Vol. 6 No. 5-text

PDF version available here: Vol. 6 No. 5

Price 25c. Published by the N. S. W. Field Ornithologists Club
Vol. 6 No. 5 1st March, 1972
In October, 1971, Muttonbird Island (formerly known as North
Coffs Island) was dedicated a Nature Reserve. The island supports
a breeding population of up to 6000 pairs of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.
Our Club had made representations to have the Island proclaimed a
Nature Reserve. More recently, through Peter Roberts, represent-
ations were made to have some blasting stopped on the causeway lead-
ing to the island until after the Shearwaters had hatched their eggs.
This move was successful for it was feared that the blasting may
have caused the adult birds to desert their eggs and the burrows to
cave in.
Concerned over the large number of Plum -headed Finches for sale
by bird dealers, the Secretary made enquiries with the N. P. W. S.
It was found that over 5,000 finches had entered N. S, W. from Queens-
land in 1971, where they could be trapped during open seasons.
However, in January 1972, the Queensland Governm ent announced new
regulations to their Fauna Act, thereby giving full protection to all
those native finches and parrots which could be trapped previously
and removing all species of Quail, Snipe, Godwits and other waders
from the list of birds that could be hunted. We wrote and thanked
the Government for this move.
In December, the Minister for Conservation and Mines (Mr. Fife)
announced that certain State Forests would be revoked and be addedBIRDS 66. 1st March, 1972
to the following national parks etc., 11,000 acres to Mt, Kaputah;
8,000 acres for a nature reserve north of Coonabarabran; 150 acres
to Morton National Park and 250 acres to the proposed Murramurrang
State Park, Our Club has made representations on the latter area on
several occasions and this is the first tangible evidence that things
are moving there, Recently, the Commonwealth Government announ-
ced that 11,000 acres in the Jervis Bay area, including the beach at
Wreck Bay, had been proclaimed a nature reserve,
Representations have also been made through local members of
Parliament for the need of reserves in the Gosford area to preserve
Bellbird and Regent Bowerbird habitat; the need to preserve the
Hawkesbury Wetlands; and requesting that Boat Harbour be added to
Captain Cook Landing Place Historic Site, The N. P. W, S, Advisory
Council has also been approached on the latter issue as well as on
the need for reserves in the dry sclerophyll forests of the western
sections of the County of Cumberland,
Any person wishing to become a “Smokewalker” (i, e, , a volun-
teer bush -fire fighter for the particular purpose of fighting fires in
National Parks and Reserves – organised by the National Parks
Association) should contact Mr. B, Packard, 80 Yanko Road, Pymble
West, N. S. W. 2073.
Returning from overseas in September, 1971, I was able to make
an overnight stop in the Nadi district of Fiji, Although time prevent-
ed me from visiting any areas of native forest the following species
noted in open farming country between Nadi and Lautoka were of
some interest.
Perhaps the most spectacular bird was the Red-headed Parrot
Finch with its brilliant grass -green body plumage and vivid red head
and rump, Fortunately these confiding little birds are quite common
and several flocks were seen, The other striking species was the
Orange -breasted Honeyeater, one of the Scarlet Honeyeater group,
This is black above, pale yellow below with an orange wash on the
breast and with scarlet crown and rump patches, The Wattled Honey-BIRDS 67, 1st March, 1972
eater was more sombre and resembled a Fuscous Honeyeater with
small yellow wattles, Other new species were the Polynesian Triller,
rather similar to the Varied Triller of northern N. S. W, , the Vanikoro
Broadbill one of the monarch flycatchers and the Pacific Swallow
sometimes considered conspecific with the Welcome Swallow.
Of the species also occurring in Australia the Grey -backed
Silvereye was the most widespread and the White-rumped (Grey) Swift –
let the most numerous. At times up to one hundred of the latter were
hawking for insects around the grounds of our hotel in company with a
small group of White -breasted Wood -swallows, Reef Herons were
recorded in the more watered areas and a Barn Owl was unexpectedly
flushed from a roost in a hollow tree,
Introduced species have obtained a solid foothold. Indian Mynahs
and Red -vented Bulbuls were by far the most common birds in both
town and country while Jungle Mynahs, Spotted Doves and Strawberry
finches were also regularly observed.
Alan Rogers.
I spent a wonderful birdwatching holiday during the whole of the
August and September, 1970 in the Northern Territory with my son
David. He has lived in Australlia for 13 years and is a member of
the R. A, 0. U. , having recently had a paper published on the sighting
(and taking) of Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava) in the N. T. He
is working on further papers on birds of the Darwin Area.
In addition to many visits to and observations of local birds on
Fogg Dam, Harrisons Dam, Mount Bundey and the Marrakai area,
and several localities on the coast, we also journeyed twice into
Arnhem Land and once over to Kunnunurra and the Ord River in W.A.
With David’s help, in addition to 68 species of birds that I had
already, seen elsewhere, I saw 98 species new to me! This is not to
say that I would recognise them all if I saw them again; it was
rather overwhelming.BIRDS 68, 1st March, 1972
Even David was delighted to see three species new to him; the
White -quilled Rock Pigeon (Petrophassa, albipennis) in Hidden Valley
Kunnunurra, W, A, The Hooded Parrot (Psephotus (dissimilis) chrys-
opterygius) – very beautiful – at Edith River, N, T. , and the greatest
thrill for him – the White -throated Grass -wren (Amytornis woodwardi
running up and over rocks on the flattened top of an escarpment in
Arnhem Land,
Other birds observed were the White -lined Honeyeater (Meliphaga
albilineata) and the Black -banded Pigeon (Ptilinopus cinctus) but the
Chestnut -quilled Rock Pigeon (Petrophassa rufipenms) eluded us
though we looked for it several times, David had seen it in these
parts in 1968-69; it was our only disappointment this time.
Mrs. F., M. Crawford
Hornsby, N. S W.
P.A. Bourke reminds us (“BIRDS” of 1. 1.72) that eucalypts
yield something more than nectar and seeds and insects as food for
birds; that in addition to all these the trees at times exude a liquid
from their stems and branches which appeals to certain kinds of
birds. It also happens that many species of Acacia likewise produce
much the same kind of substance and usually it comes from injuries
caused by insect borers. However, though this wattle gum, harden-
ing on exposure to sun or air, is pleasant to eat as a bushland sweet-
meat, I don’t think birds are particularly interested in it as food,
Indeed, the only species I have seen at wattle gum is the Yellow –
tailed Black Cockatoo, and then but once.
What I wish to mention now, after reading Paddy Bourke’s
comments, has not so much to do with birds as with the fact that
certain mammals are known to eat this exudation as well. Parenth-
etically, birds I can add to those he gives as gum -eaters are the
Tasmanian Wattle -bird and the Yellow -throated Honeyeater.BIRDS 69. 1st March, 1972
The fact that mammals also enjoy it is no less interesting.
Tests have shown that the substance contains a lot of sugar, and I
suggest, it is merely the natural sap issuing at either an injury or
the entrance to a borer’s tunnel.
The information relating to these gum -eating mammals, though not
from personal experience, comes from reliable sources. Field
officers of the former Tasmanian Fauna Board and one or two other
good observers have told me about it.
One or other of them has seen the so called kangaroo of Tasmania,
Bennett’s Wallaby, licking the substance from the stems of trees.
In one case, as reported, a wallaby was noted standing on “tip -toe”
to reach up to where the gum was coming out. In another case it was
a Brush Possum, seen on the stem near dusk.
But the most surprising instance occurred with sheep. It seems
to be fairly common for sheep to gather about the foot of a tree and
then in turn proceed to lick any exudation within reach. Perhaps
they learnt the trick by watching the wallabies. the
wallabies had watched the birds!
This sap -sucking process has been noted only in highland country,
and appears to be restricted to two trees, the Cider Gum (Eucalyptus
gunnii) and Manna Gum (E. viminalis). The substance is, of course,
not what is regarded as ,true manna, which is mostly an exudation from
leaves or the manufactured product of some leaf -dwelling insect.
Michael Sharland
Sandy Bay, Tasmania.
Satin Bower -bird
On 15th November I saw a Satin Bower -bird, either a female or
an immature male, in my garden. For the next two weeks it remained
in the garden most of the time, being very active in the mornings and
evenings. The garden is large and rather untidy with gum trees and
other trees and ferns. Except in very dry weather it is moist and
humid,BIRDS 700 1st March, 1972
The bird was always active when I first went out at about 6.30 a, m.
He (she) would fly about from tree to tree picking off small twigs of
gum leaves until the beak could hold no more. He would then float
down from tree to ground where the ferns are thickest and I could
never find what he did as he was cautious if I went too close. Some-
times instead of fresh leaves he would fill his beak with dry leaves
from the drive and although left small blue articles about they were
not touched,
During the evenings he would fly after insects apparently very
successfully. If I stood on the verandah and made squeaky noises he
would come to a limb of a blue gum quite close to the house, cock his
head and inspect me, Although the Noisy Miners and Currawongs
tried to drive him away – as they have successfully done with most
other birds – he took no notice of them whatever. He was a very
healthy looking bird and showed no sign of colour change.
I noticed that he used the bird bath for drinking, but was not
seen to bathe in it. A. Graham,
Roseville, N. S. W.
Melitose-Sap Lickers
To the notes by P.A. Bourke (BIRDS, Vol. 6 No. 4) may be add-
ed some observations from my field notes.
Red Wattle -bird (Anthochaera carunculata) 15th June, 1962
White -eared Honeyeater (Meliphaga leucotis) 16th June, 1963
White -throated Tree -creeper (Climacteris
leucophaea) 17th June, 1963
Yellow -tufted Honeyeater (M, melanops) 13th May, 1964
5th Oct. 1969
Brown Tree -creeper (C, picumnus) 5th Aug. 1964
5th Oct. 1964
The Honeyeaters and Brush -tongued Tree -creepers were licking
“manna” from gum saplings.BIRDS 71. 1st March, 1972
In spring this sap often contains small white maggots with dark
heads resembling the larvae of fruit flies.
These scanty notes suggest a provident winter -spring flow of sap
when nectar is scarce. M. Baldwin,
Gilgai, via Inverell, N. S. W.
Three Black and White Birds Nesting in the Same Tree
At Cobbitty, 34 miles S. W. of Sydney on the 210 acre Veterinary
Experimental Farm of Smith, Kline and French, the following three
black and white birds were nesting in the same Stringy Bark Tree;
the Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys), Magpie Lark (Grallina
cyanoleuca), and the White -winged Triller (Lalage sueurii),
At the present (3. 12. 71) the young of the Willie Wagtail and
Magpie lark have now left the nest and the fledglings are frequently
seen in the same trees. The White -winged Triller is feeding young
and 40 feet away in another tree; its relative, the Black -faced
Cuckoo -shrike (Coracina novae hollandiae) is also feeding young (at
least two) in the nest.
Although the association of black and white birds of two differ-
ent species nesting in the same tree is well known, usually the
Magpie lark and the Willy Wagtail, it is felt the present association
of three species in the same tree is worth recording.
G. Mendel
Cobbitty, N. S. W.
1971 Annual Report
Progress on the 1971 Annual Report is well advanced and it is
especially pleasing to note the increase in contributions from
members outside the Sydney area. Having recently returned from
overseas I would now like to take the opportunity to thank all con-
cerned and assure them that in future all major contributions will be
individually acknowledged.BIRDS 72, 1st March, 1972
As the report will comprise the May issue of “Birds?’ members
who have any outstanding records for 1971 are urged to send them
immediately Cr- 84 Arabella Street, Longueville, N. S. W. 2066,
Alan Rogers
(Records Officer)
Notice: Accommodation for Birdwatchers
Mr, D. Bucknell, “Quambone” Quambone, N. S, W, 2816, has a
vacant house with water and electricity, on the Macquarie River at
$10, 00 per week each for up to four people or $5, 00 for a long week-
end. For full details contact Peter David Drummond, 6 Byrnes St.,
Bexley, 2207 or phone 747.3927 between 7.30 a. m. and 4.00 p.m.
Cumberland State Forest, Murphy’s Bridge (Annangrove), Boundary
Road, Scheyville, McGrath’s Hill, Bushell’s Lagoon, Richmond
Aerodrome and Baker’s Lagoon – 20th November, 1971
Rain commenced within an hour of the departure from Rogan’s
Hill and continued for approximately hours, During the afternoon
the rain clouds dispersed and fine weather prevailed.
Approximately 35 members and visitors attended this outing.
However, as a result of the rain, which was quite heavy during our
visit to Scheyville, about one third of the party left after lunch and
missed the best field day, birdwise, since the formation of the
Ernie Hoskin is to be congratulated for his efforts in arranging
for the birds to be present on this day because 120 species were re-
corded and this figure is, no doubt, a Club record for a field day.
The most notable species recorded were: –
4 species of Egret, Jabiru (1), Yellow -billed Spoonbill, Stubble
and Painted Quail, Jacana (1), Painted Snipe (1 Male, 2 females),
Greenshank (1), Brush Cuckoo, Tawny Frogmouth (2 adults, 2 young
& nest nearby,) Little Cuckoo -shrike, Peregrine Falcon (1), SpeckledBIRDS 73. 1st March, 1972
Warbler (2), Orange winged Sittellas, E. Striated Pardalote (1),
Black -chinned Honeyeater (2 birds at Murphy’s Bridge & 1 adult feed-
ing young bird out of nest at Scheyville), Marsh Tern (3), Brown
Songlark, Banded Plover (74 in paddock near Richmond Aerodrome).
On behalf of the members who attended the outing, I would like
to express our appreciation of Ernie Hoskin’s leadership and hope
that he will continue to lead field outings to this area.
(Re: Report on Towra Point Field Day – 3rd July, 1971 – The Sea –
eagles were calling in their nesting season and not outside of the
season as the report implies.)
R. M. Cooper
Palm Beach, N. S. W.
Comerong Island – 4th and 5th December, 1971
Leaders G. & M. Dibley led the trip in weather which was fine,
sunny and warm, but windy in exposed areas.
Members from Sydney, Leura, Katoomba, Moss Vale, Bowral
attended – twenty on Saturday, 17 of whom camped overnight. 94 species
were recorded and included Sanderlings, Large Sand Dotterel, Man-
grove Bittern, Little Lorikeet, Eleven new species were added to the
Comerong list which now stands at 116 species.
“Kookaburras” by Veronica A. Parry. 110 pages, Lansdowne
Press Pty. Ltd. $4.25.
This book is a detailed monograph dealing with the life of the
Laughing Kookaburra and is the result of two and a half years research.
The author is an American and first became interested in Kookaburras
exhibited in the aviaries of the San Diego Zoo. At the invitation of
the late Professor “Jock” Marshall, Miss Parry accepted a scholarship
to study Kookaburras for a Master of Science Degree at Monash Univ-
ersity, Victoria.BIRDS 74, 1st March, 1972
For people who like Kookaburras, this monograph will have a
strong appeal. Written in an easy to read racy manner, each chapter
is packed tight with information, One is introduced to the birds’
social system and the reader learns that Kookaburras live in groups
similar to human families, Size of ‘territory for each nesting pair
is discussed, laugh -song and other calls, patterns of behaviour are
all carefully recorded and nesting biology,
Following the preface is a chapter dealing with the history and
zoogeography of the Kookaburra, illustrated with early drawings of
the bird and included is a very fine reproduction of Pierre Sonnerat’s
Kookaburra, ‘the first drawing ever made of the Giant Brown Kingfisher,
while a map depicting the distribution of Kookaburras in Australia,
indicates not only the range of Dacelo gigas, but also its density.
The range of the other two species of Kookaburras, (D. Minor) and
(D, leachii) is also shown on the map.
The book contains six colour and 46 black and white photographs
as well as a number of diagrams. Strongly bound and nicely presented
this contribution to Australian ornithological literature is obviously
of the utmost importance to the serious student. It is also a book that
the general reader will be pleased to have on the book shelf.
“Australian Bush Birds” by Harry Frauca, 135 pages, Lansdowne
Press, S3095,
As the author mentioned at the beginning of the book, the term
“bush -birds” is used to indicate species that live in typical Australian
bush environment, This is, rainforest or scrub, sclerophyll forests,
either dry or wet and savannah woodland, The distribution in
Australia of each of these habitats is clearly shown on a map, together
with well drawn silhouettes of typical birds of each habitat. Photographs
of the various environments are also included.
Classification is briefly discussed, followed by the structure of
birds, the latter being reinforced, again, with silhouettes and an excel-
lent diagram of a bird is included containing 22 pointers. Birdwatchers
should study carefully diagrams such as this so that their field de-
scriptions can be accurately determined by museum ornithologists,BIRDS 75, 1st March, 1972
The colour plates made from photographs submitted by that trio
of camera virtuosos, namely, Messrs. Chaffer, Chapman and McNamara
are of course magnificent; however, the pleasure that one derives
from them is somewhat marred by the fact that a number of other bird
pictures, both colour and two-tone, appear to be photographs of shot
birds, arranged in various untidy and macabre positions. Rather than
use this “graveyard” method of illustrating a book, mounted museum
birds or even cabinet specimens would have been much more desirable.
The photograph too of a birdwatcher crouching beside a Scrub -turkey’s
mound, rifle in hand, (or is it a 410 shot -gun?) is also in very bad
taste in a book that one may presume has been written for the use of
bird lovers, One is inclined to wonder if the firearm pictured is the
weapon used to obtain the birds whose portraits are distributed so
liberally throughout the book!
Each bird in colour is described, followed by text relating to
its distribution, habitat, nest and eggs etc. There is an inconsistency
with the descriptions of the latter – the eggs of some species being
described, while with others they are completely ignored. The eggs
of the common Zebra Finch are described as white. Every clutch
I’ve ever examined of this bird have been very pale dull blue as de-
scribed in Cayley’s “What Bird is That? “. It is the only Australian
Grassfinch that lays an “off white” egg and this interesting point
should certainly be mentioned.
The author concludes with chapters dealing with nests and eggs,
methods of studying birds and the all important question of conserv-
ation. A “coda” at the very end details books for further study, a
list of phonograph recordings of Australian bird calls and lastly,
bird societies amongst which our Club is mentioned; unfortunately,
our Hon. Secretary’s address is somewhat obscured by the street
being wrongly named Araluen instead of Arabella. This book is
strongly bound and very attractively presented. The coloured photo-
graph of the Barn Owl on the front dust jacket is really very fine.
Vol. 24 of “The Bird Lover, ” published by the Gould League of
Victoria” is now available. The price is 20 cents and the League’s
postal address is Box 96, P.O. Ashburton, Vic., 3147.BIRDS 76. 1st March, 1972
The front cover picture for this year is a first rate “shot” of
the Eastern Shrike -tit in full colour by Ellis McNamara, while on the
back cover is a fascinating picture of a baby Boobook Owl. The
contents of course, as always, are extremely well written with the
accent on conservation and all articles are liberally illustrated.
The children’s section is very commendable, the observations and
poems being most original and interesting.
L. C. H.
Saturday, 18th March, 1972 Leader: A. Colemane 630-6504 –
Meet at 9 a. m. at Bringelly at Junction of Luddenham-Narellan
Rd. and Bringelly Rd., about 6.7 miles from Hume Highway,
Saturday & Sunday, 22nd & 23rd April, 1972 Leaders: G. & M. Dibley
570-1298 – Meryla Pass & Morton National Park, 15m. Sth, of Moss
Meet 9.30 a. m. Illawarra Highway where it joins Bowral-Moss
Vale Rd. on northern end of Moss Vale. Latecomers proceed towards
Robertson for miles. Turn right into Fitzroy Fall -Kangaroo Valley
Rd. After about a mile turn right again. After another mile turn
left and proceed to Meryla and walk down pass. As meeting place is
86 miles from Sydney would intending starters please contact leaders
by Thursday, 20th April, Campers carry water.
Saturday, 20th May, 1972 Leaders G. & M. Dibley 570.1298 –
Albion Park – Property of Mr. & Mrs. Thomas and Macquarie Pass
State Park.
A bus will probably be chartered leaving City, eastern side of
York Street, near Druitt Street at 7.30 a. m. picking up at Sutherland.
Returning by 7 p. m. Fare $3 to be in hands of Mrs. M. Dibley, 18
Russell St., Oatley, 2223 not later than Thurs. 11th May. Cheque
payable to “N. S. W. Field Ornithologists Club. ” As this notice had to
be written 4 months in advance please confirm arrangements with
leaders before booking.

(Registered for posting as a Periodical – Category B)