Hunter River Sites and access

To: Peter Ewin <>, Birding Aus <>
Subject: Hunter River Sites and access
From: Mick Roderick via Birding-Aus <>
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2016 13:13:04 +0000
HI Peter,
I'm not sure where you looked on the HBOC website, but we have plenty of info 
on a number of sites in the Newcastle area (though admittedly, some are in need 
of an update). You'll find them at the link below.
The "Newcastle Wetlands" one has the access directions for Hexham Swamp. 
For Stockton Sandspit (assuming that is where you mean by the 'wader roost') 
see the "Newcastle City and Lower Hunter Estuary" birding route (which is one 
that needs updating, however the directions are still current). The best time 
to visit here isn't necessarily high tide, though you will see plenty of birds 
then. The best time is between 2 to 3 hours after (or to a slightly lesser 
extent, before) high tide. This is because many birds that roost on the largely 
inaccessible Kooragang Dykes fly over to the sandspit beach as a 'staging 
point' after the tide has dropped sufficiently that the beach is exposed. After 
a while, the vast majority end up flying north to (most definitely 
inaccessible) Fullerton Cove.
Ash Island is still accessible but you don't hear much about it because it has 
largely been 'superseded' by Hexham Swamp and Tomago Wetlands, both which have 
been the subject of incredibly successful rehabilitation work. Wagtail Way 
hasn't lived up to its name for many years (but you will still see 'some' birds 
if you visit).
Bird-wise, Hexham Swamp has recently hosted an Aussie Pratincole, but people 
that were there today failed to see it. The conditions are pretty poor really, 
with so much water around, so there aren't the droves of Sharpies etc that were 
here a few years ago. It just won't stop raining here. You'll almost certainly 
get onto White-fronted Chats there. Stockton Sandspit is a great spectacle and 
isn't affected by high rainfall, so I'd definitely be going there. 
Personally I'd be doing most of my birding around Paynes Crossing! ;-)

From: Peter Ewin <>
 To: Birding Aus <> 
 Sent: Wednesday, 28 September 2016, 18:31
 Subject: [Birding-Aus] Hunter River Sites and access
Evening all,

My planned camping trip over the next week on the Lachlan has been foiled (I 
too was hoping to get to Round Hill but roads are still closed) so we are 
heading instead to the Hunter Valley to my in-laws place at Paynes Crossing. On 
one of the aya where the weather is a bit more friendly (probably Tuesday based 
on forecast) I am hoping to sneak down Newcastle way and try and add a few 
coastal birds to my annual list.

I have had a look on the HBOC site but there isn't much info on specific sites. 
The locations I was probably going to try for were:

  *  Hunter Wetlands Centre (easy enough - I have been there before)
  *  Stockton Wader Roost - Assume best time is at high tide and does anyone 
know a link to the best tide info for the site?
  *  Heham Swamp - there were details about access to a site in the archives - 
happy to have a look but easier if someone knows if they are still valid (was 
to do with track/road work?)

I don't see many reports lately about Ash Island - is it still accessible and 
is it worth the visit (I have been there a few times and a drive up Wagtail Way 
was always productive).

Any tips or hints appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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