Mason Park & Bicentennial Park, 24 Dec

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Mason Park & Bicentennial Park, 24 Dec
From: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 2009 12:56:16 +1100
Hi all
I thought I'd make the most of the cool of the morning to get some birding in before it got too hot and blowy, so I had some time at Mason park and around the Olympics site in Sydney's west this morning. Best sights were: - pair of Peregrines displaying over Triangle Pond (no sign of the Lewins Rail or Spotless Crakes, but I didn't stay long as I was running out of time before I had to be home)
- a Nankeen Night Heron flying over at the same place
- 3 Lathams Snipe at Mason Park
- 5 or 6 Red Necked Stints at Mason Park (see comment below)
- a possible Knot at Mason Park - a large dumpy looking wader tucked into a shrubby island on the playing fields side - looked quite grey and white and had a noticeable eye stripe. It moved behind the island and it wouldn't shift out again.
- 10+ Bar Tailed Godwit at the Waterbird Refuge in Bicentennial Park
- 30+ Red Necked Avocets at the Waterbird Refuge in Bicentennial Park
- an immature Horsfields Bronze Cuckoo next to Lake Belvedere in Bicentennial Park - loads of Fairy Martins in the same place, hawking over the grass and sitting in the paperbarks

One of the stints at Mason Park was showing distinct browny tones in its wing feathers, and at the time it was the first/only one I'd seen, so I was entertaining thoughts of it being something else (a Little?), but it then joined up with the other stints, which looked much more like regular Red Neckeds. Subsequent looking at pictures on the 'net of Little Stints in winter plumage confirmed that the bird probably wasn't tawny enough to be a Little, although it was very small when standing in front of a Sharp Tailed Sandpiper. I reckon it was an immature Red necked Stint. (I appreciate that Red Neckeds and Littles in non-breeding plumage are very hard to tell apart, so it may be worth checking out.)

Cheers and best wishes to all for the holiday season and for a great birding new year. Tom Wilson

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