A couple of recent excursions to local birding hot spots have paid dividends, particularly Ash Island, which has produced two Aussie ticks for me – White-winged Black Tern and King Quail, in as many days. Other interest has come in the form of Black-necked Stork at Pambalong Reserve and at Bunnings ‘scrape’ (the equivalent to a B&Q carpark in England!) another tick in the shape of an Eastern Yellow Wagtail – with a supporting cast of eleven Australian Painted Snipe! These ‘celebrity’ birds, together with a heap of the more common local stuff, have nudged the list to over 150 already!
First up, a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – the ‘default’ wader species on Ash Island and adjacent Hexham Swamp
Black-necked Stork, a scarce visitor/possible occasional breeder in the lower Hunter. We found this immature bird at Pambalong
First of the two Ash Island ticks – one of four White-winged Black Tern, photographed here with Welcome Swallow.
The search is on for the second, which required a 4.30am start, a ‘planet earth’ tick – King Quail! Pictured here, at one of NSW’s biggest recent twitches – from left to right Steve & Mick Roderick, Dan and me – Jane taking the photo
.. and here’s the prize, an amazing shot taken by Mick, of a two second show as this ‘micro’ Quail flew to cover!
More ‘celebrity birds’ – this one, a self found Eastern Yellow Wagtail at Bunnings Scrape. This species was only recently discovered wintering, in single figure numbers, in the Ash Island/Hexham Swamp area, so to find one away from the regular location was a real bonus
Mick kindly turned up at Bunnings to confirm the identification of the Wagtail and promptly found a group of Australian Painted Snipe! This photo features four of the total of eleven seen
To conclude this ‘birds of the lower Hunter’ blog, some of the more regular species…