To: <>
Subject: sydney
From: "Dion Hobcroft" <>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 20:23:16 +1100
It is always very fitting to arrive in Australia on Australia Day, my
first celebration being to avoid a long and generous search from the
Australian customs authorities. A taxi home and my first quality oz bird
manifests in a raucously screaming Channel-billed Cuckoo as I fix up the
taxi. Always a mega. A quick powernap and it is off to enjoy the
festivities. One interesting biological observation is too see how 500
Grey-headed Flying-Foxes and 100 Sulphur-crested Cockatoos cope when a
fighter jet nearly breaks the soundbarrier over the botanic gardens. The
answer is not brilliantly as did neither of my two kids (or lots of
other kids).
I had one last task to complete in late January and partake in a bird
survey in Dharawal Nature Reserve that lies on the Appin to Bulli road,
pretty much the southern border of the Sydney county. It is an
interesting reserve with a mixture of wallum like heath swamps, burnt
woodlands to varying degrees and wetter forest communities in the big
gullies. Happily pitching my tent at the Cataract Scout Camp I keep the
local mosquitoes well fed and make the fateful discovery of a leaking
lilo mattress. It will be a long week sleeping on the ground!
Still we always have the great Australian birds. Despite much predawn
and prolonged dusk listening and tramping I just can't crack a hoped for
Ground Parrot or Eastern Bristlebird. Still there are some surprises. A
drought refugee Stubble Quail is seen three days running on a playing
field in Darkes Forest. Whilst tracking down a Beautiful Firetail I
realise it is in cohoots with a White-cheeked Honeyeater (of which I
find several), a rarity on Sydney's south side. Spotted Quail-thrush,
Painted Button-quail, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Grey Currawong,
Pheasant Coucal and a calling Red-browed Treecreeper are all interesting
species whilst the biomass of Southern Emu-wrens is impressive.
There are interesting small mammals, scarce frogs and some fascinating
reptiles. After 31 days of non-stop birding it is time for a break. I
round the month off on 500 species seen and plan to do very little in
February to recharge the batteries.

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