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.

January 2020

13 January

No birding today, but I did an interview with ABC Newcastle Radio, about the just-released draft management plan for Australian seabirds. It will go to air in their news bulletins on the 14th.

11-12 January

I made a very quick trip to Perth, for a family event. Not much birding time therefore, but I did get to see several Laughing Doves and a small flock of Western Corellas, as well as a few of the non-endemic species. In Osborne Park, where I stayed, there were New Holland Honeyeaters "everywhere".

4-10 January

I had a week with my family, staying at Harrington. I only had one actual birdwatching event in that time, a trip to Old Bar from where there had been reports of a Roseate Tern, which is a NSW rarity and never before recorded in the Hunter Region. I managed to find that bird, plus one Aleutian Tern, three Lesser Sand Plovers, one Greater Sand Plover, three Grey Plovers, two Sanderlings and various other species. Red-necked Stints were present in high numbers (about 120 of them) and there were lots of Far Eastern Curlews too. A good day out! The general area around Harrington had several Ospreys, a Striated Heron, some Bar-tailed Godwits and Far Eastern Curlews, and there werestacks of Australasian Figbirds at the caravan park. I didn't go too the rainforest, which was right at the edge of where the fires had been. Much of the Crowdy Bay National Park was burnt out late last year.

December 2019

20 December

In the morning I attended a meeting about shorebirds, at the Wetlands Centre. BirdLife Australia will be developing site action plans for the four main shorebird estuaries/areas of the Hunter Region. I'm pretty intimately knowledgeable about three of the four of them.  There wasn't any serious birdwatching done, but I was pleased to see some Magpie Geese on the main pond - they had disappeared for quite a while.

18 December

I did a day trip to Broughton Island today, with Greg and Neil as fellow birders, plus a cast of dozens of others. All the others were launching a PhD study of the Aboriginal heritage of the island. The three of us went first to the Osprey nest on the southern side of the island, to confirm that the chicks were still present. Neil then went off to look for Sooty Oystercatcher chicks while Greg and I went up to Pinkatop and checked the seabird nest boxes. We found Gould's Petrels in two nest boxes - and one of them was sitting on an egg! It's the first breeding record from out of any of those nest boxes. On my way home I stopped in at Stockton Sandspit where there were roosting high tide flocks of Red-necked Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit and Far Eastern Curlew, plus some foraging Curlew Sandpipers.

14 December

Ross and I did the Ash Island survey. There was water at Swan Pond and Fish Fry Flats but none elsewhere, so it was good there and not so good anywhere else. We found ~400 Pied Stilts, also the 2 Banded Stilts which were with Red-necked Avocets and a group of ~40 Black-tailed Godwits. On Fish Fry Flats there were 20-30 each of Red-necked Stints, Red-capped Plovers and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. They were very hard to find amongst the mangrove stumps and we probably missed some birds. At Milhams Pond there were six Far Eastern Curlews and a group of 48 Pacific Golden Plovers (hard to count these as they were a long way off, and partially obscured in the grass).

30 November - 2 December

Four of us spent 2 and a bit days in the Gloucester Tops. Our intention was to catch and band a Rufous Scrub-bird but it now is very clear that the birds aren't breeding this year (on account of how dry are the conditions) and that makes them hard to trap.  Kerripit Rd was closed (because of fire risk) and that further limited what we could do. However, I was able to get positional data on scrub-birds at two territories that I haven't investigated before - and I had a good sighting of one of those birds from virtually at my feet. Remarkably, while that was happening a Lewin's Rail was calling nearby.  We saw a pair of Satin Flycatchers (coming to a pool to drink) and heard Red-browed Treecreepers and several Olive Whistlers. There did not seem to be any Flame Robins about - perhaps they'd left the area because conditions were too dry?

On my way home I briefly stopped at The Glen Nature Reserve (too dry, very quiet) and then I went to Ash Island. Here, I quickly found the two Banded Stilts which had been reported a day or so earlier. They were with a flock of ~250 Red-necked Avocets, both species very flighty. There were nearly 400 Pied Stilts in the same area - these have been uncommon on Ash Island for a couple of years. Also, I saw a flock of six Curlew Sandpipers.