Thinking About Birds

Here is an overview of the projects I’m involved in.

Rufous Scrub-birds

I’m studying Rufous Scrub-birds in the Gloucester Tops area of New South Wales. The site is about 3 hours drive away from my home in Newcastle. The initial program was in collaboration with Mike Newman and lots of volunteer helpers, and was focussed as a population study. Now I've become much more interested in attempting to study individual birds.

Grey-tailed Tattlers

I’m collaborating with Lois Wooding in a study of Grey-tailed Tattlers especially the population of 100 or so birds that visit Port Stephens each year. We are monitoring the population plus making behavioural studies. I’m also working with some Japanese ornithologists because most Grey-tailed Tattlers migrate through Japan (in May-June and in August-September)

Hunter Estuary Shorebirds

In early 1999, a group of us in the Hunter Bird Observers Club decided we should count the shorebirds in the Hunter Estuary every month. The reason for our decision was that the Hunter Estuary was known to be the most important site in New South Wales for shorebirds, but with constant threats of loss of habitat.

Port Stephens Shorebirds

I started the Port Stephens surveys in 2004. We discovered Port Stephens to be a haven for Australian Pied Oystercatchers, with over 100 birds found on the first survey. This is an Endangered species in NSW and in 2004 the total population in NSW had been estimated to be less than 250 birds. We have found 100+ birds almost every survey since 2004.

Manning Estuary Shorebirds

The Manning River flows through Taree then splits into a large delta with two entrances to the Pacific Ocean, one near Old Bar and the other at Harrington. The Manning Estuary has lots of shorebirds especially in summer and I have done monthly surveys there since 2008.

Saltwater National Park

Most times, this is a quiet and wonderful place for birdwatchers to visit. It offers coastal, estuarine, rainforest and open forest habitats all within a relatively small area.

Cattai Wetlands

These interesting wetlands, near Coopernook in NSW, were opened to the public in 2013. I had some inside knowledge and started visiting there in 2011.

Broughton Island

I've been leading surveys of the land birds of Broughton Island since 2012. This focus for this project is monitoring for changes arising from the eradication of rats and rabbits from Broughton Island. More recently we've also launched a banding study.

Hunter Region History

As my interest in the birds of the Hunter Region grew, I also began wondering what it used to be like for birds here. I'm interested in questions such as: what species have disappeared?; what are the new arrivals?; when did changes occur? (and why?); what populations have prospered and which ones have declined?