Birdwatching in Centennial Park


Centennial Park is one of the best places to go birdwatching in Sydney.

Two years ago, when we moved here from the U.S. I was most surprised at how integrated the city was with nature. Life in New York meant leaving the city to see nature, often driving a couple of hours to properly be surrounded by trees with enough quiet to properly hear the birds. Here in Sydney there's a lot of wildlife in general, but one of our favorite places to bird watch and one of the best in Sydney is Centennial Park near Paddington.

Centennial Park is a huge park with open spaces and a few large ponds. We've found that the most bird activity is by the ponds and it varies each time we're there. My favorite sighting at the park always include the Australian Pelicans swimming among the Black Swans.

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Scattered in the trees along the fringes of the pond are often large groups of Little Corellas, although I was surprised to see a Long Billed Corella there last week. The Corellas are beautiful birds with pops of neon around their necks and bright blue patches around their eyes.

And while the Corella's have beautiful eyes, I think the award for Best Eyes goes to the Hard Headed (White-Eye) Ducks at the park. They are striking, even from a distance.

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Another feature of Centennial Park are the resident flying foxes. There is a large colony of hundreds that live there during the day then roam the city at night. I have to admit, I was a bit startled when I came across the flying foxes as I wasn't expecting them, but was excited to see so many up close. They are in Lachlan swamp, just near the small white bridge.

But. Although we love all the birds we've described above, our absolute favorite feathered resident of Centennial Park and transitory migrant is the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo!

You can find these hungry muppets happily snacking away in any of the pine forest around the park. The best thing to do is enter the park, head to the cafe and look up. Try to see if any are flying overhead then follow them. If not, check the pine forests. There's one just behind the administration building which is behind the cafe.

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Overall, Centennial Park is a great place to go birding in Sydney, especially for beginners because just by standing next to the lakes, you have an opportunity to observe many different kinds of native Australian birds. It's always a treat to go there and since it's so easy to get to from the city, birders can even enjoy it before or after work.

If you do get a chance to do some bird watching in Centennial Park, drop a line and let us know what you saw! Here is an abbreviated list of our favorite and easy to spot birds at the park:

1) Australian Pelican
2) Darter
3) Purple Swamphen
4) Dusky Moorhen
5) White-Faced Heron
6) Little Egret
7) Black Swan
8) Pacific Black Duck
9) Australian Wood Duck
10) Great Cormorant
11) Pied Cormorant
12) Hardhead Duck
13) Little Pied Cormorant
14) Australian White Ibis
15) Australasian Grebe
16) Little Black Cormorant
17) Masked Lapwing
18) Grey Butcherbird
19) Kookaburra
20) Australian Raven
21) Little Corella
22) Long-billed Corella
23) Crested Pidgeon
24) Magpie-Lark
25) Magpie
26) Willie Wagtail
27) Welcome Swallow
28) Tree Martin
29) Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
30) Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (May)
31) Rainbow Lorikeet
32) Eurasian Coot
33) Pied Currawong

Let us know what you see!

Stephanie + Amy


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