NSW - Hawkesbury area - 18th Feb

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Subject: NSW - Hawkesbury area - 18th Feb
From: "Frank Hemmings" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 15:16:08 +1100
hi All,
Visited the quail site in the paddock at the corner of Cuppitts lane and Cornwallis Rd along with Dave Hair and Alastair Poore on Saturday 18th feb.  Spent about an hour walking through the paddock in grass that was up to chest height at times (but frequently much less).  Saw a single Brown Quail which was flushed from the roadside by cyclists passing by.  After a while we flushed several King Quail in shorter grass on the rise towards the tree line marking the end of the property (opposite to Cornwallis Rd edge). Between us I'm sure there were at least six birds, and this included one definite male (not seen by me).  Also a single Stubble Quail flushed from the same general area (not seen clearly by all of us).  King Quail appeared to be the most numerous of all, in keeping with Edwin et al's sightings on the following day.  Also, didn't see any button-quail of either sort.
Incidentally, for those who are interested, the tall grass in the paddock with the sticky seeds is actually Johnson Grass (Sorghum halopense), and much of the lower grass in the area where we flushed the King Quail was largely Sporobolus creber, but also some African Love Grass (Eragrostis curvula). 
Also visited Pitt Town Lagoon, with many interesting birds. My highlights were: most finches which could be expected (Zebra Finch, Double-barred Finch, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, Nutmeg Mannikin & Goldfinch); large numbers of Shovelers; a small flock of Red-necked Avocets; 7 Red-kneed Dotterels.
Also checked out the pond closest to the road at the off-limits McGraths Hill treatment plant.  Couldn't see the hoped for Wood Sandpiper, but saw a few other birds including an Australian Spotted Crake.
And finally, whilst driving home on Old Windsor Rd with dense newish suburbia on one side of the road (Parklea?), a flock of White-winged Choughs flew up from the other, yet-to-be-developed side of the road (before the traffic lights at Miami Rd).
Frank Hemmings
John T. Waterhouse Herbarium
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of New South Wales
Tel +61 2 9385 3274
Fax +61 2 9385 1558
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