Suppressing my envy of those who can manage Easter trips to more exotic
places, I spent yesterday, Good Friday, doing the rounds of the
Hawkesbury lagoons on the Cumberland Plain, west of Sydney. There were
some nice birds to be seen between the showers.
I found small parties of Zebra Finches along Triangle Lane, Cornwallis
Road and among the willows on the causeway at Bushell's lagoon.
Pughs Lagoon had a Nankeen Night-heron, and there were still eight
Freckled Duck, as reported by Keith Brandwood, on the little pond just
west of the main road at Wilberforce. This little lagoon, which always
looks more like a humble farmyard-pond with its domestic geese,
Aylesbury ducks and small cattle pens right down to the water, is at
present home to more native ducks than most of the larger ones. In
addition to the FDs there were four Pink-eared and good numbers of
Chestnut and Grey Teal, Wood-duck, Shoveler, Hardhead and Black Duck.
The Freckled Duck were all on the southern half of the pond (which is
divided by a fence) and can be seen up quite close from a gate on the
road running down the western side.
It was a good day for raptors, with (immature) Peregrine, Brown Goshawk,
Swamp Harrier, Sea-Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite and Kestrel all putting
in an appearance in the vicinity of Bakers Lagoon. Another Peregrine
(adult) was harrassing the hapless inhabitants of Bushells Lagoon as I
arrived, and later, as I left, it tried a stealth-approach, coming in
with a low, fast dive and using the cover of the willows. It passed
some ten feet over me going like an F111, and I had a momentary clear
view of its lethal weaponry, those huge yellow talons. I half-expected
a sonic boom.
Finally a Square-tailed Kite drifted over the Windsor Road at Vineyard
as I was driving home. With a car right in front and another behind,
there was no opportunity for a closer look, but it is good to know that
this otherwise rare species is still around there.
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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