Mugga Ironbarks and a White-backed Swallow in north-west Sydney 6th Apri

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Subject: Mugga Ironbarks and a White-backed Swallow in north-west Sydney 6th April 2003
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2003 18:56:33 +1000

Following my previous email a few weeks ago and further to Graham Turners email early this week, I have further news regarding the status of the Mugga Ironbarks (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) in the Castlereagh, Londonderry and Landillo areas (approx. 55 km north-west of Sydney CBD).


Many of the Muggas are now in full bloom and a few trees are now starting to attract some birds but not yet the full potential as can expected over the next few weeks/months. There are also other Muggas yet to flower and have plenty of bud. There is a high chance that this part of Sydney will be again be invaded by the large numbers of Honeyeaters with good chance of sightings of both Regent Honeyeaters and Swift Parrots as was the case in 1998. Both these endangered species that time stayed for a number of months. There are now good stands of flowering Mugga along Llandilo Rd and Fifth Ave, (Llandilo), The Northern Rd (Berkshire Park), Tickner St and Devlin?s Rd (Castlereagh) and various other locations in this region. The flowers of the Mugga vary from cream to reddish and the tree itself is a deeply furrowed black Ironbark. Along Fifth Ave, Llandilo where I saw most of the activity this afternoon, the most numerous Honeyeaters were both Scarlet and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters  with lesser numbers of White-plumed, White-eared and White-cheeked Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebirds, Noisy Friarbirds (though these are more numerous elsewhere) and Eastern Spinebills. Both Striated and Spotted Pardalotes were also feeding in the Muggas.


The Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeater migration has only begun, so give it a bit of time, and these trees will be loaded with birds along with the hope for Regent Honeyeaters, Swift Parrots and who knows Black Honeyeaters! perhaps.


After this, I also spent an hour or so in the Richmond turf farms (a little further north) and saw 3 interesting birds all in the same spot along Cornwallis Rd to the north of Bakers Lagoon. A brilliant adult Spotted Harrier put on a good show in good light along the eastern edge of Bakers Lagoon (the turf farms are a fairly reliable spot to see this Harrier every autumn and winter), a cooperative Grey Goshawk perched on powerlines (the Grey Goshawks seem to move in more open habitat in autumn/winter judging from past experiences) at the same time, and a very good record for Sydney, a WHITE-BACKED SWALLOW. These Swallows use to breed in Sydney but not for sometime and I have not heard any records of them since the early 1990?s.


A good few hours birding in north-western Sydney.


Edwin Vella

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