Smiths Lake & Harrington Trip

Subject: Smiths Lake & Harrington Trip
From: "Mark Sanders" <>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 18:04:42 PST
For those interested, I have just finished writing up a trip report for Smiths Lake and Harrington area that was embarked on last week. Highlights include Beach Stone-curlew, Little Tern, Osprey and Rock Warlber. In total, 134 Species of birds were observed, 7 Species of Reptiles, 8 Species of Frogs and 9 species of Butterfly. See the attachment for more Details!!!!

Mark Sanders
Get Your Private, Free Email at

Foster Area

19th - 23th February 2000


Observers; Ali, Win Filewood and myself.

Sat Feb 19th

Ali and myself decided to head up to Smiths Lake via Woy Woy, where we would hopefully get a Rock Warbler. We had planned to leave early, however circumstances determined that we would leave a lot later than originally planned. We FINALLY managed to get away at about 11am and drove straight to Woy Woy along the freeway. The first place, Pearl Beach, did not result in anything of interest. Determined to find some so that Ali could add them to here life list I drove to several "likely looking spots". It did not take long before we both had excellent looks at a pair hopping around on the rocks within several metres.

By this stage it was quite late and we were both hungry, so we had lunch at Umina Beach where we saw a Common Australian Crow butterfly and then quickly headed straight to Smiths Lake without stopping. The main reason for our rush was to meet up with the Frog and Tadpole Study group (FATs) who were staying at the station and looking at the frog species in the area. On our arival at 5pm, they had Eastern Dwarf Tree Frogs and Red-backed Toadlets in small cages/boxes that they had caught the night before.

That night Al and I headed out with FATs to Wallangat State Forest to several well known frog sites. On the roads to the forest, a small Diamond Python and an average-sized Small-eyed Snake were captured. The night was quite disappointing, a lack of rain, full moon and very windy conditions accumulated to result in only a handful of species found. Species that we did find included Whirring Tree Frog, Bleating Tree Frog, Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog and Perons Tree Frog.


Sun Feb 20th

Getting up early was a struggle after spending the previous night spotlighting, but we still managed to get away by 6:20am to head for Harrington where we were to meet up with Brian and Heather Hole to head out to the Little Tern Rookery and Beach Thick-knee nesting area. We arived at the agreed time of 8am and headout out on the boat. Along the way, we saw Ospreys nesting, Little Egret, Mangrove Heron, Royal Spoonbill and Striped Honeyeater. Reaching the sandflats around the nesting area, Eastern Curlew, Whimbrel, Pied Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Tern and Little Tern were added to the days list. Only a few young Little Terns were seen being feed by the adults, most had already left the colony.

After erecting a sign and replacing the fox baits, we boated further along the sand spit to where the Beach Stone-curlew were nesting. A hide not far away allowed us to have great looks at the birds and with the favourable weather conditions we decided that a quick look at the single egg was permissable. This pair of Stone-curlew is the furthest south known nesting pair, and in six nesting attempts they have never been successful. Lets hope that this will be they year!

Boating back up the river, we took a small detour up the Cattai Creek to see what we could find. This resulted in Southern Emu-wrens, Azure Kingfishers, White-breasted Sea-eagle and a Hobby.

Thoroughly satisfied with the days birding, we said our goodbyes and headed back to Smiths Lake spotting White-throated Needle-tails and a Blue-tongued Lizard along the way.

Spotlighting that night around the field station we stumbled across an Owlet Nightjar no further than 2 metres away from the track. We also heard a White-throated Nightjar but did not see it. Other fauna found included Black-bellied Swamp Snake, Bleating Tree Frog, Freycinet's Frog, Brown Striped Frog, Haswells Froglet was heard but not seen, a Bush Rat and a Common Brushtail Possum.


Mon 21st - Wed 23rd Feb

These three days were spent collecting data on the wrens in the area which include Southern Emu-wrens, Variegated Fairy-wrens, and Superb Blue Wrens as well as White-browed Scrubwrens. This involves colour banding individuals and then following them collecting data on feeding behaviour and their home ranges. Needless to say, other birds are observed during the exercise and highlights were Brown Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, Wonga Pigeon (unusual Habitat - wet heathland), Pheasant Coucal, Tawny Frogmouth, Tawny Grassbird, Little Lorikeet a very early ariving Spangled Drongo and a pair of nesting Azure Kingfishers.

As well as the birds, additional mammals - Red-necked Wallabies, Brown Antechinus; reptiles - Land Mullet, Jacky Lizard; and butterflies - Orchid Butterfly, Sword Grass Brown, Wanderer, Dingy Ringlet, Dingy Ring, Small Grass Blue, Tailed Emperor, Evening Brown, Common Jazabeel and Blue Triagle were seen from previous days.


Wed 23rd Feb

Afer banding and observing during the morning Ali and I packed up and headed for home. On the way we deviated to Seal Rocks to add some birds to our list. Unfortunately the birdwatching was not great but we did managed to see Swamp Harrier, Bar-shouldered Dove, Black-faced Monarch, Large-billed Scrubwren, Brown Warlber and Dusky Woodswallow. Two very large Lace Monitors crossed the road as we were observing.

Travelling past Newcastle during low tide, we called into Stockton Bridge for some wader action...and got none. Only Eastern Curlews, Whimbrels, Bar-tailed Godwits and Pied Stilts were seen. So we headed for home, adding a few more species to our bird list to bring it to the total of 134.


Total number of bird species seen for the trip were 134.

Little Grebe Pelican Darter Pied Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant Black Cormorant Little Black Cormorant White-faced Heron
Cattle Egret Large Egret Little Egret Intermediate Egret
Mangrove Heron Sacred Ibis Straw-necked Ibis Royal Spoonbill
Black Swan Black Duck Chestnut Teal Wood Duck
Musk Duck OspreyN Black-shouldered Kite Whistling Kite
Brown Goshawk White-breasted Sea-eagel Wedge-tailed Eagle Swamp Harrier
Peregrine Falcon Australian Hobby Stubble Quail Dusky Moorhen
Swamphen Coot Beach Thick-knee*N Pied Oystercatcher
Masked Lapwing Goldern Plover Pied Stilt Eastern Curlew
Whimbrel Greenshank Bar-tailed Godwit Silver Gull
Common Tern Little TernN Crested Tern Domestic Pigeon
Spotted Turtle-dove Bar-shouldered Dove Crested Pigeon Wonga Pigeon
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo Galah Sulphur-creasted Cockatoo Rainbow Lorikeet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Little Lorikeet Eastern Rosella Pheasant Coucal
Koel Tawny Frogmouth Owlet Nightjar White-throated Nightjar
White-throated Needle-tail Azure KingfisherN Kookaburra Sacred Kingfisher
Rainbow Bea-eater Dollarbird Pipit Welcome Swallow
Fairy MartinN Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Red-whiskered Bulbul Eastern Yellow Robin
Creasted Shrike-tit Goldern Whistler Rufous Whistler Grey Thrush
Leaden Flycatcher Black-faced Monarch Grey Fantail Rufous Fantail
Willie Wagtail Eastern Whipbird Tawny Grassbird Goldern-headed Cisticola
Superb Blue Wren Varigated Wren Southern Emu-wren Rock Warbler
Large-billed Scrubwren White-browed Scrubwren Brown Thornbill Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill Striated Thornbill Brown Warbler White-throated Warbler
Sittella White-throated Treecreeper Red Wattlebird Little Wattlebird
Striped Honeyeater Noisy Friarbird Noisy Miner Lewin's Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Brown-headed Honeyeater White-naped Honeyeater White-cheeked Honeyeater
Eastern Spinebill Scarlet Honeyeter White-fronted Chat Mistletoebird
Spotted Pardalote Silvereye Red-browed Finch House Sparrow
Starling Indian Myna Figbird Olive-backed Oriole
Spangled Drongo Magpie Lark White-breasted Woodswallow Dusky Woodswallow
Grey Butcherbird Pied Butcherbird Magpie Pied Currawong
Australian Raven Forest Raven    
    Total = 134

* = Newies
N = nesting

Native mammal seen.

Brown Antechinus
(Antechinus stuartii)
Common Brush-tailed Possum
(Trichosurus vulpecula)
Red-necked Wallaby
(Macropus rufogriseus)
Bush Rat
(Rattus fuscipes)

Reptile and Frog species List

Jacky Lizard
(Amphibolurus muricatus)
Lace Monitor
(Varanus varius)
Land Mullet
(Egernia major)
Eastern Blue-tongued Lizard
(Tiliqua scincoides)
Diamond Python
(Morelia spilota)
Black-bellied Snake
(Hemiaspis signata)
Eastern Small-eyed Snake
(Rhinoplocephalus nigrescens)
Common Eastern Froglet
(Crinia signifera)
Brown Striped Frog
(Limnodynastes peronii
Haswell's Frog
(Paracrinia haswelli)
Red-backed Toadlet
(Pseudophryne cariacea)
Bleating Tree Frog
(Litoria dentata)
Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog
(Litoria fallax)
Freycinet's Frog
(Litoria Freycineti)
Peron's Tree Frog
(Litoria peronii)

Butterfly species List
Butterfly identification can be difficult for small browns, whites and blues without catching the individual in question. This requires a large net which is cumbersome and was not taken for the journey, hence only obvious species were identified and does not reflect the actual species diversity.

Blue triangle
(Graphium sarpedon)
Orchid Butterfly
(Papilio aegeus)
Common Jazebel
(Delias nigrina)
(Danaus plexippus)
Common Australian Crow
(Euphloea core)
Sword Grass Brown
(Tisiphone abeona)
Tailed Emporer
(Polyura pyrrhus)
Evening Brown
(Melantitis leda)
Dingy Ringlet
(Hypocysta pseudirius)


<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Smiths Lake & Harrington Trip, Mark Sanders <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU