Vol. 2 No. 2-text

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Price 10c. Published by the Gould League Birdwatchers.
Vol. 2, No. 2 1st September, 1967.
Patron: ALEC H. CHISHOLM 0.B.E., F.R.Z.S.
Hon. Secretary and Editor:L. COURTNEY HAINES.
10 Loquat Valley Road, Bayview.
Observations Committee: K.A. HINDWOOD and A.R. McGILL.
Field -day Organiser: P.E. ROBERTS
26 Bayview Street, Mt.Kuring-gai.
Art Adviser: E.S. HOSKIN. (47-9240)
Photographic Adviser: NORMAN CHAFFER.
Until recent years the Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) was
oonsidered to be a rare bird in the Sydney district. A.J. North
noted (Nests & Eggs of Australian Birds, Vol.4-, 1914., p.390) a
few occurrences from such localities as the Botany Swamps, Cooks
River, Narrabeen Lake and the bays and inlets of the Hawkesbury
River. He also gives an account of a Crested Grebe that was found
roaming in the bush at Mount Colah, near Hornsby: this bird even-
tually jammed itself between two large rocks on a hillside, the
nearest water of any extent being about a mile distant.
Apart from one particular locality the Crested Grebe is still
but rarely seen within 50 miles or so of Sydney. The place in
question is the Prospect Reservoir, a storage dam some 20 miles
west of Sydney. Here, in the summer of 1957, Mr.J.Palmer ob-
served about a dozen birds. Later, up to 20 or so were seen on
the dam by various observers: then, in July 1967, David Sawyer- 14 –
counted between 60 and 70 individuals. On July 30, 1967, Ernest
Hoskin and I made a close survey of the dam and from the elevat-
ed Maunder picnic area counted approximately 100 Crested Grebes,
the actual count was 91 but allowance was made for the several
birds that were, at any one time, below the surface feeding.
Presumably the dam abounds with small fish and other aquatic
life thus attracting so many of the Grebes which also eat some
vegetable matter, but there is not much in the way of water -weeds
growing in the dam.
A check on the diving times of two birds feeding on the dam on
June 11, 19b0, produced the following figures:- (a) 29, 29, 12, 16,
1, 8, 11, 16, 12, and 9 seconds (average 15 seconds), (b) 40, 53,
48, 45, 46, 50, 42 (average 4.6 seconds). The times between dives
varied from 20 to 60 seconds. The Crested Grebe has not yet been
found breeding in the Sydney district. K.A. HIND’WOOD.

A second Australian record. On August 13, 1967, Allan Rogers
found the partly- decomposed remains of a Buller’S Albatross on
Garie Beach at the southern end of National Park, south of Sydney.
An earlier beach -washed specimen was found on Thirroul Beach by
Philip Strong ca June 2, 1963. These two occurrences are the only
Australian reccrds. Both specimens are in the Australian Museum

Since last March I have been making regular observations at
Picnic Point Lagoon and Little Salt Pan Creek, Georges River,
N: S.W. On April 22nd I heard a call that reminded me of the Reed
Warbler; a low, soft “chut-chut”. The bird was seen and heard
calling again on June 11 and again on July 1, when two separate
birds were present. I watched one of the birds on this occasion
through X 10 field glasses at a distance of some 25 feet. The bird
was brownish -fawn in colour and completely devoid of streaks or
markings and it was quite obviously a Reed Warbler.- 15 –
It seems that some Reed. Warblers remain near Sydney through-
out the winter months. I would be interested to learn whether
any other bird -watchers have recorded Reed Warblers this winter
which has been quite mild, there being no frosts as yet.

On August 29th, 1967, I watched a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets
fly into a red -gum tree in the Botanic Gardens. One -f the pair
disappeared and was later induced to come out of the hollow it
had entered when my son scratched the trunk of the tree with a
stick thus simulating a tree -climbing goanna. Some years ago I
saw the species in the adjoining Outer Domain, Coral trees and
flowering gums no doubt attracted the nesting lorikeet in the
first place, nevertheless it is interesting to find thm breed-
ing so close to the heart of Sydney. The species is quite common
in the Sydney area, especially on the northern side of the harbour
where residents often food numerous flocks on sugared water or
on bread sop, E0 S. HOSKIN.

Mr. & Mrs. George Dibley, two enthusiastic members of our
club, have returned from the R.A.O.U. Camp, held this year as
far afield as Alice Springs and Darwin, N.T. Mr. Dibley and his
wife observed 255 species of birds, of which number 110 kinds
were additions to their Life List.
The following observations were included in a letter from
Athol ColemanĀ° of Northmead, N.S.W.
Southern Fig -bird: Two seen in a Moreton Bay fig tree in Prince
Alfred Park, Parramatta, on 11.8.67.
peckled Warbler: Six birds feeding on the ground in open forest
country at Scheyville :on 13.8.67.
Banded Plover: Nine birds observed on the Richmond airfield
on 13.8.67.
Bell Miner: Nest with two eggs in a small gum tree on
13.8.67, and five more nests with eggs in
the same area on 19.8.67. -all at Kurrajong.- 16 –
Forest Bronzewing: Four seen at Kurrajong on 19.8.67.
Brown Pigeon: Four perched high in a gum tree at Kurrajong
on 13.8.67.
BradiTurkey: Two immature birds feeding in a gully, 13.8.67
at Kurrajong.
Mr. GRAHAM ALCORN, of Blckheath, Blue Mountains, writes to say
that he observes Yellow -faced and White-naped Honeyeaters on
migration, moving from north to south and constantly chirping as
they pass overhead. Flame Robins are on the move in the Blue
Mountains and Scarlet Robins have also been obServed, mostly in
pairs. Mr. Alcorn had the pleasure of seeing both a female Flame
Robin and a female Scarlet Robin feeding together in his garden.

Thanks to the generosity of the Gould League of Bird Lovers a
complimentary copy of GOULD LEAGUE NOTES was issued last year to
each member of the Gould League Bird Watchers. Members requiring
the current COULD TEAGUE NOTES may obtain copies by sending 40 cents
direct to the General Secretary, Mr. L.A. Short, Gould League of Bird.
Lovers, Crown Street Public School, Darlinghurst, Sydney. N.S.W.

Contributed by Gilbert P. Whitley
When looking through some of the voluminous correspondence of
the famous statesman, Sir Henry Parkes, in the Mitchell Library,
Sydney, I came across a rather amusing letter. It was written to
the old man by the Hon. Alexander Oliver, the lawyer and author,
whose main zoological interest was his drafting of the fisheries
Act dealing with fish and oysters, and organizing the then new
Fisheries Department in Sydney. This letter (Parkes Correspondence
Mitchell Library, A. 926, No. 236) is as follows: –
135 Macquaries Street,
My Dear Sir Henry,
When I read in one of the morning papers that you had- 17 –
begun to revive your interest in the inmates of your Bird Asylums,
I though of offering you one which I brought up from infancy – – –
a Redbill (Porphyrio “Jerseiensis”). He is a stately and inoffen-
sive gentleman, with good manners, and I think he would be glad
of companions. He has at present two State Socialists only to
foregather with (Galahs) and they seem to torment him with their
everlasting notions of turning things upside down as he stands
on one leg pensive and observant and forbearing.
If you care to have him I will send him to your house.
Sincerely yours,
Alex Oliver.

On the same day, June 22, 1967, of the field outing to Malabar
Headland (H.Battam, Leader) I also visited the locality with two
biology students from the New England University. I immediately
became interested in a small sea -bird some distance out from the
cliffs. It could not be identified, even after we had watched it
for some fifteen minutes. Soon afterwards it flew, with rapid wing –
beats, closer to the cliffs. It settled again on the water and we
had a much better view of its actions. We were puzzled by its
penguin -like wing beats when under the water. It submerged and
also rose quickly and caused some concern among the Silver Gulls
feeding in the area. It would rise and fly short distances with
its narrow wings beating rapidly in a manner similar to that of a
grebe in flight.
The head, throat and back of the bird were brownish- black and
the underparts were dusky -white. Its head was relatively =all
and.its tail quite short. It appeared to be about two thirds the
size of a Silver Gull. We kept it under observation during the
time it was close to the cliffs. Later it flew further out to sea.
We felt sure that this ‘strange’ bird was a Diving Petrel,
probably Pelecanoides urinatrix, a species which breeds on
islands off the southern Australian coast. Our -identification was
confirmed when we carefully examined a series of specimens.
Harry Battam concurred. ARNOLD R. McGILL, ARNCLIFFE.- 18 –
The forty or so members attending this excursion were welcomed
by the leader, Mr. Jack Waterhouse. In perfect weather, the heath –
land at the road junction was given a quick run-through but it
was apparent that the bush fires of last year had spoilt a large
part of the area.
A move was then made to McCarr’s Creek where, White -bearded,
and White-cheeked Honeyeaters, and Little Wattle -birds, were
common. Jack Waterhouse was able to show members several nests of
t sh he o wW n hi tt he e -l n- ea sr td ie nd g -H so in te e ye oa ft e ar , p aia rl l ofr e Sc pe on tt tl ey d us Pe ad r. d al-i o[e tew se ;re boa tl hso birds
were busily budding their nests inside the tunnel.
The Brown -headed Honeyeater was seen in a stand of Scribbly
Gums and some fine co-operative work by. Jack Waterhouse and Peter
Roberts resulted in the finding of a nest of this species in the
top foliage cp one of the trees.
The Variegated Wrens seemed to play hic7*- d- seek with us,
though most members had fleeting glimpses of this attractive
species. ANa=ow-billed Bronze Cuckoo, noticed in the area, no
doubt had the Wrens under observation. Some observers carght a
glimpse of a Brush Bronzewing Pigeon flying across the road.
Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Waterhouse the field day was a
most successful one. ROSCOE GANNON, PYMBLE, N.S.W.

September 21 “American National Parks”, by Mr. S.P. WEEMS,
Director of National Parks and Wildlife.
October 19, “Birds That Never Fly”, (film) by Harold
*- –
PITT TOWN LAGOON & MkRAYLA. Leader; Ern Hoskin (88-2900)
Sunday, September 2)1, 10 a.m.

Pitt Town Lagoon usually attracts many interesting water birds.
The party will stay near the Lagoon until about 12 noon, after
which it will move to an interesting area of typical shale habit
at a few miles away. Early arrivals at the Lagoon are requested
to keep well back from the water so as not to disturb the shyer
birds before the main party arrives.
Public transport is not available — efforts will be made at
the September R Z S meeting to arrange necessary transport. Any
member having difficulty in securing a lift should phone the
Organizer (47-9240).

Leader: A. Colemane (630-6504) Sunday, October 8, 10 a.m.
Athol Colemane has logged 94 species of birds in this small
reserve. Members can look forward to good birding with easy
walking in pleasant surroundings. Directions: From Windsor Road
go half a mile along Hammer’s Road and meet at the corner of
Glenn Ave., (Gregory’s map )122 E 11). The party will lunch in the
Scout Reserve where fireplaces are available. Members wishing
to join the party for the afternoon only may wait in Moxham Park
next to the bridge at 2 p.m.

Leader: Arnold McGill (59-1105) Saturday, October 28, 10 a.an.

Mr. McGill is an authority on waders. There should be plenty
of these birds on the mud -flats. Meet on Captain Cook Drive at
the South-western corner of Quibray Bay (1.7 miles from the last-20-,
Cronulla turn-off). Later the party will visit some interesting
heathlands and then Boat Harbour. Bring lunch.

While picnicing at Kenthurst recently I was rewarded with an
amazing experience. A small greenish -gold bird with a dark head
and white ear -patches dived repeatedly at my pet Corgi, then
back to perch on a nearby limb in great agitation, emitting a
soft ‘peep’. It then proceeded to flutter over my head and
actually alighted on my hair. This performance was repeated three
or four times. Whether the bird wanted my hair for its nest, or
whether it was attempting to scare me away is an interesting
question. I tired of the game first.
Am I right in thinking the bird was a White -eared Honeyeater?
(Yes. Seeking hair for nest -lining from animals or humans is a
common habit of the White -eared Honeyeater. EDITOR.