Birding in the NSW Hunter Region - Sunday 13th June 2004

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Subject: Birding in the NSW Hunter Region - Sunday 13th June 2004
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 15:54:06 +1000

I spent Sunday, 13th June 2004 catching up on a few of my favourite birding places in the Hunter region (approx. 160 km NW of Sydney CBD) as follows:


PAMBALONG NR, LENEGHAN – an adult White-bellied Sea-eagle, Swamp Harriers, c 50 Australasian Shoveler, Plumed Egret, Pied Stilts and other common water birds. Like the Sydney region, it appears that the exceedingly dry conditions have forced many of the water birds to seek refuge elsewhere. In good years Hexham Swamp on the other side of the road (the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway) to Pambalong is usually with thousands of ducks and other water birds in the winter. The swamp now is now just a few small patches of water.


EAST MAITLAND – I spent an hour observing the activity in the East Maitland Tip (outside the fence and only a short walk from the end of Kimberley close in the new housing estate). There were no sign of the Black Kites present in the previous years but I did see a juv. Brown Goshawk, 2 Whistling Kites, a Black-shouldered Kite and an Australian Hobby. There were Bar-shouldered Doves and a group of Double-barred Finches in the scrubby vegetation outside the tip.


MORPETH – like Leneghan above, there appears to be much less water birds than in previous years. There were several hundred Grey and Chestnut Teal present and only a few Hardhead and Australasian Shoveler.


RAYMOND TERRACE – alongside Newline Rd, a Grey Goshawk was perched on power lines out in the open and beside a small swamp. I approached it within 20 metres and it appeared to be ignoring me and concentrating on something else that might be for lunch on the ground below. Tawny Grassbirds were also about in the edge of the swamp.


SEAHAM AND SEAHAM NATURE RESERVE – both Spotted and Forest Red Gums were in flower attracting lots of Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, the local Blue-faced Honeyeaters as well as Yellow-faced, Brown-headed and Scarlet Honeyeaters (the beautiful singing notes of Scarlet Honeyeaters and the warm winter weather made if feel like Spring!) and Eastern Spinebills. There were 2 separate mobs (at least 10 birds) of Grey-crowned Babblers feeding in lawns and gardens. A brilliant male Rose Robin was also seen in the forest around the nature reserve as well as a group of 18 Royal Spoonbills together on a log over the water. Torressian Crows were also seen near the main street which is close to the southern limit of their range.


RICHMONDVALE – a new un-named road running south off Richmondvale Rd (between George Booth Drive and Collieroy Dam) has been created and tarred within the last year (no houses as yet but rows of beautiful Spotted Gums have certainly been removed). Along the edge of this road were 3 Turquoise Parrots (including one juv. bird), Little Lorikeets, many Eastern Rosellas, several Bar-shouldered and Peaceful Doves, a Jacky Winter, 3 Brown Tree-creepers, Dusky Woodswallows calling overhead, Red-browed Firetails and a few honeyeaters including Yellow-tufted and Fuscous Honeyeaters. A fully plumaged male Rose Robin landed on the road in front of me and several Grey Fantails were fluttering a few metres in front of me as they often do. I also checked out Collieroy Dam where several Comb-crested Jacanas appear to have done a disappearing act due to the drought (half a dozen or so pairs use to breed regularly here as I have witnessed on a number of occasions in the past but not since 2001/02).


Edwin Vella


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