Vol. 8 No. 3-text

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New south wales
field ornithologists club
No. 3 PRICE 25c.
BIRDS 43. 1 November 1973.
Holmes (1972 Aust. Bird Watcher 4:253-234) summarised the status
of the Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) in New South Wales, giving details of
four sightings in the Sydney – Newcastle Region, including a full des-
cription of the most recent observation at Stockton on 27 February, 1972.
It is therefore of interest to record a further sighting of the
Ruff in New South Wales. Between 17 January and 11 February 1973 one
was present at the Sewerage Farm, McGraths Hill, near Windsor where it
was observed by many people. The bird was first sighted by J. Robertson
and myself among a flock of over 200+ Sharp -tailed Sandpipers (Calidris
acuminata). The bird was larger than the Sandpipers and was kept under
observation over a period of an hour at a distance of 50 m. The bird
was tentatively identified as a Ruff on this occasion.
On 21 January 1973 between 930 hrs. and 1045 hrs. D. Stringfellow,
W. Sweeney and myself again visited the Sewerage Farm and we were suc-
cessful in sighting presumably the same bird. On this occasion the bird
was observed in good sunlight, when standing with 70 Sharp -tailed Sand-
pipers, on a cleared area of dirt that divides two of the aeration tanks.
As the bird walked out into the open away from Sandpipers, the following
description was recorded.
Larger and taller than the Sandpipers and having a very erect
stance at all times. The upper parts were a brownish -buff with lighter
edges to the feathers. Underparts whitish, with a buff -coloured scall-
oping around the upper neck and breast. The forehead whitish with a
dark mark extending beyond the eye, crown a greyish -brown with fine
streaking. The white-wingbar was very distinctive, the bill was slate –
grey, the legs a dull orange -yellow and the tail dark with white oval
patches to the sides. The flight was similar to that of a Sharp -tailed
Sandpiper but the wings appeared broader than those of the latter. The
Ruff was observed feeding in a swampy area adjacent to the aeration
tanks later that day from a distance of 13 m. Subsequent to its dis-
appearance on 11 February, probably due to heavy rain and local flooding
which occurred at that time, it was seen by many observers.
A. Colemane, Northmead.
11 February, 1973BIRDS 44. 1 November 1973
During a visit to Dangars Lagoon Wildlife Refuge, near Uralla,
N.S.W., on 26 December 1972 I recorded a single Pectoral Sandpiper. The
following is a description from my field notes of the bird observed: –
Size: About the same size and build as a Sharp -tailed Sandpiper but
appears to stand more erect. At times the bird seemed to stand on its
toes – peering – to observe my every movement. Bill: Black, lighter
towards the base. Very slight down -curve at tip. Legs: Yellowish –
olive. Eye: Dark with light orbital ring. Upperparts: Generally
similar to a Sharp -tailed Sandpiper when at rest. In flight, plumage
is dark brown except for a small white patch on either side of black
rump. These patches are noticeable as the bird comes into land and
fans its tail, otherwise difficult to see. (To my eye, these patches
are more apparent in the Sharp -tailed Sandpiper). A distinct white
eye -brow runs from near the base of the bill to about 1 cm behind the
eye. This feature clearly contrasted with the crown and emphasized it’s
lack of colour (not rufous like Sharp -tailed). Underparts: Streaked
grey -brown throat and breast defined sharply from whiter abdomen. This
is particularly noticeable in flight when the white abdomen is cut-off
from the dark forward parts of the body by a darker line running across
the leading edge of the wing and across the body, thus forming a slight
inverted “W”. (Although this latter feature was quite noticeable at the
time, I can find no other reference to it.) Call: Remarkably like
that of a Budgerygah.
Although McGill (1960 A Handlist of the Birds of New South Wales)
lists this species as “very rare”, it may not be as rare as previously
supposed, but rather, merely overlooked. This proposition is more
reasonable when one bears in mind recent observations by Hoskins (1972
Birds 7: 17-18), Van Gessel and Kendall (1972 Hunter Natural History
4: 205) and a number of sightings in 1972 summarised by Rogers (1973
Birds 7: 98). Already in 1973 Pectoral Sandpipers have been again ob-
served in the Hawkesbury Marshes, with single birds at McGraths Hill and
Bakers Lagoon.
Smith (1965 Aust. Bird Watcher 2: 9-17) stated that “This sandpiper
is not particularly outstanding in the field and undoubtedly has been
overlooked or wrongly identified many times in the past in Australia”.
From my encounter, Smith’s comments are most appropriate and careful
examination of any “suspect” Sharp -tail might prove worth -while in the
future. However, it must be stressed that separation is not easy
because of plumage variation in the Sharp -tails.
R. M. Cooper
Hornsby. 20.2.73145. November 1973
Having watched experts call up dingoes by imitating their howling,
I have often wondered whether the Albert Lyrebirds of the Mebbin, Mount
Warning and North Wollumbin rainforests, give a call likely to attract
a predatory dingo. However, a dingo may also baulk at the barriers of
the hooked Lawyer Vine tendrils that repeatedly blocked me, laden with
sound recording gear, from closer approach to a performing Albert Lyre-
bird. In 1971 a sign showed that 1080 poison baits had been dropped in
the North Wollumbin area. Since then I have seen no evidence of dingoes.
However, the North Wollumbin Albert Lyrebirds seem fewer and sound
recordings harder to obtain.
In 1971 at Acacia Plateau, Ned Hayes and I found both slender tan
medians, four grey filamentaries and bunches of soft, rufous body fea-
thers where a male Albert Lyrebird had obviously fallen victim to a pred-
ator such as a fox, dingo or feral cat. There are no Lawyer Vines here
and there is less rainforest floor cover.
In 1969, at the University of New England, Tweed Valley Spring Schoo]
Bird Course, members at my North Wollumbin tape-recording area watched
two Carpet Snakes about 3.5 m in length perform a mating dance. These
snakes are likely predators of Albert Lyrebirds, as, would be the Wedge-
tailed Eagle which the 1971 members flushed from a tree in the middle of
a rainforest clearing.
I have seen a Wedge-tailed Eagle snatch a Greater Glider from a side
hole of a eucalypt, when the Glider was getting air on a stifling hot day.
In July 1971 I came upon a male Albert Lyrebird, back -on, pecking into a
cone -shaped hole in a Mt. Warning track such as a Pademelon or Scrub
Turkey may have made. At about 9 m, sound -recording gear was put down,
telephoto attached to camera and focus was almost made as the bird alerted
A shaft of sunlight on the bird had made a good slide a possibility. As
the Albert ran up the track, impressions were of the great unspread tail
flopping awkwardly towards the downhill side and the arresting, hand -size
rufous patch at the base of the tail. Some predators, including a
Wedge-tailed Eagle, would have had adequate scope in this situation.
One of my 1971 “Spring School” tapes indicates an Albert Lyrebird
is mimicking a feral Tomcat. It was clearly not that of an actual feral
Tomcat meowing, nor a Green Catbird itself calling, nor the lyrebird
mimicking a Catbird. Tapes of these Albert Lyrebird performances run
for thirty to fifty minutes.
A male Albert Lyrebird and what seemed to be two females, in January
1969 were scratching in the middle of a 2 ha paddock of half -dug AcaciaBIRDS 46. 1 November 1973
Plateau potatoes. They had to cross about 140 m of potatoes and 180 m
of open forest to reach the rainforest clothing the face of the escarp-
ment and would have been vulnerable to most predators.
At Acacia Plateau on 19 August 1972 with Peter Roberts, I found
under a log most of the wing and body feathers, and two grey fully webbed
outer tail feathers of an Albert Lyrebird. They were covered with
crumbled weeds and moss, and appeared to have been hidden by human hands.
(The adjoining farmland owner had warned off shooters a few days earlier.)
A marked trail was evident for a mile along the escarpment top to the
first downward plunge of the creek. Yearly winter searches of this
creek since 1967 have failed to reveal chick droppings placed there by
an Albert Lyrebird.
A.A. Leycester, who took the first specimens of the Albert Lyrebird
in 1844 and again in 1859, stated in “Adventures of an Early Naturalist
on the Richmond” in “The Sydney Mail” of 10 July 1880, “Their flesh is
not eatable, being dark, dry and tough”. Findings such as in the para-
graph above make one wonder about Leycester’s description of the flesh.
Old miners of the 1950’s, when I lived at Torrington, licked their lips
about “Pheasant Pie”. There is a Pheasant Rock near Butler’s Tin Mine
and Bismuth Gorge area. As far as my studies showed the “Pheasant”
could only have been the Edward Lyrebird. (The late Roscoe Gannon after
having listened to this bird with me at Feathertop Mountain, Torrington,
sent me photostat copies of an article by Spencer Roberts entitled “Prince
Edward’s Lyrebird at Home” (1922 EMU 22:). Roscoe and I were not able
to continue this study together.)
On 20 August 1972 near the find at Acacia Plateau Peter Roberts and
I watched for some minutes a Boobook Owl perched at about 9 m in the most
open part of a female Albert Lyrebird’s scratched area. Since 1967 this
made my fifth sighting of a Boobook Owl along about 460 m of the false
crest into which the creek disappears. The sightings have occurred in
lyrebird scratched areas and one almost exactly where I described “a
perched bird, unrecognizable in the dim light, gave the alarm” to an
Albert Lyrebird. (1969 Birds 4: 9-11) I have watched for evidence of the
Boobook food -gathering what the lyrebird has disturbed but the Boobook
has exited three times without me noticing.
Finally, the A.B.C. Regional Television News of 25 January 1973 men-
tioned four Lyrebirds, apparently in the Nambucca area, which had been
found to be howling like dingoes and this prompted me to complete this
Milton Trudgeon
Tumbulgum. 27.1.73BIRDS 47. 1 November 1973
In a recent review of the status of the White -winged Black Tern
(Chlidonias leucoptera) in New South Wales (Morris 1971 Birds 6: 34-38)
a list of known records of this species for the State is included. Of
importance is that section in which occurrences of C. leucoptera since
1960 are detailed. A survey of the literature reveals that this summary
is incomplete and significant occurrences of the White -winged Black Tern,
particularly in the north-east of the State, have been overlooked.
In order that its status can be assessed more accurately these om-
itted records should be added to the list compiled by Morris. As the
present writer’s examination of the literature has not been exhaustive
these additions should not be regarded as being comprehensive.
Additional records for the period 1960-71 as treated by Morris:
1962 Lake Bathurst (Frith 1969 Birds in the Australian High Country p. 199)
Early May, 1963 Murwillumbah, over floodwaters (E. Pratt in Wheeler 1963
Bird Notes 1962-3 Bird Observer No. 381).
26 November 1963 Booligal (J. McKean in Wheeler 1964 Bird Notes 1963-
64 Bird Observer No. 394).
January 1964 Lake Cowal (J. McKean ibid).
April 1964 Cudgen Creek (near Kingscliff) 50 birds (T. Guthrie ibid).
24 March – 22 April, 1965 Cudgen Creek 50 birds, many in full plumage
(J. Liddy in Wheeler 1965 Bird Notes 1964-65 Bird
Observer No. 406).
June 1966 Kingscliff. About 24 birds mostly in breeding plumage
(W. Moore in Wheeler 1966 Bird Notes 1965-66 Bird Obs-
erver No. 418).
7 October, 1967 Kooragang Is., Newcastle. About 30 birds with unspec-
ified number in breeding plumage (G. Holmes 1967 Bird
Observer No. 432 p.3).
March 1971 Kingscliff. 50 Birds (Guthrie in Wheeler 1971 Bird Notes
1970-71 Bird Observer No. 478). This report may refer
to the same 50 birds, approximately 25 per cent in
breeding plumage seen at Kingscliff Beach on 4 March,
1971 (Guthrie 1972 Aust. Bird Watcher 4:170).BIRDS 48, 1 November 1973
6 March – 17 April, 1971. Kooragang Is., up to 15 birds (maximum rec-
orded on 6 March) observed by the writer, doubtless the
same birds reported in Morris on the Hunter Estuary at
this time. Three birds in full breeding dress on 17
To supplement the above summary some further observations, mainly
by the writer, for the period to the end of 1972 the following are
16 October, 1971. Kooragang Is. A single bird in eclipse plumage.
15 January, 1972 Stockton, Newcastle. One bird (G. Holmes, in litt.).
18 January, 1972 Richmond Estuary, Ballina. Two birds in eclipse plum-
age resting on sandflat in mixed assemblage of terns
Sterna app.
18 January, 1972 Finley. Up to 11 birds until that date (J. Izzard in
Rogers 1973 N.S.W. Bird Report 1972 Birds 7:99).
20 February – 8 April 1972 Kooragang Is. – Stockton. Up to 46 birds
(Maximum recorded on 11 March).
9 September – 16 December, 1972. Kooragang Is. Up to 6 birds sometimes
associated with Whiskered Tern.
28 December, 1972 South Ballina Beach, adjacent to Richmond Estuary.
One bird in nesting flock of terns.
In considering the above records in conjunction with those reviewed
by Morris a number of interesting points emerge, the significance of
which remains to be clarified in some instances.

  1. Since 1958 White -winged Black Terns have been recorded each year
    in N.S.W. from September to June with notably higher concentrations
    during March – April.
  2. Published observations show that this has occurred in the Tweed
    region over four consecutive summers (1963-66) and at least once
    since; more recently it has been noted on the Hunter Estuary at
    Newcastle during each of the six seasons since 1967-68.
  3. With only a few exceptions occurrences have been confined to the
    coastal fringe from the Tweed south to Botany Bay. Inland records
    are scarce.
  4. Sizeable flocks (i.e. around 50 birds) have appeared in several
    years on the far north coast and at Newcastle in 1972.
    D. G. Gosper
    Casino. 14.6.73BIRDS 49. 1 November 1973
    From April 1972 to April 1973 I was living in Stuttgart, Germany
    and I was keen to take advantage of this opportunity to learn something
    at first hand about European birds and ornithological activities in Germ-
    any. To this end I contacted the Duetscher Bund fUr Vogel-schutz (Germ-
    an Society for The Protection of Birds) where I was warmly welcomed by
    both officials and members. I became a member of the DBV and particip-
    ated regularly in their activities throughout my stay.
    Stuttgart is, in fact, the headquarters of the DBV which was orig-
    inally founded privately in Baden-Wuerttemberg, the State of which
    Stuttgart is the capital. The society has since become the major org-
    anisation concerned with bird protection in the whole of Germany.
    The Society’s activities fall into two periods; March to June and
    October to February. Meetings, lectures and field excursions are held
    regularly during these periods, although there are fewer field excursions
    in the colder months between October and February. In July and August,
    the height of the European summer, there is very little organised activity
    as most of the members are away on holidays.
    During the Society’s active periods there was normally a choice of
    two field trips every Sunday morning, starting at either 7 or 8 a.m. and
    lasting until about 10 or 11. The necessity of choosing one of two
    possible outings and the regularity with which these were held kept the
    groups at a comfortable number of from five to fifteen persons. The
    meeting place was invariably at a tram stop, a fact appreciated by those
    who, like myself, had no private transport.
    Stuttgart itself is not a particularly picturesque city. I have
    more than once heard it described as ugly, but to the prejudiced eye of
    the bird and nature lover, its setting alone qualifies it as one of the
    prettiest towns in Germany. The hills which surround it on three sides
    are covered with vineyards, private gardens, orchards and mixed forests
    and offer a multitude of delightful walks. Evening excursions were
    also periodically offered for those interested in owls. Plenty of warm
    clothing is recommended for these outings – even in summer!
    Perhaps the most striking thing about bird “Watching” in Germany is
    the importance attached to hearing a particular species, as opposed to
    seeing it. The forest birds are extremely difficult to observe; they
    are – with the exception of the woodpeckers – very small and live at the
    very tops of the trees. Because of their comparatively small numbers
    and lack of adequate cover for the watcher, water -birds, too, must beBIRDS 50. 1 November 1973
    observed from greater distances than in Australia. On the other hand,
    I was consoled by ample opportunity to see the more common species:
    robins, wrens, blackbirds, dippers, mallards, swans, herons and wood-
    One field excursion will remain one of the most enchanting exper-
    iences of my life. This was a bus trip to the stork resettlement stat-
    ion at Altreu in Switzerland. The station, largely dependent on donat-
    ions from the public, owes its existence to the work of one man, Max
    Bloesch, who, since the early 1950’s, has made it his life’s work to
    bring back the storks to Switzerland, whence they had almost completely
    disappeared. He imported storks from Algeria, raised them and set them
    free. Although the storks settled in well and bred readily, the exper-
    iment has not been entirely successful since the birds will not migrate
    for the winter. This means that Herr Bloesch must feed them throughout
    the winter, at enormous expense, to save them from starvation and the
    storks, of course, are even less inclined to migrate when food is avail-
    able at home. To anyone planning a trip to Switzerland I most heartily
    recommend a visit to this tiny village where at first sight it seems
    that more storks than people are in residence.
    The people connected with the DBV were wonderfully friendly and
    helpful to me during my stay. They were all keenly interested in Aust-
    ralian bird -life and no doubt this interest will bring many of them here
    for the Congress in 1974. I hope that they will receive from enth-
    usiasts here the same kind of ready acceptance and hospitality that they
    extended to a visiting Australian.
    Ann Bainbrigge,
    Narraweena. 22.6.73BIRDS 51. 1 November 1973
    In a previous article, Miller (1973 Birds 7:9-11) gave details of
    the re -sighting of Striated Grass -wrens (Amytornis striatus) in western
    N.S.W., the first since 1883. Subsequent visits to the area have now
    been made and information is submitted on the known range in this State;
    feeding habits and a detailed description of two birds handled.
    Habitat: The habitat is a mallee forest type on deep sand with an
    understorey of spinifex, acacia and other low scrubs. Principle mallees
    include Eucalyptus gracilis, E. dumosa, E. sociates, E. foecunda and
    E. intertexta. Spinifex Trioda sp. and Cactus Pea Bossia walkeri make
    up the understorey along with acacias and other shrubs. The Grass –
    wrens were also observed to inhabit small sand dunes covered with spini-
    fex and mallee. Rainfall of the area averages 11 inches per annum.
    Habits: Most sightings were made near clumps of Cactus Pea on which
    The Grass -wrens fed freely, pulling off and eating the red flower. Under
    favourite bushes little piles of Cactus Pea flowers can be found with
    the base eaten out, possibly the Grass -wrens feed on the nectar. Small
    bell -like flowers from a vine were also eaten along with insects found
    in the spinifex and low shrubs. Grass -wrens appeared to be more abun-
    dant where spinifex was thickest. On 25 February 1973 a group of five
    were followed for two hours and during this time it was noted that al-
    though they ventured in to the open mallee, they kept within 50 m of
    spinifex clumps. When taking cover they would hop and run with great
    speed to the spinifex, rarely taking to the wing. In March, when sev-
    eral birds were encircled, they hid in clumps of spinifex sitting motion-
    less. One bird was observed to sing from a bush 2.2 m from the ground
    after responding to an Audubon Bird Caller operated by George Thomas.
    Distribution: The first sighting of three birds was on 16 December 1972
    along the Cobar-Hillston Road at “Taringo Downs”, 113 km south of Cobar.
    Since then the Grass -wrens have been observed on “Karwon” and “Glenlea”
    the next properties to the south of the first sighting. Grass -wrens
    have now been located up to 48 km south of the first sighting and up to
    35 km west. As this mallee habitat extends through the region for a
    considerable distance it is conceivable that the distribution of this
    bird is much greater than we have indicated. “Glenlea” of 46 538 ha
    has recently been added to the adjoining”Yathong Nature Reserve” con-
    sisting of 40 500 ha of mallee, mulga & callitrix scrubs. Out of the
    combined acreage of this new reserve under the control of the N.P. & W.S.
    about 30 000 ha consists of the mallee habitat favoured by the Grass –
    wrens. Persons wishing to visit Yathong/Glenlea must make arrangements
    with Ranger G. Moore, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Griffith.BIRDS 52. 1 November 1973
    Plumage Description: Plumage details of 2 specimens caught and banded
    by George Thomas of Finley on 24 March 1973 at “Glenlea”.
    Bill – Black 13 mm, width at base 7 mm, nostrils oval 3 mm diameter.
    Tarsus – Dark grey 22 mm. Iris medium brown. Length 159 mm Tail 83 mm
    Rictal Bristles, six between bill & eye, longest 9 mm on top, curved
    towards the front and placed vertically.
    Feathers – each feather from crown to upper tail coverts has a white
    centre line. Crown feathers have a 2 mm wide line of black, bordering
    the white centre, the border becoming larger (5 mm) on the lower mantle.
    All these feathers from crown to upper -tail coverts are edged with chest-
    Lores – are gingery -chestnut. Black moustachial streak 4 mm wide & 26mm
    long from base of bill. White oval patch between eye and moustachial
    Ear Coverts – white, centred with black.
    Chin – greyish -white, upper breast feathers white with blackish edges.
    Lower breast – buff suffusion on lower breast merging to rich apricot
    on flanks.
    Undertail Coverts – pale ginger; deep buff around vent.
    Tail – Centre feathers longest, ten in all, black with thin pale edges.
    The two specimens differed in amount of white on edges but this prob-
    ably due to wear. First specimen, third feathers from outer edge
    moulting. The second specimen, the outer pair of feathers and one
    centre feather moulting.
    Primaries & Secondaries – black, base of primaries chestnut. Lesser –
    wing Coverts chestnut with white centres. Median & Greater Coverts
    white centres, black border, chestnut edges. Alula blackish, leading
    edge white. Longest primaries 7 & 8.
    First Specimen – 1st Primary 51 mm, 2nd 59, 3rd 66, 4th 53, 5th 73,
    6th 73, 7th 75, 8th 75, 9th 73, 10th 73. 1st & 4th primaries moulting.
    Second Specimen – 1st Primary 55 mm, 2nd 58, 3rd 66, 4th 70, 5th 73,
    6th 73, 7th 35, 8th 75, 9th 54 and 10th 73. 7th and 9th primaries
    John Izzard, Valerie Jenkins
    & Bob Miller.
    Murrami. N.S.W. 53. 1 November 1973
    All species of Australian Grass Finches, family Estrildae, lay
    white eggs. The eggs are completely devoid of underlying markings or
    cover markings, termed by some Oologists, character markings.
    The Zebra Finch, however, in addition to laying pure white eggs and
    thus conforming to the general rule of Grass Finches, also produces two
    other colour forms of eggs. These divergent forms are either cream or
    pale bluish -grey in colour and the latter, I feel, is probably the com-
    moner of the two, though F. Lawson Whitlock of Western Australia regards
    the pale bluish form as being less common.
    Checking through the various literature, the following information
    concerning the colour of the eggs of the Zebra Finch emerges: –
    Campbell (1900) – “Clutch 4 to 7, usually 6; oval, some elliptical
    in shape: texture of shell fine; surface slightly glossy: colour, white
    with a very faint bluish tinge”.
    North (1909) – “The eggs are usually 5 or 6 in number for a sitting
    and of a faint bluish -white colour; they are oval in form, the shell
    being close -grained, smooth and lustreless”.
    G. M. Mathews (1925) – “4 to 7 form the clutch, usually 6, though
    sometimes as many as 16 and 19 have found in the one nest, probably the
    result of the laying of two or three birds. A c/6 at Borroloola, Mac-
    arthur River, N.T., on 2nd June, 1913, is white, possessing a very pale
    bluish tinge, which is typical of this species. Oval in shape.
    Surface of shell smooth and almost devoid of gloss”.
    Cayley (1932) – “The eggs are usually 5 or 6 for a sitting, pure
    white, pointed and oval in shape; the shell is fine, smooth and lustre-
    Notes taken from the writings of F. Lawson Whitlock and reproduced
    on page 38 of the same work describe the eggs as follows, “The small
    pointed eggs may be white, or creamy white, or more rarely, tinged with
    palest blue. I have seen over 20 taken from a nesting cavity by a
    young aboriginal.
    Whittell and Serventy (4th Ed.) “Eggs, 3 to 7. White”.
    Baldwin (1973) describes the eggs as – “pure white when laid dev-
    eloping a faint pink glow later”.
    Until recently, when I was shown a clutch of pure white eggs in the
    nest of aviary breeding birds, I was cognizant only of the pale bluish
    grey form of Zebra Finch eggs. This form I had observed both in the
    field and in the aviary over a period of many nesting seasons.BIRDS 54. 1 November 1973
    In the Australian Museum reference collection of Australian Birds’
    Eggs are two sets of 4 of the Zebra Finch, both having been collected
    long ago. One set is quite obviously white; the other, I am inclined
    to think, is a faded set of the bluish -grey form.
    It would appear that both egg collectors and aviculturists have been
    aware of the three distinct forms, white; creamy -white and pale bluish –
    grey, of Zebra Finch eggs for very many years and it is remarkable that
    in a first rate authoritive work such as K. Immelman’s “Australian
    Finches in Bush and Aviary”, this minor, though interesting aberrant
    oological trait of the common little Zebra Finch has not been mentioned.
    Campbell, A. J. 1900 – “Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds”.
    North, A. J. 1909 – “Nests and Eggs of Birds found Breeding in
    Australia and Tasmania”.
    Mathews, G. M. 1925 – “The Birds of Australia” Vol. xii, Part 4.
    Cayley, N. W. 1923 – “Australian Finches in Bush and Aviary”.
    Whittell, H.M. and Serventy, D.L. “The Birds of Western Australia” 4th Ed.
    Immelmann, K. 1965 – “Australian Finches in Bush and Aviary”.
    Baldwin, M. 1973 – “Divergent Behaviour of the Zebra Finch” –
    Birds 8:4
    L. Courtney -Haines,
    Associate Australian Museum,
    College Street, Sydney.BIRDS 55. 1 November 1973
    Important aspects of the conservation interests of the Club are the
    protection of native birds against commercial exploitation and the prot-
    ection and enlargement of national parks and nature reserves to protect
    their habitat. The Club has been making representation to the approp-
    riate government departments in these areas.
    The N.S.W. Minister for Lands has re -affirmed the N.P. & W.S. (and
    the Clubs!) policy that the export of fauna should be on a zoo to zoo
    basis only and that these zoos must be approved as competent by the rev-
    elant fauna authorities (in N.S.W. only Taronga Zoo is permitted to
    export fauna).
    The Secretary has also been in touch with the N.S.W. Department of
    Tourism about the proposed establishment of an Australiana Park at Mitch-
    ell Park, Cattai. Mitchell Park is well-known to Club members as one
    of the few places where Regent Bowerbirds may be seen near Sydney. The
    Minister for Land and Tourism has advised that the establishment of the
    Australians Park has been the subject of a feasibility study by W. D.
    Scott & Co., and that their report has strongly recommended the preserv-
    ation of the rainforest area within the Park, pointing out that irrep-
    arable harm could be done to this forest even by the unnecessary cutting
    of walking tracks.
    A press statement issued by the N.P. & W.S. had claimed that the
    Sturt National Park contained suitable habitat for the Grey Grass -wren.
    As the protection of this unique bird is of such importance the Club
    wrote to the N.P. & W.S. pointing out that no suitable cane -grass swamps
    were included in the Park and urging that every effort be made to acquire
    some as soon as possible. Since then the Service has advised that they
    are negotiating for the acquisition of suitable land including part of
    Delalah Downs on the Bulloo Overflow which includes Grass -wren habitat.
    Margaret Cameron.BIRDS 56. 1 November 1973
    The Sydney Atlas Group visited the Pilot Survey area for the fourth
    time during the weekend September 22 & 23. Ten squares around Braid –
    wood were extensively covered whilst records were obtained for three
    more squares. On average 50 species were recorded for each of the ten
    squares, giving an overall total of 506 separate observations for the
    weekend. Of these, 27 included evidence of breeding. 114 species
    were seen including Wedge-tailed Eagle, White -necked Heron, Peregrine
    Falcon, Ground Thrush, Western Warbler, Whiteface and Beautiful Firetail.
    Members of the group have so far surveyed 34 squares in reasonable
    detail and made casual observations in another seven. This work has
    provided over 1500 observations of 168 species. The Club has recently
    donated 120 to the Atlas Survey to cover stationery expenses.
    Trips are planned for the weekends November 3 & 4, 17 & 18, December
    1 & 2, 15 & 16, 29 & 30. During this time areas around Sussex Inlet,
    Bateman’s Bay, Morton National Park and the Buddawang Ranges will be
    visited. Club members are welcome to join these trips and should cont-
    act John Broadbent (Tel. 666-9211 in office hours) for details.
    Mr. Disney still requires helpers for his weekend pine forest surveys
    details of which were given on p.35 of the September issue of “Birds”.
    In particular demand are people capable of locating nests and identifying
    bird calls. A house is available to stay in whilst assisting the survey. 4
    Contact John Disney for details (Tel. 31-0711).
    Forms are available from Alan Morris for people carrying out walks
    along beaches looking for dead seabirds. Now that summer is almost upon
    us there should be plenty of dead seabirds to find. Please keep records
    of dates and distances of beaches walked each month and species found, if
    any, and pass on to Alan. Remember that this is one survey in which
    everyone can take part.BIRDS 57. 1 November 1973
    15 November B. Miller “Cormorants”
    20 December Films on Birdlife
    17 January E. McNamara Bird Photography
    21 February D. Milledge “Albatross Island”
    (All meetings commence at 8.00 p.m. in the Lecture Room, Australian
    Museum, College Street, Sydney. Meetings close 10.00 p.m.)
    16 August 1973 Mr. L. White showed two 8 mm films, the first on birds
    of Kenya and the second on Aldabra Island in the Indian Ocean. Kenyan
    birds illustrated included Maribou Storks, Shoe -billed Stork, Carmine
    Bee -eater and many Weavers, Sunbirds and Waders. On Aldabra Island,
    Mr. White was privileged to stay on two occasions. The island is
    Located 600 miles from the main Seychelles Islands and 600 miles east of
    the African mainland. Aldabra is a coral attol 17 miles long and five
    miles wide encircling a huge lagoon and has few inhabitants. It is the
    breeding area for many thousands of sea -birds, including Frigate -birds,
    Boobies, Terns etc. The film showed many views of the attol, the
    rugged nature of the shoreline and its endemic birdlife. Mr. White
    explained how, when the British Government proposed to build an airstrip
    on Aldabra, Peter Scott stirred up the conservationists and finally the
    whole island was declared a Nature Reserve under the control of the
    United Nations.
    20 September Alan Morris and Clive Bennett from the National Parks
    and Wildlife Service combined to give a talk on the Australian Goshawk.
    Clive Bennett outlined the work he has been doing in the Windsor area
    west of Sydney and demonstrated the actual trap used to trap the Goshawks.
    He explained how the hawks work their way along the wooded creeks, settle
    into thick foliage and then swoop on unsuspecting prey. Spotted Turtle –
    Doves and Indian Mynas are the commoner prey species in this area.
    Goshawks trapped by Mr. Bennett are mainly immature birds and are taken
    between late January and August, suggesting that the birds are mainly
    late summer to early winter migrants, possibly moving back up into the
    mountains to breed. Alan Morris discussed the distribution of the bird:,
    and the different plumage stages, illustrating this with Museum specimens.BIRDS 58. 1 November 1973
    Saturday 17 November – Hawkesbury Swamps.
    Leader: E. Hoskin – Tel. 88-2900
    Meet 8.30 a.m. opposite Windsor High School in Mulgrave Road, McGraths
    Hill. Visiting Baker’s and Bushell’s Lagoon and Pitt Town Common etc.
    to view waterbirds.
    Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 November – Macquarie Marshes (Booked Out)
    Saturday 15 December – Minnamurra Falls and Thomas’s Farm.
    Leaders: G. & M. Dibley – Tel. 570-1298
    Deane’s coach will leave Chatswood Station, west side, opposite Hotel
    Charles at 7.30 a.m. Pick up at York Street, City near Druitt Street
    7.45 a.m. and at Sutherland on Highway outside Bank of New South Wales
    8.10 a.m. Return to city by 6.0 p.m. Fare $2.50, to be in the hands
    of Mrs. Dibley by December 1st. Cheques payable to N.S.W.F.O.C.
    Saturday 15 December – Boat
    Leader: M. Cameron – Tel. 929-9522
    Meet 7.00 a.m. at McMahon’s Point Wharf. Cost $5.
    Sunday 20 January – Botany Mud Flats.
    Leaders: G. & M. Dibley.
    Meet 9.30 a.m. at Bay end of Hale Street, Botany to view waders.
    Morning outing only, lunch and afternoon could well be at Centennial
    Park where water birds are easy to see.
    January Long Weekend – Proposed Camp in Atlas Survey Area, South Coast.
    Saturday 9 February – Boat Trip off Sydney Heads.
    Leader: A. Rogers – Tel. 848-9520
    Meet 7.00 a.m. at McMahon’s Point Wharf. Cost $5.
    Saturday 23 February Newcastle-Kooragang Island -Stockton.
    Bus trip to see waders and waterbirds, better tides than last trip.BIRDS 59. 1 November 1973
    18 August 1973 – Camden Park and Gilbulla. Led by Alan Morris, 60
    people explored these neighouring properties for a tally of 80 native
    and five exotic species. Notable at the Wildlife Refuge pondage were
    concentrations of Little Grebe in the waterweeds and a Skylark singing
    in the icy breeze. On Gilbulla, the forest offered both Brown and
    White -throated Treecreepers for comparison and Bellminers populated the
    lantana scrub, which also sheltered a Satin Bower -bird’s bower, gay with
    decorations of deep blue plastic. River thickets produced male and
    female Rose Robin and a perfect front view of a male Mistletoe Bird.
    The sun highlighted the brilliant plumage of an Azure Kingfisher whilst
    birds of prey included Brown and Peregrine Falcons and a dark phase
    Little Eagle. Nesting: Yellow Robin (2 nests, both with one young
    and one of them with an addled egg); Brown Thornbill and Spotted Pard-
    alote building; Eastern Striated Pardalote entering an ironbark hollow
    and a Weebill’s nest with four eggs, probably the most popular discovery
    of the day. (D. Larkins).
    1 September 1973 – Beating Trip Offshore Sydney Heads. The highlight
    of this trip was the large number of Cape Petrels present. At least
    250 were seen and possibly 500 of allthe birds sighted were different.
    Over 20 Giant Petrels, one being identified as Macronetes halli and
    four M. giganteus (including two White -phase). The other more inter-
    esting sightings were 50+ Fairy Prions, 6 White -capped Albatross, a single
    Yellow -nosed Albatross, Sooty Shearwater and Little Penguin. (A. Rogers).
    22 September 1973 – Kincumber and Bouddi. 50 members attended the bus
    trip to the property of Mr. and Mrs. Hicks at Kincumber. Here in a
    beautiful garden setting large numbers of Bellminers, Lewin Honeyeaters,
    Regent Bower -birds and Green Catbirds come to be fed. Yellow -throated
    Scrub -wrens were seen in the garden and two old nests found. Along
    the half mile walk to the garden, Brown Warblers were observed building
    a nest and Brown Thornbills were seen feeding large young. We lunched
    at Mount Bouddi and then went to Little Bouddi Beach where two White –
    breasted Sea -eagles, Fluttering and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and one
    dead Fairy Penguin were seen. In the park at least three pairs of
    Spotted Pardalotes were noted feeding nestlings, one nesting in a
    blackened fallen tree trunk. (F. M. Crawford).BIRDS 60. 1 November 1973
    A Ruff at McGrath’s Hill, Windsor. 43
  • A. Colemane
    A Pectoral Sandpiper at Dangar’s Lagoon, Uralla. 44
  • R. M. Cooper
    Predators of the Albert Lyrebird. 45
  • M. Trudgeon
    Additional Records of the White -winged Black Tern. 47
  • D. G. Gosper
    Birdwatching in Germany. 49
  • A. Bainbrigge
    Further Notes on the Striated Grass -wren in N.S.W. 51
  • J. Izzard, V. Jenkins, B. Miller
    The Eggs of the Zebra Finch. 53
  • L. C. Haines
    Notices. 58
    Patron: A. H. Chisholm, O.B.E.
    Hon. Sec. -Treasurer: Mrs. L. Smith 42-2418
    84 Arabella St., Longueville. 2066
    Field Day Organiser: Mrs. M. Dibley 570-1298
    18 Russell St., Oatley. 2223
    Hon. Editor: A. K. Morris 631-7892
    20 Harrison St., Old Toongabbie. 2146
    ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION – Due 1 July each year.
    Single member – $2.00; Junior member – Q1.50; Family – $2.50
    Scientific and Vernacular names used in this journal are in accordance
    with “An Index of Australian Bird Names” C.S.I.R.O. Tech. Mem. No.5 1969
    (Registered for posting as a periodical – Category B)