CBOC outing to the Hawkesbury area (NSW) - Sat 25th October 2003

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Subject: CBOC outing to the Hawkesbury area (NSW) - Sat 25th October 2003
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2003 01:11:11 +1000

For most of Saturday, 25th October a group of Cumberland Bird Observers Club members including myself enjoyed a pleasant outing to the Hawkesbury area (approx 60km north of Sydney CBD).


As leader of the 2nd part of the outing I met the CBOC group at about 8:30 am in Macquarie Park in Windsor taking over Keith Brandwood who led the early part of the outing from 6am commencing at the McGrath?s Hill STW next to Windsor. At Macquarie Park we enjoyed watching 2 pairs of White-winged Trillers in and around one Tree. In this tree a female Triller (with its male partner nearby) was seen sitting on a nest (incubating eggs I would presume) and also in this same tree was a Willy Wagtail feeding 2 almost fledged young and an abandoned Magpie Larks nest (I have seen all these 3  black and white birds nest in the same tree or in close proximity before with also Restless Flycatchers). The other pair of Trillers were aerial chasing, the male chasing the female which I guess is some courtship thing.


We then moved on to the Windsor-Richmond turf farms on the other side of the Hawkesbury River where we saw a pair of Banded Lapwings beside Cornwallis Rd in the Windsor end of the Turf Farms. On the Richmond side we came across many Singing Bushlarks, several Rufous and a couple of male Brown Songlarks, Richards Pipit and Skylarks singing away in the Lucerne paddocks. One of the Singing Bushlarks singing high in the air  mimicked the calls of several birds (all found in the Hawkesbury) in its long sequence including that of the Stubble Quail, Richard?s Pipit, Golden-headed Cisticola and Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (it was like the Lyrebird of the turf farms!). We also saw in these paddocks 3 Stubble Quail, heard Brown Quail, another female White-winged Triller and about 10 Nutmeg Mannikins. There were only a few raptors about including one Whistling Kite and a Swamp Harrier. There were also 10 Cattle Egrets (in breeding plumage) still about. These Cattle Egrets towards summer usually move out of the Hawkesbury and head north to their breeding grounds (probably breed around Newcastle area).


We then moved on to one of Sydney?s best bush land reserves, Mitchell Park at Cattai where we all enjoyed enjoyed watching and hearing the numerous Scarlet Honeyeaters, an Azure Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Rufous Whistler etc while having our lunch beside Cattai Creek.


After lunch we walked into the bush behind the swamp seeing many Honeyeaters, mainly Scarlet Honeyeaters (with pairs chasing each other and one pair collecting nesting material) but there were also Lewin?s, Yellow-faced, White-cheeked, Yellow-tufted, White-naped (feeding fledglings) Honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills all after the Melaleuca blossoms. Other birds seen included a couple of Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos, a few Sacred Kingfishers, Olive-backed Oriole and White-throated Gerygones.


Around mid afternoon, we then moved towards the rainforest trail further up Cattai Creek hoping to see some more birds before the approach of a big storm where we managed to see a pair of Cicadabirds (male chasing female with good views of the male) and Leaden Flycatchers calling before the start of the trail. As we walked a few hundred metres through the rainforest, the heavens opened on us and it poured, hailed and the lightening struck a few times close to us when we decided then we should get call it a day.


Edwin Vella

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