Vol. 13 No. 4-text

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Journal of the
June, 1979
Volume 13, No. 4

ISSN 0311-8150

Registered for Posting as a Periodical Category BTHE N.S.W. FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
COMMITTEE J. Strudwick
J. Dixon
E. Hoskin
The object of the Club is to promote the study and conservation of Australian birds and the
habitats they occupy.
Annual subscription rates of the Club (due 1st July each year) are:
Single Member (within Co. of Cumberland) $8.00
Single Member (Country and overseas) $7.00
Family Member $9.00
Junior Member $5.00
All members receive a quarterly newsletter and a copy of the quarterly journal “Australian
Birds”. The price of the journal is $2.00 plus postage per issue to non-memhers. Club badges
are available to club members at $1.30 or $1.50 if posted. The Club holds a meeting and a
field excursion each month.
All correspondence should be addressed to the Hon. Secretary at:
90 Picnic Point Road, Picnic Point. 2213
All memucrship fees should be sent to the Hon. Treasurer at:
18 Russell Street, Oatley. 2223
Manuscripts should be sent to the Editor at:
P.O. Box 39, Coonabarabran. 2857MOS
June, 1979
Volume 13, No. 4
During a recent conversation, a Cobar resident informed me that he possessed
a mounted specimen of the Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata, in which I showed
an interest. He was able to provide further information to the effect that:- A party
of duck shooters shot on a billabong adjacent to the Darling River, and down-
stream from Louth in March 1975. The flood waters were receding and there was
an abundance of submerged vegetation.
Flying with five shovelers was a bird thought to be a partial albino Blue -winged
Shoveler Anas rhynchotis, the breast being snowy white. This bird became the
prime target and was subsequently taken. When fresh it was noted that the bird
had yellow irides, orange legs and feet, a black bill and a brilliant glossy green
head. The specimen has now been lodged in the Australian Museum, specimen.
No. 0.47404.
The mounted bird was examined closely and after consulting reference
material, agreed on the identification as an adult male Northern Shoveler in
breeding pI lumage. The head and upper neck were dark grey and although faded.
showed some green irridescence. The breast was white extending to form a ring
around the lower neck. The belly was rich chestnut brown, being paler toward
the flank which was white. The flight feathers were brown with an irridescent green
speculum. The upper wing coverts were mid -blue, whilst the back feathers were
brown with paler edges.
When Gould (in Campbell 1974) visited New South Wales during the wet year
of 1839 “all the depressed parts of the land were filled with water, and the lagoons
here, there, and everywhere, were tenanted by hundreds of ducks of various
species, and every now and then one, two, or more beautifully plumaged Shovelers
were seen amongst them; but I did not succeed in shooting one of them, and must
have left the matter in doubt as to the particular species if the late Mr. Coxen, of
Yarrundi, had not the skin of a splendid old male in his possession, which he had
himself shot, and which, after careful examination, I found to be identical with the
Spatula clypeata of Britain and the European Continent. Misfortune, I regret to
say, attended Mr. Coxen’s specimen, for a day or two afterwards a rat or some
other kind of vermin entered the room in which it was kept, ate off its bill and legs,
and so otherwise mutilated the skin as to render it useless. The debris would still
have been saved had I not hoped and felt assured of obtaining other examples with58 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
Mounted specimen of Male Northern Shoveler shot at Louth, 1976.
Photo: A. K. Morris.
my gun; this hope, however, was never realised. To this subject, therefore,
recommend the attention of those in Australia, who will doubtless meet with the
bird some day when the country is subject to partial inundation”.
Over 130 years passed before Gould’s expectations were realised, and
although he did not mention the area of New South Wales in which he saw the
“beautifully plumaged Shovelers” it is interesting to note that the year in which
the Louth specimen was obtained followed two years of exceptionally high rain-
fall causing extensive flooding in central Australia.
The only other Australasian record relates to a drake Northern Shoveler that
was taken in New Zealand on 6 May 1968 near Pokeno, Lower Waikato (Howard,
1969) in full breeding plumage, now Auckland War Memorial Museum No. A.V.

  1. The Northern Shoveler is known to trNavel further south on its migrations than
    other northern ducks and is not deterred by the ‘heat barrier” of the Tropics.
    Vagrants have been recorded in South Africa (Roberts 1966), Australia and New
    The male Northern Shoveler in eclipse plumage resembles the female which,
    is very similar to the female Blue -winged Shoveler (Frith 1967). Had the Louth
    specimen not been in breeding plumage it would not have been readily distin-
    guished from the latter. It could be considered then, that Northern Shoveler
    females, and males in eclipse plumage, may visit Australia more frequently than
    records indicate. Perhaps closer examinations of shovelers may reveal more male
    Northern Shovelers in partial breeding plumage, particularly if any green gloss is
    remaining on the head and neck, or white feathers in the breast.
    Note that in the accompanying photograph, the preparator has placed the
    wings outside the chestnut flank feathers, but in normal posture, the flank feathersJune, 1979 59
    cover the wing and the blue upper wing coverts are therefore not noticeable except
    in flight.
    would like to thank Doug Osborne of Cobar for allowing access to his
    specimen and for providing information. G. Holmes of Armidale provided the New
    Zealand reference.
    Frith, H. J. 1967. Waterfowl in Australia. Sydney: Angus and Robertson.
    Gould, J. 1974. In Campbell, A. J. Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds, Melbourne:
    Wren Edition.
    Howard, P. J. 1969. A New Zealand record of the Northern Shoveler. Notornis 15,
    Roberts, A. 1966. Birds of South Africa. Cape Town: Trustees of the South Africa
    Bird Book Fund. Revised Edition.
    R. Moffat. P.O. Box 453, Cobar, N.S.W. 2835.
    For four years (1975-78) have recorded the birds in two areas, each of ten
    hectares, at Maulbrooks Road, 4.5 km north-west of Moruya. It is worth present-
    ing a summary of results partly as a reference for the future and partly as a
    record of the avian community in forested areas in these parts. It must be stressed
    that the record applies only to woodland and forest; in cleared and semi -cleared
    land only a few hundred metres from where I worked the association of species
    is very different and many birds that record as accidental are common breeding
    Maulbrooks Road runs almost due north -south along a ridge 100 m asl. My
    own property (OP hereafter), a rectangle of about 200 x 450 m, runs down the
    western slope and just crosses a short stretch of the stream in the valley at
    about 30 m asl. In dry weather the stream stops flowing. An area of State Forest
    (SF hereafter, 250 x 400 m) was also studied; from almost opposite OP, it ran
    down the eastern slope of the ridge, covering a system of gullies draining into
    Dooga Creek. Both areas have been gridded with paths at intervals of 50 m.
    SF is a fairly uniform stand of Spotted Gums Eucalyptus maculata and Grey
    Ironbarks E. paniculata, 30-40 m tall, with some Blackbutts E. pilularis and other
    gums; there is a patchy understorey of acacia and casuarina about 8-10 m tall,
    much Burrawang Macrozamia communis in central areas, thickets of low acacia
    (2-4 m) on ridges in the north-eastern part and some vine -tangled shrubberies
    here and there along the gullies, which are dry except after heavy rain. It has
    not been logged or apparently burnt for many years.
    The upper half of OP is somewhat similar, though E. maculata and paniculata
    are not dominant, E. pilularis is more common as is the Yellow Stringybark E.
    muellerana. There are several large Rough -barked Apples Angophora floribunda.
    Understorey of acacia and casuarina with much Macrozamia is similar to that of
    SF. This part, particularly near the road, was logged for pitprops some years
    ago but evidence of the activity is now slight. The lower half of OP, however,
    was probably cleared or partly cleared in the past when the area was part of a
    large property and, though some large A. floribunda remain and a sparse stand
    of Forest Red Gums E. tereticornis and Manna Gums E. viminalis occurs towards
    the stream and a rather uniform stand of unidentified gums across the stream,
    the character of this lower half is a regrowth of acacia to 10 m tall and tangled60 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
    thickets of old and young Kunzea ambigua to about 5 m high; a low-lying swampy
    area of about one hectare on the northern side has a dense thicket of Melaleuca
    tea -tree.
    My house is in the south-eastern corner of OP and some clearing has been
    done round it. A strip along the southern boundary of OP was also cleared for
    electricity supply, which reduced the woodland of OP to about 8 hectares; this
    has now gradually regrown with acacias, sapling gums and Kunzea. A small dam
    was made at the bottom of the clearing in September 1975. Apart from noting
    birds and nests in this clearing, paid little attention to it and have not included
    it or nests found in it when assessing numbers of birds breeding in OP. Though
    some species, e.g. Dusky Woodswallow, Jacky Winter, occurred only in the
    clearing, it had little or no ‘edge effect’ and do not think that it led to the
    breeding of more pairs of birds or to the occurrence of more species than would
    have been in OP if this part of the bush had not been cleared.
    I kept daily records of all birds seen or heard, as far as possible with
    estimates of their numbers and was unable to do so only during short (4-5 days)
    periods of heavy rain, three or four occasions of 3-5 days each year when visited
    Melbourne, a few other days when visited Canberra and from 5 June to 15
    August 1978 when I was overseas. Roughly, in the first seven months of the year
    my custom was to walk the grid of OP or SF every day slowly between about
    08:30 and 11:00 hours. From late July to early January was out almost all day
    from dawn to 18:00 hours except for meals. At times also mistnetted the areas,
    to colour -band as many birds of easily studied species as could, using bands
    supplied by the Australian Bird Banding Scheme.
    Instead of giving results in a straightforward systematic list of all species, it
    has seemed more informative to divide the species into various categories
    according to status.
    Nearly all species that were known to breed in at least one year in OP or
    SF or very close by and that occurred throughout the rest of the year are regarded
    as breeding residents. Numbers of pairs breeding in each area are given
    (combined if the territory of a pair apparently covered parts of both blocks). A
    minus sign before a single pair indicates that the territory was thought to be
    larger than the block, without implying how much larger; before other numbers,
    that the territory of one or more pairs extended outside the block. This seems
    better than expressing incomplete territories as 1/2s or using vague terms like
    ‘rare’ and ‘common’ to suggest abundance.
    Wonga Pigeon Leucosarcia melanoleuca
    OP 1-2 pr; SF 1-2 pr. Each year from January or early February until March
    or early April these birds fell silent, perhaps when moulting after the end of
    breeding; yet, in this period birds were often seen in the larger numbers than at
    other times of year.
    Gang Gang Cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum
    SF 1-2 pr. After breeding, from about mid -January to June or July, flocks of
    10-30 passed through occasionally or came to feed at fruiting gum trees but pairs
    or smaller parties were regularly about at the same time.
    Australian King Parrot Alisterus scapularis
    SF 1-2 pr. King Parrots came to roost in the forest and did some feeding
    there but probably they fed mostly far away in more open places and even in
    Moruya. In consequence they were usually seen as pairs and small parties (< 6)
    outside the breeding season, flying past, but, except in 1977, flocks of 12-50 birds
    were fairly often seen from as early as 11 January to 6 August, specially coming
    to inkweed when in fruit.June, 1979 61
    Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans
    SF ± 6 pr. Though Crimson Rosellas fed much on low shrubs like Leuco-
    pogon juniperinus, they seemed usually to move out of the woods in early
    morning and return in the evening, like the King Parrots but in pairs or small
    groups (< 5) and not noted in large flocks. Seen coming to roost in the leafy ends
    of branches of tall E. pilularis even in high winds when the whole tree was in
    violent motion.
    Southern Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae OP and SF -1 pr.
    Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides
    OP and SF -1 pr, perhaps none in 1975 and 1978 but, even when known to
    be roosting in the one or two trees for several weeks in 1976 and 1977 calling
    was seldom heard. Roosting birds did not sit in the rigid cryptic pose but assumed
    it gradually as approached; normally they sat in a rounded hunched attitude,
    resembling small footballs.
    Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae OP -1 group; SF -1 group.
    Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae
    Three singing males occurred within 500 m of my house: females were
    hardly ever seen except at nests and all birds apparently avoided OP, which had
    no display mounds and where birds were seen only three or four times.
    Rose Robin Petroica rosea
    occuO r P th r1 o up gr; h oS uF t 1 t hp er . yE ean ro u bg uh t r rae rc eo r id ns Ji an ne uv ae ryry am ndo n Fth e bto ru am rya k we hi et ns u pre e rhth aa pt s b ti hrd es y
    are moulting and quiet. Both known nests failed and the pairs disappeared almost
    immediately after the failure.
    Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis
    OP -T 6 pr; SF 6-8 pr. Nests with young have been known to be attended by
    up to five birds; the population, then, is higher than the simple total of pairs.
    Grey Shrike -thrush Collurincincla harmonica OP -2 pr; SF 2 pr.
    Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus OP -1 pr; SF 0-1 pr.
    Spotted Quail -thrush Cinclosoma punctatus
    One pair occupied the ridge between OP and SF, entering both and ranging
    for at least 200 m north and south.
    Superb Fairy -wren Malurus cyaneus
    OP 1-6 groups; SF 1-3 groups. Population in both areas decreased steadily
    from 1975 for no apparent reason.
    Variegated Fairy -wren Malurus lamberti OP 1-2 groups; SF 1-2 groups.
    White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis OP -3 pr; SF 3 pr.
    Brown Gerygone Gerygone mouki
    SF 1-3 pr. Seen only once or twice in OP and rarely noted from January to
    June, when probably overlooked.
    Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla OP -8 or 9 pr; SF -10 or 11 pr.
    Striated Thornbill Acanthiza lineata
    OP 4-5 pr; SF 6+ pr. Difficult to assess population because nests in treetops
    were hard to find.
    Varied (Orange -winged) Sittella Daphnoenositta chrysoptera OP 1 group; SF -1
    o Wr h2 i teg -r to hu rp os a. t ed Treecreeper Climacteris leucophaea OP -3 pr; SF -4 pr.
    Red-browed Treecreeper Climacteris erythrops SF 1 pr.
    Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii OP 1 pr; SF pr.
    Yellow -faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops
    OP 8 pr; SF ± 6 pr. Large numbers (00’s) passed north in April, May and62 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
    even June, but return passage was not noticed because breeding birds became
    conspicuous from August onwards, and because at that season large numbers
    often frequented flowering trees. From late January to March birds became either
    very unobtrusive or scarce, and possibly, judged from the fact that banded birds
    that had bred, were rarely seen between January and August, the breeding
    population departed at the beginning of the year and was replaced by other birds
    during autumn and winter.
    Yellow -tufted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops
    OP. A colony of up to 24 birds occupied an area along the stream from April
    1976, decreasing in numbers each year afterwards. At maximum, four or five
    groups nested.
    White-naped Honeyeater Melithreptus lunatus
    OP 2-3 pr; SF ? pr. Numbers hard to assess because the birds are so active
    in the treetops and nest high. Certainly more common in SF than in OP. Move-
    ments and fluctuations of numbers similar to those of L. chrysops.
    Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris OP 3 pr; SF ? 3 pr.
    Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus
    OP 4-5 pr; SF 5 pr. Recorded in all months but very seldom from early or
    mid -January to early July; birds are either silent or scarce in the first six months
    of the year.
    Red-browed Firetail Emblema temporalis
    OP 6-8 pr; SF 8 pr. In flocks (< 50) from mid -February to about the begin-
    ning of August.
    Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus vio/aceus
    One main bower owned by a dominant male in OP and another in SF.
    One to three females, at least, have nested near each and presumably mated
    with the males at the different bowers. Parties form from about March but soon
    seemed to move out of the woods; except for males regularly visiting their bowers,
    birds were not frequent until the following August.
    Pied Currawong Strepera graculina
    SF -1 pr. From February to July flocks (< 35) occasionally appeared or flew
    over but, except when breeding, birds seemed no-t to forage much in the woods.
    All species that foraged in OP or SF throughout the year or probably did so
    and that certainly or probably bred in woodland in the district are included. The
    Maned Duck is placed here because it was the one species that bred in OP but
    would not have done so if the dam had not been made.
    White-faced Heron Ardea novaehollandiae
    Single birds appeared on stream and dam rather rarely from December to
    April and most commonly from May to November; probably bred downstream.
    Maned Duck Chenonetta jubata
    First seen on dam in mid -July 1976, 91/2 months after it was full. One to three
    pairs came intermittently in August and September each year thereafter with
    definite breeding (flightless young) in 1978.
    Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus
    A pair bred in gums along the stream in open country 500 m west of OP.
    Noted in OP, seldom in SF, mostly during breeding (Sept -Jan). Display flights
    noted in October and November. No records May to August.
    Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrhocephalus
    Noted seldom (20 times in all) but in all months except February and April.
    Display flight seen in October.
    Glossy Black -Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus lathami
    Irregular bui doubtless resident in the district. A record of occurrences (1-3June, 1979 63
    birds each time) is worth giving to show the irregularity; 1975, 3 January, 9, 13
    February, 20, 23 April, 19 May, 21, 22 October; 1976, 29, 30 October, 2-9 Novem-
    ber; 1977, 19, 30 March, 3 April, 6-13, 28 July, 6-10 September, 23-29 October,
    1, 2, 10 December; 1978, 1-6 December.
    Yellow -tailed Black -Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus
    Fairly regular in pairs or small parties (< 15) but more often in last six
    (average 12 times per month) than in first six (average 4 times per month) months
    of year.
    Jacky Winter Microeca leucophaea
    One or two pairs nested in rather open dry forest south of OP, certainly in
    two, probably in all four years. Regularly frequented clearing in OP from mid –
    March to early August.
    Large -billed Scrubwren Sericornis magnirostris
    Though noted only in SF and there seldom (about 4 times), probably resident
    in denser bush along Dooga Creek east of SF.
    Buff-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza reguloides
    OnP group at least bred on dry, more open hill -top east of OP and was seen
    fairly often round house, but only once elsewhere in OP.
    Yellow Thornbill Acanthiza nana
    Pairs or small groups (6) regular until April 1977 in lower part of OP and in
    valley to the west, often in acacias, only one record since, 16 May 1978, but
    probably overlooked.
    White -winged Chough Corcorax melanorhamphus
    Though there were two old nests in SF on the ridge by the road, recorded
    only as parties of four to seventeen, more commonly from November to April
    (average 12 times per month) than from May to October (average 41/2 times per
    Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus
    Regularly heard in more open country west and south-west of OP and from
    time to time one or two birds foraged in OP and SF. In 1978 a pair was established
    in SF and north thereof where they probably bred.
    Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen
    One or two pairs bred in cleared and semi -cleared land west and south-west
    of OP and after breeding 2-4 birds often came up clearing to the house. During
    autumn and winter up to six birds came to roost in SF or nearby.
    Australian Raven Corvus coronoides
    In 1975 a pair nested upstream from OP and probably did so each year.
    Birds apparently foraged and brought building material from open country well
    west and south-west of OP, rarely foraging in the forest but coming to the house
    for scraps. Fledged young were brought to cleared parts of OP. Flocks of 10-20
    occasional in non -breeding season, passing through.
    All species in this category bred in this area, but judged by the difference
    of records for first and last six months of the year, were less numerous in the
    non -breeding season. For convenience, dates of occurrence, calling, etc., are
    given in groups of four, indicating in chronological order events in 1975, 1976,
    1977 and 1978.
    Fan -tailed Cuckoo Cuculus pyrrhophanus
    Bred in OP and SF but numbers hard to estimate because, whenever closely
    investigated during the breeding season, birds seemed to be in groups of up to
    six; in all, there could have been 10-12 birds in and round the two areas. At the
    end of breeding, birds fell silent between 30 December and 6 February, though
    immatures fairly often and adults very ocoesionally were seen. There was a64 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
    recrudescence of calling between 26 February and 7 April according to the season,
    but not in 1977, when calling was little and intermittent from 6 February to 30
    June. No calling recorded; 18 June to 4 August; 8 May to 21 August, 30 June to
    22 August; 29 May to 15 August (but I was away from 5 June to 8 August). If
    birds are quite absent during winter, they are not away for more than about three
    Black -faced Cuckoo Shrike Coracina novaehollandiae
    SF pr. Attempts were made to build in OP and nesting occurred nearby
    to south and south-west. In 1975, fairly regular records of one or two birds
    throughout winter but in other years no records; 3 June to 18 July; 12 April to 15
    September (except once on 13 June); 27 March to 10 September.
    Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa
    -5 -8
    OP pr. SF pr. The population decreased some time during January –
    April and increased rather regularly each year between 5 and 20 September.
    From May to August rarely more than one or two individuals could be found.
    Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus
    SF pr. Occurrence outside the breeding was irregular and seldom from:
    15 March to 20 May; 11 January to 12 September; 5 February to 25 August; but
    in 1977-78 birds were scarce from 23 December to 17 February, then becoming
    plentiful right through winter when E. maculata blossomed profusely. Small
    northward movement noted: 3, 22 January; 19 February; 3 March; nil; 18, 20
    January, 7, 20 February, 17, 28 March.
    New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae
    OP 1 pr. Apart from one pair, which nested regularly in late July and early
    August onwards and probably remained all year at least four other pairs nested
    during 1977 when E. tereticornis flowered heavily in October -November. Each
    year Melaleuca hypericifolia flowered well in parts of OP near the stream between
    late November and early January; then many New Holland Honeyeaters came
    into the area; 28 November into December; 12 December to 17 January; 20
    November to early December; 22 November to 30 December. Seldom seen in SF.
    Olive -backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus
    SF 1-2 pr. After breeding, between 30 December and 25 February birds fell
    silent or disappeared and were rarely recorded till between 19 March and 16 May
    but in 1977 none at all from 30 May to 24 August. In other years some were
    about throughout winter and the population might not have been much less than
    during breeding. The period of silence and rarity may coincide with the annual
    All clear-cut migrants that came to the area to breed were classed as
    summer breeding migrants. Abundance and dates of first and last records are
    given in the conventions already used but, if a fifth date is given in brackets, it
    refers to supplementary records in 1979 before the time of writing.
    Brush Cuckoo Cuculus variolosus
    SF -1 group. Like C. pyrrhophanus, numbers are hard to assess but perhaps
    4-5 birds in and round SF, rarely in OP. Last and first records: 25, 6, 27, 7, (31)
    January; 19, 8, 15, 13 October.
    Shining Bronze -Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus
    OP -1 group; SF -1 group but, because the birds were so often in trios,
    assessment was hard. Last and first records: ?, 2, 11 January, 26, (30) December;
    22 July, 19, 26 August, 5 September. There were a few records in February, March,
    April, and July so that some birds may remain through winter and the species
    might better be regarded as a partial migrant.
    White -throated Nightjar Caprimulgus mystaca/is
    1 -?2 pr. on ridge north of OP and SF. First located 31 October 1977 andJune, 1979 65
    recorded till 9 March. One bird seen 27 September 1978; calling fairly regularly
    from 14 October to at least 11 March 1979.
    Sacred Kingfisher Halcyon sancta
    OP -1 pr; SF -2 or 3 pr. Last and first records: 16 March, 8, 15, 19 February,
    (10 March); 7, 11, 2, 5 October.
    Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
    SF pr. Last and first records: 31 January, 3 February, 14 March, 22
    February, (10 March); 20, 24, 20, 30 October for locally breeding birds; recorded
    elsewhere in district somewhat earlier.
    Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris
    OP -1 pair; SF -1 pr. Last and first records: 25 February (doubtful), 24, 16
    March, 21 January, (10 March); 18, 20, 10, 10 October. In 1977-78 the birds
    probably did not attempt to breed and left exceptionally early.
    Rufous Whistler Pachycephala rufiventris
    -4 -5
    OP pr; SF or 6 pr. Last and first records: 22 April, 29 March, 7, 6
    April; 11, 2, 18, 28 September. In 1975, 1976 and 1977 a banded male occupied
    the same territory.
    Black -faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis
    SF 1 pr. Last and first records: ?, 8, 12 March, 6 February: ?, 2, 2 October,
    30 September.
    Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula
    SF pr. Last and first records: 26 February, 28 March, April, 23 March;
    10, 20, 17, 6 October. All first nests have been within about 10 metres of nests of
    Noisy Friarbirds.
    Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons
    OP 1 pr; SF 1 pr; but not every year in each. Last and first records: 4 April,
    21, 21 March, 7 April; 28, 13, 28, 4 October. Rufous Fantails are really more
    passage migrants than summer breeding migrants in OP and SF: for perhaps a
    month after first sighting and for about the same time before the last they were
    rather frequent but breeding pairs seemed not to settle till late November and, if
    breeding did not occur in the blocks, birds were rare during summer.
    White -throated Gerygone Gerygone olivaceus
    Old nests have been seen outside OP and SF in the more open parts of the
    woodland and birds were heard or seen each year, first between 28 September
    and 21 October, last as late as 22 March.
    Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum
    Breeding proved only in 1978-79, OP -2 pr; SF ? 1 pr, but may have been
    overlooked and status uncertain. Fairly regular occurrence between: 6 November
    and 4 February; 24 November and 15 February; 4 December and 25 March; from
    30 November; but there were eight records of single males in April and May in
    different years, none from May to November.
    Si Ivereye Zosterops lateralis
    OP 2-4 pr, SF 2-5 pr, but status obscured by birds of passage. Birds arrived
    each year; 14, 13, 6 September, 17 August, after virtual absence since June, and
    were then recorded regularly till: 26 April, 27 May, 19 February, 28 March. Strong
    northward passage was noted in April and May in different amounts from year
    to year and southward in September -October similarly. Except in 1976, birds were
    scarce or absent from March -April to September.
    The few species that come to the areas only during winter and do not breed
    are classed here, though White’s Thrush seems quite anomalous.
    White’s Thrush Zoothera dauma
    OP 1 pr; SF 2 pr. Best regarded as a visitor from autumn to spring, breeding66
    in late winter (July -August). First records: 10 April, 9, 23, 28, (13) March. Last
    records: 6, 30, 30 August, 19 October (all soon after nests had failed). Apart from
    three sightings in November, 1975, 1976, and 1977 and one in December, 1976,
    there have been no records till March. The birds are unobtrusive but they often
    s si hn og u lf do r h a5 v- e1 0 mm isi sn eu dte s th ein m th foe r h 4a -5lf mho ou nr th sb e if fo r te h eyd a hw an d a on cd c uI rred do . not believe that I
    Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata.
    Probably winter visitors usually as single birds or a few but pronounced
    passage in flocks of up to 150 was noticed in the autumn and spring of 1975,
    1976, and 1977. A summary of occurrence (average number of days recorded
    for month) for all years combined is: December to March, 1.5, April to May, 10.5,
    often in substantial (150) numbers; June and July, 8, mostly of 2-3 birds; August
    to November, 17, in substantial numbers. In 1978 the flowering E. maculata
    attracted large numbers and held them in the area from about 6 May to 7 October,
    by which time they had begun to dwindle and only 2-3 birds remained till about
    20 November.
    White -eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis
    About six birds occurred in and near OP each year (some the same indi-
    viduals for at least two years) as follows: 9 April to 18 September; 14 April to 23
    August; 15 April to 29 September; 6 April to 18 September. About the same
    number also frequented SF.
    Fuscous Honeyeaters Lichenostomus tuscus
    Recorded in June and July 1975, August, 1976, 30 July to 22 September, 1977
    and 4 May to 30 September 1978 and not otherwise. Usually in SF or near stream
    in OP; probably overlooked in 1975 and 1976. Long visit in 1978 coincided with
    heavy flowering of E. maculata.
    Species that occurred from lime to time throughout the year without any
    obvious pattern, others that bred unexpectedly once or twice and others for
    which records are too few to enable a good assessment of status to be made
    are placed here.
    Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna
    Parties (4-100+) were not unusual flying through the forest or coming to
    flowering gums, most often in November and December (records on 57 days
    compared with 32 in all other months) but no clear pattern. More numerous in
    1978 when E. maculata flowered (April -October) but apparently not attracted in
    large numbers.
    Little Lorikeet Glossopsitta pusilla
    Occurrence similar to that of G. concinna but less numerous; apparently
    more common in November (average days recorded 1975-77, 10), in all other
    months average less than 2. More numerous from May to October in 1978 (E.
    maculata flowering) than in other years but not greatly so.
    Common Koel Eudynamys sco/opacea
    Heard a few times from November 1975 to January 1976; records on 7 days
    in December 1976; 1-29 November 1977; 22-26 November 1978. Visits seem
    curiously late for breeding, but Koels did not come into OP or SF but were heard
    in distance in valley to west.
    Channel -billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehol/andiae
    Regular occurrence for a few days: 9 October, 6, 10 December; 1, 27
    October, 17-28 November, 9 December; 9-13 October, 1-4 November; 24 Novem-
    ber -21 December. Was told that birds appear annually at Ficus trees in Moruya
    in October or November. Visits could be in time to parasitize late nests of
    currawongs, as suspected in 1978 when a pair frequented SF for much longer
    than in other years.June, 1979 67
    Masked Owl Tyto novaehollandiae
    One record at hole in SF, 20 October 1977. Never heard at night but could
    breed locally.
    Australian Owlet -Nightjar Aegotheles cristatus
    SF pr, 1977, but data inadequate to assess status, although presumably
    White- bellied Cuckoo -Shrike Coracina papuensis
    Records of 1-2 birds spread fairly evenly in all months but no sign of breeding.
    Scarlet Robin Petroica multicolor
    One pair wintered near the house 11 March to 17 August 1975 and 24 February
    to 25 August 1976; later records only of female on 8, 12 September 1977 and 28
    August 1978.
    Brown -headed Honeyeater Melithreptus brevirostris
    OP group 1975. Otherwise data inadequate to assess status, though
    recorded intermittently in all years and probably breeds regularly.
    Crescent Honeyeater Phylidonyris pyrrhoptera
    OP 2 pr; SF 2 pr; only in 1978 during flowering of E. maculate, when species
    was recorded from 19 May to 10 October with three late records of single birds
    in December. Otherwise, only two birds, 12 May 1975.
    White-cheeked Honeyeater Phylidonyris nigra
    One or two birds in OP from 25 September to 29 November 1977 at the time
    of flowering of E. tereticornis and the influx of breeding P. novaehollandiae. The
    White-cheeked might have nested also.
    Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta
    OP pr 1977; possibly bred 1975 in OP and 1978 in SF. Recorded: 13 August
    to 14 October; 10 October; 25 September to 7 November; 15 April, 16 August to
    24 December.
    Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus Data inadequate; recorded intermittently,
    mostly in SF, always in treetops.
    For completeness, it is worth listing those species that are really irrelevant
    to the avifauna of the areas studied. Many of them, e.g. raptors, parrots, were
    seen only flying over (asterisked); others passed quickly through the woods and
    few were recorded more than 10 times a year. However, many are of course
    common breeding birds in other habitats close by in the district.
    Hoary -headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus
    One on dam 23 April to 22 May 1978.
    Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
    Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
    Apart from single birds occasionally, an astonishing 70 were on the darn on
    30 October 1977 during a period when several large flocks (300) flew over north-
    Pacific Heron Ardea pacificus
    *Black Swan Cygnus atratus
    Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa
    *Black Kite Milvus migrans
    22 September, 4, 7, November, 15 December 1976; 25 September, 16, 23
    November 1977; 11 September 1978.
    *Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura
    Six records from 17 September to 2 December 1978.
    *Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus
    *Grey (White) Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae68
    White -bellied Sea -Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
    One flew low through trees of SF on 30 June 1976.
    *Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax
    *Australian Hobby Falco longipennis
    Painted Button -quail Turnix varia
    Topknot pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus
    Five flew north through trees on 31 December 1976. In 1975 and 1978 similar
    small parties, probably of this species, have been seen in the distance.
    Brown Cuckoo -Dove Macropygia amboinensis
    Single birds in OP on 10 and 28 September 1978.
    Peaceful Dove Geopelia placida
    Brush Bronzewing Phaps elegans
    *Galah Cacatua roseicapilla
    *Sulphur -crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
    In winter 1975 large flocks (100+) flew north up the valley west of OP rather
    regularly at about 07:30-08:00 hours. Otherwise only single birds occasionally
    except four inspecting holes in trees on 20 October 1978.
    Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius
    Pallid Cuckoo Cuculus pallidus
    Horsfield’s Bronze -Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis
    *White-tailed Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus
    Last and first records; 5 April, 16 March, 2 April, 23 January (probably over-
    looked later); 28 October, 2, 3 November, 30 October.
    *Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena
    Tree Martin Cecropis nigricans
    Olive Whistler Pachycephala olivacea
    One, 29 September, 1977.
    Restless Flycatcher Myiagra inquieta
    Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys
    Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia
    European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
    Diamond Firetail Emblema guttata
    One, 21 January 1976.
    *Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
    Australian Magpie -lark Grallina cyanoleuca
    Dusky Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus
    Grey Currawong Strepera versicolor
    S. MARCHANT, P.O. Box 123, Moruya, N.S.W. 2537.
    The White-rumped Swiftlet Collacalia spodiopygia was first mentioned in the
    literature as occurring in New South Wales in a bird list published by the Clarence
    Valley Field Naturalist’s Club in 1961. The list covered the period 1951-61 and the
    comments about the White-rumped Swiftlet (called Grey Swiftlet in the text) were
    “Rare, may be observed over open spaces on coast ranges”. There are however,
    many inaccuracies in the text as a whole. Later J. D. MacDonald (1973 Birds of
    Australia) gave the range of the White-rumped Swiftlet to include north-eastern
    N.S.W. It is understood that MacDonald’s reference is to a bird that recorded
    at Reserve Creek, near Murwillumbah, N.S.W., details of which are givI en below.June, 1979 69
    The bird was recorded at Reserve Creek on the 20 September 1969 and
    remained in the area until 31 October 1969. It was recorded almost daily from
    25 September to 7 October, then there was a gap of nine days before it was
    sighted again on 16 October. After that, the bird was not observed again until
    31 October, the last date of sighting.
    The following notes on the White-rumped Swiftlet are taken from my field
    “20 September 1969. Just on dusk a group of Welcome Swallows were
    feeding overhead, suddenly there was a loud cry of `wheet, wheet, wheet, eet-eet’
    and one small bird dived from the group. Its shape, flight, and every movement
    immediately suggested the small “Grey Swiftlet” of the northern areas, however,
    failing light prevented any further observations.
    25 September 1969. No more was seen of this mystery bird until today, when
    one of my brothers saw it flying under the awning of a building, he said it was look-
    ing into a Welcome Swallow’s nest (it wasn’t welcome!). During the afternoon was
    able to clos -ely observe the small v -isi tor and identify it positively as a White-

rumped Swiftlet. The field markings are, an all dark grey bird, darker on the

upper parts off-white rump patch medium forked tail (not always noticeable

in flight), wide gape and prominent eyes flight, like that of the Forked -tailed

Swift [Apus pacificus], darts to and fro with a few quick wing beats, then a small
glide smaller and slimmer build than a Welcome Swallow, could have a trifle
longer wing -span than the Welcome Swallows. Call note, fairly loud, sounds like,
wheet-wheet-wheet-eet-eet-et only seems to call early morning and late afternoon.
26 September 1969. The White-rumped Swiftlet was about this morning-it
flew under the awning and took several flying looks into the Swallow’s nest.
During the afternoon it went into the tractor shed-it made a clicking, buzzing
sound while inside the shed. It remained feeding about up to 5.50 p.m.
27 Sepember 1969. Swiftlet about again today, it seems to feed about the
dairy during the early morning, then moves further afield. It returns about 1.00
p.m., the Swallows chase it, and it chases them-last seen at 5.55 p.m.
28 September 1969. White-rumped Swiftlet was heard calling at 5.25 a.m. It
came into the dairy while we were milking, and again just after we had finished.
All the time it was inside it made its little ‘click, click’ noise. At such close
quarters it is possible to see that its throat and upper front area is a greyish
29 September 1969. Mr and Mrs Milton Trudgeon came out just after 4.00
p.m. to see the Swiftlet-it gave them good views of it-they were pleased as it
was a new bird for them. As the Swiftlet’s behaviour didn’t seem to vary from
the above notes, I only noted the dates when it was seen after the 29th Sept. ’69.”
Prior to the first sighting of the Swiftlet here, there was several days of very
strong north to north-west winds, it could have been blown south, and when it
couldn’t find any of its own species it attached itself to the Welcome Swallows
Hirundo neoxena. Its habit of following the Swallows would explain the reason
for it entering the farm buildings. It left the area soon after the arrival of the
Spine -tailed Swifts Hirundapus caudacutus.
The White-rumped Swiftlet was no stranger to me as I had made a close
study of it during field trips in North Queensland, some years previously.
ELLA K. PRATT, Reserve Creek, Murwillumbah, N.S.W. 2484.70 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
In an article criticizing Schodde’s Interim List of Australian Songbirds, Noske
(Aust. Birds 13, 27-35) acknowledges me as having given him many helpful com-
ments. Certainly I responded to his request that I comment upon an early draft of
his article, and although I disagreed with a good deal of what he had written, I
suppoNted his attempts to have his criticisms published, simply because he had
the right to be heard. did not, however, see the final version of his article until
it appeared in print. Having assumed that he would have taken my remarks into
account where they bore directly upon his initial arguments, was astonished to
find that this was not the case. Noske’s opinion of the Interim List is that it is
tendentious and unscientific. Let us see, by shedding a little light on Noske’s
methods of criticism, what the strength of his own position is in this regard.
In his published article, Noske asks what evidence exists to suggest that
Chthonicola, Hylacola, Calamanthus and Pyrrholaemus are scrubwrens. In my
reply (in litt. 13 February 1978) to his request for comments, apprised him of one
such line of evidence, the markings and coloration of the eggs. wrote: “You
should examine these eggs yourself; the references you cite are rather misleading.
It is the patterning that is the same in each-a very fine speckling not known to me
in any other group (and curated the egg collection at the BMNH for several years).
Heavy speckling produces the darkest eggs, e.g. Chthonicola, Hylacola, Pyrrholae-
mus, and this speckling is discernible even in the ‘white’ eggs of Origma and
Oreoscopus gutturalis.” Had Noske acted upon my suggestion that he examine
these eggs, he would have seen for himself. But he wholly ignored my comments,
and implied in the published version of his article that among the eggs of these
species there were important differences that Schodde ignored.
Noske writes “The Black and Banded Honeyeaters differ from the Pied in at
least three characters .. . They both have a sweet, chattering or tinkling song . . .
By contrast, the Pied’s call is usually described as a piercing and plaintive whistle.”
In my letter to Noske wrote: “I have encountered the Black Honeyeater six times,
and have never heard it give the sweet chattering or tinkling song referred to. On
two occasions, however, I have heard it emit a high piercing seep, repeated every
4-5 seconds, and similar in quality to the notes of [the Pied Honeyeater]”. Yet in
Noske’s article, my observations on the calls of the Black, which partly contra-
dict Noske’s remarks, are ignored.
Noske also queried Schodde’s statement that the Pied, Black and Banded
Honeyeater laid similar eggs. replied to this: “Clearly there is a case to answer
here. The eggs of Certhionyx variegatus are quite unlike those of any other honey-
eater; in fact, even on a world basis they are unusual. The eggs of nigra and
pectoralis are similar to each other, and different from those of Myzomela obscura
and M. sanguinolenta” (they in fact resemble eggs of Rhipidura). Ironically, had
Noske examined the eggs in question, instead of merely comparing the published
opinions of others, he would have found some support for his criticisms. But again
he failed to examine the material at issue, a curious lapse for one who accuses
others of unscientific procedures.
Noske complained that in lumping Peneoenanthe with Eopsaltria, Schodde
had ignored certain comments of Keast’s, to the effect that the Mangrove Robin
was very distinct and without close relatives. replied to Noske that Keast’s
remarks on the distinctiveness of the Mangrove Robin were misleading. Whether
my opinion was sound or not, at this juncture it behove Noske to examine theJune, 1979 71
relevant material to determine the facts for himself. A museum loan could have
been easily arranged. Instead, in his published criticism Noske merely repeated
Keast’s views without further comment, nowhere indicating that they had been
Noske accuses Schodde of using the arguments of others only where he saw
fit. Yet above we have seen how Noske himself has ignored certain matters that
weakened or disposed of his own criticisms, after these matters had been brought
directly to his attention.
should like to take this opportunity to draw attention to two remarkable
lapses in McGill’s review of the Interim List (Aust. Bird Bander 14, 80-82). In this
review, McGill wrote: “Veteran ornithologist, A. H. Chisholm, believes that John
Gould was probably as sound a judge as anyone of what defines a species.
Despite more than 100 years since his day, as well as a general impact on
systematic nomenclature, scant regard for Gould’s ability is implied when the
four species of sittella he named as new have been ‘swallowed up’ in this Interim
List . . . ” It should indeed be emphasized that there has been quite a lot of
progress in systematics since the middle of the last century, and that Gould and his
contemporaries were working with the morphospecies concept, at a time when the
subspecies concept did not exist. If McGill complains that scant regard has been
paid to Gould’s abilities because the latter’s sittella ‘species’ have been sunk in the
Interim List, what are we to make of the fact that McGill himself, in his book
Australian Warblers, treated as synonyms, explicitly or implicitly, several warblers
and wrens that Gould had described as species, including Malurus cyanotus, M.
leuconotus, Cincloramphus cantillans, Sericornis parvulus, Sericornis osculans
and Acanthiza diemenensis? Moreover, Gould described six species of sittella,
not four, the other two being melanocephala and tenuirostris. What, then, are we
to make of the fact that McGill, in his review of the sittellas (Emu 48, 33-52)*
accorded specific status to neither of these taxa?
McGill noted that 65 passerine “species” of the 1926 Checklist became
geographical races in the Interim List, and 21 further Australian endemics became
forms of extralimital species. (I make these figures 63 and 28, but this is of little
importance). McGill was evidently trying to stress the lumping proclivities of the
contributors to the Interim List. He somehow forgot to point out that 13 “species”
in the first category (20%) and 8 “species” in the second category (28%) had
previously been sunk by the former Checklist Amendment Committee. This lapse
becomes even more extraordinary when one realises that McGill himself was a
member of this committee.
*See also Ernst Mayr’s review of McGill’s conclusions in Emu 49, 282-291.
Mayr himself concluded of the sittellas: “It seems inevitable in these circum-
stances that all forms will have to be treated as members of a single species.”
Does this mean that Mayr too had “scant regard for Gould’s ability”?
SHANE PARKER, 26 Viaduct Road, Eden Hills, S.A. 5050.72
Since 1954 when the first pair of Cattle Egrets Ardeola ibis was found breed-
ing at Gillett’s Ridge, near Ulmarra N.S.W., the numbers of breeding pairs have
increased to 2300 by 1978/79. The birds were nesting by this time in five colonies
containing from 17-1000 breeding pairs.
In November, 1954 a pair of Cattle Egrets was found nesting in a mixed
colony of egrets at Gillett’s Ridge, 8 km south of Ulmarra in the Clarence Valley on
the North Coast of New South Wales. By 1959 the colony had expanded to ten
pair and in the winter of 1960 the first observations of birds away from the Clarence
Valley was made at Richmond on the Hawkesbury River and at Ourimbah near
Tuggerah Lakes in pasture and dairying districts (Hewitt 1961).
Gradually the birds spread southwards along the coast, frequenting the main
dairying districts of the State, being found in pastures and wetlands on the flood
plains of the major coastal river systems. Soon a pattern was discerned whereby
the egrets would commence to assume the buff breeding plumes in late October
and by November they had migrated northwards to the Gillett’s Ridge colony. The
birds returned again in May to the coastal habitats. At present between 300-500
egrets appear to frequent each of the major coastal valleys, viz. Macleay, Manning,
Hunter, Hawkesbury, Shoalhaven etc., with lesser numbers elsewhere.
Cattle Egrets were first recorded in Victoria in 1949 (Wheeler 1967) and now
they occur in similar numbers as outlined above, particularly in East Gippsland
and Central Regions. Similarly, they were first recorded in South Australia in 1964
(Condon 1969) and are now recorded in substantial numbers between May –
November. Presumably it is these birds from South Australia and Victoria returning
to the Clarence Valley colonies that have been seen as passage migrants during
October -November, in inland New South Wales at localities such as Mudgee,
Gilgandra, Baradine, Wagga, Uralla etc. since 1972. Inland observations become
more prevalent each year and with more regularity at given locations. Regular
observations have been made of a small population of birds in the A.C.T. around
the foreshores of Lake Burley Griffin since 1976.
During the breeding season of 1971-72, the Gillett’s Ridge colony had reached
750 pairs and the birds were nesting in all available trees and not just in the
melaleuca clump located in the middle of a small swamp which had been the
traditional nesting site for egrets. By this time the Great Egret Egretta alba,
Plumed Egret E. intermdia and Little Egret E. garzetta had declined in numbers
in the colony due no doubt more to the loss of wetlands caused through Flood
Mitigation Drainage Programmes, than through the increased numbers of Cattle
Later in this season, a small colony of 35 pairs was found at Lawrence, 17 km
north-east of Ulmarra, nesting in paperbarks in February, 1972. Whilst another five
p fra oi mrs rn :4e ils lete ffd
min ea
es mall swamp at Carr’s Creek, 4 km north of Grafton, and 22 kmJune, 1979 73
In the season 1972-73, 750-1000 pairs nested at Gillett’s Ridge whilst 130 pairs
nested at Carr’s Creek but in the following season the whole colony deserted
Gillett’s Ridge and became established at Carr’s Creek returning there every year
since, about 1000 pairs in all. The Lawrence site was only used on the one
occasion. As it has been reported by E. Wheeler (pers. comm.) that many of the
trees are dying at Carr’s Creek colony due to the effect of the birds’ excreta, a
move away from the site can be expected.
The second colony for N.S.W. became established at Campbell Island, on the
Murray River, the border between N.S.W. and Victoria where four pairs nested in
Red Gums Eucalyptus camaldulensis in a mixed egret colony, during December

  1. The birds have not nested there since.
    In 1976 a new colony became established at South Murwillumbah in the
    Tweed Valley where some 60 plus nests were recorded in March 1976. By
    December 1977 this colony held between 700-800 pairs and a similar number in
    the following season.
    In January, 1977 another new colony was located nesting in melaleucas 2 km
    SW of Macksville on the Nambucca River, some 117 km south of the Carr’s Creek
    colony. This site was subsequently used again the following two seasons by similar
    numbers of egrets.
    Following heavy flooding in the Macquarie Marshes in north-west N.S.W. in
    July 1978, all four species of egrets were to be seen in large numbers by November.
    During the previous two years Cattle Egrets had passed through on pasage in
    October- November in small numbers, presumably en route to the Clarence Valley.
    No doubt the frenzied nesting behaviour of the numerous other waterbirds present
    (viz Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris,
    Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos, Darter Anhinga melanogaster, Pacific
    Heron Ardea pacifica, White-faced Heron A. novaehollandiae, Rufous Night Heron
    Nycticorax caledonicus, Great Egret, Plumed Egret and Little Egret) induced the
    Cattle Egrets to stay on and breed so that by late November, 17 plus nests were
    found in a mixed egret rookery located some 32 km NW of Quambone and up to
    60 plus Cattle Egrets were observed in the area.
    In January 1979 another small colony of 25 plus nests was found in Broad –
    leafed Paperbarks Melaleuca quinquinerva on the swamp within Seaham Swamp
    Nature Reserve some 20 km NE of Maitland in the Hunter Valley. Thus from 10
    nesting pairs in 1959, in twenty years the number of nesting pairs in New South
    Wales has risen to about 2300 pairs, truly a remarkable achievement.
    At the present rate it might be expected that other nesting colonies may soon
    be located in the Hawkesbury and Shoalhaven Valleys. An interesting feature of the
    Murwillumbah and Macksville colonies was that both Large White and Plumed
    Egrets were nesting with the Cattle Egrets, localities where these two species have
    not been recorded breeding before.
    A banding project commenced by J. Willows at the north coast colonies in
    1977 has produced some interesting results, with one recovery of a nestling from
    the Murwillumbah colony seven months later at Stratford, Victoria, 1250 km SSW
    (Anon 1978) and another from the Carr’s Creek colony, a recovery three months
    later at Granton, Tasmania (Anon, 1978) 1550 km SSW away from the breeding74 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
    colonies. Even more interesting is that during 1977 a minimum of 293 Cattle Egrets
    were recorded in New Zealand between June and September following their first
    being recorded there in 1963 (Heather 1978). Following the usual pattern, most of
    the birds had departed by mid -November, and it is assumed that they are migrating
    to and from the Australian breeding colonies. For a bird to establish a trans –
    Tasman migratory pattern in a little over 10 years is somewhat remarkable. It is
    intriguing to think that banding may yet prove that the New Zealand birds are from
    N.S.W. However, if the pattern that develops in New Zealand is similar to that
    occurring in this State, then a breeding colony may soon become established in
    that country.
    As yet there appears to be no evidence that Cattle Egrets are displacing other
    egret species from traditional nesting localities. Most egrets in N.S.W. demon-
    strate an opportunistic behaviour, nesting after major floods in the wetlands. The
    only permanent site used on an annual basis was at Gillett’s Ridge. As their usual
    practice is to choose a new site, it is unlikely that competition with the Cattle
    Egret for nest sites will occur. Studies in the United States (McCrimmond 1978)
    have shown that Cattle Egrets tend to lay later than other species of egrets and
    herons and that direct competition for nest sites did not occur amongst the smaller
    It can be expected that the Cattle Egret population will continue to increase
    as there appears to be large areas of suitable habitat not occupied. In particular,
    suitable areas such as the irrigation districts of the Riverina Region and the
    Macquarie Valley would appear to offer ideal opportunities for the continued
    expansion of the population.
    The assistance of J. Willows and E. Wheeler in compiling these notes and J.
    Chappell for typing the manuscript, is greatly appreciated.
    Anon. 1978. Recovery Round -up. Corella 2, 77.
    Anon. 1978. Recovery Round- up. Corella 2, 92.
    Condon, H. T. 1969. Handlist of the Birds of South Australia. Adelaide: S.A.O.A.
    Heather, B. D. 1978. The Cattle Egret in New Zealand in 1977. Notornis 25, 218.
    Hewitt, J. M. 1961. The Cattle Egret near Sydney. Emu 61, 137.
    McCrimmond, D. A. 1978. Nest site characteristics of five heron species on the
    North Carolina coast. Auk 95, 267-280.
    Wheeler, R. W. 1967. A Handlist of the Birds of Victoria. Melbourne: V.O.R.G.
    Alan K. Morris, P.O. Box 39, Coonabarabran, N.S.W. 2857June, 1979 75
    Australian occurrences of phalaropes Phalaropus spp. are presumably
    accidental, for the three species breed in the Northern Hemisphere and migrate
    south, mainly to tropical regions. At their wintering places the Red -necked
    Phalarope P. lobatus and Grey Phalarope P. fulicarius typically inhabit pelagic
    waters; Wilson’s Phalarope P. tricolor mainly occurs in Central and South
    America (Thomson 1964). First Australian records of each species were in Vic-
    toria: lobatus in December 1962 (Smith 1963); tricolor in February 1966 (Smith
    1968); fulicarius in February 1976 (Smith 1976). It -seems reasonable to conclude
    from these and subsequent observations that occurrences follow a similar pattern
    in New South Wales. However, there is a lack of records which apparently results
    from less intensive observing, and in particular, from the paucity of suitable
    habitat near major centres of population. The following account describes the
    observation of a Red -necked Phalarope on the Great Dividing Range in northern
    New South Wales.
    located the phalarope at Mother of Ducks Lagoon, near Guyra, at 1300 m
    altitude on the New England Tableland. Open water occupies approximately
    3.5 km2 when the lagoon is full, but at the time of observation it was reduced
    to less than one third of this extent, with a maximum depth of 40-50 cm. I first
    observed the bird from 10.20 to 11.15 (EST) on 29 January 1979. returned from
    15.50 to 16.45, accompanied by Harry Bell, Hugh Ford, Richard Noske and Sue
    Noske. During this period of observation Richard Noske and obtained several
    The phalarope was swimming throughout most of both observation periods,
    but when approached closely it flew round the lagoon close to the surface of
    the water. Its tameness was emphasised by the tendency to return to the area
    from which it was flushed. Generally it remained near Black -winged Stilts
    Himantopus himantopus, which occurred in scattered groups of three to ten
    birds. Since phalaropes eat floating organisms it is conceivable that food dis-
    turbed by the stilts was being utilised. However, foraging was only observed
    occasionally. This consisted of pecking at the surface, sometimes involving
    rapid gyrations through an arc of 70-80 degrees, or fluttering along the surface
    for 30-50 cm.
    observed the phalarope again on another visit from 15.50 to 17.15 on 3
    February. All aspects of its behaviour, including association with stilts, were
    similar to those noted previously. The phalarope was not located during a further
    visit on 5 March. Open water was then reduced to about 2 ha and most waterbirds
    had dispersed.
    The phalarope was readily identified as lobatus. Its plumage superficially
    resembled that of the Sanderling Calidris alba and it was of similar size, but
    proportionately longer necked. The forehead, anterior crown, superciliary stripe,
    sides of neck and underparts were white. The posterior crown, nape, hind -neck
    and a patch about the eye and ear coverts were dark grey -brown. The back was
    dark grey -brown streaked whitish, with two parallel whitish or buff stripes along
    each side. There was a prominent white wing -bar and the tail was dark, with
    white basally at the sides. The bill was black, thin and almost imperceptibly
    decurved toward the tip; it was approximately as long as the head, measured
    from lores to nape. The legs were not observed closely but appeared dark, -with
    prominent toes. A soft call given in flight, “chuck” or “check”, was uttered singly
    or several times in succession.76 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
    confirmed the identification by examining two specimens in the Australian
    NatioI nal Wildlife Collection, Canberra. These were ideal for comparison as both
    were collected in January, one from West Irian in 1972 and the other at Darwin
    in 1974. They revealed that portions of the plumage which appear white in the
    field, except on the abdomen and under tail coverts, are faintly suffused with grey.
    Smith, F. T. H., 1963. “An Australian Sight Record of the Red -necked Phalarope
    (Phalaropus lobatus)”, Aust. Bird Watcher 2, 1-4.
    Smith, F. T. H., 1968. “An Australian Sight Record of Wilson’s Phalarope”, Aust.
    Bird Watcher 3, 91-99, 144.
    Smith, F. T. H., 1976. “An Australian Record of the Grey Phalarope”, Aust. Bird
    Watcher 6, 292-299.
    Thomson, A. L., 1964. Ed. A New Dictionary of Birds. London: B.O.U.
    GLENN HOLMES, “Girrakool” via Armidale, N.S.W. 2350.
    Red- necked Phalarope at Mother of Ducks Lagoon, January 1979.
    Photo: R. Noske.
    Noske (1978), in his criticism of Schodde (1975), disapproves of my lumping
    of the Chestnut -breasted Quail -Thrush Cinclosoma castaneothorax and Cinnamon
    Quail -Thrush C. cinnamomeum and tries to demonstrate that (Ford 1974a, 1976)
    have been inconsistent in applying the biological criterion of species status and
    contradictory in explaining the nature of their inter -action. Unfortunately, Noske
    has consistently quoted me out of context and apparently has not comprehended
    my discussions, as now proceed to demonstrate.
    My reasons for combining cinnamomeum and castaneothorax (Ford 1974a,
    1976) were: they have the same pattern of coloration and are basically similar
    phenotypically (Ford 1970); their ecological adaptations appear to be fairly similar
    because they both like arid environments with stony terrain overtopped with, atJune, 1979 77
    least, some tall shrubs; the only area of contact sampled (the Beal Range)
    produced males of only intermediate plumage; and their songs are extremely
    similar. Contrary to Noske, sampling was anything but intensive as, indeed,
    indicated by the meagre number of specimens collected over a vast area
    comprising south-western Queensland and north-western New South Wales (Fig. 2
    and data in Ford 1974a). Of course these taxa have “many differences in
    morphology and ecology”; but, more compellingly, these differences are minor
    compared with their many important and significant similarities (Ford 1976). As
    regards the specimen of cinnamomeum collected a little west and the two
    specimens of castaneothorax collected a little east of the area inhabited by
    intermediates, Noske overlooks that indicated that these specimens are
    respectively darker and paler than their counterparts from the centre of their
    ranges (Ford 1974a). What did not say then but do so now is that west of
    Windorah, including the area where the intergrades and the two specimens of
    castaneothorax were collected, field -observers consistently identify all quail –
    thrushes as cinnamomeum (A.C. Cameron pers. comm.)! Whether the brightly –
    backed castaneothorax are also called intergrades may be construed as a
    matter of terminology.
    Because the specimens from the Beal Range are intermediate in size and
    coloration, as well as geographically intermediate, between cinnamomeum and
    castaneothorax (Ford 1974a), think that it is perfectly reasonable to presume
    that they are hybrids or intergrades. Yet Noske apparently dismisses these as
    hybrids and, therefore, as evidence for conspecificity of the taxa. On the basis
    of probability, if all specimens collected in a contact area are intermediate, it
    can be confidently assumed that intermediate individuals comprise a large
    proportion, if not the bulk, of the population in that contact zone. Quail -thrushes
    are very difficult birds to collect and the series that collected in Queensland in
    December 1971 to January 1972 required diligent and sustained searching for
    many hours and many kilometres on foot. On this visit merely had time to
    demonstrate geographical contact and hybridization between these taxa and
    insufficient time to sample intensively and thoroughly in the zone of contact.
    Incidentally, what this controversy also stresses is the importance of having
    adequate and long series of specimens from hybrid zones.
    The interaction between the Chestnut Quail -Thrush C. castanotum and
    Western Quail -Thrush C. cinnamomeum marginatum is quite different from that
    between cinnamomeum and castaneothorax. For, castanotum and marginatum
    are not basically similar morphologically (their ventral colorations are strikingly
    different), in areas of contact they favour quite different substrates and vegetation
    formations, their calls are dissimilar, and extensive collecting in areas of contact,
    as at Neale Junction, Yalgoo and Menzies, revealed few hybrid examples (Ford
    1974a). On this evidence is based the logical conclusion that these forms inter-
    breed only occasionally (Ford 1976). Thus, in areas of contact between castanotum
    and marginatum most specimens are phenotypically pure and few are hybrids
    whereas in the only area sampled where cinnamomeum and castaneothorax meet,
    all the male specimens are clearly intermediate and females are probably inter-
    mediate. Differences between females of cinnamomeum and castaneothorax are
    not great (Ford 1970, 1974a) and consequently identification of exact inter-
    mediates on morphological criteria is less definitive than for males (Ford 1974a).
    Noske does not seem to realize that clinal variation may be primary or
    secondary. An example of the latter occurs when two taxa come into contact
    and fuse completely (Ford 1974b). Presumably, therefore, he equates clinal
    variation as being entirely due to ecotypic causes, i.e. due to local selection in
    a primary continuum of populations. Clinal variation is an inclusive term for78 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
    geographical variation in which a character or character complex changes from
    one extreme to another. These extremes can be either slight or marked and the
    clinal gradient can be either gradual or steep as well as either constant or
    variable. Clinal variation is caused by the exchange of genes between contiguous
    interbreeding local populations and the tendency for local adaptation to impede
    the flow of such genes. In cinnamomeum and castaneothorax, clinal changes have
    possibly resulted from both ecotypy and the flow of genes across the zone
    occupied by intermediates, i.e. both primary and secondary intergradation may
    be operating to produce darkening in cinnamomeum and paling in castaneothorax
    where they abut. If castaneothorax from the western parts and drier parts of its
    range is paler than from the eastern and wetter parts of its range because
    cinnamomeum genes have intruded into its gene pool and such paling has
    occurred over a long, wide front (Ford 1974a), then introgression is obviously
    extensive. Unfortunately, Noske fails to relate the conclusions in Ford (1976) with
    the data in Ford (1974a) where some considerable effort is taken to disentangle
    the “conflicting evidence” on the relative contributions of primary and secondary
    intergradation to clinal variation in these taxa.
    It is a fact that I remarked that “introgression is impeded because each
    parental gene -pool confers better adaptations to its particular environment”
    (Ford 1976) but Noske ignores that this is qualified by my statement that “there
    may be considerable flow of genes across the hybrid zone except for genes that
    are disadvantageous in one habitat or the other” (Ford 1974a). These two
    remarks are not incompatible because a hybrid zone acts like a semi -permeable
    membrane, allowing some genes to introgress but not others (Sibley 1961). This
    phenomenon also operates along primary clines: some genes flow freely; others,
    such as those associated with local adaptation, do not because selection operates
    against genes that lower, and for those that increase, fitness of the local
    To be more precise in my rebuttal of Noske, he quotes me as saying that
    paling in populations of castaneothorax contiguous with cinnamomeum is due
    to “intrusion of cinnamomeum genes” when in fact remarked “possibly because
    of intrusion of cinnamomeum genes” (Ford 1976). The former remark is definite;
    the latter is tempered. Noske quotes me as saying “there are many differences in
    morphology and ecology” between castaneothorax and cinnamomeum but com-
    pletely ignores my remarks “phenotypically castaneothorax and cinnamomeum
    are similar” and “their ecological adaptations may be fairly similar” (Ford 1974a).
    Noske also claims that Ford (1978) appears, primarily on personal preference,
    to dispute Parker’s decision to combine Malurus dulcis and M. amabilis with M.
    lamberti. This was not so: I clearly indicated that certain specimens (collected
    by the British Museum’s Harold Hall Australian Expeditions) showed only possible
    indications of intermediacy, and moreover Harrison (1972), who discussed these
    specimens, did not combine the taxa because he considered that convergence
    could equally explain certain similarities between contiguous forms. In May 1978
    I collected a very long series of specimens in the contact zone between M.
    lamberti assimilis and M. dulcis rogersi in south-western Kimberley and north-
    western Northern Territory; the specimens exhibit every conceivable stage of
    intermediacy between these forms and constitute strong evidence for con –
    Quite obviously therefore, Noske has selectively taken phrases out of their
    proper context, distorted my interpretation of the data and failed to understand
    the significance of certain facts. Without discussing at length his other criticisms
    of Schodde (1975), I have the clear impression that he has been consistently
    unfair. Thus, in the case of the Pardalotus striatus complex he avoids mentioningJune, 1979 79
    Salomonsen’s (1961) discovery of considerable hybridization between melanoce-
    phalus and substriatus and Cooper’s (1961) evidence for widespread and free
    interbreeding between ornatus and substriatus. If Palmer (1946) is correct that
    differences between the latter two perhaps involve a single gene locus or allelic
    pair with dominance, obviously hybrid phenotypes would be like those of the
    parental forms despite some genotypes being intermediate. The naive would
    consider such a hybrid interaction as “a zone of overlap and hybridization”.
    Additionally, think that Schodde (1975) was well aware of the significance of
    occasional inI terbreeding between species (e.g. Artamus superciliosus and A.
    personatus) and of frequent interbreeding at or in secondary zones of contact, yet
    Noske endeavours to discredit him in this regard.
    It is important that reviewers criticize facts and speculations fairly and
    objectively. Noske fails to do this. Whether he has been deliberate or unwitting
    is unimportant.
    The opportunity is here taken to comment on McGill’s (1976) review of
    Schodde (1975). Here, McGill states that Australian taxonomic work in recent
    years appears to be a “witch-hunt” for possible indications of hybridism, by
    which he presumably means that there has been an endeavour to ascertain how
    various pairs of taxa interact at their zones of secondary contact. Does he
    advocate the cessation of such work? Does he believe that Australian ornithology
    be denied critical new knowledge on the exten.t of evolutionary divergence
    between such pairs? Is he suggesting that studies on hybridization are unim-
    portant? Certainly his suggestion that more attention ought to be focussed on
    plumage sequences from the juvenile to adult is commendable but his remark
    that such studies are more commendable than investigations of phenomena at
    zones of secondary contact is a value -judgement which rightly should be
    Cooper, R. P. 1961. Field notes on the nesting of the red -tipped pardalotes.
    Emu 60, 1-6.
    Ford, J. 1970. Distribution of quail -thrushes in the Northern Territory and their
    taxonomic relations. Emu 70, 135-139.
    Ford, J. 1974a. Taxonomic significance of some hybrid and aberrant -plumaged
    quail -thrushes. Emu 74, 80-90.
    Ford, J. 1974b. Concepts of subspecies and hybrid zones, and their application
    in Australian ornithology. Emu 74, 113-123.
    Ford, J. 1976. Systematics and speciation in the quail -thrushes of Australia and
    New Guinea. Proc XVI Int. Orn. Congr.: 542-566.
    Ford, J. 1978. Geographical isolation and morphological and habitat differentiation
    between birds of the Kimberley and Northern Territory. Emu 78, 25-35.
    Harrison, C. J. 0. 1972. A re-examination of the chestnut -shouldered wren com-
    plex of Australia. Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. (Zool.) 21, 313-328.
    McGill, A. R. 1976. Review. Aust. Bird. Bander 14, 80-82.
    Noske, R. 1978. Comments on some of the scientific names used in the Interim
    List of Australian Songbirds. Aust. Birds 13, 27-35.
    Palmer, C. B. 1946. Speciation in the pardalotes. W. Aust. Bird Notes (4): 11-12.
    Schodde, R. 1975. Interim List of Australian Songbirds: Passerines. Melbourne:
    Sibley, C. G. 1961. Hybridization and isolating mechanisms. In Vertebrate
    Speciation: 69-88. Ed. W. F. Blair. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.
    Salomonsen, F. 1961. Notes on flowerpeckers (Ayes, Dicaeidae): the superspecies
    Pardalotus striatus. Am. Mus. Novit. (2068): 1-31.
    JULIAN FORD, Western Australian Institute of Technology, Bentley, W.A. 6102.80 – AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (13) 4
    Desmonde Frederick Gray, known to all his friends as Jim, died after a long
    illness on 27 February 1979, aged 59 years. He is survived by his widow Shirley,
    and his daughter Sue Ellen. My association with Jim goes back to 1950 when we
    were working together at Cardiff Locomotive Workshops of the New South Wales
    Government Railways. Here was introduced to Jim by a friend, Hubert Bear,
    who lived near him at Blackalls’ Park, Lake Macquarie. Hubert was an authority
    on the Wattagan Forests, north-west of Wyong, and knowing that each of us was
    interested in birds, he brought us together. After the introduction I loaned Jim
    many of my bird books and so began a long friendship which ended with his
    death. Already a member of the R.A.O.U. since 1929, I was able to introduce Jim
    to that organisation in 1955.
    Jim had a boat and was interested in Moon Island off Swansea, and the
    seabirds that nested there. We made many trips to the Island, particularly after
    Jim became a licensed bird bander about 1962. Here he began to band Silver
    Gulls Larus novaehollandiae and Crested Terns Sterna bergii, the former for the
    Australian -wide study initiated by the C.S.I.R.O. Division of Wildlife Research. It
    was at Moon Island that the first record of the breeding of the Kelp Gull L. domini-
    canus was found in Australia; a nest with three eggs (A. J. Gwynne and D. F. Gray
    1959 Emu 59, 141-2). We found that a pair nested each year until 1966 when two
    nests were found; 16 eggs were located between 1958-1970, although only nine
    chicks survived to be banded by Jim.
    Jim was a foundation member of the Bird Banders’ Association founded in
    1962, maintaining his membership to his death. He published two articles in the
    Australian Bird Bander (now Core11a), one on the movement of a Kelp Gull he
    banded (1967 Aust. Bird Bander 5, 18) and the other was the report for the Seabird
    Island Series on Moon Island (1974 Aust. Bird Bander 12, 36-37). The report
    revealed that 1575 runners and 7 adult Crested Terns, and 2592 runners and 132
    adult Silver Gulls were banded on the Island, many by Jim. We did many of the
    trips to Moon Island together and he was a great companion. I was able to help
    him with his banding and knew just how thorough he was with his records and
    observations. His knowledge of birds was also shared with many local Newcastle
    and Central Coast groups and he was a popular speaker with them.
    His association with the N.S.W. Field Ornithologists’ Club commenced in
    1966 when the Club was first formed as the Gould League of Bird -watchers. Jim
    was an early contributor to the journal “Birds”, writing notes on the longevity
    records of Silver Gulls (1967 Birds 1 (4), 2) and Crested Terns (1968 Birds 2, 35)
    that he had banded himself. He took part in Club excursions to the Central Coast
    and Newcastle areas. Because of his love and knowledge of the Wattagan
    Mountains he was able to lead Club excursions to this area and the trips were
    greatly appreciated by the members. His love for the Wattagans was shared by
    his wife Shirley and they had many great times there.
    Jim’s love for birds has not been in vain, for in 1960 Moon Island was
    gazetted as a Nature Reserve, partly through his efforts. He was well known to
    the field staff of the then Fauna Protection Panel (now incorporated into the
    National Parks and Wildlife Service) and assisted them with surveys and manage-
    ment of the Reserve. Nature Reserves are lasting and this Reserve will always
    remind us of Jim.
    On 27 February 1979 the Christian church lost a faithful member and orni-
    thology a keen observer, and we are all the poorer for his passing.
    A. J. GWY NNE, 52 Wallerah Road, New Lambton 2305.CONTENTS
    Moffat, R. Confirmed occurrence of the Northern Shoveler in
    Australia 57
    Marchant, S. The Birds of forest and woodland near Moruya, N.S.W 59
    Pratt, E. The White-rumped Swiftlet in New South Wales 68
    Parker, S. Comments on some criticism of the Interim List of
    Australian Songbirds 70
    Morris, A. The spread of the Cattle Egret in New South Wales 72
    Holmes, G. First record of Red -necked Phalarope in New South
    Wales 75
    Ford, J. – Taxonomic Status of some Quail -thrushes 76
    Obituary J. F. Gray 80
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