Some nice surprises at Pitt Town Lagoon (Sydney NSW) today - 4th June 20

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Subject: Some nice surprises at Pitt Town Lagoon (Sydney NSW) today - 4th June 2004
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 14:06:21 +1000

I enjoyed a couple of hours of good birding this morning (4th June 2005) at Pitt Town  Lagoon (approx 55km NW of Sydney CBD) were there were 18 FRECKLED DUCKS in amongst many other water birds including 6 Hoary-headed Grebe, a Glossy Ibis,  10 Hardhead, 50 plus Australasian Shoveler, 60 Pink-eared Duck, 2 BLACK-TAILED NATIVE HEN amongst 100 or so Swamphen, a White-necked Heron, 2 Royal Spoonbill, 21 Red-kneed and 9 Black-fronted Dotterel, 50 or more Pied Stilts and one over wintering SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (one appearing in adult non-breeding plumage. This certainly answered my previous question whether they do over-winter in Australia!!). There was an absence of the larger raptors seen on my previous visits back in April with only a Black-shouldered Kite flying over but not causing much commotion to the waterbirds.  As the lagoon is now slowly drying up, there appeared to be only half as much as the water birds at Pitt Town today than what was there back in April.


 Besides the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, they were a few other over-wintering species (but not as unusual as the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper) like a Restless Flycatcher, Fan-tailed Cuckoo and a Reed Warbler (all these 3 species however do regular over-winter in Sydney in smaller numbers).


There was also a good variety of finches including 80 or so Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and smaller numbers of Red-browed, Double-barred  and Zebra Finches as well as Goldfinches. A pair of Crested Shrike-tits was also seen (as they are often seen) in the planted trees near the entrance gates.


A quick drive along Pitt Town Bottoms Rd produced a nice Grey Goshawk (flying low over the turf fields then seen landing in a nearby tree for a good show) as well as more Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and a Kestrel.


Finally, a quick drive through the Windsor-Lowland turf farms before heading back home produced a Buff-banded Rail (which I almost ran into with my car as it flew low over Cornwallis Rd), Bar-shouldered Dove, more Zebra and Double-barred Finches and several Black-shouldered Kites. With the sprinklers going on the turf farms this drew in loads of White-faced Herons, Cattle Egrets, Straw-necked Ibis and Magpie Larks in the hundreds.


It was certainly a pleasant few hours in the Hawkesbury.


Edwin Vella



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