Shanes Park and Hawkesbury birding (western Sydney) - 17th April 2005

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Subject: Shanes Park and Hawkesbury birding (western Sydney) - 17th April 2005
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:02:23 +1000

Today (17th April 2005) I spent the morning and around noon birding at a few places in western Sydney as follows:


SHANES PARK (western edge of the Blacktown shire) – In the open woodland bordering the Air Service International Radio Transmitter station it did not take me long to track down several Speckled Warblers amongst the Autumn mixed species flocks of birds which comprised mainly of Rufous and Golden Whistlers, Grey Shrike-thrush, Rose and Eastern Yellow Robins, Grey Fantails, Weebills, Yellow and many Buff-rumped Thornbills, Eastern Spinebills (the only other Honeyeater species  seen besides the Noisy Miners) as well as lots of Spotted Pardalotes and Double-barred Finches. I saw 7 Speckled Warblers in total and 4 together in one group alone. This is the only area within the Blacktown Shire where I have seen and reliably find Speckled Warblers. Shanes Park is also amongst a few locations where I observed this declining woodland species within the Sydney limits.


YURRAMUNDI – I got to see the new bridge for the first time at the river crossing (much wider than the old one) and there is now a modest bitumen car parking space here. I did not see any Common Sandpipers or a Grey Wagtail (one day we will see this species here) at the bridge, but I did find 2 richly coloured Azure Kingfisher, 2 White-bellied Sea Eagles, a few Darter, 2 Great and 5 Plumed Egret and other common water birds. A few traveling Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were moving through the area.


LOWLAND-WINDSOR TURF FARMS – here I saw a solitary Pink-eared Duck, one Cattle Egret, one Yellow-billed Spoonbill, a Brown Goshawk causing havoc to a flock of 130 Masked Lapwing on the turf, Swamp Harrier, Black-shouldered Kite, Australian Kestrel, at least 70 Zebra Finches (consisting of several juvenile birds), a few Nutmeg Mannikins as well as an Eastern Whipbird in the middle of the turf farm.


PITT TOWN LAGOON – thousands of waterbirds are present here a the moment (a far cry compared to 2 years ago when it was bone dry) with a Hoary-headed Grebe amongst at least 20 Australasian Grebe, 80 Black Swan (many nesting/with young), 8 FRECKLED DUCKS, 10 plus Hardhead, 200 plus Black Duck, 100 plus Australasian Shoveler, 500 plus Grey and a few Chestnut Teal, 150 plus Pink-eared Duck and 600 plus Coot. On the shore line of the lagoon there were 25 Red-kneed and 2 Black-fronted Dotterel, at least 20 (with possibly more hidden behind the reeds) Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (some in beautiful full breeding plumage) and 50 or so Pied Stilts. A White-bellied Sea-eagle and 2 Whistling Kites were patrolling overhead. About the reeds there were flocks of no less than 70 Chestnut-breasted and a few Nutmeg Mannikins as well as Zebra Finches and Restless Flycatcher in the surrounding open country.


A pleasant time indeed!





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