2007 New South Wales trip report #25
While we were staying with our son in Sydney he decided to take an afternoon off from work (he works at home) and take us on a walk from Artarmon along Flat Rock Creek to Middle Harbour. This harbour is a small part of the greater Sydney Harbour.
The walking track took us through nearby suburbs and we enjoyed looking over people’s back fences into their gardens. The track also took us under several major roads and a freeway. Most of the first part was a sealed or concrete walking path shared with cyclists. This first part didn’t yield many interesting birds but it was a very enjoyable walk anyway.
The track then changes to a narrow dirt track and plunges quickly 50 or 60 metres down into Flat Rock Creek. When we reached the creek bed the path then follows the creek along to the harbour. I was not surprised to see Laughing Kookaburras along this part, and observed on flying in a hollow. This could indicate nesting but the hollow was too far away over the creek to investigate further. Pied Currawongs were seen and heard frequently as were Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. Superb Fairy-wrens flitted in and out of the bushes along the path, but never stopping long enough for a photo.
At one stage I saw several Red-whiskered Bulbuls but couldn’t get a clear shot of one. I did manage to get a nice shot on the return walk. This was a new bird for the trip list and a nice one to see despite it being an introduced species. I’ve only ever seen it about three times in total.
I was also delighted to see two Chestnut Teal, a male and a female, swimming in the creek which at that point seemed rather polluted. Nearby several Red-browed Finches caught our attention and White-browed Scrubwrens called from nearby bushes. Noisy Miners were everywhere and we heard several Striated Pardalotes, a Grey Butcherbird, several Australian Magpies and the occasional Australian Raven flew overhead.
I haven’t seen too many pigeons and doves in this part of Sydney, but on our walk I saw Crested Pigeons, Rock Doves and Spotted Turtledoves. Thankfully not too many Indian Mynas were seen in this part of the city. I saw no House Sparrows; they seem to be absent from around here. At the harbour we saw Welcome Swallows and Silver Gulls.
On the return walk I only added Common Koel to the list. As this was another “lifer” for the trip I was pleased. This species has just arrived from its spring migration south. The whole walk took just a few minutes short of four hours, the return part being largely uphill with some very steep parts. We were pleased that we achieved this as both of us are not as fit as we should be. Our son thought it was just a pleasant stroll, but then he walks the area nearly every day.
The number of readers of this birding blog continues to grow steadily. Readers who may have discovered this blog only recently may have missed some of the interesting articles I have featured here over the last 18 months.
Here is a digest of some popular articles. Many of the articles have comments by readers, so it is worth reading those as well. Just click on the title and that will take you to the relevant article:
- Diamond Firetail Finches – one of our most beautiful birds.
- Eastern Rosella – many comments about this beautiful species.
- Favourite Birding Spots #1 – the first in a series of good birding spots.
- Great Birding Moments #13 – Sulphur Crested Cockatoos
- Do Blackbirds Swoop? How to deal with aggressive behaviour in birds. A very long and detailed article about birds that act aggressively. Includes many comments and observations from readers.
- Gotcha! I finally captured a photo of the beautiful Rainbow Bee-eater in our garden.
Of course this list is merely a sample of the well over 400 articles about birds on this blog. To read more you can click on one of the categories listed on the side bar, or go to the contents section or check out the Archives.
Updated November 2013.
The Red Browed Finch is one of many beautiful species of finch found in Australia. It is always a delight to find a group of finches feeding on the grass, drinking from a pond or bird bath or visiting one’s garden. This species is found along the east coast through to much of Victoria and south eastern South Australia.
Locally, we do not have them here in Murray Bridge but they are widespread in the nearby Adelaide Hills and part of the Adelaide metropolitan area. My most recent sighting of this delightful species was on a visit to the Cleland Wildlife Park. As I was about to enter one of the walk through aviaries I was entranced by a large group, perhaps as many as 30, Red Brows coming to a feeding tray. There was much excitement, because the feeding tray had just been replenished by the keeper.
On entering the aviary there were many more inside the cage. These were also quite used to people visiting their home so is was quite easy to take some good photos.
- Cleland Wildlife Park – photos of a visit to this lovely place in the Adelaide Hills.
Update: this photo above – and many other photos featured on this site – can now be purchased on a range of merchandise such as T-shirts, aprons, wall plaques, clocks and mugs. Go to my Trevor’s Photos site here.
Australian Finches would have to be on many people’s lists of beautiful birds. Some, like the Gouldian Finch of northern Australia, are simply stunning. It is no wonder that they are highly popular with aviculturalists.
One of the local finches here in Murray Bridge South Australia is the very beautiful Diamond Firetail (Stagonopleura guttata). It is slightly smaller than the common House Sparrow found in many of our parks and gardens. The Diamond Firetail is widely spread in this district but is not common anywhere. According to the New Atlas of Australian Birds its distribution covers most of south eastern Australia south of a line from Port Augusta to Brisbane. It is not found in Tasmania. (To view map click here)
The Diamond Firetail is a small bird some 12-13cm in size. It has a bright, unmistakable red beak and red rump with a black tail. Its throat and breast is white with a black band across it. The white spotted black flanks give it the appearance of diamonds studded along its sides.
I have observed this beautiful species in a number of localities near my home. The best sightings have been in our own garden where it is in infrequent visitor. On several occasions it has delighted us in visiting our bird bath. Every time it has been such a brief visit. Its next visit must come soon – it hasn’t been since I bought my new camera. I’d love to get a close up photo of its stunning colours. [UPDATE: the photos on this page were added in March 2007]
An unusual sighting of this species was recorded recently near Callington (about 20km west of here). A large flock of over 35 was reported on Birdpedia. I have usually only seen them in ones or twos.