Took a couple of Texan birders around the local spots last week and,
despite the rain, got a good selection for them to photograph and admire
but nothing special - it was a first-time visit for this couple so
rosellas, kookaburras and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were a thrill. They
loved the Little Pied Cormorant - reminded them of penguins.
Special sightings were:
Thursday 8 March - rain to begin with, then sun and strong winds.
Wattle Flat - RNP - very quiet at 7.30-9 am, due to the drizzling rain no
doubt but good sightings of 2 Rufous Fantails, Yellow-throated Scrubwrens
and an Azure Kingfisher. The Whipbirds were very active but cryptic and the
Satin Bowerbird's bower was smashed although still littered with blue
bottle tops and straws. No Lyrebirds in sight sadly.
Wottamolla, Royal National Park - juvenile White-breasted Sea-eagle
attempting without success to catch fish in the rolling crashing breakers
off the rocks on the southern side of the beach.
Only other seabirds here mid-afternoon were Silver Gulls, despite the
strong on-shore winds.
Centennial Park - Brush-tail possom at top of pinetree where the Frogmouths
usually are but weren't that day.
Friday 9 March - with rain on and off the whole day.
McGraths Hill Sewage works - 2 Hoary-headed Grebes; 7 Aust. Shoverlers, 1
Musk Duck, 1 juvenile Fairy Martin resting on the fence with lots of
Welcome Swallows. Quite a few Royal Spoonbills (6-7), only 2 Black-winged
Stilts,3 Darters, and very active but cryptic Cisticolas and Little
Grassbirds. Also heard a rail clicking in the rushes but no sightings of
any rails or crakes - we know they are there !
Pitt Town Bottoms Superb views of an adult Hobby in determined and
violent chase of a Kestrel - thought at first it was two Hobbys performing
courtship rituals until clear views of the kestrel's light brown head and
back and pale belly. After swooping over and around us for a good minute,
the Hobby gave up and the Kestrel settled on a nearby pole, to commence
eating something - couldn't see what. Are there records of Hobbys taking
food from other raptors?
A Black-shouldered Kite removed itself quickly from this action, and a
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike crouched within the shelter of a large gum until
the Hobby departed (it ducked its head when the pair swooped near).
At this point, after photographing the kestrel eating its prey, the rain
came in with a vengence and we headed quickly back to Sydney.
Happy birding all.
Penny Drake-Brockman, Examination Recitals Co-ordinator, Sydney
Conservatorium of Music.
Tel: 02 9351 1254.
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