Trip report - Clarence Valley north coast NSW Stork survey

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Trip report - Clarence Valley north coast NSW Stork survey
From: "Greg and Val Clancy" <>
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2013 12:42:21 +1000
Yesterday Warren Thompson, Russell Jago, my wife Val and I travelled ‘down 
river’ to check on the local nesting Black-necked (Satin) Storks.  We decided 
to keep a tally of all species observed as well.  By the end of the day we had 
notched up 112 bird species, 2 mammals, 2 reptiles and 1 frog species.

As we had to do a pre-poll vote we stayed close to Grafton waiting for the 
electoral office to open,.  We checked out the Waterview are where there is a 
resident pair of Storks.  We didn’t find any Storks but 6 Glossy Ibis and a 
small number of Black-winged Stilts were of interest.  We called in at the 
Cowans Pond bird hide and added a number of waterbirds but there were no rare 
or threatened species, other than a lone Yellow-billed Spoonbill.  A flock of 
about  Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos greeted us as we arrived at the Pond.  
Cowans Pond was the site of the Northern Pintail record some years back.  After 
voting we headed to the Stork nest site at Trenayr.  A flock of twenty Pelicans 
swimming on a small wetland included some immature birds.  A Latham’s Snipe on 
Bunyip Creek was my first for the season and a Hoary-headed Grebe was an 
unusual species for this site.  Unfortunately the Storks’ nest tree was dead 
and the nest was in disarray.  There were no Storks in the general area.  
Storks don’t nest every year so this might be their ‘gap year’.  A lunch stop 
at Southgate State Forest produced some forest/woodland birds including 
Peaceful Dove, Fuscous Honeyeater, Painted Button-quail, Rainbow Bee-eater, and 
a pair of Eastern Yellow Robins nesting.  The male flew to the nest and fed the 
sitting female.  I was able to photograph the birds at the nest from a safe 
distance photographing through my spotting scope and an 800 mm adapter.  People 
are rightly concerned about photographers disturbing nesting birds but good 
nesting photographs can be taken through scopes or long lenses without 
disturbing the birds.  Travelling back to the Lawrence Road from the State 
Forest Warren spotted an adult pair of Storks loafing in a grassy paddock.  We 
aren’t sure which territory these birds belong to as the site is near the 
overlap zone of a few territories.  We next visited the Everlasting Swamp stork 
nest site and checked on the nest where three young were fledged last year.  I 
managed to colour-band these birds just before they fledged.  One of them has 
been observed in the Tweed Valley recently.  The nest was empty but speaking to 
the landowner as we departed it appears that they may have built a new nest.  
An adult female with ‘dirty’ plumage was feeding in a creek just south of 
Lawrence.  This bird may be a breeding bird as the dirty plumage suggests that 
it hasn’t had time to bathe regularly due to nesting commitments or possibly 
the white feathers were becoming tattered due to wear.  An adult male Stork was 
photographed actively foraging in a dam near the Little Broadwater and our only 
Brolgas for the day were near this site.   Two more adult Storks were found in 
a wetland at Elbow Creek on Woodford Island and another two in a wetland 
adjacent to the Pacific Highway south of Cowper, making a total of 8 Storks for 
the day.  A juvenile Shining Bronze-Cuckoo was found as a roadkill at the 
approach to the Lawrence Ferry.  It may have been fostered by the Brown 
Thornbills calling nearby.  However the most significant sighting of the day 
was of 56 Freckled Ducks and 1,000+ Pink-eared Ducks at the Lawrence Egret 
colony swamp.

The full list is a s follows:

Brown Quail, Magpie Goose, Freckled Duck, Black Swan, Australian Wood Duck, 
Pink-eared Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Pacific Black 
Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Hoary-headed Grebe, Rock Dove, Spotted 
Dove, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Australasian Darter, 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, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Eastern Osprey, 
Black-shouldered Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling Kite, Brahminy Kite, 
Wedge-tailed Eagle, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon, Brolga, Purple Swamphen, 
Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Black-winged 
Stilt, Black-fronted Dotterel, Red-kneed Dotterel, Masked Lapwing, Comb-crested 
Jacana, Latham’s Snipe, Painted Button-quail, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, 
Crested Tern, Silver Gull, Yellow-tailed Back-Cockatoo, Galah, Little Corella, 
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Eastern 
Rosella, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Superb 
Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, White-throated 
Gerygone, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Lewin’s 
Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Fuscous Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Scarlet 
Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, 
Noisy Friarbird, Little Friarbird, Striped Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, 
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Rufous Whistler, Grey 
Shrike-thrush, Australasian Figbird, Olive-backed Oriole, Grey Butcherbird, 
Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Torresian 
Crow, Magpie-lark, Eastern Yellow Robin, Golden-headed Cisticola, Australian 
Reed-Warbler, Tawny Grassbird, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin, Tree 
Martin,  Common Myna, Mistletoebird, Red-browed Finch, Australasian Pipit 
(112).   Mammals:  Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Red-necked wallaby.  Reptile: Eastern 
Long-necked Turtle, Lace Monitor.  Amphibian:  Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog.   

Eight of these species (Magpie Goose, Freckled Duck, Black-necked Stork, 
Eastern Osprey, Brolga, Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Comb-crested Jacana, 
Grey-crowned Babbler) are listed as threatened in NSW.


Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
| PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
| 02 6649 3153  | 0429 601 960


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