At our April meeting Neil Fraser told us about Little Terns, a far more complex species than most of us had been aware, with three very distinct sub-populations in Australia.
Our main speaker was Simon Griffith from Macquarie University. His fascinating talk discussed the challenges and opportunities of being a bird in drought-stricken Australia and compared their breeding ecology with birds elsewhere especially those in temperate northern climates.
A generalisation is that Australian birds live longer and have a much-extended breeding season.
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
April Bird of the Month
Eastern Yellow Robin
This is a very common species of our region. They are found in all the main habitats, ranging from rainforests to dry woodlands and they are widespread as well.
There are very few parts of the Hunter region with no Yellow Robins.
They are one of the first species to start calling in the dawn chorus and also one of the last to stop calling in the evening.
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.