Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Old Bar _ Aleutian Terns

During the last austral winter, Liam Murphy, a birder from northern NSW (could be Brisbane, not sure) was reviewing some images he had taken at Old Bar on the NSW coast near Taree, about 4 hours north of Sydney. Subsequent discussion on the Australian Bird Identification Facebook page resolved that he had photographed the first Aleutian Terns ever seen/noted on Australian soil. Whilst breeding on the southern and western coasts of Alaska and the chain of Aleutian Islands extending southwest from Alaska, they migrate during our austral summer into Asia for their holidays! They are recorded as "low" on the map as Indonesia. So not so far from Australia. This species was not recorded in Australia until now so there is not entry for them in the first edition of the Australian Bird Guide!

The observers were keeping an eye out for them and sure enough, they returned to the exact same beach at Old Bar on 11 December 2017. And they are still there as at 31 March 2018. I got to see them on 04/05 February. There were 18 birds at that stage. This is the biggest number recorded. They stayed by themselves away from the main flock of Caspian, Crested, Common and Little Terns. I felt very privileged to be able to get within 8 metres of them and take the following images on my first day there.

Aleutian Tern Onychoprion aleuticus

Here are the shots from the next day. The pano is of 17 of the 18 and the following images are one of each of 10 birds.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

NZ Visitor_Bernd_Western Treatment Plant

Bernd spent 13 hours of his last day in Australia at no better place for birding -- the Western Treatment Plant. An early leave from Sale - 4am!! - meant we were at the crake pond by 7.15 for all the action and it went on for the whole day totally 80 species. Highlights were 10 species of duck, a family of Black-shouldered Kites, a Black Falcon overfly whilst a dozen Brown Quail whizzed about the track next to the Crake Pond, and some Zebra Finches.

Australian Spotted Crake Porzana fluminea

Black Falcon Falco subniger

Brown Quail Coturnix ypsilophora

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris

Australian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus australis

Fairy Martin Petrochelidon ariel
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris Acuminata

White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus

Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata