Hawkesbury Swamps and Kurrajong Hills various, inc Chestnut-breasted Man

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Subject: Hawkesbury Swamps and Kurrajong Hills various, inc Chestnut-breasted Mannikin
From: "Eric Finley" <>
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2008 11:31:16 +1100
Some interesting birds and a lot of migrant activity as expected
yesterday 6 Oct in the lower Blue Mtns (Kurrajong area) and Hawkesbury
Swamps, nw of Sydney.

Bushell's Lagoon was very quiet as far as waterfowl go. At about 745 am
in cool cloudy conditions. Small numbers of Black Swan (with cygnets),
Black Duck (one with 4 young, which survived a couple of swoops from a
Whistling Kite, aggressively repelled by the parent bird), Grey Teal and
Hardhead. The only large numbers were Coot, with around 450-500 present.
6 Great Crested Grebe were present in fine plumage - these may be recent
returns as not seen on my last couple of visits. Small numbers of
Pelican, Darter and all cormorants except Pied. Raptors included the
Whistling Kite, Peregrine Falcon, Nankeen Kestrel and White-bellied
Sea-Eagle.  Clamorous Reed-warbler, Little Grassbird and particularly
Golden-headed Cisticola all sounding and showing well. Few egrets
included Large, Intermediate and Cattle. One White-necked Heron and a
few White-faced. 5 Whiskered Terns over the lagoon. Good views of 2
Brown Quail and Black-fronted Dotterel on the adjoining turf farms.
Plenty of Little Corellas here too.

On Blacktown Road close to the lagoon there was a lot of activity
although nothing like late last October when this area was colonised by
White-browed Woodswallows - only Duskys noted yesterday. Highlight was a
large flock of finches in an oat field along the roadside. Total number
was probably over 160, of which at least 70 were Chestnut-breasted
Mannikins - all adult. This is the largest group of this species I've
seen around Sydney. The remainder were nearly all Nutmeg Mannikin, both
adult and immature, with a pair or two of Double-barred and Goldfinches
and House Sparrows.

Kurrajong Hills are buzzing with migrant calls and activity. In the last
week Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo and Dollarbird all heard/seen for the
first time this season. Good numbers of White-throated Gerygone, Sacred
Kingfisher and Dusky Woodswallow are in the hills, and several Pallid
Cuckoos which do not always show up locally. A White-headed Pigeon was
my only local sighting this year. Brown Goshawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle,
Wonga Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-dove, Common Bronzewing, Peaceful Dove all
present as usual. Reptile activity has picked up noticeably with
Red-bellied Black Snake, Bearded Dragon, E Water Dragon and Long-necked
Tortoise all seen.

Rufous Songlarks are vocal and conspicuous right through the
Bakers-Pughs Lagoon area behind Richmond, but didn't pick up any Brown
Songlarks on a short stop here.

Eric Finley

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