Thursday, September 30, 2010

Roebuck Bay

Pied Butcherbird collecting nesting material

Our cabin is perfectly positioned on the shores of Roebuck Bay. We have a tree on our  porch which is a perch for a constant stream of birds, and a ringtail possum which sits and watches us of an evening.

An early morning walk brought brown and singing honeyeaters, little friarbirds, red-collared lorikeets, blue-winged kookaburras, pied butcherbirds, black-faced cuckoo-shrikes, little corellas, and brahminy kite.

Blackfaced Cuckoo-Shrike balancing act

Singing Honeyeater

Broome Port

I had a direct flight from Sydney so got in several hours before Maureen who was routed through Perth. I picked up the hire car and just went for a drive, ending up at the port. Two Osprey were using the lights on the jetty as a base. Frigate birds were flying past in the distance and gulls and terns were close inshore. An eastern reef egret fished off the rocks at the base of the jetty and a black kite devoured its prey on the top of a powerpole.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soldiers Point




There were good numbers of birds at Soldier’s Point yesterday as migratory waders continue to return from their Northern Hemisphere summer breeding season. The remnants of breeding plumage are visible on the returning Red-necked Stints, particularly when compared with their paler over-wintering cousins.

Other birds on the rock platform included grey-tailed tattler, ruddy turnstone, pacific golden plover, common tern, great crested tern, silver gulls and little pied cormorant.

A storm was brewing, and the light faded and wind rose so I didn’t stay long.

Wyong Settlement Ponds

I’ve been doing some research into the birding hot spots on the Central Coast of NSW, and one source raved about the Wyong sewerage works. According to Sydney Birds and Where to Find Them the settlement ponds were covered with stilts, spoonbills, egrets, grebes, darters, dotterel and avocet, several species of duck including the musk duck, and eight species of raptor circling overhead.

However like most of the water bodies on the coast at the moment the area was almost devoid of birds. Two white-faced heron had the ponds to themselves as most of the waterbirds were taking advantage of the rain in the outback.

Fan-tailed cuckoo, spangled drongo, superb fairywren and white-browed scrubwren was seen or heard in the surrounding bush, and red and little wattlebirds, brown and yellow-faced honeyeaters were feeding on a trackside coral tree.

Only a birder would think a sewerage treatment plant a pleasant spot to spend a few hours, but it really was rather pretty.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Stockton Sand Spit

The oil spill has been an interesting situation in that it has shown that contaminants released in the Kooragang Basin near the coal loaders can find their way upstream, where it had previously been believed that containment measures could safely be concentrated downstream of the spill.

The recent spill is heavy fuel oil with the source being a coal vessel berthed at the Kooragang Coal Terminal. The ship drained ballast water that had been contaminated when a fuel tank had ruptured or leaked internally, sending fuel oil into the saltwater ballast tank.

Pelican are being caught and cleaned, but it has been harder to identify affected Black Cormorants and difficult to capture them.

The cleanup is progressing slowly, using a ‘tread lightly’ approach that seeks to remove the oil without causing additional environmental damage.