Sydney is an amazing city for bird life. Not only is it surrounded by several national parks it has several wetland lakes and pond areas right in its heart. One being the Sydney Park Wetlands which was a jointly funded project of Sydney City Council and the Federal Government to convert a large area of land which once hosted a huge brickworks, of which only remains the historical relic of the original chimney stacks and brick kilns.
The large acreage of the clay extraction area, later becoming a rubbish tip. It is amazing to see the beautiful transformation into large grassed recreational areas, small forests of trees, flowing water features, water controlled wetland and reeded areas, gardens, bridges and walking tracks. This unique project to recycle rainwater, clean it and use it in the man made ponds and creek structures from where it is released back into the environment is an experiment which may be expanded in the future to even more sustainable projects on a larger scale.
Many water birds and waders have made Sydney Park their home, and breeding areas are fenced off for their protection, as many hundreds of people frequent this place sharing it as they walk their dogs and introduce their children to many bird species. Wahen my wife and I recently visited the park our first bird encountered was this beautiful Olive -backed Oriole, recently returned from migration, giving me unusual free photographic access as he watched.
On the large northern lake several species of waterbirds swam or strutted the waters edge.
Of course there were many Eurasian Coot, Pacific Black Duck , some Chestnut Teal, Purple Swamphen and Dusky Moorhen which are not pictured here. Breading pairs of Australasian Grebe were present with full breeding plumage.
Flitting and swirving about over the water of course was the usual Welcome Swallows as they pluck insects from the air on the fly. However, I caught them resting on their flight break.
However, the greatest attraction drawer was the single swan gosling of the two proud Australian Black Swan parents, carefully and lovingly guarded it from the other sometimes aggressive waterbirds such as the Eurasian Coot, which has become like the Noisy Miner of our lakes. Notice how the parents surround the baby near the coots. There normally have a clutch of about 5 to 10 chicks, so maybe they have lost some already from predators etc. This little guy will experience several plumage changes as it matures before it finally becomes adult black, which makes it easy to determine the approximate age of the young swan.
Other features of the park were this tortoise sunning itself and the eucalypt flowers of spring. This Brown Wanderer butterfly was an additional capture.
Our greatest find here was the result of a search for a very elusive and rarely seen wetland shore bird which was sited here recently Latham’s Snipe, which would have been a lifer for me. However, as I kept looking into the reeds and grassed wetlands I finally did see a bird dart undercover, so my wife and I patiently waited for about 20 minutes and we finally saw a bird similar to Latham’s Snipe but more colourful, a Buff-banded Rail. It was a challenge to track its movement among the grasses and reeds, but I did get some reasonable shots.
So there it is for now, as we await the return in the coming weeks of our migratory waders from the northern hemisphere. We are also seeing reports of the return of the passerine migrants, including the cuckoos who will be breeding here soon. This week our hearts and prayers go out to our dear suffering blogger friends in Florida, that the Lord will have spared you from much of the damage and danger of the recent hurricane.
“You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.” – Psalm 86:5-7
Have a great week and enjoy the birds!