Lots of raptors and water birds in the NSW Hunter Region - 8th June 2003

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Subject: Lots of raptors and water birds in the NSW Hunter Region - 8th June 2003
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sat, 7 Jun 2003 21:21:39 +1000

Today, I spent a pleasant winter?s day birding around the Maitland , Seaham and Minmi areas (approx 160-180km north of Sydney CBD) in the NSW Hunter region. There were certainly good number of both raptors (10 species seen) and water birds (thousands on thousands) about in the area following recent good rains. Some of the places visited and birds seen included:




At least 9 BLACK KITES are still calling the East Maitland Tip home having been here for well over a year (and why they shouldn?t with all that food!). My first visit in the early morning (when it was still very cold) yielded only 3 Black Kites but when I returned back again later in the afternoon when it was warm there was at least 9 of them. According to the guy at the tip, he has seen up to 50 Black Kites at a time and mentioned that a pair of Black Falcons are resident and have recently nested. He pointed to the trees were the Falcons have nested and where one usually comes from and fly?s over the tip. On my 2nd visit this afternoon, I was able to connect and get brilliant views of an adult BLACK FALCON as it flew a few times over the tip and then landed on a dead limb of a Eucalypt where it was then being harassed by Ravens. It then flew low over my head circled again for some time over the tip and then I lost sight of it. I saw one here about this time last year when it stayed perched on a tall power line for a very long time allowing lengthy views. Also at the tip was a Brown Goshawk and a Wedge-tailed Eagle. Further down the road from the tip, a pair of Grey-crowned Babblers were making or fixing a nest beside the road.




Here there were thousands of ducks mainly Hardheads and Grey Teal with lesser number of Australasian Shoveler, Pink-eared Ducks, Black Ducks and Wood Ducks.




Here I managed to whistle in 2 Shining Bronze-cuckoos and I heard a Torressian Crow or two amongst the Ravens. Both these corvids were being alarmed by a an adult White-bellied Sea-eagle perched on a dead tree in the middle of a paddock.




A brief visit here yielded the usual Great Crested (20 plus) and Hoary-headed (50 plus) Grebes as well as Musk Ducks (20 plus).




Here there were hundreds of Black Swan and Pied Stilts (500 plus), thousands of Sacred and Straw-necked Ibis and 48 Glossy Ibis. Raptors seen here included a Brown Goshawk, atleast one pair of White-bellied Sea-eagles (this pair was seen roosting just before dusk, in the canopy of a large fig growing on an island in the middle of the swamp), 3 -4 Swamp Harriers, at least 3 Whistling Kites and a Brown Falcon. At one time both the Brown Falcon and one of the Whistling Kites were both seen chasing a Raven and then soon following, a group of 20 or so Ravens were giving the Brown Falcon a hard time as it perched on the ground.


A list of raptors for today and conservative numbers are as follows:


Brown Goshawk (2)

Swamp Harrier (5)

Black Kite (9)

Whistling Kite (5)

White-bellied Sea-eagle (4)

Wedge-tailed Eagle (2)

Black-shouldered Kite (10)

Black Falcon (1, possibly 2)

Brown Falcon (1)

Australian Kestrel (2)


A good day birding.


Edwin Vella


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