Trip report - Clarence Valley wetlands NSW

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Trip report - Clarence Valley wetlands NSW
From: "Greg and Val Clancy" <>
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2013 16:13:51 +1100
Last week Warren Thompson and I did a trip ‘down river’ to check out the 
wetlands of the Clarence Valley between Coutts Crossing and Tullymorgan, near 
Maclean.  Our first stop was at a wetland at the edge of Coutts Crossing where 
a  number of common waterbirds were congregated around the last pool of water 
in the middle of the swamp with an adult female Black-necked Stork.  There were 
8 Royal Spoonbills, 3 Eastern Great Egrets, 2 Australian White Ibis, 3 
White-necked Herons, Chestnut Teal, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Ducks and Dusky 
Moorhen and Purple Swamphen.  A flock of 40+ Little Corellas flew over a nearby 
lagoon.  A small group of Plumed Whistling-ducks was sitting on the edge of a 
dam north of Coutts Crossing and at Waterview Heights 8 Magpie Geese were in a 
similar situation.   The Geese had been absent fro this site many many months 
so it was good to see that they had returned.  At the end of Grafton’s main 
street a small colony of egrets was nesting.  It was a new colony and had only 
been present for the past couple of years.  100+ Cattle Egret nests and at 
least on Intermediate Egret nest were recorded.  The plumes on the Intermediate 
Egret were displayed showing why its alternative name is Plumed Egret.  Along 
Alumy Creek we encountered our first Whiskered Terns for the day and an adult 
Swamp Harrier was flying over a paddock near the creek.  Two Black-necked 
Storks were circling high over and at first they appeared to be adults but a 
check through the spotting scope showed dark wing tips.  This meant that they 
were advanced immature or sub-adult birds.  At nearby Trenayr three storks were 
observed rising on a thermal and at first I though that it may have been the 
two sub-adults with an additional bird but these were the resident adults with 
their young from last season.  This made a tally of 5 Storks so far.  A 
Peregrine Falcon joined the Storks as they circled.  At the Little Broadwater 
near Lawrence an adult pair of Brolgas had a small young in tow.  The Lawrence 
Egret Colony Swamp produced some more goodies with Pink-eared Ducks, 14+ 
Whiskered Terns and 2 Red-kneed Dotterels.  With the Whiskered Terns was a 
smaller differently marked bird which turned out to be a non-breeding 
White-winged Black Tern.  Four Caspian Terns on Munro Island were followed by a 
family of Pacific Bazas on Woodford Island.  One adult was feeding two begging 
juveniles.  One was fed a Dainty Green tree Frog Litoria gracilenta and the 
other an insect.  A second adult may have been present but we didn’t see two 
adults at any one time.  Returning home via Tucabia we saw two more Storks, a 
few Glossy Ibis, another Pacific Baza and a small group of Sharp-tailed 
Sandpipers.  On to Gilletts Ridge with a list of 98 species where we recorded a 
Black-fronted Dotterel and the final new species for the day, a Spotted 
Harrier, an uncommon bird in the Valley, making 100 species.  An adult female 
Stork was loafing nearby making a total of 11 Black-necked Storks for the day.

The full list is below:

Magpie Goose, Plumed Whistling-Duck, Black Swan, Australian Wood Duck, 
Pink-eared Duck, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead, 
Australasian Grebe, Spotted Dove, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered 
Dove, Australasian Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Little Black 
Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, Australian Pelican, Black-necked Stork, White-necked 
Heron, Eastern Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret, White-faced 
Heron, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, 
Royal Spoonbill, Black-shouldered Kite, Pacific Baza, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, 
Whistling Kite, Spotted Harrier, Swamp Harrier, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Nankeen 
Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Brolga, Purple Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian 
Coot,  Black-winged Stilt, Black-fronted Dotterel, Red-kneed Dotterel, Masked 
Lapwing, Comb-crested Jacana, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Whiskered 
Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Crested Tern, Silver Gull, Yellow-tailed 
Black-Cockatoo, Galah, Little Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow 
Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Musk Lorikeet, Eastern Rosella, Laughing 
Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, Dollarbird, Superb 
Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Yellow Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, Lewin’s 
Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Grey-crowned 
Babbler, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-winged Triller, Grey Shrike-thrush, 
Australasian Figbird, Olive-backed Oriole, White-breasted Woodswallow, Grey 
Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Willie Wagtail, Torresian 
Crow, Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Golden-headed Cisticola, Australian 
Reed-Warbler, Tawny Grassbird, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin, Tree 
Martin, Common Myna, Mistletoebird, Red-browed Finch, House Sparrow.

Mammals – Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Red-necked Wallaby, Fox.

Reptiles – Short-necked Turtle, Eastern Long-necked Turtle. 


Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
0266493153 0429601960

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