Cattle Egret breeding colony at Featherdale Wildlife Park

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Subject: Cattle Egret breeding colony at Featherdale Wildlife Park
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 06:22:37 +1100
This morning I attended a special Australia Day breakfast get together with family at Featherdale Wildlife Park at Doonside (approx. 45km west of Sydney CBD) and was surprised to see a small colony of wild and nesting Cattle Egrets within the park. I counted at least 50 nests but there would have probably been at least twice as more nests, and most of the chicks appeared to be now well grown. Previously I thought that Cattle Egrets only nested as far south as Newcastle with these birds mainly visiting Sydney in the winter time. However I have been noticing more Cattle Egrets hanging about in the summer time (and in their breeding plumage) in Sydney and this may explain why. Are there any other Cattle Egret nesting colonies further south than Newcastle? A few wild Great and Plumed Egrets, Nankeen Night Herons and Sacred Ibis may also be nesting there. 
It's been a while since I last visited Featherdale and was impressed to see a few birds I have yet to tick in the wild such as Chestnut Rails (one had a new born chick) and Rainbow Pitta. Other interesting birds on display included lots of Crested Bellbirds, Chiming Wedgebills (these aren't shy like the wild ones and were constantly calling "did you get drunk,did you get drunk...."), Lesser Sooty and Rufous Owls, Splendid Wrens, Pied Honeyeater, Hooded Parrot, White-browed Crake, Black Butcherbird, Black-breasted Button-quail, Antarctic Skua (the only one you'll ever see in this part of Syndey) and many more (probably more than 300 native species are on display there at present). It was good to watch a male Regent Bowerbird display at its small bower to a female and then mate in one of the enclosures. The male made some very soft chatterings (not as louds as the Satin Bowerbird) while displaying.
The new reptile enclosure hosts some very interesting critters including the endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog. However, nothing beats seeing any of these animals in the wild.
A good way to spend the first few hours of Australia Day.
Edwin Vella
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