Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

January 1, 2010

2009 – A Year of Bird Photography

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:20 am

2009 – A Year of Bird Photography

I was going through my diary and I had the brilliant idea of putting down this year in birding. Its a pretty standard thing to do, so it won’t be too weird. The year started off in January with a trip to Ash Island with Alan and Neville to do the wader survey. I saw heaps of new birds and travelled the whole length of Ash Island, and saw heaps of raptors and waders. The next day I went to Stockton Sandspit and saw a flock of Eastern Curlew. Later on that day I saw 6 Sooty Oystercatchers at the Merewether Baths rock shelf. I did my first wader survey with Nev at Tomago Wetlands. On the 24th we went for a camp with the HBOC to Violet Hils on the northern end of Myall Lakes, where I saw quite a few new birds like Glossy Black Cockatoo, Rufous Fantail, Southern Emu-wren and Black-faced Monarch.

Buff-banded Rail
Buff-banded Rail at Ash Island

February started off with a trip to Walka Water Works, near Maitland where I ticked a Yellow-rumped Thornbill and Great Crested Grebe. Another wader survey at Ash Island, then the next week the birding oz photographers had a meet-up at Belmont South in the rain. I did a few visits to Ash Island and Stockton Sandspit to photograph the waders and caught up with the White-fronted Chats at Chat Flats on Ash Island. Towards the end of February I went to Homebush Bay in Sydney with Lorna, then went to Dudley Bluff and Belmont Lagoon during the week. February’s field trip with HBOC was to Seaham.

During March, I went to the Kooragang Dykes, Tomago and Soldier’s Point where I ticked a Double-banded Plover and Grey-tailed Tattler. At the start of April I went to Macquarie Marshes for the Easter Camp with the HBOC, where I ticked more than twenty new birds. What a fantastic place. After that, we went to Bourke Sewerage on the way to Bowra Station, near Cunnamulla in Queensland, where I got about 15 new ticks. When I came home to Newcastle, I had a few days out at Ash Island, the Hunter Wetlands Centre, Newcastle Baths and Stockton Sandspit.

Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) at Morisset

In May, I went to Cams Wharf, Green Point, Belmont Wetlands and Galgabba Point around the Lake Macquarie area. On the 17th May we did the Regent Honeyeater Survey with Captain Jack and went to Galgabba Point, Little Pelican and Belmont Wetlands. No Regent Honeyeaters, but I did tick a Brown Honeyeater. More wader surveys at Stockton Sandspit and back to Galgabba and Belmont South.

Winter starts and the waders are starting to leave Stockton Sandspit and I go back to Galgabba. Early in June, I finally see a Regent Honeyeater at Pelton, near Cessnock, tick a Double-barred Finch at Stockton Sandspit, and finally see the Ospreys at Morisset. The Woodlands Day at Werikate is a great success, thanks to Mick Roderick. I follow the Jewells track south to Belmont and tick a Brush Bronzewing. The HBOC noobs day at Hunter Wetlands Centre was a fun day with two ticks and a great barbecue feed. At the end of June I spent quite a few days at the Stockton Channel looking for raptors.

Early July and we went to look for the Osprey nest on Black Ned’s Bay at Swansea. But the nest had fallen down. I also went to Awabakal Nature Reserve at Dudley and Pambalong Nature Reserve/Lenaghans Swamp at Minmi. I have my first day at Blue Gum Hills at Minmi where I would spend many days during the year. Another trip to Belmont Lagoon, then a great outing to Martins Creek, past Seaham with the HBOC, where I saw a Speckled Warbler and a Wedge-tailed Eagle nest.

August commenced with a Regent Honeyeater survey along Pelton Road, then Stockton Sandspit and Stockton Cemetery with the HBOC Tuesday group. Another Ash Island survey and a trip to the Snowy Mountains and Canberra. Back in Newcastle I went to Stockton and Blue Gum Hills, before heading west to Murrurundi, and Wallabadah Cemetery where I saw the glorious Rainbow Bee-eater for the first time. I then headed to Quirindi Settlement Ponds, Quipolly Dam and off to Nundle for a HBOC camp. At Nundle we visited a dam, Two Mile. After the camp, I headed further west to Borah Creek, just past Manilla. Its now the end of September, and back in Newcastle I go to Stockton and Ash Island.

Striated Pardalote
Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) at Wallabadah Cemetery

October starts off at Kooragang Dykes and other spots in Newcastle. I go to the Barrington Tops and back to Newcastle. At the end of October, I head west again around the back of the Blue Mountains. Starting off at Walka Water Works, Doughboy Hollow(Singleton), Goulburn River NP, Munghorn Gap, Mudgee, Capertee Valley, Newnes and back home again, via Sydney. In November I get a great shot of a male and female Eastern Koel on the TV aerial of the house two doors down. At Newcastle Baths, I spot some Common Terns and a shearwater. At the end of October I do a great ride along the Fernleigh Track on my bike and get two ticks for my efforts – a Blue-faced Honeyeater and some White-throated Needletails.

Most of December was taken up with moving house. I did manage to get out to Tomago and the Hunter Wetlands Centre and my last trip birding for 2009 was at Cooranbong along the Sandy Creek Walk. The End. phew. 2010 is going to be full of adventure.


  1. Congrats on a great year birding. It’s been enjoyable reading about your adventures, I hope to read more in 2010.

    Comment by Mark Young — January 1, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  2. Thanks Mark,

    You are my Number One Reader. 🙂

    Hopefully, see you on Monday.


    p.s. 2010 is going to be ALL adventure.

    Comment by admin — January 1, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

  3. Conratulations for a great year’s birding Steve.

    Comment by Sebastian — January 2, 2010 @ 7:03 am

  4. Thanks Seb. Hope you get lots of ticks.

    I have got 3 so far this year. woot!!


    Comment by admin — January 8, 2010 @ 3:44 am

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