This morning was a catch up in eastern Sydney. Firstly Centennial Park, an oasis close to the centre of Sydney, gathering place for a surprising number of water birds and some bush birds. Checking on the regulars, there is one of the Tawny Frogmouths, a male, together with this year’s fledgling sitting on a higher branch in the same tree. The Intermediate Egret is on the Lily Pond and the Grey Butcherbird is in position to swoop on passersby. At Kensington Pond I do a standardized two hectare, twenty minute survey. Not many water birds, some Dusky Moorhens and a couple of Eurasian Coots. There are New Holland Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebirds, Spotted Doves and Crested Pigeons as well as the usual collection of Superb Fairy-wrens, Australian Magpies, Australian Ravens and Magpie-larks. Highlight is a Sacred Kingfisher sitting on the far bank close to construction work for the Randwick Golf Course Light Rail Station - still going on.
Then on to Randwick Environment Park, a small park formed in 2010 from 13 hectares that had been previously part of Randwick Army Barracks. The park contains endangered remnant Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub and a wetlands covering several hectares at its centre. At times this park has attracted unusual birds including Latham’s Snipe, White-necked Heron, Australasian Shovelers, Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo, and Spangled Drongos. However as this year’s drought kicked in the wetland dried and water birds disappeared. Another standardized survey confirms that Australian Magpies, Red Wattlebirds, Laughing Kookaburras (pictured below) and Noisy Miners have taken control of what is now a totally dry area. The highlight was a Yellow-rumped Thornbill, an uncommon visitor to the park.