NW Sydney 30 Dec

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: NW Sydney 30 Dec
From: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 2009 21:32:15 +1100
Hi all
I thought I'd try and get a few more birds onto my year list before 2009 comes to a close, so spent the morning and early afternoon at several sites in Sydney's northwest and west today. Although most of the sites I would have visited anyway, recent posts to the Birdline NSW pages on Eremaea helped me plan a bit more. I kicked off with a quick look at McGraths Hill STW, then onto Pitt Town Lagoon, via the Pitt Town Bottoms Road, a quick cruise around the Scheyville area, then Bushells Lagoon, Cornwallis Rd, Castlereagh SF, a quick stop at 2 sites in the Blacktown area mentioned by Edwin Vella and then home. I planned to see if I could find the Regent HE at Nurragingy Reserve in Blacktown, but ran out of time to get home for my promised time.

Highlights were:
- pair of Restless Flycatchers in the trees on the side of the road opposite the McGraths Hill pond viewable from Windsor Road. - 5 Sharp Tailed Sandpipers on the pond - no sign of the reported Marsh Sandpiper. (As an aside, I walked up the viewing area and note that the barbed wire on the fence was down in one place- I'm not practiced in this, but it looked to me like it had been cut?) - Great birds on the stretch of Pitt Town Bottoms Rd that leads up into the north end of Pitt Town, including Double Barred Finch, Chestnut Breasted Mannakin, Brown Quail (crossing the road), Fan Tailed Cuckoo, lots of Red Rumped Parrots, Sacred Kingfisher with young, Rainbow Bee-eater - 2 Yellow Billed Spoonbill in a pond on Pitt Town Bottoms Rd opposite the golf course - Pitt Town Lagoon itself produced 4 Glossy Ibis, 2 Spotted and 1 Baillons Crake, many Pink Eared Ducks and 2 identifiable Australasian Shoveler (those big orange feet are a give away sometimes!), 40 Sharp Tailed Sandpipers, 4 Black tailed Native Hens, 2 Lathams Snipe, 1 White Necked Heron, a young Swamp Harrier, 2 Little Grassbirds having a huge chase up, more Chestnut Breasted Mannakins and quail calling from long grass near "the mound". - near the junction of Pitt Town-Dural & Whitmore Roads in Scheyville I saw a Pallid Cuckoo, Peaceful Dove, 2 Common Bronzewing (both sitting on phone lines), 2 Fuscous Honeyeaters and a big flock of White Winged Chough with young, but no Jacky Winter, which is what I was looking for! - Bushells Lagoon was very quiet, but had a family of Azure Kingfishers, lots of very visible Golden Headed Cisticolas, Zebra Finches and 3 Egrets (no Little to complete the set) - 4 Banded Lapwings in the paddock opposite the turf farm with the palm tree lined drive just outside Windsor, showed very well. In the trees on the river side of this paddock I thought I saw a White Browed Woodswallow as well but I only saw it the once. Further along the road (closer to Richmond) were 2 Dusky Woodswallows hawking and a Rufous Songlark was calling, a Tawny Grassbird in rank grass near Cupitts Lane and several groups of Zebra Finches. The "missing" Little Egret was at Pughs Lagoon in Richmond. - Castlereagh SF produced lots of Buff Rumped Thornbills and Rufous Whistlers, 2 Speckled Warblers and 5 Weebills. I had been advised of a site for Owlet Nightjar, but there did not appear to be anybody home when I called (and, assuming I found the right tree, it looked as though a couple of the holes/hollow limbs may have given in to termites recently, so perhaps accommodation is restricted...)

I also tried Hollinsworth Road and Jackson St in Marsden Park (per a recent Eremaea post by Edwin Vella), but didn't see much it was quiet warm by then, and I wasn't sure where to look really at Hollinsworth Rd (but I thought I'd drop in as I was driving right past on my way to the M7 and homewards).

All up, I saw about 120 species. There were Yellow Billed Spoonbills at several places, which was good to see and I think I must have seen 1000 Magpie Larks!

Tom Wilson

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