Saturday, March 12, 2011
I regularly visit this wonderful location and thought I'd share a few pics I've snapped there recently. The lake used to supply Maitland's water but hasn't served this purpose in decades. Its now home to many species of waterfowl (including Musk, Blue-billed and Pink-eared Ducks), 3 species of Grebe and many of the more common water birds.
The edges are lined with reeds and during the warmer months Crakes and Rails are regularly seen. All three species of Bittern have been reported here but rarely.
Eucalypt woodland surrounds the lake on two sides with open agricultural land on the other sides. These mixed habitats result in a very large species list for Walka with 50+ species often seen in a visit. On one occasion I did observe 90 species in a day.Bush birds are plentiful with Superb Fairy-wren, Red-browed Finch and Thornbills being the most commonly seen. Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Grey Goshawk, Spangled Drongo and Scarlet Honeyeater are also regularly recorded.The three km loop track around the lake is recommended as it passes through a few habitats. An early morning walk through the eucalypt covered hillside could turn up Variegated Fairy-wren, White-throated Gerygone, Leaden Flycatcher and Brown-headed Honeyeater.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Had the pleasure of photographing this spectacular male Quail-thrush in the Kitchener section of the Werakata National Park, south of Cessnock.
I first observed him flushing from the track and after some patience and playback he eventually walked right up to me and started feeding. He was very aware of the playback but wasn't at all concerned. As the tape played the typical high pitched contact call he would respond softly and continue feeding.
At one stage he froze and dropped to the ground. As I was wondering what this behaviour meant a Brown Falcon shot through the bush and continued on. Almost immediately the quail-thrush realised the danger had passed and continued on.
Eventually I had to get moving (mainly due to my legs being covered in ants). As I walked away the bird followed for a bit before slipping back into the thicker vegetation.
Other birds seen on my Kitchener walk included Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Speckled Warbler, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Spotted Pardalote, Rufous Whistler, Peaceful Dove and Rainbow Bee-eater.