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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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Bird Watching

Bird watching has a special interest for a number of Shoalhaven Bushwalkers, some of whom have been heard to complain about others who chat on rather too loudly while hiking. Canoeing the estuaries and enjoying the birds had Ken Walker asking (in the April 1992 edition of the New Bush Telegraph) -

"Have you ever watched the seemingly lazy grace of a heron lifting off a mangrove flat, or glided along the edge of a reed bed in the gentle breeze following a narrow, winding creek and been charmed by the liquid trilling of a reed warbler serenading its mate? Have you ever marvelled at the flashing beauty of a kingfisher in its dip and swoop from perch to perch just ahead of you down the stream, or been thrilled by the frantic paddling of dozens of feet as a flock of black swans desperately tries to become airborne when suddenly surprised by you slipping quietly closer to them ... and then their breathtaking grace as they wheel trumpeting away to another 'dredging ground' further up a lake too shallow for water skiers? Did you ever silently paddle around the bend of a stream to be startled by the scramble and dive of a big water dragon or two, or observe a lyrebird ripple the stillness of the water in the quietness of a bushland clearing far away from the nearest bike or four wheel trail? If you've never had any of these marvellous experiences, try borrowing a canoe or dust off that old one in the rafters of the garage, grab your binoculars and set off."


In October 1999 a group of walkers keen on watching birds spent two days at the Barren Grounds Bird Observatory and Field Studies Centre near Kiama. Pat Green arranged accommodation in the refurbished stone lodge and early morning bird watching with a ranger to help identify the many birds that frequent Barren Ground. Did anyone sight the elusive Ground Parrot?

Dianne Wright wrote about one particular species of bird. "At this time of the year - when all our summer visitors, having raised their young, moulted their very worn feathers and looking bright and squeaky clean, are about to depart to warmer climes - an unusual character appears in our midst: the Spangled Drongo. Who else would come south for the winter but a drongo?!


"Watch out for this fellow - a very active black bird about the size of a peewee, with a large head and long 'fishtail'. The head and back are dull black but the wings and tail are shinier with glossy green spangles on the head, neck and upper breast. Hairlike feathers jut out around a strong, black bill and with its bright red eyes and raised crown feathers it can look slightly mad!

"The drongo favours mangroves, coastal scrub and open woodlands. It perches on an exposed branch and darts off after insects in an acrobatic flight, delightful to watch. The period from February through to August is the most likely time to see drongos, although one was sighted last December at Copper Cup Point near Culburra."

Joan Adams of Vincentia wrote in the NBT in 1990 - "Upper Palma Creek. What a delightful place to explore on a cool autumn day's bushwalking. Our lunch break was spent watching eight or more Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos fly above in circles, settle in the tree tops for a few moments, then fly on, their mournful cry telling of their presence even when they were out of sight."

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