Highlights of Port Hacking birdlife - Winter 2023

Wednesday, 13 September 2023

  • Estimated reading time 10 minutes

Winter in Port Hacking NSW is usually quiet for shore, sea and water birds, but not this year. This video, with sound, provides highlights of the birdlife in Port Hacking over the winter 2023 season.

We saw a record number of migratory, critically endangered, eastern curlews that did not fly to their breeding grounds in the sub-arctic areas of Russia and northern China. There could be a few reasons for this which I talk about in the video. The migratory shorebirds are also suffering a number of problems impacting their ability to safely roost and feed in Port Hacking going forward. There is an increased amount of dog disturbance and  we still have not been able to find a way to restore their roosting area. This results in them being chased over the 2km stretch of beach trying to find room to sleep or as a last resort they fly out to Botany Bay.

Black swans used to be a regular feature of Port Hacking before 1950. It was noted in an historical newsletter that the swans ended up being chased out by off-leash dogs, around a decade or so before dogs were required to be confined to properties and not roam unsupervised off-leash. This year in Port Hacking saw a return black swans and this is described in the linked  video.

Port Hacking saw birds that are not normally seen, in unusually large numbers. Large flocks of cattle egrets were seen stopping in for a rest before continuing on. Seeing them crowding together in mangroves was a very unusual sight. There was successful nesting for white-bellied sea eagles and ospreys.

We had a pied stilt family that stopped in for a day for a “driver reviver” type rest and feed before they went on to their preferred habitat.

Masked lapwings took advantage of a warmer winter to nest earlier and were able to raise a very cute little chick

Julie Keating