Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

July 30, 2009

Port Stephens Bird Survey

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:16 am

by Alan Stuart.

Today 13 people from HBOC did the 2nd winter survey of Port Stephens, using 6 boats (skippered by NPWS and Marine Park personnel) to cover all the targeted area simultaneously.

Overall, the results compare reasonably well with the first winter survey last year. We had 738 shorebirds including 588 that were migratory species. The count included 122 Australian Pied Oystercatchers – not as many as the 154 birds from last year but still an amazing count for them and confirming the importance of Port Stephens for this species. We found most were young birds i.e. <4 years old and not yet at breeding age. This suggests that young birds move to Port Stephens having hatched elsewhere. Clearly, more work is needed on this front (and we will look at getting your help on this).

We had 340 Bar-tailed Godwits, very similar number to last year’s count. These will also be young (pre-breeding) birds that did not fly back to the northern hemisphere. The Eastern Curlew count of 223 birds is also very noteworthy and is in contrast with only 52 birds last year. Again these would be young birds and the count possibly that indicates the species had better breeding success in the 2008 season . Or it could just mean that conditions were less favourable for them in Port Stephens last winter.

Several of us also had terrific views of a pair of Southern Right Whales frolicking in the middle of Port Stephens.

Two additional messages:

* Jack Adams is keen to know of any sightings of Osprey from the East Lake Macquarie area. The old nest tree has been damaged in a storm and there have been very few sightings of the birds. However, last month Colin Goodenough reported seeing an Osprey at Marks Point oval trying (unsuccessfully) to get sticks onto a oval light pole. We’d like to know more about what’s happening with these birds. Let me know of any sightings you have had from East Lake Macquarie and I will pass them on to Jack.

* I’m keen to know of any Pied Oystercatcher sightings from the Newcastle/Swansea/Lake Munmorah area in July. If you’ve seen any of them in the general area above in July, please let me know date, location, and number of birds.

Alan Stuart

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