NEWCASTLE AREA, NSW - 5TH APRIL 1998
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
Another fine day in the Newcastle Area ..