Harrington, Crowdy Bay NP & Coopernook SF, NSW Hunter Region - 20 to 21s

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Subject: Harrington, Crowdy Bay NP & Coopernook SF, NSW Hunter Region - 20 to 21st Nov 2004
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2004 21:17:05 +1100

Lorne Johnson and I have just enjoyed some good birding over the weekend (20-21st November 2004) in the NSW northern Hunter region (approx. 300km north of Sydney CBD). It was raining on and off these past 2 days but we still managed to see a good variety of the birds which inhabit this fruitful region.


We spent most of our birding time in Harrington and the adjoining Crowdy Bay National Park where we saw a number of interesting species. The best bird we saw was a male White-eared Monarch at the Fig Tree car park, south of Diamond Head. I saw one in this same location with David Mitford last December and this has proved a reliable site to see this species in Australia even though it is at the southern extent of its range. The White-eared Monarch is certainly a lively and spectacular bird and appears quite excited when calling with it head feathers ruffled out. Also seen in this area were at least 2 Spectacled Monarchs and Rufous Fantails.



In the heathland/swampy vegetation areas in Crowdy Bay National Park (close to Harrington) were Bar-shouldered Doves, several Pheasant Coucals, Southern Emu-wrens, Red-backed Wrens, Tawny Grassbirds, Tawny-crowned and White-cheeked Honeyeaters but none of the local Eastern Grass Owls were seen (the weather was not kind to us, to go for a good search for the Owls). I’ll try again probably within the next month or so for the Owls. There were also lots of frogs heard at night – Wallum Froglets (Crinia signifera) and Eastern Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dumerillii) in particular.


In the littoral rainforest next to the lagoon in Harrington, there was plenty of figs in fruit attracting amongst the numerous Figbirds and Lewins Honeyeaters, at least 4 Rose-crowned Fruit-doves (one was a juv, bird), Brown Cuckoo-dove, a number of Varied Trillers, Cicadabird, Olive-backed Orioles and several Regent Bowerbirds.


Other birds seen at Harrington included Osprey, Brahminy Kite, Whistling Kites, Swamp Harrier, only a few waders (Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Red Knot and Pied Oystercatchers), Brush Cuckoo and Shining Bronze-cuckoos heard, Sacred Kingfishers, Dollarbirds, Rainbow Bee-eaters, Leaden Flycatchers, Torressian Crows, Forest Ravens and a Lewin’s Rail was heard calling a few times beside the lagoon but did not reveal itself.


At Coopernook SF it did not take long for Lorne to spot the new Square-tailed Kite nest and no long after, its owner arriving. We watched a nice adult Square-tailed Kite for half an hour or so and also watched it deliver food to its chicks on the nest. We did not actually see the chicks but they could be heard calling when the adult bird flew in. When the Kites were nesting about this time last year and on another nest, they had almost 2 fledged young. We also heard Channel-billed Cuckoos and there were also King Parrots, Satin Bowerbirds and Scaley-breasted Lorikeets around the State Forest. Seeing the nesting Kites was a nice way to end our birding trip in this part of the Hunter.


However on our way back home this afternoon, we had one more good find, that being a Grey Goshawk perching very prominently on power lines at Raymond Terrace (near Newcastle) beside the Pacific HWY.


Edwin Vella



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