Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

July 1, 2009

Belmont Lagoon Bird Route

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — steve_happ @ 8:19 pm

Introduction:

Belmont Lagoon is located between the Pacific Ocean and Lake Macquarie at Belmont South. It is made up of open water, Melaleuca forest, swampy heath, and reed beds. The Awabakal People utilised its resources for thousands of years. During World War II tetrahedral concrete blocks were used as tank traps along Cold Tea Creek. To get there, find your way to Belmont South and park near the entrance to Cold Tea Creek, near the Squid’s Ink Restaurant (which is on the Pacific Highway), either at the car park by the lake or on Capri Close, which is situated next to the creek.

1. Cold Tea Creek Entrance:

Park here at the start of the track that heads up along Cold Tea Creek on the northern side. If you cross the highway to the lake you will see cormorants, Australian Pelican, Black Swans, Australian Wood Duck and other common water birds. At the start of the track you might see Spangled Drongo, White-breasted Woodswallows, Australian White Ibis, or Spotted Doves hanging out on the wires.

2. Cold Tea Creek:

Along the creek look out for Azure and Sacred Kingfishers or a Striated Heron roosting in the lower branches of the mangroves. There may be egrets fishing either on the sandbar to the north of where the lagoon flows through a pipe into Cold Tea Creek or on the southern side if there are mullet present. Out on the lagoon you might see cormorants, egrets, Royal Spoonbills, White-faced Herons, Black Swans, or Australian Pelicans. In the trees along the channel live thornbills, Red-browed Finch, Variegated Fairy-wrens, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Striped Honeyeaters and Silvereyes. The reed beds are home to Tawny Grassbird, Golden-headed Cisticola and Lewin’s Rail.

3. To The Right:

At the end of the track along Cold Tea Creek you come to an intersection. If you turn right you will be getting into heath country and you may see White-cheeked Honeyeaters, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, or Little Wattlebirds. About a hundred metres along here on the ocean side Southern Emu-wren and Brush Bronzewing have been seen so keep your eye out for these. If you keep on going along this track, just before it hits the bitumen, there may be Eastern Whipbirds in the stand of paperbarks on the ocean side.

4. Peninsula:

Turning left at the end of Cold Tea Creek and then left again at the next crossroads will lead you to the peninsula. There will be bush birds such as Red-browed Finch, Rufous Whistler, thornbills and Dollarbirds. Buff-banded Rail and Spotless Crake have been seen along here in the reeds, so keep your eye out for these, as well as the Azure and Sacred Kingfishers. You may also see raptors such as Black-shouldered Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and Eastern Osprey.

5. Belmont Wetlands:

After you come out of the peninsula, turn left and head towards the Belmont Wetlands. Along this track there will be lots of Silvereyes and thornbills. If you keep going along this track you will get to the end of Railway Parade and you can turn right here and follow the old train line along the Belmont Wetlands (5a).

6. Jewells Track:

On the way back, when you are at the crossroads at the end of the peninsula, you can go further along following the power lines on the road to Jewells. There may be Eastern Whipbirds, New Holland Honeyeaters and Grey Butcherbirds in the trees and bitou bush. When you get to the dead trees that are in the swamp you may see some raptors like the White-bellied Sea-Eagle or a Grey Goshawk roosting in them. On the way back to the entrance to Cold Tea Creek, you get a second chance to see anything that you might have missed on the way in! Good luck and happy birding.

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