Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Miscellaneous birds - Byron Bay 2

Five visits to the Byron Bay Integrated Water Management Reserve yielded 68 species of birds which is not bad for late autumn when many migrant species are absent. Also, following widespread rain after Cyclone Debbie, large areas of wet habitat for nomadic water birds have been created which means birds are distributed more widely and not concentrated in the more permanent wetlands.

The brochure “Birds of the Byron Wetlands, A Birdwatchers guide to Wetlands” prepared by members of Byron Bird Buddies, lists 227 species that have been recorded at the wetlands. Of the 227 species 112 (50%) are listed as common while 61 (27%) are uncommon, 54 (24%) are rare at the site and just 4 are introduced species.

The following photos are all from the Byron Bay Integrated Water Management Reserve.

Please click on photos to enlarge.

Azure Kingfisher – I crossed paths with Azures on a few occasions.

Forest Kingfisher fluffed up in the morning cool – looking for a frog breakfast.

           The bird moved to a new perch – shortly after it pounced and captured a small frog.

I saw two birds catch small frogs – unfortunately I was not able to photograph them with the frogs in their bills.

Intermediate Egret – the long body, legs and neck gives the bird a long reach when hunting.

Intermediate Egret in breeding plumage.

 Little Egrets were also hunting on the wetlands along with Intermediate and a few Great Egrets. 

Cattle Egrets roosted in the wetlands overnight, however I did not see them at the wetlands during the day – they were no doubt out feeding among cattle in adjoining paddocks.

Dozens of Australasian Grebes were diving for food among the water lilies.

There were also large numbers of Eurasian Coots feeding among the water lilies. 
A young White-bellied Sea-Eagle circled low over the wetlands obviously looking for prey (I think this bird is a “second immature” and therefore is about 3 years old).
The bird made a rather inelegant landing in melaleuca trees beside the wetland. A rather flimsy perch. 

Eventually the bird settled and then stayed for about 25 minutes overlooking the wetland.

I watched hoping to see the bird launch an attack on an unsuspecting water bird however the bird finally departed without making any such attempt.

Willie Wagtails and Restless Flycatchers hunted for insect prey around the margins and out over the wetlands.
There were good numbers of Pacific Black Duck on the wetlands. They often exploded from the water and flew off with indignant quacking.

I encountered several pairs of Tawny Grassbirds along the margins of the wetlands. 
Along with Little Grassbirds and Australian Reed-Warblers they rarely show themselves especially when a bird photographer is lurking nearby.

After spending some time trying to get a reasonable photo of this elusive bird, this and the photo above were about as good as I could achieve.

Female Variegated Fairy-wren – the male eluded me.
Double-barred Finch – there were also Red-browed Finches at the wetlands.
Large numbers of melaleuca were in flower in the Byron Bay area and around and in the wetlands so there were good numbers of honeyeaters present including the rather elusive White-cheeked Honeyeater.

If you are interested in visiting the Byron Bay Integrated Water Management Reserve, you must contact Byron Shire Council to arrange access – a copy of the brochure and a site map is provided on registration.

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