Oriental pratincole at Uralla

To: Annabel Ashworth/Hoskins <>
Subject: Oriental pratincole at Uralla
From: John Clifton-Everest <>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 09:52:11 +1100
We too saw the Oriental Pratincole at Dangars Lagoon, from 24th December
(first visit) through to 28th (our last visit there).  As described, it
was mostly sitting on the sandy mud to the left of the hide, though it
took flight once or twice when disturbed by larger birds, doing circuits
of the closer part of the lagoon.
The water level at Dangars is unusually low (Race-course lagoon, just
over the hill to the West, is now totally dry) and probably has been for
a long time. to judge by the grass growing over the sandy mud.  Bird
numbers at Dangar's were as high as ever, however.  We also found two
Black-tailed Native Hens foraging in the same area.  There were at least
two hundred Pink-eared Ducks around, and quite a few Blue-billed.  We
also counted seven Great-Crested Grebes out on the deeper part of the
lagoon, among the many hundreds of Hoary Headed.  For the first time we
found Marsh-Sandpipers there too, a result no doubt of the extensive
exposed mud.  There were a few Whiskered Terns about, though no sign of
nesting, which they usually do at Race-course Lagoon.

A pair of Brown Goshawks have successfully raised one (now juvenile)
young at Armidale Stock Reserve.  Their presence may explain rather low
numbers of other birds there, despite the good grass.  Nonetheless, all
the usual summer species were seen.

John M. Clifton-Everest

Annabel Ashworth/Hoskins wrote:

> An oriental pratincole is currently on Dangar's Lagoon which is a
> couple of kilometres east of Uralla on the Walcha road (northern
> NSW).   It was first sighted there on Thursday (27th Dec) by Monica
> Flint and was still there yesterday.   It roosts either on the mud
> spit which is easily seen from the bird hide, or in the short grass
> nearby.   We watched it sitting there for about twenty minutes
> yesterday.   It made occasional forays after insects, but just sat
> quietly most of the time.   We did not see it go, so don't know
> whether it flew off or went into the grass.   Other observers have
> seen it spend a lot of time roosting in the grass.Annabel

Associate Professor John M. Clifton-Everest
Department of Germanic Studies
University of Sydney
(61) (2) 9351 2262
Fax (61) (2) 9351 5318

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