A weekend at home

To: "" <>
Subject: A weekend at home
From: Thomas Wilson <>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2014 20:39:38 +1100
Hi all
it turned out be a pretty wild weekend weatherwise in Sydney's north, but 
between the thunderstorms and jobs around the house, I managed to see quite a 
few birds.
Saturday saw several trips out into the garden to check out activity as the 
Noisy Miners went off and netted a Pacific Baza (twice), the local Brown 
Goshawk, a Wedge-tailed Eagle (bit late on that one but the going away profile 
was distinctive enough) and a Collared Sparrowhawk that was chasing something 
just as the late storm hit. Plenty of lorikeet activity with Musk Lorikeets 
quite frequently overhead. Had Eastern Rosellas and King Parrots in the garden 
and the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were busy dismantling the cones on the pine 
tree in my neighbour's garden. (The tree is referred to as the "boiled egg 
tree" due to the way the cockies take the top off the cones.)
On Sunday morning, I walked the Lovers Jump Creek Track in North Turramurra, 
which is only about 10 minutes walk from my house. If I have a local patch, 
this is it, and I'm going to try and walk it several times as the year 
progresses (this was my 2nd go for 2014). 37 species was 7 fewer than my 
Australia Day walk, but some changes too - although I was expecting to see all 
the summer migrants gone, I was surprised by a Leaden Flycatcher, which was one 
of the first birds I saw. A good feeding flock had Scarlet Honeyeaters, Eastern 
Spinebills, Lewins Honeyeaters, Brown Thornbill families (the big juveniles 
look odd until you see a full adult stuffing lerps into its beak), Spotted 
Pardalotes, Golden Whistlers, Grey Fantails and a Grey Shrike-thrush joined in 
that group too.
Back at home, a pair of Grey Goshawks passed over at about 10am, and a single 
bird came back at about 10:30. 45 minutes later the local Brown Goshawk went 
over. While I was watching that I saw a flock of 30 or so swallows/martins 
passing over very high up, heading north. They looked "squared off" at the 
tail, so I think they were Martins, but they were too small even with the bins 
to call them as to species. This afternoon ahead of the storm front that came 
through at 12:45, I saw a flock of 70+ White-throated Needletails. They were 
quite tightly bunched and moving with the weather and went through pretty 
quickly about 20/25 minutes before the rain arrived. There may have been one 
forktail in with them but I wasn't sure as I only 1/2 saw it as it flashed 
across my binocular view. That's the biggest flock I have seen this year and 
getting late for them too. Just as the rain hit a Spotted Pardalote was calling 
from a tree at the back of the house.
Late in the afternoon the Sparrowhawk and the local Peregrine put in an 
appearance (making it 6 raptors for the weekend) and with my walk total added 
in, about 50 species overall. Who says one needs to go a long way from home to 
see good birds?
Tom Wilson                                        

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