Old Bar, Harrington, Crowdy Head, Kendal & Comboyne Plateau

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Subject: Old Bar, Harrington, Crowdy Head, Kendal & Comboyne Plateau
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2003 15:34:59 +1100
Nine people were part of the "Follow That Bird (ASIT)" trip to the Mid-North Coast of NSW to take advantage of the cooler conditions that prevail at this time of the year and all the recent rain that has fallen on that part of the Coast. Seasonal conditions are great in that Region at present with all the wetlands full and with rain and showers occurring most nights of our stay but remaining fine during the day. This meant that the five day trip enjoyed excellent weather conditions.
The first stop was at the Hunter Region Botanical Gardens at Heatherbrae where both Musk and Little Lorikeets were seen in large numbers feeding in the flowering Blackbutts. The first major stop was the sandspit at Old Bar. where previously on 8/3/02 when with my son Drew, we counted 16 Double-banded Plover and 26 Red-capped Plover on the Spit at high tide. This time it was low tide and there were no plovers on the sandspit, but at Farquhar Inlet entrance there were 300+ Common Terns, 160+ Little Terns,  6 Gull-billed Tern, and good views were obtained of an Arctic Jaeger attacking the terns at the entrance to the Inlet, while inside on the sand flats were 4 Sanderlings, 30+ Eastern Curlews, 40+ Pacific Golden Plovers, 40+ Bar-tailed Godwit and 30+ Eastern Curlews. An immature Brahminy Kite patrolled the sand flats and a pair of Beach Stone-curlews, near the same? piece of dead timber (mentioned by Dick Jenkyn on 15/3/03), gave great views. Most participants had not seen this or the Sanderlings before. A Forest Raven and Torresian Crows were present during lunch in the picnic area.
We stayed the next two nights at the Crowdy Bay Motel and birded on 15/3/03 around Harrington and while on 16/3/03 we birded Crowdy Head. At Harrington we spent about 2 hours on the breakwall where we saw 11 Double-banded Plovers on Manning Point along with 5 Golden Plovers, 29 Pied Oystercatchers, 3 Sooty Oystercatchers, 4 Caspian Terns one of which was feeding a juvenile, 16 Red-capped Plovers, Gull-billed & Common Terns, Godwits & Eastern Curlews. On the Harrington side we found Striated Heron, 4 Grey-tailed Tattlers, Whistling Kites and 2 Whimbrels. Regent Bowerbirds were seen in the Rainforest Reserve along with a lone Brown Cuckoo-Dove, but not much else. 12 Black-winged Stilts were seen with a White-necked Heron, on a wetland as you come into Harrington, while over a 1000 Straw-necked Ibis would have been along the Manning River flats.
Early morning walks around Crowdy Head, particularly around the small fishing boat harbour turned up plenty of gulls and terns. Around the returning commercial fishing boats were up to 10 Arctic Jaegers each morning while on 16/3/03 there 3 Pomerine Jaegers, one which had the full tail with the twisted tail-feathers. Both Wedge-tailed & Short-tailed Shearwaters followed the boats to the harbour entrance and 2 Brahminy Kites patrolled for fish scraps. Visits to Diamond Head & Indian Head produced the usual heathland birds but also at Indian Head was a pair of Striped Honeyeaters with 2 dependent young. An unexpected bird frequenting the bottlebrush and Grevillias in the garden of the motel was a lone Yellow-throated Miner. This bird is way out of its usual range and was seen over two days in the same location and all features were noted. There are no Noisy Miners at Crowdy Head.
Two days were spent on the Comboyne Plateau visiting such places at Ellenborough Falls, Boorganna Nature Reserve, the rainforest around The Hideway at Comboyne (where we stayed), with trips to the Longford Tramway & Swan Crossing in Keewong SF. Highlights here included 7 Log-runners & 2 Spectacled Flycatchers in Boorganna NR, 100's of Topknot Pigeons, Brown Cuckoo-Doves and at least 40 White-headed Pigeons feeding on various fruiting trees. Great views of Bar-shouldered Doves, a lone Pale Yellow Robin near the Longworth Tramway together with 60+ Topknot Pigeons & a Brush Turkey, 2A+J Wedge-tailed Eagle near Comboyne, a juvenile Koel Cuckoo feeding with Bowerbirds and Figbirds in a fruiting tree near the "Hideaway", and Rose Robin, Crested Shrike-tit and Red-browed Tree-creeper in Keewong SF. During our sojourn into Kendal we spotted a Square-tailed Kite, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, & a Nankeen Night-Heron, while White-throated Needletails were seen at Swans Crossing.
Our return home on 18/3/03 was highlighted by seeing a Grey Goshawk & Sitellas at Bobin, Regent Bowerbirds and a Sparrowhawk at Wingham Brush NR, and an Osprey at Karuah. Our last bird for the trip was a Yellow-billed Spoonbill in a small farm dam near Bushells Ridge.  Altogether 149 species were seen over the five days and all participants except myself saw a number of new species each. Great birding was had by all.
Alan Morris
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