Tuesday, 26 November 2013


On November 14 and again on November 21 Warren Thompson and I travelled ‘down river’ to check out the local wetlands and bushland and to catch up with any Black-necked Storks that were around.  We recorded 119 bird species on the first trip and 121 on the second trip making a combined total of 139 species for the two days.  Highlights on the first trip were the number of White-winged Trillers with 8+ seen or heard at six locations and a Rufous Songlark at Southgate Creek.  Interestingly neither species was recorded on the second trip.  Also on the first trip I saw an Australian Shelduck.  This species is only seen occasionally on the NSW North Coast and mostly single birds are seen.  I had only a distant view in rainy weather but the large size, extensive white in the wings and slow heavy wingbeats identified it as a Shelduck.  Freckled Ducks and Pink-eared Ducks were seen on both trips with 22+ and 26 of the former and 500+ and 700+ of the latter respectively at Lawrence.  Magpie Geese were at the dam north of Coutts Crossing with 10+ on the 14th and 24 on the 21st.  An immature Spotted Harrier was seen on both trips with the one on the 21st floating low over the road and landing in a riverside bush, allowing us to take some good photos. 

Immature Spotted Harrier Lawrence Road 21/11/2013
A very dark Brown Falcon at the Avenue E of Ulmarra 
A very dark brown coloured falcon on the same day had me getting excited about the prospect that it may have been a Black Falcon.  That species is very rare locally.  After taking many photos the bird took off and flew some distance before attacking an adult female Brown Goshawk.  As it flew I could see that it was, in fact, a very dark Brown Falcon.  It was a little disappointing but still a beautiful bird.  A total of 13 bird species listed as threatened in NSW were recorded with one threatened mammal species, the Rufous Bettong also noted.  Unfortunately it was a roadkill.  Our main target species, the Black-necked Stork, was scarce with a number of nests being temporarily abandoned and a couple falling from the nest trees.  The extremely dry weather in recent months, which has now turned into regular afternoon storms with large deluges, may have signalled to the storks that it wasn’t a good time to breed.  An adult pair was seen, on Woodford Island, on November 14 and six were seen on November 21.  Three immature birds were ascending on a thermal, with two Australian Pelicans, over Crowsnest Swamp near Glenugie.  Later in the day an adult female with her two juvenile offspring we at a wetland close to their nest at Gilletts Ridge, near Ulmarra.  I had hoped to colour band these youngsters but the cherry picker broke down and by the time it was repaired they had fledged.

Three mammals, four reptile and six amphibian species were also recorded.

 The total list is included below with the following key: ‘T’ = threatened; ‘B’ = recorded on both days;  ‘14’ recorded on November 14 only; ‘21’ = recorded on November 21 only.

Birds: Magpie Goose (T)(B), Plumed Whistling-Duck (B), Musk Duck (B), Freckled Duck (T)(B), Black Swan (B), Australian Shelduck (14), Australian Wood Duck (B), Pink-eared Duck (B), Grey Teal (B), Chestnut Teal (B), Pacific Black Duck (B), Hardhead (B), Australasian Grebe (B), Hoary-headed Grebe (B), Rock Dove (B), Spotted Dove (14), Crested Pigeon (B), Peaceful Dove (21), Bar-shouldered Dove (B), Tawny Frogmouth (14), White-throated Needletail (B), Australasian Darter (B), Little Pied Cormorant (B), Great Cormorant (B), Little Black Cormorant (B), Pied Cormorant (B), Australian Pelican (B), Black-necked Stork (T)(B), White-necked Heron (B), Eastern Great Egret (B), Intermediate Egret (B), Cattle Egret (B), White-faced Heron (B), Little Egret (21),  Glossy Ibis (B), Australian White Ibis (B), Straw-necked Ibis (B), Royal Spoonbill (B), Yellow-billed Spoonbill (B), Eastern Osprey (T) (B), Black-shouldered Kite (B), White-bellied Sea-Eagle (B), Whistling Kite (B), Brown Goshawk (21), Spotted Harrier (T) (B), Wedge-tailed Eagle (B), Nankeen Kestrel (B), Brown Falcon (B), Brolga (T)(B), Purple Swamphen (B), Buff-banded Rail (14), Dusky Moorhen (B), Eurasian Coot (B), Australian Pied Oystercatcher (T)(14), Black-winged Stilt (B), Black-fronted Dotterel (B), Red-kneed Dotterel (B), Masked Lapwing (B),  Comb-crested Jacana (T) (B), Latham’s Snipe (14), Caspian Tern (21), Whiskered Tern (14), Crested Tern (21), Silver Gull (21), Galah (B), Little Corella (B), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (B), Rainbow Lorikeet (B), Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (21), Musk Lorikeet (14), Little Lorikeet (T)(21), Australian King-Parrot (B), Eastern Rosella (B), Pheasant Coucal (14), Eastern Koel (B), Little Bronze-Cuckoo (21), Brush Cuckoo (B), Azure Kingfisher (21), Laughing Kookaburra (B), Forest Kingfisher (21), Sacred Kingfisher (B), Rainbow Bee-eater (21),  Dollarbird (B), Brown Treecreeper (T)(14), Superb Fairy-wren (B), Red-backed Fairy-wren (B),Variegated fairy-wren (21),  White-throated Gerygone (21), Yellow Thornbill (14), Yellow-rumped Thornbill (B), Brown Thornbill (B), Striated Pardalote (21), Lewin’s Honeyeater (B), Yellow-faced Honeyeater (B), Fuscous Honeyeater (B), Noisy Miner (B), Scarlet Honeyeater (B), Brown Honeyeater (B), Black-chinned Honeyeater (T)(14),White-throated Honeyeater (B), Blue-faced Honeyeater (B), Noisy Friarbird (B), Little Friarbird (14), Striped Honeyeater (B),Grey-crowned Babbler (T)(B),  Varied Sittella (T)(21), Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (B), White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (B), Cicadabird (21), White-winged Triller (14), Rufous Whistler (B), Grey Shrike-thrush (B),  Australasian Figbird (B), White-breasted Woodswallow (B), Dusky Woodswallow (14), Grey Butcherbird (B), Pied Butcherbird (B), Australian Magpie (B), Grey Fantail (B), Willie Wagtail (B), Torresian Crow (B), Leaden Flycatcher (21), Restless Flycatcher (14), Magpie-lark (B),  Jacky Winter (14), Eastern Yellow Robin (21), Golden-headed Cisticola (B), Australian Reed-Warbler (B), Tawny Grassbird (B), Rufous Songlark (14), Silvereye (21), Welcome Swallow (B), Fairy Martin (B), Tree Martin (B), Common Starling (14), Common Myna (B), Mistletoebird (B), Red-browed Finch (B), House Sparrow (B), Australasian Pipit (21).

Mammals:  Rufous Bettong (T)(21), Eastern Grey Kangaroo (B), Red-necked Wallaby (B).

Reptiles:  Eastern Water Dragon (B), Eastern Brown Snake (21), Eastern Longneck Turtle (B), Short-necked Turtle (B).

Amphibians: Plain’s Toadlet (14), Brown-striped Frog (21), Spotted Grass Frog (14), Green Tree Frog (21), Bleating Tree Frog (B ), Peron’s Tree Frog (21).
Some more photographs of the birds seen are following:

Adult male White-winged Triller Alumy Creek
Adult Grey Shrike-thrush sitting on nest Southgate State Forest
Fledgling and adult Tawny Frogmouths Boothbys Creek

Adult male Australasian Darter in breeding plumage Alumy Creek

Female Musk Duck at Lawrence Egret Colony Swamp

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