Clarence Valley wetlands trip

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Clarence Valley wetlands trip
From: "Greg and Val Clancy" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2013 12:49:18 +1000
On Tuesday Warren Thompson and I took the risk with the weather to travel ‘down 
river’ to check out the local wetlands and to, hopefully, check on some nests 
of the Black-necked Stork.   The rain the night before was a worry but at 06:00 
hrs on the morning of the trip the rain had passed.  A check of the Weather 
Bureau radar indicated that we weren’t likely to get wet.  How wrong we were! 
We decided to travel to Tullymorgan to check out the stork nests and to check 
others on the return trip but we made a number of stops on the way.  As we left 
Coutts Crossing we saw the 9+ Magpie Geese and 100+ Plumed Whistling-Ducks on a 
dam N of Coutts Crossing.  We encountered a good variety of birds at Southgate 
Creek including 4 White-breasted Woodswallows, 2 Yellow-billed Spoonbills, 
adult male Northern Mallard, a Restless Flycatcher and 3 Red-kneed Dotterels.  
An adult Eastern Osprey was standing on its nest at Lower Southgate as we drove 
past.  We spent some time photographing 30+ Fairy Martins collecting mud at a 
pool of water on a side track at Lower Southgate and two Chestnut-breasted 
Mannikins feeding on grass on the edge of Weir Road at Lawrence.  It was after 
the Mannikins flew off that I realised that I had the camera setting wrong and 
all of the photos were washed out and yellow.  I was photographing through my 
spotting scope with an 800 mm adaptor.  At the Fairy Martin site there were 30+ 
Chestnut-breasted Mannikins as well.  I moved an Eastern Long-necked Turtle off 
the Lawrence Road just in time t avoid it being hit by a vehicle.  I rescued a 
second turtle later in the day on Woodford Island but was too late for two 
others that were badly squashed.  One was a breeding female and her crushed 
eggs were scattered around her squashed body and shell.   We checked the 
roosting site of the Nankeen Night-Herons and were rewarded with great views of 
50+ birds.  A large adult male Eastern Water Dragon was slow to flee my 
approach but eventually scurried off toward the creek.  An adult Swamp Harrier 
was hunting along the Creek.  While having morning tea at the park in Lawrence 
four Glossy Ibis circled over while an Australasian Reed-Warbler called 
vociferously from reeds along the riverbank.  The Lawrence Egret colony swamp 
never fails to produce and Tuesday was no exception.  The numbers of Freckled 
Ducks and Pink-eared Ducks had dropped but we still counted 20+ of the former 
and 540+ of the latter.  Grey-crowned Babblers and a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo were 
heard calling near the swamp.  While lunching at Lawrence I heard an Eastern 
Koel, my first for the season.  We stopped at Kalangadoo and were scoping the 
wetland when a hail storm hit.  Before seeking shelter in the car we ticked off 
6 Glossy Ibis and many Black-winged Stilts.  An adult Welcome Swallow was 
feeding four juveniles that were perched on a barned-wire fence.  One was fed a 
dragonfly.  Two Wedge-tailed Eagles were circling over the wetland.  Along 
Elbow Creek Road on Woodford Island an adult Leaden Flycatcher was calling from 
a Camphor Laurel.  I then heard the distinct call of the Pacific Baza and 
observed three of these beautiful raptors in flight over Elbow Swamp.  We were 
able to escape the rain and hail by driving south and checked out the Swan 
Creek Storks’ nest area.  A breeding attempt earlier in the year had failed 
after the adult  male bird was killed on powerlines.  The female has a new mate 
but the two nestlings that were present disappeared from the nest.  We finished 
the day off with sightings of the Rainbow Bee-eater and by hearing the call of 
the Little Bronze-Cuckoo at Clarenza.  In all we recorded 103 birds species, 
one mammal, four reptiles and three amphibians.  Five of the bird species are 
listed as threatened in NSW.  Not a bad day despite the rain and hail.

Birds - Magpie Goose (T), Plumed Whistling-Duck, Freckled Duck (T), Black Swan, 
Australian Wood Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Northern 
Mallard, Pacific Black Duck, Hardhead, Australasian Grebe, Spotted Dove, 
Crested Pigeon, Bar-shouldered Dove, Australasian Darter, Little Pied 
Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, Australian 
Pelican, White-necked Heron, Eastern Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Cattle 
Egret, White-faced Heron, Nankeen Night-Heron, Glossy Ibis, Australian White 
Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Eastern 
Osprey (T), Pacific Baza, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling Kite, Brahminy 
Kite, Swamp Harrier, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Nankeen Kestrel, Purple Swamphen, 
Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Red-kneed Dotterel, Masked 
Lapwing, Comb-crested Jacana (T), Gull-billed Tern, Crested Tern, Silver Gull, 
Galah, Little Corella, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Eastern 
Rosella, Pheasant Coucal, Eastern Koel, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, Little 
Bronze-Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Superb Fairy-wren, 
Red-backed Fairy-wren, White-throated Gerygone, Yellow Thornbill, Yellow-rumped 
Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Noisy 
Miner, Scarlet Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, 
Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Little Friarbird, Striped Honeyeater, 
Grey-crowned Babbler (T), Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Rufous Whistler, Grey 
Shrike-thrush, Australasian Figbird, White-breasted Woodswallow, Pied 
Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, 
Leaden Flycatcher, Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Golden-headed Cisticola, 
Australian Reed-Warbler, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin, Tree Martin, 
Common Myna, Mistletoebird, Red-browed Finch, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, House 
Sparrow, Australasian Pipit.  Mammals – Eastern Grey Kangaroo.  Reptiles – 
Eastern Long-necked Turtle, Short-necked Turtle, Eastern Water Dragon, Common 
Tree Snake.  Amphibians – Plains Toadlet, Dusky Toadlet, Eastern Dwarf Tree 


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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