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Mungo Brush Trip Report
Dollarbirds by Neil Fifer
Follow That Bird Tours had a weekend trip to Tea Gardens, Hawkesnest and Mungo Brush, all sections of the Myall River and Myall Lakes, most of the time being spent in the famous Myall Lakes National Park. The weather was fine and sunny throughout and bird watching conditions were ideal. Enroute to the Myall Lakes we stopped at the Hunter Botanic Gardens at Heatherbrae where the usual birds were found in the Blackbutt Forests there including Rufous Fantail, Sacred Kingfisher, Fantailed Cuckoo and White-throated Gerygone, then onto Tea Gardens for lunch along the banks of the Myall River just after it had joined the Kuruah River. From our lunch spot we looked across to the mangroves where under the watchful eye of an osprey perched on a dead mangrove branch, many Little Pied & Little Black Cormorants, Pelicans and 5 Little Egrets and 12 Great Egrets were busy herding a school of bait fish, some frantic feeding was observed. Most of the egrets were in various stages of acquiring breeding plumage. Whistling Kites and Sea-eagles patrolled above, along with a few Crested Terns and Silver Gull, while a Striated Heron skulked along the waters edge hoping to get its share of the feed. Nearby were both Royal Spoonbills and Eastern Curlews. Figbirds were verty prominent nearby feeding on small figs.

Sand Dune Dark Point
Sand Dune Dark Point
In the afternoon we walked out to Dark Point, from where we had good views of Broughton Island and the sea coast. Australian Gannets were still fairly common offshore and Australian Ravens were busy patrolling the Coastline. Later we investigated Windy Woppa Spit, where we saw Bar-shouldered Dove, Fantailed Cuckoo, Eastern Yellow Robin, Variegated Fairy-wren & Grey Fantail. We stayed in Tea Gardens where Boobooks called at night, Koel & Channel-billed Cuckoos were very vocal in the early morning and our morning walk around the County Club revealed Pheasant Coucal, nesting Olive-backed Oriole, Torresian Crow, Rufous Whistler, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Brush Cuckoo calling, Tawny Grassbirds in the heath and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos feeding in the motel grounds on Old Man Banksia cones. Then we were off to Mungo Brush to check out the camping grounds for the recently reported Radjah Shelducks and to explore the rainforest.

Collared Sparrowhawk by Neil Fifer
As soon as we arrived in the picnic are we were able to observed the Radjah Shelducks begging food from two campers, then they were off to check out the next group of campers. It was lovely to see them acting like any other pair of Mallards or Black Ducks, that feed in the camping areas up and dowm the coast. Our walk through the rainforest found plenty of Large-billed Scrub-wrens including a pair feeding dependant young, a number of Rufous Fantail, more Fantailed Cuckoos, a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, Green Catbirds, Black-faced Monarchs, Satin Bowerbirds, patrolling Whistling Kites and Wonga Pigeons. A family party of Forest Ravens were croaking around the place. While having morning tea in the picnic area, 3 nests of Figbirds were found in the one Broad-leafed Paperbark, and juding by the noise and numbers of Figbirds present, the nesting colony was propbably larger than that. A walk along the Johnsonn Hill Track produced Leaden Flycatchers collecting nesting material, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Rufous Whistler and about 10 White-throated Needletail, Mistletoebird, White-cheeked Honeyeater and more White-throated Gerygone and Sacred Kingfisher.

Myall Lakes
Our final stop on our return home was at Leneghans Drive Swamp at Minmi. Here the air was full of calling Cisticolas & Reedwarblers, while we were pleased to be able to find a pair of Wandering Whistling Duck feeding on the Swamp. There were 5 Intermediate Egrets here in full breeding plumage, showing their lovel;y red thighs and bills and the green skin around the iris, together with Great and Little Egret. Plenty of Coot and Hardhead, a Sacred Kingfisher was perched on a fence post and Channel-billed Cuckoos flew overhead. A fitting end for a very pleasant weekend in which 122 species were seen.

by Alan Morris guiding for FTB

Follow That Bird   Phone: 61 2 9973 1865
Fax: 61 2 9973 1875
3/59 Central Road
Avalon NSW 2107
Sydney Australia
- sydney's birding company  
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Photos of Variegated Fairy-wren and Little Tern courtesy of Neil Fifer