Birding in the Hunter Region NSW 24th April 2000

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Subject: Birding in the Hunter Region NSW 24th April 2000
From: "Vella" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 10:34:24 -0000

On Monday 24th April visited the following sites around the Hunter (about 150km north of Sydney) :

Collieroy Dam, RICHMONDVALE (about 25km west of Newcastle)- Had a good run up the Sydney-Newcastle freeway to this area which only took 1 and ½ drive from Sydney to get there. Saw a pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles, Whistling Kites catching fish, a Musk Dusk very closeby calling and displaying (its whistling call dominated the valley), atleast 15 Comb-crested Jacanas (several adults with many young birds aswell), Grey-crowned Babblers, flock of Tree Martins among Welcome Swallows, a flock of 9 Little Lorikeets flying very high over the area and large flocks of Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeaters.

In the nearby Spotted Gum-Iron bark forest further up the road, I pulled over the side of the road to do a brief Survey for Swift Parrots. None were seen, but there were large numbers of the Honeyeaters just mentioned aswell as lesser number of Brown Headed, Fuscous and Scarlet Honeyeaters (the later were not singing but were giving their less distinct "tss..tss" call). Two interesting raptor sightings here was a dark-phase Little Eagle briefly soaring over and a Collared Sparrowhawk slowly flying through. I also heard Rose Robins here aswell.

Drove onto Seaham via Maitland, Morpeth and Millers Forest with hundreds of Straw-necked and Sacred Ibis seen beside the road (many have probably moved to the coast from their inland breeding areas).

SEAHAM (about 20 km north-west of Newcastle) - At Seaham Nature Reserve, a single White-throated Gerygone was seen singing away (most have moved up north by now). Not much waterbirds in the wetland, with only a single Magpie Goose and a few Chestnut and Grey Teal and Black Ducks were present. All the Cattle Egrets have left this breeding area and 15-20 Royal Spoonbill were still there (which have also finished breeding). What was interesting to see and hear were 3-4 Torressian Crow around Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve, (which I have encountered before in this area a few years ago) and are probably about the southern limit in their distribution down our east coast.

Some of the Spotted Gums in the area were in flower but were attracting only Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and some Blue-faced Honeyeaters.

I briefly inspected the housing development at Glen Oak ( a little north of Seaham) and saw a few new homes progressing on fine on the edge of the Spotted Gum forest. Some Jacky Winters, Double-barred Finches and Yellow-rumped Thornbills were seen on the front lawn in front of one of the new homes. Also seen closeby was a single flock of atleast 35 White-winged Chough.

IRRAWANG SPILL WAY (Raymond Terrace) (about 15km north west of Newcastle) - Obtained permission from the people who run the Waste Depot at Raymond Terrace to enter the area, were I was able to obtain good views of this large expanse of swamp from high up the hill and beside a large quarry. A scope was needed as much of the birds were seen far away, but I was capable of getting access much closer to this swamp to see a few birds much closer. Black Swans were numerous and there was large flocks of waterfowl seen at a distance. In the air were 3 White-bellied Sea-Eagles (a pair and a juv./Imm. bird), Whistling Kites and a Swamp Harrier, and both White-breasted Woodswallows and Welcome Swallows were quite numerous about the tip and the swamp. A Brown Goshawk was seen not far from the swamp aswell as 3 Brown Falcons (all seen hovering like Black-shouldered Kites but more clumsily).


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