Hot off the Press
New issues of the club's journal The Whistler and the Hunter Region annual bird report have just been released.
All HBOC members will receive free copies of both of them over the coming months, either by hand or by post if so requested.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Walka Water Works
Walka Water Works is located just a few minutes’ drive out of Maitland. See the Maitland birding route here for directions. It features a good mix of water birds and bush birds, and is one of the few sites in the Hunter Region where Great Crested Grebes may be reliably seen (and several pairs breed there each summer).
All three grebe species occur at Walka (Hoary-headed Grebes are sometimes present in rafts of 50-100 birds). It is also a spot where vagrant Blue-billed and Freckled Ducks occasionally turn up, as well as hundreds of the more common ducks including Hardheads are often there in good numbers.
December Bird of the Month
It's well-known for its distinctive "walk-to-work" call in many of our local rainforest areas.
We consider the Noisy Pitta to be an altitude migrant in the Hunter Region, with it spending 4-6 months over spring-summer at mid to high altitudes (and breeding then) and then moving towards lower altitude coastal areas in the cooler months. However, the story probably is a bit more complicated than that.
They seem to be expanding their range and also to be breeding in lower altitude areas. For example, some very young birds have been seen in Blackbutt Reserve, and probably were hatched there although that's not confirmed.
Photo: Alwyn Simple
HBOC supports the National Atlas and submits records from all of its activities to the Birdata portal http://birdata.birdlife.org.au/.
We strongly encourage our members and visitors to do the same. Our club receives an annual export of all Hunter Region records and we use this information to find out how our local birds are faring.