Thursday, June 18, 2015
I didn't expect to see an Arctic Tern at Austinmer Beach (north of Wollongong) last Sunday. Conditions were warm and still. I watched the bird for about five minutes, recording notes of its appearance into my iPhone as I did. After consulting every field guide I own, I decided the bird was an immature Arctic. One has to be very careful when identifying terns as they have similarities. Common, White-fronted and Little Tern, which are similar in their various forms, had to be ruled out. The Arctic I saw had a clear white rump and tail, black edges to the forked tail, a cap that started above the eye and stretched behind the eye, white lores, smokey black-grey on the shoulders and black wingtips. It also plunged into the water after food (not all terns do this). After consulting with Alan Morris, a man who keeps NSW bird records, I found Arctic Terns are only spotted about three times a year along the NSW coast. So, a real rarity. And a tick. My Aussie bird tally now stands at 536 species. LJ, June 18 2015.
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Peaceful Dove (I was a little surprised to see this on two occasions - hopefully not an aviary escapee), Yellow Thornbill (I can't believe it took me years to come across this species in town considering they're so bloody common in NSW), Pacific Swift (with White-throated Needletails; the only time I've spotted one in NSW) and Feral Pigeon (the only other place in The Southern Highlands I've seen them is at Moss Vale) now bring the bird tally to 179. LJ, June 7 2015.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
I'm leading Winterfest's Birding for Beginners bash again. Sunday June 28. Meet 8:30 at Ferndale Reserve. It's a free thing, but bookings are to be made with fellow birder John Shepherd on 4883 7301. We'll be checking out Bundanoon's Sewage Treatment Plant (seriously, who'd want to miss that?!), Ferndale's swamp, paddocks near Morton National Park and mighty Morton National Park itself. I'll be teaching people how to identify birds by look and call (the latter is vital), how best to use binoculars, where exactly to find particular species, which Australian field guides are best and other odds and ends. I'm bringing almost 30 years of birding experience with me. We should see a few cool species including Scarlet Robin, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Bassian Thrush and Red-browed Treecreeper. Superb Lyrebirds will be calling madly! I hope you can make it. We'll finish up about midday. Dress for cold weather - it's been hovering around zero most mornings of late. LJ, early June 2015.