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.
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