The guest speaker at our October meeting was Australian biologist Tim Low, author of the best-selling book Where Song Began.
At the Australian Book Industry Awards annual dinner in 2016, Where Song Began won one of the most highly prized of all awards, becoming the first nature book ever to win the prize for General Non-fiction Book of the Year.
In October, the book was judged the best popular zoology book at the Royal Zoological Society of NSW Whitley Book Awards.
It has won several other awards too. The very large audience at our meeting was enthralled by Tim’s talk, which was based upon various chapters from his book.
A lively question time followed, and stimulated discussions which continued through our supper afterwards. For more information: www.timlow.com
See the Hunter Wetlands birding route here for directions to this site, which is part of the Hunter Estuary IBA and comprises tidal and freshwater wetlands. Many species of waterbirds and shorebirds may be found here, depending upon tidal and rainfall influences, and more than a dozen types of raptor have been recorded.
October Bird of the Month
This small bird of prey ("raptor") is related to the falcons and is widespread in the Hunter Region.
It is absent from higher altitude areas (Barrington Tops, Watagans etc), but anywhere that there are paddocks or grasslands there is a good chance of finding a pair.
When hunting, they usually hover a few metres above ground until they can spot their prey, and then they pounce.
The hovering flight is very characteristic for them (although Black-shouldered Kites do similar).
They take insects and small lizards but are not averse to a mouse or some other small animal. This is a female (with a brown crown, the male's crown is grey).
Photo: Steve Merrett.
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.