Birding the Watagan Mountains and Lake Macquarie NSW

To: "Janene Luff" <>
Subject: Birding the Watagan Mountains and Lake Macquarie NSW
From: "alan morris" <>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 14:57:57 +1100

32 keen birders, including many new birdwatchers, headed for the Watagan Mountains, located west of Lake Macquarie, on the NSW Central Coast on an overcast but sunny morning, including two guides and drivers in two coaches to sample the birding in the Lake Macquarie LGA. First stop was the Gap Creek Road, in the Watagan NP section of the Mountains. Unfortunately once we gained some height in the mountains the mists embraced us but plenty of birds were calling and we soon located a number of Topknot Pigeons roosting in some of the high rainforest trees. Bellminers were present all around us and for some people this became the first time that they had seen such birds up close. White-browed & Large-billed Scrub-wrens were seen and Brown Cuckoo-Doves called and flew past us, while Lewin's Honeyeater, Rufous Fantail, King Parrots and Wonga Pigeons were also located.

We moved onto the Gap Creek picnic area for morning tea where we had great views of a family of Red-browed Treecreepers which could be viewed along side a pair of White-throated Treecreepers. Other interesting birds here found in the tall Blue Gums and rainforest trees were Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Golden Whistler, Black-faced Monarch, Brown & Striated Thornbill, Grey Fantail, Eastern Spinebill and an obliging family of Crested Shrike-tits that enabled all the relevant features of the different plumages to be noted!

We moved onto the Pine Plantation in the State Forest section of the Ranges and at the Pines Picnic Area, despite the now heavy mist and drizzle we were able to participate in some good birding. Although the Superb Lyrebirds could not be seen, the damp overcast weather had them singing about good things to come and they gave a great audio background for our bird watching and later during our lunch. Many of the species that they included in their repertoire were observed in the vicinity including Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Pied Currawong, Eastern Yellow Robin & Black-faced Monarch. Other birds seen here included Rose Robin, Rufous Fantail, Brown Gerygone,

Our final point of call was at Wood Point, on the western shores of Lake Macquarie and within the Lake Macquarie State Conservation Area, where we left the mist behind us but the weather had become generally overcast and hot. However there were plenty of birds in the mangroves and casuarinas along the banks of Pourmalong Creek and in the adjacent Forest Red Gum woodland where both the Red Gums and Bloodwoods were in flower. Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets were moving and calling between flowering trees, and overhead Welcome Swallows and a few White-throated Needletails were feeding. In the woodland were Fantailed Cuckoo, Eastern Whipbird, Variegated Fairy-wren, White-throated Gerygone, Yellow & Brown Thornbill, Rufous & Golden Whistler and Dollarbird. Along the banks of the creek both Azure and Sacred Kingfishers were located, Darters, Black Duck & Chestnut Teal, and both Little Pied & Little Black Cormorants were roosting and feeding. Satin Bowerbirds must have had a bower nearby as there were much coming and going, and just as were leaving some protesting Noisy Miners and Grey Butcherbirds led us to a pair of roosting Southern Boobooks in a dense grove of casuarinas and gum tree saplings. Altogether a great days birding, many people experienced close up views of species not seen before and it was a good time of fellowship as well. 72 species were seen for the day (Alan Morris).
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