Boxing Day observations - northern Sydney

To: <>
Subject: Boxing Day observations - northern Sydney
From: "Wilsons" <>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2012 16:07:22 +1100
Hi all
after being cooped up by yesterday's appalling Sydney weather (the wettest 
Christmas Day since 1942 apparently) I took myself out this morning (about 
6-8:30am) to West Head in Ku-Ring-Gai NP and then we had a family walk at Long 
Reef late morning.

I went to W head to find some Glossy Blacks as the have eluded me all year and 
this is a reasonably reliable spot.  It produced the goods with 5 birds found 
feeding the the casuarinas right by the parking area at the lookout entrance - 
they started off on the north side but crossed to the centre "island" and were 
feeding in there quite happily.  There were 2 males, 2 yellow headed females 
and 1 very squeaky youngster.  There may have been a 6th bird down the slope 
towards the water as well.  From W Head itself I looked down the rocky gullies 
and eventually saw (very briefly) and then heard multiple times a Rockwarbler.  
A Lyrebird was also poking about.

On the way home I stopped and walked a little way along the Waratah Track, but 
the strong breeze was keeping most birds below the tops of the bushes and in 
denser patches of scrub.  I did find a Chestnut Rumped Heathwren singing and 
many New Holland HEs, but nearly every other species was determined on song 
alone, including fairy wrens, another Lyrebird (Rosella, Whipbird, Currawong 
and its own peculiar noises coming from one spot), E Yellow Robins and E 

Later in the morning we walked around the golf course and up onto the point at 
Long Reef (but not onto the reef flat itself).  The Black-tailed Native-hen is 
still at the golf course and was on the margins of the big central pond and 
quite a few Pipits too.  From the top point, the reef flat held a big flock 
(50+) Red Necked Stint, about 20 Turnstone and at least the same number of 
Golden Plover, 1 small but very white wader which wasn't hanging around with 
the stints so hard to get a size comparison (so a mystery bird), 5 Sooty 
Oystercatchers, 2 Grey Tailed Tattlers, 1 Reef Egret and the usual collection 
of Crested Terns and Silver Gulls.  Offshore, some sort of emergency services 
activity was taking place with Police and Rescue launches and a rigid hull 
inflatable and what seemed to be an upturned hull in the water.  While watching 
this through the scope, amongst the many Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, I also 
picked up 2 Black Browed Albatross, some Fluttering types and a possib
 le Bullers Shearwater (as big as the Wedgies, looked grey rather than black on 
the back, clean white underparts) but I'd give the distance the benefit of the 
doubt and say only possible on that one.

It was nice to get out in the fresh air (twice!) and walk off some of 
yesterday's culinary delights and add a couple more species to my 2012 list.  
Only a few more days birding to go until a clean new year list frees up.
Tom Wilson

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