Sydney is Australia’s largest city, and is growing daily, sprawling westward, having already sprawled north and south. I have shared many of the birding delights from in and around our city, and this week from the fringes of the south (Royal National Park) to the north (Warriwood Wetlands). The great delight for the birder is finding the unexpected bird or birding experience in a frequented park or reserve. Above is the beautiful vista of Pitt Town Lagoon, near Windsor, with the Great Egret gracefully taking centre stage. It was here that my latest lifer was seen the Australian Spotted Crake. I have prayed recently that I might see my first Crake and Bittern, as these birds have so far eluded us, being as shy as they are. This lone Spotted Crake was grazing alongside a lone Red-kneed Dotterel, but they were unfortunately some distance away, and would duck for cover when they saw me approach. My Victorian blogging friend, David of Birds as Poetry blog has posted some clearer pics this week of the same species, as well as Baillon’s Crake.
No matter how poor the photos, until better ones are shot down the track, this is a birders record of having seen the bird in the wild. It is a small bird as you can see in comparison with the small red-kneed Dotterel.
The Red-kneed Dotterel was quite stunning in the sunlight also. Click photos to enlarge them.
As you saw from my first photo this beautiful Great Egret was gracing the lagoon.
This White-faced Heron has one of the whitest faces I have seen in this bird.
After a walk around Narrabeen Lagoon with friends and had an unusually birdless experience though we did see this Cattle Egret beginning to don breeding plumage.
We drove to nearby Warriewood Wetlands and there we saw this Australasian (Purple) Swamphen. Notice how these water foul flick their tail as they walk around. The Spotted Crake does this also but not as much. Other water foul such as Dusky Moorhen also flick their tail while moving about.
My friend who was sharing the day with us, mentioned how difficult it has been to actually see Bell Miners (Bellbirds) in the trees. This is a dilemma many birders and non-birders have. They can hear a cacophony of bellbirds calling in a forest, but can not see them. This is because they are a sub canopy dweller and are small and green, matching the leaves. Like the Whipbird, their call is amplified off the eucalypt leaves. Bell Miners, like other miners are a community bird (pack bird), and will gang up on other birds and chase them out of their forest. For the first time we were able to show him the elusive bird, because we knew how to look for them. This is the bell sound we heard this community make.
While we were shooting these photos at Warriewood Wetlands we had the added bonus of watching the Bell Miner removing the lerps from the eucalypt leaves. Lerps are the casings of the tiny psyllid insect that inhabits the back of the eucalypt leaf. The Bell Miner, in the same way as the Spotted Pardolote, using their tongue, skillfully remove the outer sugary casings from the insect without harming it. Here are some photos capturing the Bell Miners removing the Lerps from the leaves.
This young Grey Fantail saw us with our camera and was trying to get some attention by fanning its tail and making a racket.
The next day we had a really great big breakfast at the Audley Dance Hall cafe in the Royal National Park (where my book can be purchased) and had a morning walk where we captured. We went looking for the Azure Kingfisher but they flew off before we could catch them. We think we found their nest in the bank of the river. We did however briefly catch this Sacred Kingfisher.
In the Hacking River we find another Great Egret fishing…
This Sulfur-crested Cockatoo was enjoying the cone from the Norfolk Pine trees planed in the park. As were many others in the flock…
But the feature of our southern fringe birding experience on this seemingly birdless day was this Black-faced Monach, a winter migrant that has returned for the summer to the same place in the forest each year. This bird has distinctly beautiful call, not unlike the whistlers.
The Yellow-faced Honeyeater continues to grace the park during the summer months. This bird is found here all year round.
This Olive-backed Oriole is another migrant that has returned to breed during the summer. It chooses to call from the very top of this dead branch. It looks uncomfortable but it continues to call from here.
Nearby another summer migrant is seen flying about in pairs, this Dollarbird, which gets its name from the white round marking on its wing which someone reckoned resembles a dollar. Common Miners have a similar white marking on their wings. You can see the markings below.
Finally, you may have been wondering how the baby Tawny Frogmouth is going which we also found in the Big Fig Flat which I highlighted on my Something Special on my Home Page. As you can see the baby has fledged and the nest is left empty, and what a flimsy simple nest it is…
Have a wonderful week as you prepare for Christmas, when we celebrate the coming of the most important person in history, Jesus Christ. What I do with this man will effect my life forever.
“keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” – Jude 1:21
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