birding-aus An interesting weekend

To: <>
Subject: birding-aus An interesting weekend
From: "Nick" <>
Date: Sun, 29 Aug 1999 21:22:35 +1000
Hi everyone,
I had an interesting but frustrating weekend of birding this weeken, at a few different spots around and about the place. I found myself going to Sydney for the day on Saturday, so I decided to do a spot of birding at Magic Point, hoping to run across the Lewin's Rail. I left Canberra early, and decided to stop at Roses Lagoon, a large swamp between Canberra and Goulburn to see if I could hear any bitterns, on the advice of John Leonard. It was still dark (about 0545) when I stopped, and as soon as I got out of the car, I could here several Australasian Bitterns. The call was very strange but distinctive, and one I had never heard before. There seemed to be many different birds calling, but it is a hard call to put a direction on, so I couldn't be sure how many were calling.
When I arrived at Maroubra, I headed out to the point first to do some seawatching (which i have never done before) and found myself totally at a loss! I only had a pair of binoculars, and not much idea, so all I saw was Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. My luck changed when Rod Gardner turned up, bringing his scope and a wealth of knowledge, and so soon I had White-fronted Terns, Huttons and Fluttering Shearwaters. Not a good day by Rod's standards (especially after an Antarctic Petrel!), but I was suitably impressed. We wandered back after a while, along the track where Rod had seen the Lewin's Rails only that morning, but could not find one. We did hear several though, especially in the bitou near the carpark, where we could hear them literally within metres of us. So it seemed I was going to miss out, but after Rod left, I hung around for a while, and after 15 mins, was rewarded with a small dark shape moving through the bitou. I thought this was as close as i was going to get, but of course about 30 secs after I had put my camera away, a Lewin's Rail wandered out from the bitou quite casually, no more than 3 metres away.It got half way across the track before it ducked off, never to be seen again.
On the way back to Canberra this morning, I made another stop at Roses Lagoon, where I saw 2 male(?) Swamp Harriers doing their spectacular display over the swamp. One of the birds it seemed was an immature bird, as its display was much less spectacular than the other, which included all manner of aerobatics and calling, as it dipped its way down to the reeds - and here ended my weekend birdwise.
Nick Leseberg 
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