Vol. 1 No. 3-text

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Price 10c. Published by the Gould League Birdwatchers
Vol. 1, No. 3 1st. Nov. 1966.
Patron: ALEC H.CHISHOLM 0.B.E., F.R.Z.S.
Hon. Secretary: L.COURTNEY HAINES,
10 Loquat Valley Road, Bayview.
Observations Committee: K.A.HINDWOOD A.R.McGILL.
Art Adviser: E . S . HOS KIN
Photographic Adviser: NORMAN CHAFFER
26 Bay View Street, Mt. Karing-gai.
By Arnold R. McGill, Arncliffe
The keeping of regular records for certain areas over a period
of time, covering movements and population counts, proves
interesting and informative A suggested method, which I have
used for over 25 years, is the use of a strong science book, with
species listed horizontally and a vertical line for each population
count. Each page (or pages) can readily summarize all personal
records for any locality regularly visited Well used sections in
my book concern “Old Cook’s River Estuary,” “Boat Harbour,”
“Royal National Park”, “Malabar”, “Homebush Bay,” “Hawkesbury
Swamps” etc. Each of the sub areas can readily be combined to
cover larger sections, such as Botany Bay or the County of
Cumberland. Increase or decline of certain species can be
ascertained at a glance by this principle after some years of record2.
-ing In all the “near -Sydney” sections there is scarcely any
reference between 1940 and 1956 to the White Ibis (Thre skiornis
molucca), Che stnut Teal (Anas castanea) or White -headed Stilt
(Himantopus leucocephalus). Any observation on each of these
species in the Sydney metropolitan area up to 1956 was “news”, all
three being a,liong the rarer birds looked for with aLAticipation
However, during the past ten years each has be come conspicuous
and common in favoured haunts The Teal and Stilt have bred in
near -Sydney localities — the Ibis may yet be found ne sting here
At Home bush Bay each of the se three species is regularly seen. The
Ibis and Teal have become common in many Sydney localities,
frequenting both salt -water and fresh -water habitats, but the Stilt so
far has only wandered sparingly to other Sydney swampland.
Of course these three species are not the only ones that have
shown a notable increase in the County, in recent years, Other
conspicuous irruptions include the White -plumed Honeyeater (Meliphapj,
penicillata), Galah (Kakatoe roseicapilla) and Red -backed Parrot
(Psephotus haematonotus). It is important to look closely
at the decline of many. However, in my many wanderings in Sydney’s
watered areas consider the White Ibis, Chestnut Teal and White –
headed. Stilt as noticeable examples of important population changes.

KURING -GAI CHASE: Sunday, September 25.
The morning was cold and wet, and the afternoon was worse;
nevertheless a dozen stout-hearted bird -watchers braved the elements
to spend several hours tramping around in the rain. The wildflowers
were magnificent, with native roses everywhere, and Mr. Waterhouse
showed us a delightfully sited thrushes’ nest with three eggs, but
after hiking along a firetrail for one hour and spotting 22 species, vie
called it a day.
Mr. Waterhouse earned our thanks for his efforts beyond the
normal call of duty.
BOTANY BAY: Saturday, October 15.
It was a sunny windy afternoon for our excursion to the mud
flats Cars were left parked along General Holmes Drive and Mr.
McGill led us across the mud -flats, warning us that we might be
in water to our knees or sink a little in the mud. Most people
wore sandshoes or went barefoot.
First we saw a large number of Sharp -tailed Sandpipers. Mr.
McGill said that while these birds are common in Australia they
are usually quite new to overseas visitors.
Unfortunately, three dogs were racing about on the flats and
several times scared away birds we were approaching. However, we
managed to get quite close to large numbers of birds.
The Bar -tailed Godwits were easy to pick out, being larger
than most of the others arid having such long beaks. We also
a saw one or two Black -tailed Godwits which are rarer. Standing
in the water, these were hard to distinguish from the other
Godwits although they have longer legs, but we were lucky
enough to see one in flight. We saw a good many Golden Plovers
and Mr. McGill drew our attention to their upright posture and
stillness. We also saw Crested Terns, Little Terns, Curlew
Sandpipers, Red -necked Stints and Lesser Knots, and our guide
was particularly pleased when he was able to show us a couple of
Turnstones, whose colouring was rather a contrast to that of the
other waders
Later we moved to the swamps on either side of the Drive and
here we saw a little Egret on the far bank, as well as Black Swans
Swamp Hen, Black -fronted Dotterel, Moor Hens, Coots, two
Hardheads, Black Ducks, and a Little Black and a Little Pied
Over forty people attended the excursion and we thank Mr. McGill
for all the information he gave us and for the trouble he took in
leading us.
Pam Green, Bellevue Hill,
November 19664
Forty four members of the Gould League of Bird Lovers,
ranging in age from 3 to 68 years, last month held their annual
Camp on Mullaculla station, on the west bank of the Darling
River 35 miles downstream from Menindee, the property of Mr.
Ross Williams. We were generously granted the use of the
Mullaculla shearers’ quarters, showers and dining room; our
genial organiser, “Johnny” Walker engaged a local cook; and
Kath Bennett our untiring housekeeper soon had everything under
control, in the food department. Ample transport by cars enabled
us to visit Redbank Creek, and Lake Cawndilla where we added
many Waterfowl to our list. The Wedgebill was a new bird to
most of us, and a pair of stately Brolgas gave everybody a thrill.
However, we found most of our birds within half a mile of the Camp
the favourite being the fairly common Yellow Rosella. For many
the most exciting event was when Peter Roberts climbed 25 feet
to a Wedgetailed Eagle’s nest and held up for our inspection a
fluffy 2 day old chick, while the parents perched on a tree two
miles away.
Nesting birds were scarce, and many species that normally
inhabit the area were absent because of the prevailing drought
conditions. We were struck by the contrast when Ross Williams
screened his colour movies of the 1959 floods when all but one
sixth of his property was under water and the sheep had to be
shifted from island to island by boat.
The day before we left rain turned the campsite into a quagmire
and there was some concern that we might not be able to leave on
time. However, the train travellers all reached Menindee in good
time, thanks in no small measure to the skill of the drivers.
The 1967 Camp is to be held either at Bonalbo near Lismore,
or at the Dorrigo National Park.
R. Fordham, Randwick.
From mid -July to early September, 1966, a lone Greenshank
frequented the rock -flats at Long Reef. The white rump, extending
up the back, was noticeable when in flight. This species is very
rare in Winter and seldom occurs on reef outcrops. Also seen at
the same place, on June 57 1966 was a Little Egret. The dark
grey, almost black, bill was quite noticeable. Also at Long Reef
on August 28, a flock of about 35 White -fronted Terns was seen.
This had built up to about 165 birds by August 28. On August 30,
not one was observed, but on September 4 a flock of about 55 birds
was present.
On July 31, 1966 I counted several small flocks of Swift Parrots
totalling more than 50 birds, feeding actively on small insects (? )
which they nibbled off the leaves of tall eucalyptus growing on
Cromer Golf Links near Dee Why. Also in the same locality
were Musk Lorikeets, Rainbow Lorikeets, six Red -backed Parrots
and 2 White Cockatoos.
A lone Glossy Ibis was seen on August 27 and September 6
1966, feeding on the swamp at McGrath’s Hill Wildlife Refuge. In
late 1964 one frequented the southern side of Narrabeen Lake. A
little further west, at Pugh’s Lagoon, Richmond, three Blue -winged
Shovelers one male and two females, were noted on August 27, 1966.
Also on September 6, at McGrath’s Hill, I watched two Black shouldered
Kites passing a mouse from one to the other, which came up under-
neath to grasp it The bird that received it all the time uttered
a harsh, gull -like call, then flew off to a clump of trees in the
Four Spangled Drongos were noted frequently in the vicinity
of Collaroy Plateau for a period of five months. A white phase
specimen of the Giant Petrel was observed flying off Long Reef on
4 1966. With the coming of Spring, a large percentage
of the Sooty Oystercatchers have left Long Reef.
David Sawyer, Collaroy Plateau
November 1966.6.
The Saturday was cloudy and overcast after overnight showers.
Sunday was cold and fine. A list of 55 species was compiled over
this period, the more noteworthy being the Whistling Eagle, White
Ibis, Little Egret, Pied Cormorant, White Egret, White -breasted
Sea -Eagle, Mangrove Heron, Eastern Curlew, Grey -tailed Tattler,
Drongo, Brown Honeyeater, Coucal, Royal Spoonbill, Jabiru,
Mangrove Warbler, Mistletoe -bird, Osprey, Satin Bower -bird, Grey’
crowned Babbler, Maned Goose and Pied Oystercatcher.
Among my field notes were the following remarks: “A Whistling
Eagle was being chased by two Magpie Larks. I doubt if there is ar
flow of nectar in the Banksia blossoms on wet dull or damp morning!
The Osprey was on its favoured perching -place — a short post on th
Wallamba River Over the years the Eastern Curlew appears to
be increasing in numbers. A pair of White faced Herons were
building a nest in a tea -tree in a local garden. A Drongo (probably
an immature) showed more red around the eye than usual — also
a more metallic sheen on the shoulders. This species was observed
feeding on panksia blossoms . A flock of over 20 Royal Spoonbills
presented a fine early -morning sight flying in to feed on the tidal
flats. Likewise, the emerald -green head and neck, and the
red legs of the Jabiru presents a fine sight in the early morning sun
light as it flew in from Wallis Island. A Black Swan was observed
with a white band low down on the neck, near Native Dog Island,
Wallis Lake._ In the early morning I observed two Mangrove
Warblers on Native Dog Island. The yellow legs of the Grey -tailed
Tattler are a prominent identification guide.
Jack Debert, Forster.
Over the past three years a Wattle bird has become quite tame.
perches on the clothes line, and calls. As I move out with bread
moistened with sugar and honey it flies swiftly to me. Currawongs
Magpies, Magpie -Larks and Kookaburras come also regularly for
meat and bread, the last mentioned only accepting meat.
An occasional Black -faced Cuckoo Shrike swoops down when meat is
thrown, picking it up without alighting. A Butcher Bird also accept
some meat after rendering its sweet musical call.
Miss. E. Oakley, Wahroonga.
The following are some birds that I have observed, nesting here
since October 1.
Four pairs of Rainbow -birds in tunnels 2 or 3 feet long, in
sloping sandy ridges.
Three pairs of White -headed Sittellas with nests placed in
upright forks of dead branches of green bloodwood, and ironbark
trees at 60 to 80 feet. Two nests have young, one has eggs.
Two pairs of Dusky Woodswallows, one nest in a broken off
branch at 60 feet, the other on a protruding bark ledge 12 feet up
in a dead tree.
Three pairs of Grey Butcher -birds in oaks and in a bloodwood
sapling, at 8 to 12 feet.
Many Eastern Rosellas are nesting. On Oct. 11 I inspected
6 white rounded eggs in the hollow centre of a 5 feet fence post.
Also nesting; Leaden Flycatcher, Forest and Sacred Kingfishers
Tawny Frogmouth, Willie Wagtail, Restless Flycatcher, Welcome
Swallow, Scaly -breasted Lorikeet, White throated Treecreeper, White –
throated Warbler, Weebill, _Brown Hawk, Little Eagle and Wedge –
tailed Eagle.
All these nests are in lightly timbered open forest country
with bloodwood, ironbark, and blackbutts, plus many dead trees.
ARTHUR BOND, Yorklea, Casino.
October 13, 1966.
November, 1966.8
Mr. Basil Marlow, of the Australian Museum, has been elected
President of the Society for the coming year, and Mr. J. Campbell
is the new Honorary Treasurer. Mrs. L. Harford was re-elected
Honorary Secretary.
The November meeting will be a film evening at which Harold
Pollock’s most recent work, “WHERE THE PELICAN BUILDS
HER NEST” will be screened along with two Canadian bird films
(Thursday November 7.)
The December meeting will be addressed by Mr. A.R.McGill on
Mt. Isa birds, and will be illustrated with colour slides taken
on his recent trip to that area (Thursday December 5.)
Sunday, December 4: Hawkesbury Swamps.
The morning will be spent at Bushell’s Lagoon where Swans
Pelicans, Stilts, Egrets and Ducks abound, and the afternoon at
Long=neck Lagoon to see what is in the reedbeds. ‘Bring lunch and
sandshoes for paddling. Meet in Windsor Park opposite St.MatthewI5
Church at 10.45, to meet the train that departs Central at 9.08 a.m.
If travelling by train please advise the Editor beforehand.
Sunday January 23. Warwick Farm
LEADER: Athel Colemane
Details next issue.
The Five Islands excursion, scheduled for November 5 has bee
cancelled as no suitable boat could be secured.