newcastle Area ..

Edwin Vella

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