Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shane's Park - Birding Western Sydney

Eremaea had been full of reports about some good birding happening out in Shane's Park - a Western Sydney suburb - A piece of Air Services Land off Captain Cook Drive had delivered rarities good enough to fire up the rest of the birding gang and an early Sunday morning the Magna was heading west for a bit of close-to-home weekend excitement.

It nearly seemed the birds knew that it was going to be a warm day. They were all over the place trying to do all their birdy things in the first few hours of the day, so we benefited well and truly from having an early start to the day. In less than 500m of walking we saw Fan-tailed and Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, the latter being new to me.

Shane's Park might not be the most picturesque part of Australia, but the wildlife was excellent and we had heaps of photo opportunities. The army of caterpillars above was a great sight. When approach they simultaneously started to shake enhancing the illusion of them being one large entity.

Sighting of the day - apart from the Shining Bronze-Cuckoo - was a close encounter with the Eastern Brown Snake above and below. What fantastic creatures snakes are! The very large Brown Snake was lying sunning itself next to a small creek when we spotted it. As if it knew it had been sighted it slowly started moving. As we started jumping around trying to get the best possible photos, the snake decided to quickly get away from all the shenanigans and gave a fantastic display of its swimming credentials speeding across the creek and into the scrub in a matter a seconds. Good stuff!

As the day progressed and it got warmer the heat brought out all kinds of exciting stuff including spiders, skinks and weirdly shaped insects. We still saw birds, including the Eastern Shrike-tit below and a possible White-throated Gerygone which we stalked for nearly half and hour without getting sufficiently good views. But it was as if the birds slowly disappeared possibly the heat played a factor, but also the extensive use of petrol propelled 2 and 4 wheelers on the bush tracks made the place a less relaxing hangout for birds and birders.

All in all a great day in Shane's park! We dipped on a number of the reported species, but good to save a few species for another day :-) If you are considering visiting the area, my best advice is to go early! The midday use of the area as a race track is quite disturbing. Second best advice is to keep an eye on the track in front of you - who knows what will be lurking ;-)


Aleisha and Simon Iremonger said...

Top effort Allan, nice photos. The one and only thing I miss about Oz is the abundance of photogenic wildlife.

Jarrod said...

It would be a magnificent country if it was not for all of the people.

AGL said...

Hi boys,

Thanks! Guess you, Simon, went for the abundance of stunning landscapes instead, you can't get it all :-) Your Canon 10-22mm must be loving it?

As foreigners, I guess we are (or in one case have been) all guilty of clogging up Sydney :-D ... and one of us is even in the progress of adding to the problem! Naughty you Jarrod ;-) - any news on that front?

KH Allan

Jarrod said...

Yes Adelle had the baby yesterday (4/1/11) morning. I'll put some details up soon.