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
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,
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
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.