Tea Gardens & Mungo Brush, NSW

To: Baus Aus <>
Subject: Tea Gardens & Mungo Brush, NSW
From: David Stowe <>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 12:10:31 +1000
As promised here is a bird related post (without political comment, any talk of football, religion or humour).

Spent Sunday & Monday at Tea Gardens which is 2 hours drive north of Sydney on the north side of Port Stephens. Morning walk along the banks of the river and surrounding streets yielded all the usual NSW Cormorants, Pelicans, Royal Spoonbills, Sacred Kingfishers (fishing in the mangroves), Whistling Kite, Brown HE, Masked Lapwing, Magpie, Magpie-Lark. Highlights away from the water were large noisy flocks of MusK Lorikeets and Figbirds. Only other Lorikeet seen was Rainbow although i thought i heard some Little but not convinced. Also Noisy and Little Friarbirds, and Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike. There are heaps of flowering gums (paperbarks as well as other "normal" gums - sorry botany knowledge = zero) up there at the moment.

Late afternoon (sunset/dusk) we went to the surf beach at Hawks Nest and saw Silver Gulls, Crested Tern, Gannets and one Jaeger. I would love any help with the Jaeger if anyone knows likely species? It was only 20-30m from the beach flying low and fast south over the water parallel to the beach. Wind at the time was mild from SE i think. It had pale underbody with an incomplete black chest band. Size was seemingly smaller than a Silver Gull (but don't put too much weight on that). Tail also seemed quite long but no visible streamers. My thoughts were Arctic Jaeger but if anyone has an opinion of most likely species I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday we went to Mungo Brush (25km north of Hawks Nest).
We saw the Radjah Shelducks before we had even stopped the car!! Are these ducks really wild?? They obviously eat out of people's hand as they came right up to us looking for food!
Usual waterbirds, Miners, Magpies etc.
We spent a fair bit of time relaxing by the water but also did the rainforest walk which was great but seemed quite dry. More interesting birds were Blue-faced HE, Brown Gerygone, Green Catbird (2 adults + 2 immatures), Whipbird, Figbird, EYellow Robin, Large-billed Scrubwren, Yellow-faced HE, nesting Currawongs. Highlight for me was Forest Raven at the edge of the rainforest above our picnic spot! Heard the call and straight away picked it as way too deep for and Aus Raven (Keith Brandwood's teaching is having an effect!). I played the call on my iPod to check if it was the same and it could have been a recording of the same bird. Didn't get good views of it to pick any visual differences though (are there any??)

One more interesting behaviour was a pair of Black Swans with a young cygnet. Another pair came within 50metres of them and the male(?) flew loudly across the lake slapping his wings on the water towards the intruders. The other male(?) then came towards him and they puffed up their feathers and formed a very nice arched neck/head and swam closely for a couple of minutes. The first Swan then flew back to his mate and young one and both pairs then made loud honking noises to their mates. I didn't realise that Swans were so territorial? Further out in the lake there were 50+ all swimming closely together.?
I assume this is a normal behaviour that i have never seen before.

All in all a fantastic 2 days away from work with the family.
Dave Stowe

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