We had a massive turn-out for the December meeting at the Wetlands Centre - about 100 people!
We brought in extra chairs but couldn't find enough and a few people had to stand. Perhaps they came mainly for our sumptuous supper and the famous traditional raffle, but our guest speakers were pretty good too.
Five people gave 5-10 minute presentations about something to do with birds. Perhaps the most intriguing talk was by Grahame Feletti who is studying Brush Bronzewings in the Belmont area. Do they go away in winter?
We don't know, but there are no winter records. Do they breed here? Maybe - there is only one record, dating from 1983! A most intriguing bird: it's right on our doorstep and we know almost nothing about it.
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.
January Bird of the Month
This is one of the more handsome of the shorebirds that we see in the Hunter Region. It is mostly found at freshwater wetlands with shallow muddy margins, rarely at saline waters.
Unlike many other shorebirds, they don't occur here in large flocks - mostly we find them as pairs or in small groups. Gatherings of more than ten birds are fairly rare. They are breeding residents in the Hunter Region.
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.