Vol. 12 No. 2-text

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Journal of the

Volume 12, No. 2 December, 1977

Registered for Posting as a Periodical, Category B Price $1.50THE N.S.W. FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
W. Boles
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) $6.00
Single Member (Country and overseas) $5.00
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All members receive a quarterly newsletter and a copy of the quarterly journal “Australian
Birds”. The price of the journal is $1.50 plus postage per issue to non-members. 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:
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All membership 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. 2857NUS
Volume 12, No.2 December, 1977
Trapping, banding and colour marking of the Australian Regentbird Sericulus chry-
socephalus (formerly known as the Regent Bower -bird) in the vicinity of Blackbutt Reserve,
Newcastle has been conducted over the past few years in an attempt to gain some know-
ledge of this species. Despite much searching no bowers have been found in the Reserve.

The topography and vegetation together with the extremely quiet display of the Regent

bird presents some difficulty in the search for bowers.
Available literature (Iredale 1950, Marshall 1954 and 1970, Disney and Lane 1971
and Gilliard 1969) indicates that little is known about the bower building habits of schry-
socephalus. Consequently when an immature male Regentbird constructed a bower in my
garden, on two occasions, firstly in 1976 and again, using the same site in 1977, notes
were kept on the display and bower -building observed. Details of the bower were not taken
as I was hesitant at the time to disturb the bird in any way. Foliage and poor light con-
ditions often obscured observations and there were times when it was not convenient to
keep the site under constant observation. Also there were days when no activity occurred
at the bower site.
On 9 November 1974 a brown coloured Regentbird (No. 7) was trapped and a band
supplied by the Australian Bird Banding Scheme, applied. It was noted when the bird was
retrapped for colour -banding on 3 August 1975 that colour changes of the bill had begun
to occur. By 17 January 1976 the bill and eyes were completely yellow.22. AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 12 (2)
The immature male (No.7) commenced to build a bower on – 17 January 1976 and again
using the same bower site on 11 January 1977, under shrubbery approximately three metres
from the kitchen window. It is of interest to note that a captive Regentbird kept in the exper-
imental area of Monash University was found to have constructed a bower at the time that
similar colour changes occurred to the one described above, indicating that the bird was an
immature male (Marshall loc. cit).
First Bower (1976): On the first observed bower building attempt the bird worked consist-
ently and busily for several days then abandoned bower building for about ten days before
resuming. Bower building again continued for two more days, with no further activity for
seven days, followed by bower building for three days and when, three weeks later, on 29
March 1976 the bower site was inspected, the bower appeared to be well constructed and
probably close to completion.
Second Bower (1977): At commencement of construction of this second bower of the immat-
ure male there appeared to be no further changes in colouration of plumage, bill and eyes
although the Regentbird was in moult at this time with brown plumage replacement. Bower
building was swift and continuous and within four hours the bower was fairly well built with
low walls. No further observations were recorded until four days later when construction
continued despite rainy weather conditions. The following day was overcast and very humid
and the Regentbird was in constant attendance at the bower where bower -building continued
together with much display.
Observations were not constant for the next few days although the bird was seen in the
vicinity of the bower. On 19 January 1977 bower building and display again continued and
the bower appeared to be well constructed and near completion. From these two observations
of the bower of the Regentbird would agree with both Marshall (loc. cit) that the bower
“is not in the least degree rudimentary It is sturdy and durable Certainly the structure is
smaller than that of any other avenue building species. But, so too, is the bird that builds it”
and M. T. Goddard (1947) was quoted by Gilliard (1969) which describes the bower perfectly
“It consisted of two parallel, triangular -shaped walls of fine sticks and twigs There was no
arching effect of the walls and the platform of sticks and twigs upon which adornments are
deposited (as seen in bowers of the Satin species) was lacking.” It appears that the only
reference to triangular -shaped walls are as described by Goddard and aptly describes the walls
of the bowers observed by me.
During bower construction twigs of varying thicknesses and lengths are broken off near-

by shrubs or picked up off the ground. The bird stands either at the end of the avenue or

within the avenue in order to place the twigs in the wall with much agile hopping to
change position. Frequently bower building is interrupted whilst the builder indulges in bursts
of display. This may be of fleeting duration or continue for an hour or so.
Orientation of the avenue of both bowers was north -south with the walls constructed
on the west and east. This differs from the observations of Goddard (loc. cit) where the
avenue faced east -west. Chaffer (1959) in his comments on the Satin Bowerbird states that
the walls of their bowers nearly always run north and south. Vellenga (1970) comments
that the orientation of the Satins bowers did not always remain north -south.
Ornaments found in the bower of the Regentbird generally harmonize with the surr-
oundings and ground colour (Marshall /oc. cit). An exception to this is the colour blue
referred to by E. P. Ramsay (1876) in his observations as quoted by both Marshall and
Gilliard (loc. cit). Observations of mine agree with Ramsay regarding this colour. A smallDecember, 1977 23.
piece of blue balloon was a favoured ornament usually found decorating the avenue floor
although it was rarely picked up during display. A list of ornaments seen at the bowers
follows, and except for the blue ones, is similar to those reported by Marshall (loc. cit),
1 amber bead, creamy -yellow flower and leaves, 1 and 2 fresh green leaves, fern frond
buds, brown gall, snail shells, blue plastic hair curler, blue aerogruard cap, piece of blue
ribbon, blue beads, 1 strip of blue balloon. The ornaments are placed within the bower
although occasionally an ornament is found outside the bower in close proximity to it.
Unlike the Satin Bowerbirds Ptilonorhynchus violaceus only a few ornaments have been
observed at the Regentbird’s bowers at any one time.
First Bower: Although painting of the bower may have occurred during construction of
this bower this activity was not observed.
Second Bower: On 16 January 1977 a green unopened fern frond bud had been placed
within the avenue of the bower. After rearranging the twigs and adding to the walls of
the bower, followed by some display the Regentbird then chewed at the fern bud, pre-
sumably for the purpose of painting the walls of the bower. Although painting of the

bower was not actually observed on this date this action was later confirmed. The Regent

bird remained away from the area until 24 January 1977 when it was noted (per daughter
Narelle Barden) to gather raindrops from the shrubbery, chew small amounts of fern fronds
and then proceed to paint the walls of the bower. Observations on bower painting are also
described by Goddard (1947).

Vellenga (loc. cit) describes raiding of bowers and counter -raiding of the Satin Bower

bird. My observations tend to indicate that similar behaviour occurs with the Regentbird.
First Bower: When inspected on 12 April 1976 the bower appeared to have been tampered
with as the western wall was not so pronounced as previously noted. Bower building again
resumed on 12 May 1976 and three days later when again inspected the bower appeared
to be flattened and the ornaments had disappeared. On June 1976 the builder of the bower
(No 7) was seen pulling the bower to pieces. Intermittent bower repairs later followed. A
mature male (No 3) and an immature male (No 6) were both seen to attack the bower,
the latter on 16 July 1976 when there was much display by the owner of the bower.
These two males often displayed at the bower whilst the owner was away either alone
or more often with another bird or birds in attendance. The mature male (No 3) was obs-
erved in display at the bowersite on 7 June 1976 while the owner (No 7) watched for a
time before chasing the mature male away. On 1 August 1976 whilst No. 3 sat on a branch
above the bower preening a second mature male (No 10) displayed before him. An unbanded
brown Regentbird was observed on one occasion to place blue ornaments into the avenue

of the bower while No 3 was present. Display and attendance at the bower by other Regent

birds continued until the bower was abandoned about 25 August 1976. The builder of the
bower then frequented Blackbutt Reserve until the second bower was commenced.
Second Bower: An immature male (No 18) was observed on 5 February 1977 to approach
the bower cautiously, enter the bower and peck at the walls before flying away. The owner
of the bower (No 7) was observed fighting furiously with an unidentified brown Regentbird
on 15 February 1977 and again two days later with No. 6. The bower was demolished on
this date. Whether by the owner, other Regentbirds or Satin Bowerbirds is not known.24. AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 12 (2)
Immature male (No 6) was observed to make aggressive movements towards No 7 on 7
March 1977 and later whilst No 7 was away this bird entered the bower and pecked des-
tructively at what little was left of the bower, pulling and tossing twigs aside before leav-
ing. This intruder was observed on 26 March 1977 displaying to No 18 another immature
male. He appeared quite apprehensive and nervous during his stay at the bower site. Dis-
play and attendance at the bower by No 7 was last recorded on 14 June 1977 and he
now frequents Blackbutt Reserve returning sporadically to my garden for feeding.
On 7 March 1977 an unbanded juvenile was observed attempting display on a branch
of a tree close to the house. The body was stretched and wings outspread. Two weeks
later on 25 March 1977 a colour -banded juvenile (it is not known whether this was the
same bird that previously attempted display) began to display at the bower site with other
birds in attendance. The juvenile’s attempt was a strange “trance -like” weaving of head
and body. It staggered several times and almost fell over. The wings were spread and
fluttered and the beak opened at times in vocal display. An attempt was made to pick
at the twigs, one twig was picked up and then replaced. The juvenile then preened itself
again picking at twigs. It appeared unsure of what to do next, hesitated and then picked
up a twig and tried to ‘place’ the twig into the bower wall. The juvenile then squatted
in the bower and made dabbing movements at the twigs, then sat quietly for awhile
before moving off with the other birds. During this juvenile display No 3 was perched
in branches above.
There appears to be no reference to Satin Bowerbirds displaying at Regentbird
bowers in the literature.
During 1976 a four -year -old ‘green’ immature male Satin Bowerbird had constructed
a bower approximately 5.5 m away from that of the Regentbird and on a number of
occasions Satin Bowerbirds were observed taking twigs from the Regent’s bower as well as
First Bower: The first recorded observation of twig removal by Satin Bowerbirds occurred
on 15 May 1976 and interference continued frequently until the bower site was abandoned
on 25 August 1976. On 15 July 1976 two green Satin Bowerbirds were seen to pick up
the ornaments and one Satin Bowerbird then displayed at the Regent’s bower site.
Second Bower: Attendance by Satin Bowerbirds at the Regentbird’s bower was again noted
on 5 February 1977 when the previously ‘green’ immature male Satin, now in mottled
plumage was observed in the vicinity of the bower. Onion skins as mentioned by Vellenga
(1970) and a small piece of grey cardboard were placed outside the bower and it is believ-
ed that these items were deposited by the Satin Bowerbird. On several occasions when the
Satin Bowerbirds were in fairly constant attendance sprigs of green pine leaves were observ-
ed within the avenue of the Regent’s bower. Although unobserved it is highly probable
that these were placed in the avenue by the Satins as a Satin Bowerbird had been observed
at the bower with green pine leaves in its bill. Fresh sprigs of pine have also been noticed
on a number of occasions in the avenue of the Satin Bowerbird’s bower nearby. Whereas
most ornaments of this species is placed outside the avenue on the display platform (Marshall
loc. cit), Vellenga (loc. cit) in her comments states that although numerous items decorated
the platform “strands of blue wool were so placed as to lead into and along the avenue
Small ornaments flowers and other blue objects were lying on the floor of the bower”.December, 1977 25.
Green immature Satin Bowerbirds attended the Regent’s bower, “tidied” the walls,
played with ornaments, sometimes picked up twigs and on one occasion one Satin was seen
attempting to place a twig in the wall structure. Display by the Satin Bowerbirds at this
second bower were also recorded on two occasions. The bower appeared broken down on
10 February 1977 and was demolished entirely by 15 February 1977. Whether this was
perpetrated by the Satins, other Regentbirds or the owner is not known. Neither the builder
of the bower nor any other Regentbird attempted at any time to defend the bower against
intruding Satin Bowerbirds. They either left the area or moved into nearby bushes to return
to the site after departure of the Satin Bowerbirds.
Display by the Regentbird often takes place on branches of well -foliaged shrubs and
trees near to our house as well as on the ground at the bower site. Duration of display may
be brief or continue for over an hour.
No 7 frequently displayed at the bower either alone or with one or more birds in
attendance from the commencement of construction until the site was abandoned. Ornam-
ents are picked up during display by the ‘dancer’ as well as the bird displayed to. The bird
in attendance during display usually stands or squats quietly and almost always remains in
a position facing the ‘dancer’ changing position to do so.
The display song consists of very soft (by comparison to that of the Satin Bowerbird)
open -beaked chirrings and twitterings as well as some sweet notes. Goddard (1947) aptly
described it as a “peculiar low chattering”. The song is accompanied by much head bobbing
and pecking movements, sharply flicked wings and dashing hops about the branches. Move-
ments during display are sharply abrupt and staccato -like especially when displaying at the
bower where the twittering sounds are further accompanied by a few “charging” steps and
hops, staccato wing movements and swift backward sommersaults. The only apparent refer-
ence to display are those by A. J. Campbell and Waller (in Marshall 1954 and Gilliard 1969).
Both the Regentbird and the Satin Bowerbird frequent similar habitats with similar
ecological requirements and it is likely that the Satin Bowerbird has some influence on the
bower building behaviour of the Australian Regentbird.
The bowers observed by me, although built between the house and street were con-
structed under densely foliaged shrubbery which provided reasonable concealment. No other
vegetation occurred at ground level other than stems of the shrubs. The few bowers of
Regentbirds that have been found in the wild (Marshall and Gilliard loc cit) were usually
well concealed in dense undergrowth and ferns protected by spiny lawyer vines. The inter-
ference at the bower by the Satin Bowerbirds may have influenced the Regentbirds in
their choice of bower location towards dense and prickly vegetation.
The lack of discovered bowers led Gilliard floc cit), in the belief that the Regentbird
may be discarding its bower building habits, to comment that “the few bowers attributed
to it are perhaps in reality bowers built by young Satin Bowerbirds”. My observations have
revealed that the male Regentbird does in fact build and continues to build a bower.
Male Regentbirds were constant visitors to the bowers under observation whereas only
one known female had been sighted at the bower on one occasion only. These observations
tend to support the view that the behaviour of the Australian Regentbird at the bower26. AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 12 (2)
appears to be similar to that of the Satin Bowerbirds (Disney and Lane loc. cit) and that
likewise young male Regentbirds are taught the skills of bower building and display.
Suggestions have been made that the colour of ornaments of the Satin Bowerbird
bears resemblance to the plumage colours of the female and/or rival male. Similar suggest-
ions have been made concerning the Regentbird but no reference is made pertaining to the
colour ‘blue’. would suggest that perhaps the Regentbirds attraction for this colour has
been influenced by co -habitation with the Satin Bowerbird.
The writer wishes to express appreciation to F. W. C. van Gessel and A. K. Morris
for their encouragement and assistance in the drafting and preparation of this article. I
also wish to thank my daughters Narelle and Vikki for their assistance with observations
and recording.
Chaffer, N. 1959 Bower Building & Display of the Satin Bower -bird.
Aust. Zoologist Vol. X11: 295-305
Disney, H. J. de S & 1971 Moult, Plumage and Banding of the Regent Bower -bird.
S. G. Lane Aust. Bird Bander 9: 11-13
Gilliard, E. T. 1969 Birds of Paradise and Bower Birds. Weidenfeld &
Nicholson,: London.
lredale, T. 1950 Birds of Paradise & Bowerbirds. Melbourne.
Marshall, A. J. 1954 Bower -birds, Their Display & Breeding Cycles.
Clarendon Press: Oxford
Marshall, A. J. 1970 Bower -building and Decorating by the Regent Bower -bird
in Captivity. Emu 70: 28-29.
Vellenga, R. E. 1970 Behaviour of the Male Satin Bower -bird at the Bower.
Aust. Bird Bander 8: 3-11
WILMA BARDEN 19 Carisbrooke Avenue, Kotara. N.S.W. 2288December, 1977
During 1976 members and friends of the Field Ornithologists Club travelled 1837 km
of the New South Wales coastline and found 1963 dead or dying seabirds. This was the
lowest mortality since the beach patrol scheme began in 1970. Mortality was unusually
large only in the Black Cormorant. A Red -footed Booby found in January was the first
record for New South Wales. Species seldom found beach -washed in New South Wales
included a Grey -headed Albatross, two Mottled Petrels, a Kermadec Petrel, two Westland
Black Petrels and a Wilson’s Storm -petrel.
This paper presents the results of the NSWFOC beach patrol scheme for 1976.
Within 1837 km travelled by a total of 19 participants, 1963 dead or dying seabirds of
39 species were found, giving a mean mortality of 1.1 birds per km. This is the lowest
mortality rate recorded since the inception of the scheme in 1970.
Table 1 shows the monthly rates of seabird mortality in birds per km. Tables 11
and 111 give the monthly and zonal distributions respectively of mortality in each species.
Good coverage was obtained only in the four northern zones. Previous reports (see Holmes
1976) are the basis for any comparisons between years for species discussed in this report.
Nomenclature follows Condon (1975).
A Grey -headed Albatross Diomedea chrysostoma found at South Ballina on 20 June
was the ninth NSW record. Except for the sooty albatrosses Phoebetria spp., this is the
only species of albatross that has been found beach -washed in NSW more often than it
has been observed alive, strongly suggesting that it mainly inhabits pelagic waters.
Several Pterodroma petrels were found. Mottled Petrels P. inexpectata found near
Lennox Head on 14 January and near Jervis Bay on 7 March were the sixth and seventh
NSW records. These are consistent with previous occurrences within the period October
to April. An intermediate phase Kermadec Petrel P. neglecta found near Jervis Bay on
20 June was the third NSW and Australian record. These records are for January, March
and June; at Lord Howe Island the species is probably present from September to May
(Fullagar et at 1974).
A Westland Black Petrel Procellaria westlandica found alive at Kingscliff near Tweed
Heads on 1 January was the third NSW and Australian record (Vernon 1977). Another was
found freshly dead at Coffs Harbour on 14 December. Australian records are from 12
December to 2 January. This corresponds with the fledging period, which occurs throughout
December at the only known colony near Punakaiki in the South Island of New Zealand.
With less than 1,000 breeding pairs this species is among the rarest seabirds in the world
(Best & Owen 1976).
A Wilson’s Storm -petrel Oceanites oceanicus found near Ballina on 16 April is the
first recorded in the scheme. Despite its abundance this storm -petrel is seldom found beach –
washed in Australia. Serventy (1952) attributed this to its timing of passage, mainly in28. AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 12 (2)
April and October, coinciding with periods in which severe storms are infrequent.
The Red -footed Booby Sula sula occurs throughout tropical seas. One found near
Ballina on 13 January was the first NSW record. Another found at North Stradbroke
Island on 11 March was the first for south-eastern Queensland (Rogers 1977). The only
other record for south-eastern Australia was of an adult found dead at Lord Howe Island
in February 1974 (Rogers 1975).
Short -tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris and prions Pachyptila spp. are the
species most frequently found dead in NSW. They suffered relatively little mortality in

  1. This was not simply due to mild weather; for example, bad weathter in June and
    December (Anon 1976) could have affected prions and shearwaters respectively. However,
    sea surface temperatures were unusually high from March to October (unpublished CSIRO
    data) and prions were virtually absent from mid -northern NSW (pers. obs.). Probably very
    few prions wintered in NSW during 1976, so few would have been found beach -washed.
    These high temperatures clearly did not adversely affect survival of the Shearwater, but it
    is not known whether these temperatures actually increased marine productivity.
    A significant influx of Black Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo into coastal districts
    occurred late in the year (Rogers 1977). Large numbers were reported from Wollongong,
    Sydney and Newcastle and six juveniles banded during 1976 at Lake Menindee and in
    north-western Victoria were recovered from Narooma to Brunswick Heads. This influx
    coincided with the exceptional mortality in marine waters from October to December.
    Twenty birds found dead in the Maclean-Coffs Harbour -Hastings zones were all immatures
    (pers. obs.).
    The following people contributed data to the beach patrol scheme for 1976: P. Beach,
    B. Forest, D. Gosper, J. Hobbs, G. Holmes, J. Hopper, E. Hoskin, F. Johnston, A. McGill,
    A. Morris, J. Penhallurick, D. Sawyer, A. Sefton, A. R. Sefton, G. Sefton, G. Silburn,
    J. Silburn, C. Sonter, W, Veitch.
    Anon 1976 Monthly Weather Reviews January – December 1976
    N.S.W., Dept of Science, Bureau of Meteorology.
    Best, H. A. & 1976 Distribution of Breeding Sites of the Westland
    K. L. Owen Black Petrel (Procellaria westlandica). Notornis 23 :
    Condon, H. T. 1975 A Checklist of the Birds of Australia, 1. Non -passerines.
    Melbourne RAOU.
    Fullagar, P. J., 1974 Appendix F, Report on the Birds in ‘Environmental
    J. L. McKean and Survey of Lord Howe Island’ (H. F. Recher and S. S.
    G. F. van Tets Clark, Eds), Sydney : Govt Printer.
    Holmes, G. 1976 Seabird Mortality in New South Wales in 1975. Aust.
    Birds. 11 : 31-37.
    Rogers, A. E. F. 1975 N.S.W. Bird Report for 1974. Aust. Birds 9 : 77-97.December, 1977 29.
    Rogers, A. E. F. 1977 N.S.W. Bird Report for 1976. Aust. Birds 11 : 81-104.
    Serventy, D. L. 1952 Movements of the Wilson Storm -Petrel in Australian
    Seas. Emu 52 105-116.
    Vernon, D. P. 1977 The First Live Australian Specimen of the Westland
    Petrel (Procellaria westlandica). Aust. Bird Watcher
    7: 44-46.
    ZONE Jan Feb. Mar. Apr. May. June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. TOTALS
    Tweed Heads BirK dm s 1 26 8 11 7 1 01 11 0 1 51 8 1 41 11 1 1 11 11 9 11 5 1 11 9 132
    Maclean BiK rdm s 30 4 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 23 32 30
    1 0 3 2 5 1 0 1 4 5 25 21 68
    Coifs Harbour BiK rdm s 5 120 7 130 24
    Hastings Birds 11 37 6 26 1 40 1 37 2 38 3 37 0 37 1 39 0 3 24 8 43 67 4 103 17 618
    Newcastle BirK dm s 1 2
    Sydney BirK di sn 1
    Wollongong Km
    Birds 1 3 2 8 10 13
    Ulladulla BiK rdm s i 1i 9 5 117 4 3 1 11 0 9 0 5 5 754 299
    Bega Km
    Mallacoota Km
    Little Penguin 1 1 2
    Wandering Albatross 1 1 2
    Yellow -nosed Albatross 1 1
    White -capped Albatross 1 1
    Grey -headed Albatross 1 1
    Albatross sp. 1 1
    Southern Giant -petrel 1 1
    Giant -petrel ep. 1 1
    Cape Petrel 1 1
    Great -winged Petrel 1 2 2 2 1 8
    Providence Petrel 1 2 1 4
    White -headed Petrel 2 2
    Gould Petrel 1 1 2
    Kermadec Petrel 1 1
    Mottled Petrel 1 1 2
    Antarctic Prion 1 1 2
    Fairy Prion 2 2
    Prion ep. 1 10 4 15
    Westland Black Petrel 1 1 2
    Flesh -footed Shearwater 1 1 1 1 2 5 7 18
    Wedge-tailed Shearwater 3 7 2 3 5 1 1 5 6 33
    Sooty Shearwater 5 3 1 8 1 18
    Short -tailed Shearwater 225 11 1 46 1 2 152 758 527 1723
    Fluttering Shearwater 2 8 2 1 13
    Little Shearwater 1 1
    Wileon’s Storm -petrel 1 1
    White-faced Storm -petrel 1 1
    Australian Gannet 1 5 9 6 1 2 3 3 30
    Red -footed Booby 1 1
    Darter 1 1
    Little Pied Cormorant 1 1
    Black Cormorant 1 1 1 8 9 10 30
    Little Black Cormorant 2 1 3
    Pelican 1 1
    White-tailed Tropicbird 1 1 2
    Great Skua 1 1
    Pomarine Skua 1 1
    Arctic Skua 1 1 2
    Silver Gull 2 1 3 1 1 6 4 18
    Crested Tern 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 10
    Sooty Tern 1 1 2
    Common Noddy 1 1
    TOTAL 252 37 8 12 72 33 1 9 10 169 798 562 1963December, 1977 31.
    Little Penguin 1 1 2
    Wandering Albatross 1 1 2
    Yellow -nosed Albatross
    1 1
    White -capped Albatross 1 1
    Grey -headed Albatross 1 1
    Albatross sp. 1 1
    Southern Giant -petrel 1 1
    Giant -petrel sp. 1 1
    Cape Petrel
    1 1
    Great -winged Petrel 2 2 2 2 8
    Providence Petrel 2 1 1 4
    White -headed Petrel 1 1 2
    Gould Petrel
    1 1 2
    Kermadec Petrel
    1 1
    Mottled Petrel 1 1 2
    Antarctic Prion 1 1 2
    Fairy Prion 2 2
    Prion sp. 1 1 13 15
    Westland Black Petrel 1 1 2
    Flesh -footed Shearwater 3 2 9 3 1 18
    Wedge-tailed Shearwater 7 2 11 8 5 33
    Sooty Shearwater 2 1 5 9 1 18
    Short -tailed Shearwater 92 48 419 574 4 318 268 1723
    Fluttering Shearwater 4 3 5 1 13
    Little Shearwater
    1 1
    Wilson’s Storm -petrel 1 1
    White-faced Storm -petrel 1 1
    Australian Gannet 8 5 15 1 1 30
    Red- footed Booby 1 1
    1 1
    Little Pied Cormorant 1 1
    Black Cormorant 4 8 8 8 2 30
    Little Black Cormorant
    1 2 3
    1 1
    White-tailed Tropicbird 1 1 2
    Great Skua 1 1
    Pomarine Skua 1 1
    Arctic Skua 1 1 2
    Silver Gull 2 1 11 4 18
    Crested Tern 1 2 5 2 10
    Sooty Tern 2 2
    Common Noddy 1 1
    TOTAL 132 68 504 618 1 5 336 299 196332. AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 12 (2)
    Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii (Coues) breeds in Eastern Siberia and North America;
    non -breeding birds migrate to southern South America (Slater 1970). The bird has been
    recorded twice in Australia, in Tasmania in October 1966 and in Victoria in November 1974
    (Smith and Swindley 1975). In this paper the authors describe a wader seen at Botany Bay,
    New South Wales, on 23 November 1976 considered to be a Baird’s Sandpiper, the third
    record for Australia and the first for New South Wales.
    On 23 November 1976 at 1300 hours a strange small brown wader was observed feed-
    ing on a sand flat near General Holmes Drive, on the north-western shores of Botany Bay.
    The bird was standing among 400 Red -necked Stint Calidris ruficollis and 250 Curlew Sand-
    piper Calidris ferruginea which were feeding on the flat as the tide went out.
    At 1330 hrs the wader rose with a flock of about 40, flew past us, and settled with
    the flock 80 m away. It was observed first at 80 m, then at 60 m and finally at 45 m,
    after which it was flushed at 1345 hrs. A closer approach was impossible because the Stints
    and Curlew Sandpipers were between us and the bird.
    Sighting conditions were excellent with bright sunlight, clear visibility, and three -tenths
    cumulus cloud. The bird was observed with 7 x 35 and 8 x 40 binoculars as it stood and
    walked slowly in clean shallow water and on clean sand.
    The bird stood out among the Red -necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers, particularly
    in its colour, shape, and feeding behaviour. In colour the bird was generally brown and buff,
    the back being distinctly scalloped dark brown with buff edging and the upper breast being
    a buffy grey that merged into the off-white of the underparts. It was closer in size to the
    Curlew Sandpiper than to the Red -necked Stint and its body had a longer appearance and
    was more slender than the former’s. While feeding it had a hunched attitude (at no time did
    we see it extend its neck) and it held its body closer to the ground than did the Curlew
    Sandpiper. It did not feed in the shallow water 10 mm deep where it landed but walked
    slowly to land above water level where it stopped occasionally to peck in a deliberate manner
    at the surface. It also pecked in the same manner at the sides of sandstone rocks without
    extending its neck upwards. This behaviour was in sharp contrast to the rapid probing in the
    sand at the water’s edge of the Curlew Sandpipers and the Red -necked Stints.
    When the bird was flushed it flew 500 m with the flock and was not seen again that
    day nor on subsequent visits to the area and to other roosting and feeding areas around
    Botany Bay.
    Size: Between Red -necked Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. Nearly as big as Curlew Sand-
    Shape: More slender than Curlew Sandpiper and appeared longer. Body nearly horizontal.
    Head held close to body. Not seen to stretch neck upward. Body closer to
    ground than Curlew Sandpiper’s.
    Plumage: General appearance, brown and buff. Much darker than Stint and Curlew Sandpiper’s
    in their non -breeding plumage. Crown brown, no streaks seen. Forehead light brownDecember, 1977
    into light buff brow. Sides of head, buff. Back distinctly scalloped dark brown
    with buff edging. Transition from crown through nape to back not noted.
    Scalloping on bend of wing lighter than on back. Primaries when wings folded,
    dull brown -grey. Chin not observed. Sides of neck and upper breast, buffy grey,
    merging into off-white of lower breast and belly. Belly of Curlew Sandpiper
    and Stint much whiter. Undertail converts, off-white.
    Flight Flushed at 45 m with Stints and Curlew Sandpipers, flew at height of about
    pattern: five metres. No obvious wing -bar. Secondaries lighter than primaries. Dark centre
    stripe to rump and tail. White sides to rump. Sides of tail lighter brown than
    Legs and Black with greenish tinge. Legs appeared shorter than Curlew Sandpiper’s possibly
    feet: because of crouching attitude.
    Bill: Straight, black, rather fine, about length of head. Proportion of bill to head
    similar to Stint’s. Much shorter than Curlew Sandpiper’s.
    Eye: Dark.
    Voice: Not heard.
    Behaviour: Associated with Stints and Curlew Sandpipers which were feeding in shallow
    water. Did not feed in water. Sometimes moved quickly if a Stint came near,
    generally away but twice pecked at a Stint.
    Listed below are all the waders with black or dark legs, black bill and size about
    that of the bird seen, excluding dotterels and plovers, taken from Pough (1951), Peterson
    (1954) and Slater (1970). Birds with other than dark legs and bill are excluded because
    the bird was seen on clean sand by clean water in good light. Dotterels and plovers are
    excluded because the bird much more closely resembled a sandpiper in shape and behav-
    iour. Between us we have seen in the field all but the Western Sandpiper C. fuscicollis,
    the Broad -billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus, and the Baird’s Sandpiper C. bairdii.
    Against each bird in the list we give the chief points of difference between it and
    the bird seen, based on Pough (bc. cit) Peterson (loc. cit) and Slater (bc. cit), supplem-
    ented by the further references cited. The birds are listed roughly in order of size, as
    ascertainable from the literature. The bird seen was larger than a Red -necked Stint and
    somewhat smaller than a Curlew Sandpiper; the Red -necked Stint, similar -sized and smaller
    birds are therefore listed as smaller and the Curlew Sandpiper, similar -sized and larger birds
    are listed as larger. The plumage comparisons are based on descriptions of non -breeding
    birds. Generally “paler plumage also means greyer and duller plumage.
    Little Stint : smaller size, paler plumage narrow wing stripe.
    C minuta.
    Semi -palmated Sandpiper smaller size, paler plumage more upright stance.
    C pusilla. (Browne 1956, Williamsons and Alexander 1956)
    Western Sandpiper : smaller size, paler plumage, bill down -curved.
    C mauri
    Red -necked Stint smaller size, paler plumage, more white on rump, probes
    C ruficollis rapidly in sand and water.34. AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 12 (2)
    Broad -billed Sandpiper lighter legs, longer bill with tip down -curved, paler plumage.
    Limicola falcinellus
    Baird’s Sandpiper : white eyebrows, pure white below.
    C bairdii (Boyd 1955, Fluke 1952).
    White-rumped Sandpiper distinct white rump, greyer plumage.
    C fuscicollis
    Sanderling : wing bar, much paler plumage, much more active.
    C. alba
    Curlew Sandpiper larger white rump, longer and down -curved bill, paler plumage,
    C ferruginea. more upright stance.
    Sharp -tailed Sandpiper larger, lighter legs, lighter breast, rufous crown.
    C acuminata.
    Dunlin larger, stouter bill with tip down -curved, wing bar, probes in
    C alpina mud and water (Peterson 1942).
    Solitary Sandpiper larger, longer legs, head held up, darker plumage, barred
    Tringa solitaria. outer tail feathers.
    These comparisons indicate that the bird seen most closely resembles the Baird’s Sandpiper,
    the points of difference being that the bird we saw had a light buff brow and off-white under-
    parts, rather than a white brow and pure white underparts, mentioned in the literature cited.
    However, not all observers report a white brow or comment on the whiteness of the underparts,
    viz. Peterson (1947) Pough (1951), Hollom (1960), Bruun and Singer (1972). We examined the
    skins of four Baird’s Sandpipers in the Australian Museum, Sydney, none of which had
    markedly white brows or underparts.
    The feeding behaviour of the bird seen agrees with that of the Baird’s Sandpiper as describ-
    ed by Fluke, Smith and Swindley (loc. cit) and L. Salmon (Pecs. corn), as does its horizontal
    attitude (see Browne, Smith and Swindley, and Sharrock 1976).
    The Baird’s Sandpiper is consistently described as having its folded wings longer than the
    tail. We did not note the relative length of folded wings and tail. Despite the absence of this observ-
    ation we conclude, from the size, plumage, bill, legs and general behaviour of the bird seen, that
    it was a Baird’s Sandpiper.
    We wish to thank Walter D. Boles for making available the skins of the Baird’s Sandpiper
    at the Australian Museum; Arnold McGill and Fred T. H. Smith for their comments on our
    Unusual Record Report to the R.A.O.U; and L. Salmon for a copy of his field notes on a
    sighting of Baird’s Sandpiper in England and for copies of articles in “British Birds”.
    Boyd A. W. 1955 Baird’s Sandpiper in Cheshire, Brit. Birds 48: 417.
    Browne P. W. P. 1956 The field identification of Baird’s and Semi -palmated
    Sandpipers. Brit. Birds 51: 81.December, 1977 35.
    Bruun B. & A. Singer 1972 Birds of Britain and Europe. London Hamlyn.
    Fluke, W. G. 1952 Baird’s Sandpiper in Sussex and Kent. Brit. Birds
    46: 304.
    Gruson E. S. 1976 A Checklist of the Birds of the World. London:
    Hollom P. A. D. 1960 The Popular Handbook of Rarer British Birds.
    London: Witherby.
    Peterson R. T. 1947 A Field Guide to the Birds (Eastern Land and
    Water Birds). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    Peterson R. T., 1954 A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe.
    G. Mountford and London: Collins.
    P. A. D. Hollom
    Pough R. H. 1951 Audubon Water Bird Guide. New York Doubleday.
    Robbins, C. S., B. Bruun 1966 Birds of North America. New York: Golden Press.
    and H. S. Zim
    Sharrock J. T. R. and 1976 Rare Birds in Britain and Ireland. Berkhampstead:
    E. M. Sharrock Poyser.
    Slater P. 1970 A Field Guide to Australian Birds, Non -passerines.
    Adelaide: Rigby.
    Smith F. T. H. and 1975 A Victorian Record of Baird’s Sandpiper. Aust.
    R. J. Swindley Birdwatcher 6: 35.
    Wallace D. I. M. 1974 Field Identification of small species of the genus
    Calidris. Brit. Birds 67: 1.
    Williamson, K. and 1956 The identification of Baird’s and Semi -palmated
    H. G. Alexander Sandpipers. Brit. Birds 50: 350.
    L. E. COOK 12 Wisteria St., Caringbah. NS. W. 2229.
    L. W. WAUGH 33 Cecil St., Caringbah. N.S.W. 2229.36. AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 12 (2)
    During entomological field work on Lord Howe Island from 2-8 February 1977, some
    casual observations were made on birds, two of which seem worth recording.
    Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena Gould.
    The Welcome Swallow is usually regarded as a rare visitor to Lord Howe Island (Fullagar
    et al. 1974 H. F. Recher Ed. Environmental Survey of Lord Howe Island pp.53-72), referred
    to as H. tahitica. Recent observations (given below) indicate that it does occur in large num-
    bers at times.
    3.ii.1977 Six specimens flying around the top of Intermediate Hill.
    4.ii.1977 Many specimens flying over open areas, e.g. golf course, airstrip and pasture
    near Old Settlement Beach. Counts were not made but, in all, at least a
    hundred specimens would have been seen.
    5.ii.1977 A count of up to 37 was made of specimens sitting on fence wires along the
    northern side of the airstrip. Less than half had been counted when a passing
    car disturbed the flock into flight. Numbers were also seen near Johnson’s
    Beach (see below).
    6.i i.1977 Many specimens again flying over open areas, as on 4 February 1977 and
    approximately 40 seen on fence wires near Johnson’s Beach.
    7.ii.1977 Large numbers near Old Settlement Beach.
    On 5 February, near Johnson’s Beach, at the mouth of Soldier’s (or Big) Creek more
    than a dozen specimens were seen repeatedly flying upwind against a strong easterly wind.
    As they approached a patch of weed in seed Senecio sp. they hovered over the seed heads,
    alighting on them. The weight of the birds bent the heads and the swallows usually lost
    balance and took off again. From time to time one succeeded in keeping its hold and
    could clearly be seen removing material from the seed heads. This behaviour continued
    for more than ten minutes. Close inspection of the heads failed to reveal any insects,
    although they would be expected to be present. In the absence of insects it seems probable,
    therefore, that the birds were taking the seed itself.
    Canada Goose Branta canadensis (L.)
    A single specimen of the Canada Goose was seen at least once each day from 3-8
    February 1977 at Johnson’s Beach. The bird could be approached, with care to within
    about 20 m if it were on the beach. On closer approach it would either fly off or walk
    down the beach and swim out for some distance. The Canada Goose does not seem to
    have been recorded from Lord Howe Island; it does occur in New Zealand.
    C N SMITHERS Australian Museum, 6-8 College Street, Sydney. N.S.W. 2000.vFi
    Wilma Barden Observations on Display and Bower -Building
    of the Australian Regentbird 21
    Glenn Holmes Seabird Mortality in New South Wales in 1976 … 27
    J. E. Cook &
    J. W. Waugh A Baird’s Sandpiper at Botany Bay 32
    C. N. Smithers A Note on Welcome Swallows and a

Canada Goose on Lord Howe Island 36

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