Vol. 5 No. 3-text

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Price 25c Published by the N. S. W. Field Ornithologists
Vol. 5. No. 3. 1st November, 1970.
The range of the Regent Bower -bird extends along
eastern coastal Australia from near Sydney to Mackay in
Queensland, a distance of some 1,200 miles (ref, A, H.
Chisholm in Emu 61, 1961, p. 242). In parts of its distrib-
ution, such as the Gosford District, the species is not un-
common and is encouraged to home gardens by suitable food.
Further north, at Forster, Regent birds may be seen feed-
ing in large native fig trees in the streets of that seaside
The recent sighting of several Regent -birds at Mitchell
Park, Cattai Creek, 30 miles north-west of Sydney calls for
a summary of the known records for the Sydney area, In
one instance at Cattai Creek, near Caddie Picnic Ground,
it was thought that a female may have had a nest in a creeper –
covered river oak. Close observation in the future may
prove that the species does nest in rain -forest and heavy
forest country bordering Cattai Creek between “The Willows”
picnic grounds and the junction of the Cattai Creek with the
Hawkesbury River,
1847 John Gould in his BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA (Vol.4) men
tions that the Regent -bird is occasionally seen near
1860 George Bennett in his book GATHERINGS OF A NATUR-
ALIST (p. 215) states that the Regent -bird “…has a
wide range, from Illawarra (in which district they haveBIRDS -24- NOVEMBER, 1970
A week later much of the lush vegetation bordering the
creek appeared to have been affected by severe frosts;
leaves were dead and berries shrunken. The Regent –
birds could not then be located. Such a sudden change
can scarcely be attributed to the prevailing dry weather
because the leaves of many trees bordering the stream
were also dead or dying.
References to female Regent -birds in the above notes
are to individuals in female -type plumage; some of
these birds could have been immature males.
Lindfield. N. S, We
It is a good move for our newly -named organisation to
set about compiling an Annual Bird Report, and even better
that members are being advised to include behaviour in their
While the statistics of bird movement are important,
there is often a tendency to regard them as supreme and to
ignore behaviour. After all, it is easier to record bird pre-
sence and movement than to observe carefully and analytically
what groups or individuals are doing!
This comment is prompted by reading in the current
issue of “Birds” that Mr. Hindwood thinks the action of Span-
gled Drongos (Chibea bracteata) in catching honeybees and
wiping them against branches before swallowing them ‘may
have something to do with the sting of the bee”,
This is intriguing behaviour by an omniverous bird which
nevertheless is not, so far as I know, regarded as a special-
ist in catching and eating bees.
The interesting thing is that the Drongos’ treatment of
the bees is similar to that of the world’s bee -eaters, includ-
ing the Australian Rainbow (Merops ornatus).-25- NOVEMBER, 1970
For example, Fry (1969a) has explained how the Little
Bee -eater (Merops pusillus) operates. This bee -eating ex-
pert – a colourful little creature with a white collar and dark –
red bib which give it the appearance of a musical comedy cler-
ic – grips the bee by the abdomen, close to the sting, and
rubs it against a branch to expel the venom, Then it beats
the bee’s head against the branch until the insect is dead.
This action does not seem to be innate and Fry rep-
orts that young bee -eaters can be stung, apparently not nec-
essarily with serious results, until they learn the technique.
Reports of Drongos dealing with bees in the manner
seen by Mr. Hindwood might indicate whether this is a comm-
on practice of these birds elsewhere than at Forster, If
there are Rainbow Bee -eaters in the vicinity it is not unlike-
ly that the Drongos learned from watching them; in bird be-
haviour nothing is impossible and not a great deal is absolute!
Manly, N0S. W.
Regarding Alec Chisholm’s notes, “Instant Mimicry”,
“Birds” Vol. 4, No. 4, in which is recorded a hen Lyrebird’s
immediate mimicry of a Currawong.
During my stay with the B.O. C, at O’Reilly’s Guest
House, Green Mountains, Lamington National Park, I went
out one morning to call up the Noisy Pitta, that had just com-
pleted its nest in the buttress type roots of a huge tree. The
tree was right alongside the track a quarter of a mile from
the, main road.
On arriving at the tree I observed a hen Albert Lyre-
bird about 25 yards to my left and as I whistled the Pitta’s
“walk to work” call the Lyrebird gave me a helping hand,
Between the two of us, we brought the Pitta out of the
thick bush and onto the track,
Randwick, N,S0W,BIRDS -26- 1 NOVEMBER, 1970
AUGUST, 1970
Perfect spring weather made our visit to the Forestry
Commission Nursery Grounds a pleasant expedition, Walking
down the drive through the tall timbers, we had a very good
view of the Golden Bronze Cuckoo, undismayed by the 40 odd
people staring at it through binoculars Shortly afterwards
we were very pleased to get an early record of the arrival
of the Scarlet Honeyeater. As we approached the bottom of
the drive, we turned left, to inspect the old bower of a Satin
Bower -bird, and also the new bower – both were built near
a wild cherry tree, Noela Kirkwood has since returned and
found yet another bower in use, near the old one, Some of
us had a very good view of both the adult and the immature
Little Cuckoo -shrike and we were able to note the difference
in their appearance, In the Bellbird colony, very few birds
were calling, sometimes wonder whether the large numbers
of belligerent Yellow -tufted Honeyeaters resent the newly
formed colony of Bellbirds.
Afterwards we proceeded to a quite dramatic waterfall
and rocky pool off Boundary Road, where we had lunch, We
were sad to see that the water was polluted by what appeared
to be detergent, This small stream is one of the headwaters
of Berowra Waters.
We were fortunate in having Mr, Athol Colemane with his
qu’ck eye and expert knowledge, to help lead the expedition.
Thanks are also due to Mr, Coates, the Manager of the
Forestry Commission Nursery for kindly granting the Club
permission to watch birds within the grounds,
38 species in all were recorded.
West Pennant Hills, N,S. WBIRDS -27- 1 NOVEMBER, 1970
September, 19th saw a procession of 21 cars manned
by 40 bird watchers armed with binoculars and notebooks
converge on the Windsor district.
Led by Ern. Hoskin, places visited were Blue Gum
Creek, Murphy’s Bridge, Scheyville, a brief visit to Pitt
Town then on to Bushell’s Lagoon, Wilberforce,
A total of 86 birds were recorded and of particular
interest were Glossy Ibis, Little Falcon, Swamp Harrier,
Little Egret, Rose Robin, Eastern Shriketit, Brown Tree –
creeper and White -winged Choughs.
There were species found nesting.
The bulk of the migrants were late in arriving, only
Rufous Whistlers were recorded, but no White -throated
Warblers, Pallid Cuckoos, Sacred Kingfishers or Trillers!
An interesting and successful day was brought to a
close byinclement weather,
Eastwood, N. S. W.
MEETING, 20th AUGUST, 1970
Illustrated Address – Mr. Jack Purnell.
Forty colour slides were shown. All were of high
standard, Shriketit, Cicada Bird, Helmeted Honeyeater,
Rufous Bristle Bird, Crested Grebe, Pied Oyster -catcher,
particularly appealed.
A number of slides of Norfolk Island were shown and
birds of the area included – White Tern, Masked Gannet,
Grey Noddy, White -capped Noddy and Red-tailed Tropic
Bird.BIRDS -28- NOVEMBER, 1970
Mr. Keith Hindwood showed slides of the nest and eggs
of the following species – White -breasted Wood -swallow,
White -headed Stilt, Lotus Bird, Crested Grebe and Pied
Oyster -catcher,
Pair of Marsh Crakes at Centennial Park, R. Fordham).
White -throated Warbler at Ryde, August lst. (E, Hoskin),
Three Darters and a Jabiru at Scheyville, (Dr, Mason),
Yellow Robin, Jacky Winter and young Magpies in Hyde Park,
Sydney, (J. Disney).
Galahs at Roseville, (N. Chaffer),
Gang -gang Cockatoos, Rose Bay, (H, Skrzynski),
Illustrated Address – Miss Margaret Cameron and Mr. Mrs,
Slides of the recent B, O, C. trip to Iron Range, Qld,
were screened,
The Dibley’s slides covered most aspects of the camp
site and surrounding country, including Portland Roads at
Quintell Beach.
Miss Cameron showed aerial pictures of country on the
way to Iron Range and many slides of flora and fauna of the
area, including one of the Fawn -breasted Bower -bird at its
One Drongo at Narraweena, August, 4th. (Miss Ann Banbrigge),
Two Marsh Crakes, Yeramba Lagoon, August 21st. (Peter
Blue Wren nesting, Olive -backed Oriole and three Grey Fan-
tails, Hyde Park, Sydney, September 8th. (E. Hoskin).
Currawong nesting and seventeen species of birds, Hyde Park,
Sydney, September 11th. (E. Hoskin).BIRDS -29- NOVEMBER, 1970
Tawny Frogmouth, Botanic Gardens, September 11th. (E.
Saturday, 14th November, 10.00 a. m.
Bluegum Creek, Springwood.
Leader: A. R. McGill, 59-1105
A fire trail gives easy access to some fine forest,
abundant with bird -life. This is the area we were unable
to visit two years ago owing to dangerous bushfireso
Meet on the road from Springwood to the Hawkesbury
Lookout at the junction with White Cross Road, 32 miles from
the Western Highway miles from Hawkesbury Lookout).
Saturday, 5th December, 9030 a. ma
Minnamurra Falls.
Leader: G. Dibley, 57-6298
Take Princes Highway, turn off to Albion Park and
proceed straight ahead on Jamberoo Road. Turn right on to
Jamberoo Pass Road and right again to Minnamurra Falls.
Meet at Fern Display Board°
Saturday, 16th January, 1971, 1.30 p. m.
Long Reef,
Leader: L. Haines.
Meet at eastern end of Anzac Avenue, Collaroy,BIRDS -30- 1 NOVEMBER, 1970
Saturday, 16th January. Long Reef.
Saturday, 6th February. Newcastle Wading Areas.
Saturday, 6th March, Quibray Bay and Boat Harbour.
Saturday and Sunday, 20th and 21st March. Munghorn Gap
near Mudgee.
Patron: A. H. Chisholm, O. B. E. F. R. Z. S.
President: Dibley,
18 Russell St. , Oatley.
Phone No 57-6298
Hon. Secretary & Mrs. L. Smith,
Treasurer. 84 Arabella St. Longueville.
Phone No. 42-2418
Members are reminded that all noteworthy observations of
Birds in N. S. W. should be forwarded regularly to the
Records Officer, C/- 84 Arabella St. , Longueville. 2066,
All material for Publication in “BIRDS”, should be sent to
the Hon. Editor, 10 Loquat Valley Road, Bayview. 2104
(Registered for posting as a periodical – Category B)