Common birds you can photograph at Hunter Wetlands

We love going to the Hunter in general. The valley and its fabulous wineries, the food and desserts and the birdlife, of course. Then there is Hexham Swamp, which is a massive swamp with access to the public via private roads and those people who know the combination of the padlock securing the gates. And then there’s Ash Island, the beaches and really, the mind boggles when one thinks of all the great places birds can be found in the Hunter.

But Hunter Wetlands Center in Shortland is special. It’s an internationally recognised wetland under the Ramsar agreement. There are more than 200 species of birds that have been recorded there and any visit you make, could bring a special sighting on the day. Albeit, nothing is guaranteed in the world of the bird photographer.

The wetlands center has a number of walking tracks around ponds, through swamps and small patches of woodland. This means that you can encounter anything from wetland species to forest dwellers.

These are just some of the more common birds you could see and photograph at the wetlands.

Australasian Grebe, a small water bird common in some parts of the wetlands. They dive underwater to catch fish and invertebrates.
White-faced Heron, a medium-sized heron often seen in fields, ponds and around rivers, catching insects and small aquatic life.
Black Swan, one of the larger birds in a wetland. Their pretty, albeit mournful, trumpet-like calls can be heard from time to time.
Australasian Darter, once called a Snakebird for its long neck. Like cormorants, they dive deep underwater to take fish and other aquatic organisms.
Australian White Ibis, aka the humble Bin Chicken. These natives fill an important role in the wetlands eating crustaceans and other invertebrates. This ibis is about to swallow a crab that it removed the legs from prior to eating.
A female Australian Wood Duck peers into my wide angle lens. When habituated, short focal length lenses can be used for a different perspective.
Pacific Black Duck flapping its wings to dry itself off after a good wash in the water. A very common duck species, yet still stunning looking in its own right.
Hunter Wetlands Center is well-known for its population of Magpie Geese. These large birds are often at the main ponds as you enter the walking tracks.
A Little Pied Cormorant flying through in the late afternoon sun one winter day.
Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage look downright spectacular with those orange plumes and “punk hair style”.
An Eastern Great Egret with a small fish it caught in the shallows. Egrets are amazing hunters. Some use their feet to disturb the substrate, which attracts fish that in turn get taken by the bird.

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