I have just returned from 12 days at Newhaven Wildlife Refuge (jointly-managed
AWC/BA property) where I was coordinating the volunteer team for the annual
bird surveys. These have been taking place every year for 4 years now - based
on 70 fixed locations in the reserve. But this year it was different! For a
start we had to wait for a couple of days for the latest 150mm deluge to
subside before making it down the entrance road. Then we had to plan carefully
to visit only the sites that were drying out - but we still managed to get
bogged from time to time.
Birds are everywhere at the moment after all the rain in the first three months
of the year. The place is alive with Masked and Black-faced Woodswallows,
White-winged Trillers, Crimson Chats, Brown and Rufous Songlarks and
Budgerigars. Some of the special sightings were - Australian Bustard (quite a
few), Black-breasted Buzzard (including one group of nine!), Rufous-crowned
Emu-wren, Spinifexbird, Orange Chat, Painted Finch and Ground Cuckoo-shrike.
Grey Honeyeaters were seen on a couple o occasions, but are as elusive as ever.
There was plenty of water in the ephemeral lake system, and it had attracted
several hundred Grey Teal, Plumed Whistling-Ducks and Hardheads + good numbers
of Red-necked Avocets and Black-winged Stilts and smaller numbers of Banded
Stilt, Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Red-kneed Dotterel, Black Swan and
Gull-billed Tern. Our species list totalled 128 - against the previous highest
total of 102. If you have the chance, this is the time to visit Newhaven. The
refuge opens for visitors from 1st April - but phone Managers Joe and Danae on
08 8964 6000 before travelling down.
All the best, Richard
PO Box 449
tel (02) 6655 9456
mob 042 838 5677
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