Thinking About Birds

I only update the gallery photos occasionally. Sorry about that, too busy. See my Sri Lanka gallery though and also  the latest additions to my UK and Denmark galleries.

July 2024

15 July

I did my surveys of the Warrah Trig section of Brisbane Water National Park. The heath is coming nicely into flower and there were plenty of honeyeaters, especially at my first 2 ha site. I had a couple of Brown-headed Honeyeaters there, too. There was a pair of Red Wattlebirds again at my second 2 ha site - they were in the same tree as they were last month, and so perhaps they have moved in. The White-eared Honeyeaters were quite vocal and I had nice views of several of them. Also, I found an active Superb Lyrebird nest (it was close to the track and hard not to notice!). Then I went around to Patonga, where a pair of Masked Lapwings had a chick - just a few days old. That's so early!

10-12 July

I went up to Newcastle for the HBOC meeting, where Mick Roderick gave a good talk about the seabirds recorded during the Port Stephens pelagics. Next morning I explored the Nobbys Beach area for a while (the scant highlights: a Black-shouldered Kite carrying a snake or a large thin reptile, and 100+ Greater Crested Terns which were roosting at the ocean baths). My trip to Broughton Island was cancelled at late notice, but Margaret and I went up to Nelson Bay regardless (as I had already paid for the accommodation). We went to Fingal Bay and did some of the Tomaree Coastal Walk - saw a whale at sea and a handful of bush birds. Next morning we stopped at Kariong Parklands - where I dipped on the Red-backed Kingfisher! But there were some good birds at the Mt Penang Gardens (nothing in standout though).

5 July

I walked to Woy Woy alongside Brisbane Water. It had rained a lot for several days, and the path was under water in many places. It also was rather windy! There was a Buff-banded Rail at a small wetland near Woy Woy - I've scarely seen anything other than Silver Gulls at that wetland before. There were six Caspian Terns (and so, it must be winter), some of them were roosting together on a jetty, and five Australian Pied Oystercatchers, as 2 pairs and a single on jetties. Once again, there were no Black Swans.

June 2024

28 June

I did another walk alongside Brisbane Water, this time in the late morning. Once again there were no Black Swans - which is the same result as two weeks ago. I found four Caspian Terns and three Australian Pied Oystercatchers. Unusually, there also was a Dusky Moorhen (it was feeding out in shallow water). Overall, it was far quieter than usual.

26-27 June

I went up to Newcastle on the Wednesday afternoon, to attend a meeting that night to review the draft Hunter Region annual bird report. It was a marathon sitting, but we got it all done just before midnight. Next morning, on my way home, I detoured to the Central Coast Wetlands. It was full of water, and hence no muddy margins for shorebirds. However, I found a couple of Hoary-headed Grebes, and about six Australasian Shovelers, and I had a fleeting view of a Buff-banded Rail. There were some raptors too - an Australian Hobby causing mayhem, a Swamp Harrier and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

24 June

I surveyed the final couple of Brisbane Water National Park sites for this month, those along the van Dahl's Fire Trail. The honeyeater activity was good, and at one spot I had a nice look at a female Scarlet Honeyeater. However, there wasn't much else around.

22 June

Ross and I did the monthly waterbirds survey on Ash Island, on a rather coll and breezy morning. The only migratory shorebirds we found were two Pacific Golden Plovers - and unusually they were not at the usual spot for them. We also saw two Pied Stilts, 23 Red-capped Plovers and seven Black-fronted Dotterels, so not too bad of a morning really.  There were quite a few ducks espeialluy on Swan Pond - a dozen Australasian Shovelers and 100-2000 each of Grey Teal and Chestnut Teal. It was a good morning for birds of prey - we found two Ospreys on their nest (one sitting, one standing) and four other raptor types - White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling Kite, Nankeen Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite and Swamp Harrier. On my way home I made one more stop at Kariong Parklands (I'd dropped in on Friday as well as on Tuesday). This time the planets had aligned, and I quickly found the vagrant Red-backed Kingfisher that had been reported from there often in the past week or so.

19 June

I was on a pelagic trip out of Port Stephens. It was a big day - we boarded before 7am and didn't arrive back into the marina until a bit after 5:30pm, in the dark. It was breezy all day, and the birding was great! On our way out we had many albatrosses (mainly Black-browed Albatross types and Shy Albatross types) and Australasian Gannets, and some Providence Petrels. At the shelf we had all of those again plus definite sightings of Black-browed Albatross and Campbell Albatross (the two "Black-browed Albatross types") and also Buller's Albatross, Wilson's Storm-petrel and Northern Giant-Petrel, plus a couple of Fairy Prions. The trip back was rather interesting - a lot of bird activity (plus some whale activity). We had stacks of Greater Crested Terns following the boat, along with about ten Shy Albatross types (some of which came right into the Port). A smaller tern which for quite a while stayed well back from the boat suddenly came closer, and proved to be an Arctic Tern. That was exciting but then it was joined by first one, and then it was two, Common Terns. Three out-of-season birds, and it was great to be able to compare them because they often were flying side by side. On top of that, three and eventually four, White-fronted Terns came through - they seemed to be on their way to a roost somewehere near Yacaaba.

18 June

I went to the Kariong Parklands area in the morning, on the trail of a vagrant kingfisher that had been reported from there. I didn’t find it. My highlights were an Olive-backed Oriole and a Satin Bowerbird, both of those were at the Mount Penang Gardens. Australian Wood Ducks were present in good numbers and there also were several Eastern Rosellas.

16 June

I did my quarterly surveys at Pearl Beach and then at the Curra Swamp section of Brisbane Water National Park. It was quiet everywhere although I noted that Scarlet Honeyeaters were back in reasonable numbers everywhere. I saw several grey-throated Tasmanian subspecies Silvereyes too.

14 June

I did my monthly surveys of the Warrah Trig section of Brisbane Water National Park. The honeyeater activity level was high and there were eight different species of them. Also, at the first site there were two Chestnut-rumped Heathwrens lurking. At the second site there were two Red Wattlebirds and two Little Wattlebirds. The latter seemed to be keeping an eye on the former. It was interesting to see the two species side by side - that doesn’t happen often for me. After I’d finished there I went to Patonga - where the highlights were a Whistling Kite and an Australian Brush-turkey.

13 June

I walked to Woy Woy alongside Brisbane Water. There was a Striated Heron on a jetty when I arrived and I later saw two Australian Pied Oystercatchers on another jetty (plus there were two on the sandbank). Birds were pretty much as per usual except, remarkably, there weren’t any Black Swans. Normally there are 100-150 of them.