NSW Hunter Region 23rd March 2003

To: <>
Subject: NSW Hunter Region 23rd March 2003
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003 21:01:07 +1100

Today I visited a number of interesting places in the NSW Hunter region (approx 160km north of Sydney CBD) as follows:


WLAKA WATER WORKS at Oakhampton Heights (3km out of Maitland)


Have been meaning to visit this place over the past few years and today this was my first point of call (thanks to Dick Jenkin?s for the directions). This is a small reservoir open to the public for a $3 fee and offers a few picnic areas as well as a nice walk through the bush surrounding the reservoir. I spent an hour here paying particular attention to the muddy parts of the reservoir adjacent to stands of  reeds but did not see any crakes or bitterns. I did see however 300 plus Pink-eared Ducks, one Freckled Duck, 2 Hardheads, 2 Musk Ducks, 20 Great Crested Grebes and the other 2 species of Grebes as well as other common water birds. A Swamp Harrier and Brown Goshawk were also seen. White-throated Gerygones were still singing beautifully in the surrounding bush land as well as the usual Pied Butcherbirds.




Here I visited the new wader roost. It has been quite a while since my last visit here and was very impressed with the work done. At this roost and in the surrounding areas I saw 120 plus Eastern Curlews, about 3K Bar-tailed and at least 100 Black-tailed Godwits, 20 Red and 7 Great Knots, a Greenshank, 33 Grey-tailed Tattlers, 3 Terek Sandpipers (I had a very close look at these and have noticed that they have some difference in breeding dress), 17 Pied Oystercatchers and 2K plus Red-necked Avocets. Most of the migratory waders were in various stages of acquiring breeding plumage (many of the Godwits and at least one Great Knot looked particularly quite smart). All the 2,000 Red-necked Avocets formed one tight group on the edge of the lagoon in the middle of the roost. Only one Gull-billed Tern was present at the roost and several White-fronted Chats and Brown Honeyeaters were in the surrounding scrub.


Further down stream in the Hunter River, between Stockton Bridge and the Ferry Wharfs were 200 plus Common and up to 5 White-winged Black Terns (also acquiring brilliant breeding plumage) as well as 2 Arctic Jaegers resting on the water in the middle of the river.




Much less water birds here than in the previous month as some of the wetlands are drying up or becoming stale. There appeared to be only 4 Red-necked Stints, 2 Curlew and 10 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, an Eastern Curlew, 7 Greenshank, 100-200 Pied Stilts and another 30 plus Red-necked Avocets. There were also a few hundred Grey and Chestnut Teal, both a Little and Plumed Egret, several White-fronted Chats and 2 Mangrove Gerygones.




The wetlands here are also drying up with 13 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 8 Yellow-billed Spoonbills and 16 Glossy Ibis. White-breasted Woodswallows also called overhead.

Edwin Vella      

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