We had a good crowd along for our March meeting at the Wetlands Centre (at the new starting time of 7pm). Jack Adams talked about the Lewin’s Honeyeater for Bird of the Evening, and also gave a plug for his autumn-winter honeyeater surveys at Galgabba Point which will start in April.
Our guest speaker was Keith Eastwood, who told us about highlights from a recent birding and game-watching trip through southern Africa by him and his wife Rosemary. Keith also compared the bird guilds of southern Africa and Australia. In many cases there are marked distinctions.
There was also some discussion about the recent brief visit to Hexham Swamp by an Oriental Pratincole. Most of the attendees at the meeting had managed to see it and the air of excitement had well and truly lingered on.
Best access for the Sandspit is from the carpark underneath the eastern side (Stockton side) of the bridge.
At high tide, several shorebird species roost in or around the lagoon and are readily seen from observation points at the information signs near the carpark.
The better action occurs between roughly 2-3 hours after high tide when many other shorebirds arrive from their roost sites and start to feed on the exposed mudflats especially on the northern side of the Sandspit.
Later most of them depart for the Fullerton Cove feeding grounds (these are not easily accessible). Use either of the skirting paths around the Sandspit to find a viewing spot – do NOT go through the middle as this disturbs the birds. More details are in the Newcastle City birding route
March Bird of the Month
It is a common bird of prey in the Hunter Region.
Pairs are found almost anywhere in the region except in high altitude forests; however its stronghold is the western parts of the region such as the upper Hunter and around the Goulburn River.
They take small mammals (up to the size of a rabbit), snakes, birds, and even insects sometimes.
The plumage varies, some birds are quite pale and some are dark, however most are intermediate in colour (like this one).
They all have the characteristic "double tear" pattern at the eye i.e. two dark stripes.
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.