Vol. 15 No. 1-text

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Journal of the
September, 1980
Vol. 15, No.
IISSN 0311-8150

RegistEed for Posting as a Periodical Category BTHE N.S.W. FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
E. Hoskin
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) $8.00
Single Member (Country and overseas) $7.00
Family Member $9.00
Junior Member $5.00
All members receive a quarterly newsletter and a copy of the quarterly journal
“Australian Birds”. The price of the journal is $2.00 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:
90 Picnic Point Road, Picnic Point. 2213
All membership fees should be sent to the Hon. Treasurer at:
75 Bonds Road Peakhurst. 2210
Manuscripts should be sent to the Editor at:
P.O. Box 39, Coonabarabran. 2857AIMliMilliii
Vol. 15, No. September, 1980
When Alec Chisholm wrote an obituary contribution for The Australian
Author (Spring issue, October 1971, 18-20) in memory of a close friend, he headed it
“Keith Hindwood – a Man who loved Sydney”. As Keith resided all his life in Sydney,
was actively connected with the business life of that city and belonged to various organ-
izations there, such a title was warranted. His ornithological pursuits may have been
much wider than his residential and business commitments, but it is a fact that almost
all of his early work on birds centred around our metropolis. Apart from a brief around –
the -world holiday in his younger years he travelled little beyond Sydney until late in his
active career. For the many years he and were close friends knew him far better as a
man that loved his home State, New South Wales, and his knowledge of the bird life of
that part of the Commonwealth was exceptional. When compiling information for my
Hand List of the Birds of New South Wales (1960) often had to seek his advice before
being dogmatic on distribution date.
Keith meticulously kept notes in his copious files of any occurrence or unusual
behaviour that he considered important, mainly for the County of Cumberland or for
the State, but also when it warranted over all Australia. This recording system, happily,
is still being accumulated by Ernie Hoskin, one of his closest associates. As far as I can
remember any reasonable request for information from such a source was willingly
From these records there appeared at regular intervals many informative
articles such as “The Green -backed Mangrove- Heron” (Emu 33, 27-43 and 97-102,
1933), “Birds inhabiting Mangroves in the Neighbourhood of Sydney” (Emu 34, 181-
189, 1935), “The Sea -birds of Sydney” (R.Z.S. Presidential Address Proc. Roy. Zool.
Soc. of NSW for 1939-1940, 6-24, 1940), “Birds of Long Reef, NSW” (Proc. Roy. Zool.
Soc. of NSW for 1941-1942: 14-33, 1942), “Honeyeaters of the Sydney District2 Australian Birds (15)
(County of Cumberland)” Australian Zoologist: 10, 231-251, 1944), “Occurrence of the
Eastern Common Tern in Australia” (Emu 44, 41-43, 1944), “The White -fronted Tern
in Australia” (RAOU Presidential Address Emu: 45, 189-200, 1946), “The Waders of
Sydney (County of Cumberland)” (with E.S. Hoskin Emu 54, 217-255, 1954) and the
well-known book The Birds of Sydney (with A.R. McGill 128pp. 1958). His assistance
was also invaluable when wrote Australian Warblers in 1970, as well as many of my
Emu contributions. So often after submitting a paper to him for comment, it would
return with a footnote – “Don’t be scared with all the red ink as writing is a serious bus-
iness”. When acknowledged the changes suggested, he regularly said “you should have
I –
seen mine in earlier years after Alec Chisholm got stuck into it”.
However, it may have been his greatest interest to search records connected
with the early ornithological history of New South Wales and a number of valuable
papers appeared over the years. Among these may be mentioned “Historical Associat-
ions and early Records of the Emu -Wren” (Emu 31, 99-110, 1931), “An Historic
Diary” (Emu 32, 17-29, 1932), “An early Natural History Magazine” (Emu 32, 198-
204, 1933), “George Raper, an Artist of the First Fleet” (Roy. Aus. Hist. Soc. Journal
50, 32-57, 1964), “The ‘Sydney’ Bird Paintings” (Aus. Zoologist 13, 83-92, 1965),
“Gracius Joseph Broinowski: his Books and his Prospectuses” (Aus. Zoologist 13, 357-
369, 1966), “Three early Natural History Books” (Aus. Zoologist: 14, 251-256, 1968),
“The Naturalist’s Pocket Magazine” (Proc. Roy. Zool. Soc. NSW for 1966-196725-27,
1968), and “The ‘Watling’ Drawings, with incidental notes on the ‘Lambert’ and
‘Latham’ Drawings” (Proc. Roy. Zool. Soc. NSW for 1968-1969 16-32. 1970). Whilst
discussing this early historical research mention of Keith Hindwood’s contributions
to the Gould Commemorative Issue, published in the Emu as a special part 2 of Volume
38, 1938, in which he wrote five informative papers, and his excellent article on “The
Birds of Lord Howe Island” (Emu 40, 1-86, 1940 and later published as a book).
Hindwood’s obituary account submitted to the Emu followed his death (71,
183-184) mentioned that he wrote consistently to the journals of the R.A.O.U. and
probably contributed more to the Emu, page for page, than anyone else. This was
supported by an editorial footnote – “counting only what would now be classed as main
articles and short communications, he contributed almost exactly 600 pages since
. . .
his first major paper in 1926. This represents over four per cent of such space since the
start of the journal and makes him easily the largest contributor the journal has ever
had. He dominated it from 1930 to 1960, during which period his contribution was of
course far higher then four per cent”. Yet that was only a part of his ornithological
work, for numerous articles appeared in other journals, such as some already mentioned
and Gould League Notes, the annual of the Gould League of N.S.W. He held office for
many years in that society and took an active part in their meetings and functions.
His ornithological writings and field activities were always supported by his
excellence as a nature photographer. Rarely was an article published unless it was pro-
fusely illustrated by either his own photographs or reproduced historical ones. Birds of
Lord Howe Island, for instance, not only required a great amount of research to include
all species that were either acceptable or doubtful and assess reasons for the exterminat-
ions of some endemic forms, but the numerous plates also indicated the thoroughness of
the work.
His article, published in Emu 26, 14-24, 1926, a monograph of the Rock
Warbler, Origma solitaria (which species might be considered his favourite bird) is
mostly regarded as his first ornithological contribution. The article remains even to this
day as probably the most comprehensive account of that species. However, ii was pre-
ceded two years earlier by a short par accompanied by an aerial photograph of the
Pomarine Skua Stercorcarius pomarinus (Emu 24, 147, pl. 23, 1924) taken from a smallSeptember, 1980 3
coastal steamer travelling between Sydney and Port Macquarie. Maybe this half -page
story has three claims to fame, as it introduced Keith Hindwood; later to occupy a high
place in both Australian and New South Wales ornithology for the ensuing 47 years; it
showed distinct promise of one who would be a pioneer in avian photography; and was
probably that author’s sole misidentification of a species, for although published as S.
parasiticus it was the first known record of S. pomarinus in Australian waters.
The various obituaries published after his death on 18 March 1971 covered in
necessarily abbreviated form his ornithological achievements, especially the prominent
positions to which he was elected and the various honours conferred on him, such as
Natural History Medallion award, fulfilling terms as President of the R.A.O.U. during
1944-1946 and election as a Fellow in 1951, President of the Royal Zoological Society
of New South Wales, Corresponding Fellow of the American Ornithologists Union as
early as 1938, and appointment as Hon. Ornithologist to the Australian Museum (later
Research Fellow) in 1930. Yet, some nine years later some our our younger members
and embryo ornithologists of the future, know little of his great work, especially in New
South Wales. This account is intended to keep his achievements in memory and indicate
a goal towards which others with ambition may strive. The best-seller What Bird is That?
correctly keeps evergreen the name of Neville Cayley, and although it was published
originally before was active in bird study, many times have heard from those who
knew Keith Hindwood best at that time that almost all the text was Keith’s work. His
name certainly appears on later editions after he, Alec Chisholm and myself completely
revised the text in 1959. What a pleasure it was to work with these two great and
knowledgeable Australian ornithologists.
first met Keith Hinwood in 1935 but it was not until could regularly attend
the monthly combined meetings of the N.S.W. Branch of the R.A.O.U. and the Ornith-
ological Section of the R.Z.S. of N.S.W. in 1941, then held in Bull’s Chambers, Martin
Place, that our close friendship became apparent. Soon we became associated in many
ornithological pursuits that was to last 30 years. cannot remember during that time
that we ever had a serious difference in opinion. To me he stood tall in both stature and
companionship as he did to many other. Various taxonomic changes and opinions
seldom caused problems in our respective views – probably laecause the 1926 R.A.O.U.
Checklist was our guide in most decisions. Keith disliked change unless clearly necessary
and am sure that viewpoint has always remained mine also. Because of his much longer
experience well remember him using, for example, even earlier common names such
White -shafted Fantail for Rhipidura fuliginosa and Jardine Caterpillar -eater for Coracina
tenuirostris, when more modern titles were to my view far better. We discussed often
specific differences, for example, with such a species pair as the Shining and Golden
Bronze -Cuckoos, birds so often considered conspecific to -day, but he remained adamant
that on plumage characters, bill shape and habits both were clearly distinct.
In his later years two books were published indicating his continued enthus-
iasm. These were Australian 3irds in Colour (1966) and A Portfolio of Australian Birds
(with W.T. Cooper) in 1968. He and combined and were in the preliminary stages of a
Handbook on the birds of New South Wales when he died. He was one of the founders
of the New South Wales Field Ornithologists Club (orginally Gould League Bird –
watchers) in 1966 but he did not live long enough to appreciate its growth from very
humble beginnings to much higher ornithological importance to -day. He gave much
assistance to the Editor in early years, contributed frequently to the journal but never
held office other than advisory.
There is little doubt that Keith Hindwood furthered the cause of ornithology
in New South Wales more than anyone else. He was prominent most of his life in every-Australian Birds (15)
4 1
thing connected with the study of birds in that State, and especially was he an authority
on the County of Cumberland. His name should always be remembered and his copious
writings consulted whenever the birdlife of his native city and State warrant study and
ARNOLD McGILL, 95 Nuwarra Road, Moorebank. N.S.W. 2091.
At 1345 hours on 23 April 1980, we observed a Black -breasted Buzzard
Hamirostra melanosterna while canoeing down the Macquarie River about 6km
NNE of “The Mole”. The bird was beating and gliding over lignum and the river
at a height of c.50m. A strong northerly wind had been blowing all day, it was
overcast and rain commenced to fall one hour later. It is probably coincidental
but the three Black -breasted Buzzards we saw at Fort Grey Basin, north-western
N.S.W. on 24 September 1979 were also flying low along the edge of the lake just
prior to rain.
The bird, a dark phase, had conspicuous white “bullseyes” in its wings and a
short square tail which was not twisted from side to side.
This species is not often recorded in N.S.W. and, to 30 November 1979, had
been seen in only seven N.S.W. one degree squares of the RAOU Bird Atlas. The
nearest sighting to the Marshes appears to be at Baradine by Rolls (Aust. Bird 14,
M.G. BROOKER, 21 Dwyer St., Cook, A.C.T. 2614
J.C. WOMBEY, 20 Ballow Cres., Macgregor, A.C.T. 2615
At approximately midday on 1 June 1980 a mixed flock of Dusky Wood –
swallows Artamus cyanopterus and Welcome Swallows Hirundo neoxena were
observed by the writer, M. Christiansen and M. Healey at I luka, New South v’/ales.
The flock was feeding high over the Iluka Nature Reserve and the adjacent town-
ship. Suddenly a small swift -like bird descended from the main flock and flew
over the rainforest trees at a height of approximately 20m above ground level.
The bird observed through binoculars and appeared to be completely dark grey
with the exception of an obvious white rump. The tail was prominantly forked
but was relatively shorter than that of the Fork -tailed Swift Apus pacificus which
it resembled except in size, being smaller, and in the absence of a white throat. A
check of reference books confirmed its identification as a White-rumped Swiftlet.
Pratt (1979 Aust. Birds 13,68) detailed the only known New South Wales
occurrences of the species, one in the Clarence valley and one at Reserve Creek
near Murwillumbah. She stated that the Clarence valley record was published in a
bird list that contained a number of inaccuracies. However, Mr. G. Grieves, a
long time member of the Clarence Valley Field Naturalist’s Club stated (pers.
comm.) that the species was recorded by a group of visiting RAOU members and
he considered that they would have carefully checked their observation.
The Iluka observation could therefore be the third New South Wales record.
GREG P. CLANCY 17 Margaret Crescent, South Grafton N.S.W. 2461September, 1980 5
On 19 May 1979 we were watching seabirds 30 km due east of Ballina. The
depth of the water was 140 fathoms, air temperature was 20 deg. C. and although some
heavy showers of rain fell there were bright periods. The wind from the south-west was
at 07.00 but strengthened and veered to the south-east later, forcing us to return to
Ballina by 13:00. Consequently, our stay at 140 fathoms was for only one hour.
Only three species of birds were seen at the 140 fathom depth: two single
Wilson’s Storm -petrel Oceanites oceanicus, 20 + Providence Petrels Pterodroma
solandrii, and one intermediate phase Trinadade Island Herald Petrel P. arminjoniana
heraldica. At the beginning of a rainy squall we were about to take shelter in the wheel-
house when W.D.W. spotted a Pterodroma with dark upper and pale underparts. It zig-
zagged alongside the boat to within ten metres and finally, after allowing us good views
for at least four minutes, flew off in a typical arcing gadfly petrel flight.
The description of the bird seen is as follows: Upperparts uniform dark brown;
lores and chin, white; breast, a smudgy indistinct pectoral band separated the white
chin from the white belly. Under -tail coverts appeared dark, but this could have been
caused by the dark legs and feet. Underwing pattern, strongly contrasting, the coverts
being dark brown with a narrow white patch along the leading edge, then another light
patch (window) at the base of the primaries extending along the trailing edge coverts,
the latter patch divided by a thin dark line that faded away in the middle of the second-
aries; the trailing edges of the primaries and secondaries were dark. Bill, black, short and
solid, compared to a Puffinus Shearwater of the same size. Our bird appeared slightly
smaller than a Providence Petrel.
The Kermadec Petrel P. neglecta, and the Herald Petrel, (the vernacular name
of the subspecies that occurs off Eastern Australia), both have light, dark and intermed-
iate plumage phases. Fortunately the colour variations in the intermediate phase are
mainly confined to the head and underbody, so the distinctive field characters on the
wing remains constant. The three field characters that we used to separate our bird from
the intermediate phase of the Kermadec Petrel were: –
(1) The amount of white on the base of the primaries and secondaries on the
underwing, and the distance that the patch extended towards the body;
(2) The dark line that divided the white window at the base of the primaries
(3) The shafts of the primaries were black and not white, as they are in the
Kermadec Petrel. The dark phases of the Herald and Kermadec Petrel are
similar to the Providence Petrel, but if there is a dividing line in the
primary window it is not a Kermadec Petrel, and the extend of the divid-
ed line white window determines whether it is a Herald or Providence Pet-
rel. The divided white window is confined to the primaries in the Provid-
ence Petrel.
In the observation of the Herald Petrel we were fortunate that the bird came close
enough, gave us good views of the upper and underparts, and stayed long enough for us
to confirm our original impressions.
In New South Wales these three pterodromas are unlikely to be seen in waters
shallower than 100 fathoms. The Providence Petrel has been recorded along the whole
length of the New South Wales coast, M.J. Carter (pers. comm.) and is present in small
numbers off northern areas from May to October (G. Holmes 1977). There are only6 Australian Birds (15)
three beach -washed records for the Kermadec Petrel on the Australian List, all from
New South Wales (Condon 1975, Rogers 1975 and 1977). It breeds on Ball’s Pyramid
off Lord Howe Island.
The nominate form of the Trinadade Island Petrel breeds in the South Atlantic
on South Trinadade and Martin Vaz Islands, also on Round Island in the Mauritius
Group in the Indian Ocean (Harper and Kinsky 1978). The sub -species heraldica breeds
on Chesterfield Reef, Ducie, Henderson, Oeno and Easter Islands, Tonga and in the
Tuamotu and Marquesa groups (Alexander 1955). The first record of this species in
Australia was at Raine Island (11 deg 28’S, 144 deg. 03′, E) on 22 February, 1959 in
circumstances that indicated breeding (Warham 1959), the only other record is of a
bird off Burleigh Heads during January 1971 (Condon 1975). Serventy et al (1971)
quotes a record by Norris of two birds possibly of this species in the Tasman Sea in
The nearest known breeding site to Australia is at Chesterfield Reef (19 deg.
52’S 150 deg 15’E) which is approximately 1300 km due east of Townsville. As a
matter of interest Chesterfield Reef is considerably nearer to Ballina than Raine Island.
As far as we are aware, our observation is the first for New South Wales. Our thanks are
extended to Peter Harper for help in relation to this sighting.
Alexander, W.B. 1955. Birds of the Ocean. New York : G.P. Putman’s Sons.
Condon, H.T. 1975. Checklist of the Birds of Australia I. Non -passerines.
Melbourne: R.A.O.U.
Harper, D.C. & F.C. Kinsky. 1978. Southern Albatrosses and Petrels. Melbourne Price.
Holmes, G. 1977. Ecology of Petrels in Mid -northern New South Wales. Aust.
Seabird Group Newsl. 8, 20-34.
Rogers. A.E.F. 1975. N.S.W. Bird Report for 1974. Aust, Birds. 9,79.
Rogers, A.E.F. 1977. N.S.W. Bird Report for 1976. Aust. Birds 11,84.
Serventy, D.L., V. Serventy & J. Warham. 1971. Handbook of Australian Seabirds.
Sydney: A.H. & A.W. Reed.
Warham, J. 1959. The Trinidad Petrel Pterodroma arm injon iana, A new bird for Australia. Emu 59, 153-158.
J. IZZARD, 18 Brighton Street, East Ballina. N.S.W. 2478
W.D. WATSON, Jalan Azyze, Hillside, Penang, Malaysia.
On 12 May 1979 while driving on Woodford Island, south of Maclean, New
South Wales a dead Southern Boobook Ninox noavaesee/andiae was observed on
the roadside. It had apparently been hit by a vehicle a couple of nights earlier. As
the car passed the corpse the wind created by the moving vehicle caused one of
the owl’s wings to rise and fall. This happened each time a vehicle passed and
attracted the attention of a Wille Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys, a pair of Magpie –
Larks Grallina cyanoleuca and one Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen. All
of these birds persistently mobbed the dead owl until an absence of moving
vehicles left it motionless.
GREG P. CLANCY 17 Margaret Crescent, South Grafton N.S.W. 2461September, 1980
As Lindsey (1979) stated, recent observations have extended the known ranges
of the Little Raven Corvus meHori and the Forest Raven C. tasmanicus in N.S.W. Row-
ley (1970) gave the range of mellori as not further east than Narrabri and not north-east
of Mudgee, being unknown for the Northern Tablelands and the Hunter Valley (p. 58;
fig. 17p. 52). He also gave the range of tasmanicus as the New England Tablelands from
the Guyra-Ebor area south to the Nowendoc area (p.57; fig. 18(c) P. 56). Subsequently
a specimen of mellori (AM 0.46007) was collected at Barrington Tops (Rogers 1977),
and tasmanicus was recorded near Tenterfield (Rogers loc. cit.) and in Dorrigo National
Park (Rogers 1974). Details of further range extensions for both species are presented,
including data on a small coastal population of tasmanicus. The picture is by no means
complete, and more information is needed.
This species was collected at Barrington Tops by CSIRO but appeared in
Rowley (loc. cit) as a Tasmanicus record. It is the solid triangle in fig. 17 p. 52, just
south of the area detailed in fig. 18(c). The specimen (no. 1140) is clearly mellori and
labelled as such (data sheet per G. Chapman, the collector). It was one of a pair with
fledglings in mid -November, in alpine woodland and snowgrass plains. AM 0.46007 was
a fledgling in early December, in similar habitat (data sheet per T. Lindsey).
The species has now been repeatedly observed at around 1500m in Eucalypt-

us pauciflora and E. ste/lu/ata woodland and grassy frost hollows, in the Carey’s Peak

Mt. Barrington-Polblue Swamp area, as follows: present by the end of September and
claiming territory (pers. obs.); breeding in large numbers, with occupied nests and fledg-
lings, in mid -December (B. Howie pers. comm.); large mobile flocks in the surrounding
eucalypt forest in mid -January (pers. obs.); large flocks on the cleared western slopes
near Moonan Brook, and in smaller numbers on the Hunter River between Ellerston and
Moonan Flat, at the end of January (pers. obs.).
Thus the situation at Barrington Tops closely parallels that for mellori in the
Snowy Mountains, in habitat, breeding time and movements. Rowley (1971) found that
Kosciusko birds moved to the western slopes in autumn and winter, even 300 km to
Forbes (fig. 8 p. 62). The Barrington Tops birds may well winter on the Liverpool Plains
and surrounding country, returning in spring. P. Harris (in litt.) has noted mellori at
Tamworth in July, and J. Higgins (in litt.) has noted them in flocks between Bingara
and Gravesend in summer, autumn and winter. In each case a good description was
supplied, including deep staccato calls without a drawn-out finish, wing -flipping while
calling from a perch, and the lack of long throat hackles. The birds were generally
present for a few days and then disappeared. A single at Lake Goran west of Breeza
(B. Howie pers. comm.) in late September, may have been a straggler. Banding of
Barrington Tops nestlings would be valuable, as would checking snow gums on the Cool-
ah Tops for breeding birds.
Southern and south-eastern range limits have been extended as follows:
behaviour and cal!ing suggestive of resident pairs (See Rowley 1973a) in Barring-
ton Tops State Forest on the Scone -Gloucester Road, and on the Doyles River
45km west of Wauchope (pers. obs ). also noted at Glenrock 30km south-west of8 Australian Birds (15)
Nowendoc, Upper Bowman 20km north-west of Gloucester (H. cooper pers.
comm., and Invergordon 20km west of Gloucester (R. Cooper per T. Lindsey).
A search of the Nundle, Ben Hall’s Gap, Giro, Telegherry and Chichester State
Forests may reveal its presence.
The northern and eastern range limits are not yet clear. The Tenterfield
record is for a small winter flock, probably outside the species’ breeding range
(notes per T. Lindsey). Its most northerly frequent occurrence appears to be in
the Oakwood State Forest area 35km south-east of Glen Innes (G. Holmes per.
comm.), but a search of the Mt. Spirabo-Mt. Bajimba forests south-east of Tenter –
field may be worthwhile. Brief searches of the Gibraltar Range area, Washpool
and Girard State Forests have so far proved negative. Other forest areas worth
checking are those north of Dorrigo, and the Bellangry, Bulga-Dingo and Corn-
boyne forests.
Rowley (1970) stated that wet sclerophyll forest is the habitat of
tasmanicus, but it also occurs in other habitats in N.S.W. have only noted isol-
ated pairs in escarpment wet sclerophyll and then only near roads, picnic areas
and campsites. have not found it in such forests remote from human activity,
or in Nothofagus forest. It appears more numerous in partly cleared grazing
country on the tablelands, particularly in the poorer granite areas (pers. ohs.;
G. Holmes pers. comm., perhaps because of nomadic flocks. Many birds in a
loose gathering of 140 -plus near Nowendoc were feeding in recently cleared
country (R. Cooper pers. comm.). G. Chapman has stated (in litt.) that breeding
birds prefer forest or forest remnants, but they do also breed in open pastoral
country. have noted a nest with fledglings at Chandler’s Peak east of Guyra, and
dependenI t flying young at Malpas Dam north-east of Guyra, Dangar’s Lagoon
near Uralla and at Walcha, all in cleared land. In addition have noted many other
resident pairs in this general region, in such habitat, e.g. Llangothlin Lagoon
north of Guyra, Gostwyck south-east of Uralla, and Walcha Road west of Walcha.
The Chandler’s Peak fledglings were about six week old on 20 October,
therefore the eggs would have been laid in mid -August (see Rowley 1973b).
This agrees with published data on the breeding season of tasmanicus in N.S.W.
(Rowley et al. 1973).
The area dealt with was not visited by CSIRO (G. Chapman in litt.). Since
1977, behaviour and calling suggestive of resident pairs have been noted by me at
many coastal localities and in most months, from Mungo Brush, Myall Lakes to
Little Bay, South West Rocks. These two localities appear to constitute the south-
ern and northern range limits respectively. Breeding has been confirmed by the
presence of dependent juveniles at Bluey’s Beach, Pacific Palms in early January,
and at Diamond Head near Laurieton in early December. Assuming the latter were
at least eight weeks old (their flight and tail feathers were fully emerged), laying
would have been in early September or before. The behaviour of another pair
suggested that they had either eggs or very small chicks at the beginning of
The birds are identifiable as tasmanicus by their short throat hackles, dusky
feather bases and very deep voice (many adults seen and heard at close range).
They have been independently observed by B. Howie (pers. comm., who possess-
es a tape recording of one calling at Smith’s Lake – this has been confirmed by
G. Chapman (in /itt.) as “undoubtedly” tasmanicus. This population appears to
occupy a coastal strip no more than 5km wide in most places, often much less,September, 1980 9
AS GIVEN 13Y ROW LE( 0910) Q LOCATION OF SPECIMENS NS cUSSED IN TEXT 0 oTNER RANGE EXTENSIONS DISCUSSED IN TEXT10 Australian Birds (15) 1 and nowhere reaching the Pacific Highway. In some places pairs are spaced 1-2km apart, and mobile flocks are infrequent and small, seldom more than 3-4 birds. They generally inhabit the remaining intact natural habitats such as beaches, dunes, heath, forest and Melaleuca swamps. They avoid the more extensive clear - areas and the larger settlements of Forster-Tuncurry, Laurieton and Port Mac- quarie. Despite extensive searching, have not found any between the tableland I escarpment and the coast. Thus the coastal population is probably an isolated re- lict one, perhaps itself divided into several discrete populations. DISCUSSION Far from being separated by "more than 100 miles" (Rowley 1970 p. 58), mellori and tasmanicus are almost parapatric on the Barrington Tops, being noted 15km apart to date (in different habitats - alpine and wet sclerophyll respectiv- ely). This resembles the situation in southern Victoria (Rowley 1970 p.55), including the probability of post -breeding contact. The Barrington Tops mellori population, as elsewhere, co -exists with the Australian Raven C. coronoides, a probable summer visitor to the high tops but resident on the cleared western slopes (pers. obs.). Thus all three ravens occur in close proximity, as in south-east South Australia (Moore 1977). On the coast, all three large resident species (coronoides, tasmanicus and the Torresian Crows C. orru) occur together, but tasmanicus is the predominant one in its favoured habitat. Details of sympatry and interaction between these three species will be published elsewhere, but briefly the situation is one of inter - specific competition as on the tablelands (Rowley 1970). Presumably the inland coastal populations of tasmanicus were continuous before the connecting country was cleared and occupied by coronoides and orru. Former movement from the foothills up the scrap to the tablelands may account for the well developed soar- ing ability of tasmanicus (Debus 1980). There is little doubt that the coastal tasmanicus population is particularly threatened and could be expected to decline further. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many people have been of assistance in the preparation of this paper. I especially wish to thank Mrs. B. Howie, Messrs. G. Chapman, R. Cooper, P. Harris, J. Higgins, G. Holmes, T. Lindsey and I. Rowley for their information and /or comments, and Mrs. B. Debus for typing. Thanks are also due to S. Bowen, M. Hoist, R. and S. Noske, V. Robb and W. Boles. D. Gibson drew the maps. REFERENCES Debus, S.J.S. 1980 Notes on the Australian corvius, Aust. Bird Watcher 8, in press. Lindsey, T.A. 1979. N.S.W. Bird Report for 1978. Aust. Birds 14, 1-24 Moore, L.A. 1977. The Forest Raven Corvus tasmanicus - a new record for South Australia. S.A. Orn 26, 251-253 Rogers, A.E.F. 1974. N.S.W. Bird Report for 1973. Birds 8,97-119 Rogers, A.E.F. 1977. N.S.W. Bird Report for 1976. Aust. Birds 11,81-104 Rowley, Ian. 1970. The genus Corvus (Ayes: Corvidae) in Australia CS/RO Wild!. Re's. 15, 27-71September, 1980 11 t51°e (52°E 153.E 29°5 -T aNTeRrAfLD FIGURE.- 2 GLEN tNNES 3 0°5 GUNCRA OORAIGO I CorrS HARBOUR ARmtortLE URALLA SouTH WEST WiNLCAA ROCKS 3+05 Ket:Apsey NOWENDOt._ PORT ttuNot.E 0 KACOOARtE MOO NAK J TARE FLAT a2's UCESTER I oRSTER (SAARtNc.cort Toes 0 25 SO Is too ) . NGO KM eikk)514 PoRT STEPHENS 3305 t3 OUNO AckX OF FOREST FROM BELL 1918 " FOREST ECOSYSTEMS : THEIR FUTURE IN " ) an. Ilm NEN. Mink RANGE OF C .t.asmartictis AS Gtv EN BY /Ow LEY (1451o) A RANGE EXTENSIONS tr LITERATURE 0 TAIBLELAND RANGE ExTENStoNS DtSCUSStD tN "re7CT ;.: C. metic.ri COASTAL C.faSrrtantCUSAustralian Birds (15) 12 1 Rowley, Ian. 1971. Movements and longevity of ravens in south eastern Australia. CS/RD Wildl. Res. 16, 49-72 Rowley, Ian. 1973a. The comparative ecology of the Australian corvids. II Social organization and behaviour CSIRO Wildl. Res. 18,25-66 Rowley, Ian, 1973b. The comparative ecology of the Australian corvids. IV. Nesting and the rearing of young to independence. CSIRO Wildl. Res. 18,91-130 Rowley, Ian, L.W. Braithwaite, and G.S. Chapman. 1973. The comparative ecology of the Australian corvids. III. Breeding seasons, CSIRO Wildl. Res. 18, 67-90 STEPHEN J.S. DEBUS, 42 Kenneth St., Longueville. N.S.W. 2066 A NOTABLE RECORD OF THE YELLOW -LEGGED FLYCATCHER WALTER E. BOLES The Yellow -legged Flycatcher Microeca griseocpes (De Vis) 1894 was described from a specimen taken in southeastern New Guinea. The first reported Australian specimens were collected from the Piara Scrubs, Cape York in 1913 and described by Mathews (1913) as Kemple//a kempi, the sole member of its genus. M. griseoceps remains one of the least known of Australian flycatchers; restrict- ed to rainforests and considered uncommon to rare, its nest and eggs have only recently been described from Australia (Noske and Sticklen 1979). Although there have been several reports of this species from Atherton Tableland (Bourke and Austin 1947, Officer 1969, Wheeler 1967, White 1946) recent texts e.g. Macdonald (1973), Reader's Digest (1976), Storr (1973), limit the Australian range to tropical Cape York. In addit- ion to the records from the Atherton Tableland, Officer cites one from the Kangaroo Hills, near a tributary of the Burdekin River. In light of the relatively recent discovery and limited range of this species, a previously overlooked specimen in The Australian Museum collection (AM. 0. 17132) assumes particular interest. Misindentified as the Lemon- breasted Flycatcher M. f/avis- aster, it is recognisable as M. griseoceps by the yellow legs and bicoloured bill. The original handwritten label reads - Microeca flavigaster Police Camp Herbert River 1874 EP R. The initials are those of E.P. Ramsay in whose hand the label is written. If the data a fore r v ita s lid lo c- aa ln itd y t wh he ir ce h a ip sp e wa er ls l n oo u ti sn idd eic a itt sio gn e o nt eh re ar llw y is ae c c- eth pte en d th rae n gs ep e ac nim d e en a ris ly n do ata teb l oe f b co ot lh l- ection which predates the first descriptions of Australian and New Guinea birds. The specimen was originally part of Ramsay'sDobroyde Collection’, which
was later presented to the museum by the N.S.W. Government and registered in 1912.
Including the misnamed specimen, this collection contained five skins identified as
M. flavigaster. One of these also has a handwritten label identical to that of the M. gris-
eoceps specimen except for the notation that the bird was a female.
Ramsay spent considerable time in the Herbert River region from where many
of the specimens in his collection were taken. He was certainly in this district in 1874
where one of his centres of operation was the Herbert River Police Camp. Sub -inspector
Robert Johnstone, stationed at the Police Barracks, was a notable naturalist himself andSeptember, 1980
collected many specimens for Ramsay. In his account of species encountered in north-
eastern Queensland, Ramsay (1875) described M. flavigaster as “not plentiful and
only found after several weeks’ diligent search”. No mention was made of the number
of specimens taken.
An error could have arisen if the label had been originally intended for another
bird and somehow became mistakenly associated with the skin of M. griseoceps. The
Australian Museum contains numerous specimens with Ramsay’s handwritten labels but
there is no evidence suggesting that these were incorrectly rearranged. This must predate
the first Australian record as the Dobroyde Collection was incorportated into the
museum in 1912, a year before Mathews’ specimen was taken.
Although there is nothing either to contradict the date and locality of collect-
ion as listed nor indicate an error in labelling, these possibilities should not be totally
dismissed and this record should still be treated with some caution. There are no other
records from south of tropical Cape York supported by an existing specimen. Likewise,
because of the possibility of confusion with M. flavigaster and Grey Whistler Pachycep-
ha/a simplex reports of this species from this area should require considerable substant-
An additional record of interest is a specimen presented to the Australian
Museum in 1945 by Mr. A.F. Austin. This was one of thirty north Queensland skins so
obtained. The register entry reads:
0.37664 Kempiella kempi Wandecla, N.Q. 30/9/44. Wandecla (16 deg. 55’E,
145 deg. 46’S) is located on the Atherton Tableland. Unfortunately, this skin must have
become damaged for the register carrries the additional notation “Destroyed, worthless
I wish to thank Dr. R. Schodde for bringing Ramsay’s specimen to my attent-
ion. Drs. A. Greer and R. Schodde made helpful criticisms of the manuscript.
Bourke, P.A. and A.F. Austin 1947 The Atherton Tablelands and its avi-
fauna. Emu 47, 87-116
MacDonald, J.D. 1973 Birds of Australia. Sydney:Reed
Mathews, G.M. 1913 New genera and species. Aust. Avian
Rec. 2, 12-13
Noske, R.A. and R. Sticklen 1979 Nests and eggs of the Yellow -legged
Flycatcher. Emu 79, 148-149
Officer, H.R. 1969 Australian Flycatchers and their Allies.
Melbourne: BOC
Ramsay, E.P. 1875 List of birds met with in north-eastern
Queensland chiefly at Rockingham Bay.
Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1875: 578-603
Reader’s Digest. 1976 Complete Book of Australian Birds.
Sydney: Reader’s Digest Service
Storr, G.M. 19/3 List of Queensland Birds. Spec. Pubis.
West. Aust. Mus. No. 5
Wheeler, W.R. 1967 The birds of Cairns, Cooktown and the
Atherton Tablelands. Aust. Bird Watcher
3, 55-76
White, S.R. 1946 Notes on the bird life of Australia’s
heaviest rainfall region. Emu 46,81-122
WALTER E. BOLES, Australian Museum, George Street, Sydney. N.S.W. 2000.14 Australian Birds (15) 1
On 8 December 1978 while sitting in my vehicle at the edge of the road on a
drainage swamp near Dareton, my attention was drawn to a call with which I was
familiar, but had certainly not hear previously at Dareton. Turning around to the side
of the vehicle, saw a small orange -brown bird perched on top of a dead seed -head of
Common Rush I Phragmites communis. The bird was some four metres from me and
viewed in strong sunlight. This was to be my first sighting of the Golden -headed
Cisticola Cisticola exilis at Dareton.
Between 8 December 1978 and 6 February 1979 some seven visits were made
to Dareton swamp. Only on three visits were Cisticolas actually observed with the
most being seen on 10 December 1978, when six individuals were counted. Two visits
produced only audible evidence and two visits failed to produce records at all. These
latter visits were on 3 and 6 February 1979 and failure to locate them may be attribut-
able to the breeding season being over and also the installation of a “bird -scare” gun on
a nearby vineyard property. On 15 November 1979 I again visited the swamp where
it was found that the northern half of the swamp had been destroyed by fire (a common
practice) and the southern portion was eaten out by cattle which were grazing in the
swamp and adjoining flood pastures. It was concluded that the Cisticolas had abandon-
ed the swamp. However, P.A. Bourke (in litt.) has informed me that he and Harry
Creecy had found five Cisticolas on the edge of the northern burnt section of the swamp
on 23 December 1979.
Another colony is situated in a drainage swamp 1.5 km north-west of Buronga
P bo es r t 1O 97ff 9ic e w ho en n th twe oo l id n dr ii vv ie dr u aro lsa d w t eo r eD ha ere at ro dn . c aI llf inir gs t fl ro oc mat e od p pC ois st ii tc eo l sa i dh ee sr e o fo n th e1 5 r oN ao dv . e Om n-
18 November a very strong wind was blowing over the swamp and probably deterred
them from aerial display. A further visit on 22 November 1979 was successful with two
pairs of Cisticola being found, each pair occupying territory separated by the road. Bet-
ween 22 November 1979 and 25 May 1980 six further visits were made either alone or
with other bird -watchers namely: L. Silva, I. Beale, N. McCrea and R. Dunstan and each
time we observed Cisticolas, the maximum count being six individuals. Cattle also grazed
the swamp and caused Cisticolas to abandon temporarily a small portion, only returning
after the cattle were removed to another paddock.
Dareton: The population occupies a drainage swamp adjoining flood irrigation
pastures east of the Dareton Pumping Station and 2.4 km south-east of Dareton Post
Office. The main part of the swamp contains Cumbungi Typha sp. and Common Reed
which gives way to smaller rank vegetation around the fringes. In some parts Cumbungi
merges straight into bare gray clay without any rank vegetation and I have found these
areas completely avoided by Cisticola. The total area of swamp is approximately 11 ha.
Buronga: Like the Dareton site, this also is made up of excess drainage and
irrigation water spilling out onto riverine flats of Black Box Eucalyptus largiflorens.
There is considerably less Cumbungi here and confined almost to the line of channels.
The remainder is of varied rank vegetation, sedges and along the immediate edge of the
road, some Lignum Muehlenbackia cunninghamii. A favoured habitat is along the edgeSeptember, 1980
of the gravel road where there is ample cover of Dockweed Rumex sp., Paspalum Pas-
palum dilatatum, Water Couch P. distichum, Club Rush Scirpus antarcticus and Nardoo
Marsiliae drummonG’i. The total area occupied by the Cisticolas was approximately four
The irruption and extension to the range of the Golden -headed Cisticola in
New South Wales has been documented by Hobbs (1979 Aust. Birds 14:2) and these
notes are complementary to that work. However, the arrival of the species in Dareton
and Buronga is open to speculation. have been unable to find out if they were here
prior to 1978 or from what direction I they had come. In 1975 they were at Tooleybuc
(MacFarlane, pers. comm.) and if they had followed the Murray River westward would
have reached Bt. conga. However, the Dareton colony is some 14 km further west of Bur-
onga and en route would have apparently passed over favourable habitats including that
at Buronga, they were not present on the Buronga swamp in 1977 or 1978. Had they
come upstream from the lower reaches of the Murray River in South Australia then
surely they would have been recorded more frequently north of Mannum and the
Riverland District where there is extensive suitable habitat. It would seem unlikely
that the Cisticolas should move south from the Ivanhoe area to Dareton and Buronga
via such a tract of country offering so little in the way of habitat or refuge even when
their reputed mode of travel and their ability to endure passage over unlikely habitat
is considered (Hobbs, loc. cit. There is a record from Lake Walla Walla (Victoria),
80 km west of Dareton for 4 November 1978 (R.A.O.U. Atlas of Australian Birds. In
prep). A visit was made to this locality in 1978 and 1979 but no Cisticolas wer2, located
there. From my assessment of the habitat, however, they would not have been expected
to occur round the lake. From 1970 to the time of writing have visited most of the
accessible swamps and flood irrigation pastures in Sunryasia and have rechecked them
since I first recorded Cisticolas at Dareton, but feel confident that the species was not
present prior to 1978.
Dareton: It is not certain that breeding occurred here as no immatures were
observed. However, on three occasions when Cisticolas were seen they were engaged in
the typical aerial -display associated with breeding activities.
Buronga: Breeding did take place as one female was seen to fly off with food
items in the bill to a point beyond a tall clump of Cumbungi. On 26 February 1980 two
birds were watched, one was an adult male im breeding plumage and the second bird
was in juvenile plumage, perched on the fence wire. Later, an adult female flew to the
fenceline near the juvenile but made no attempt to tend the youngster. On 4 April 1980
an adult male and four females were seen. However, one of these female -type birds
showed signs of juvenile plumage and indicated that the juveniles were moulting into
adult nun -breeding plumage. On 24 May 1980 of four birds seen, all were in non -breed-
ing adult plumage.
It seemed that it was only a matter of time before Cisticolas should be found,
breeding in Sunraysia since their known distributional range has been slowly increasing
to the east and west of Dareton and Buronga. There is a substantial gap in many direct-
ions to the nearest known Cisticola population from either the Dareton and Buronga
birds which does present difficulties when attempting to piece together a satisfactory
explanation as to their arrival and route taken to reach the two areas under discussion.16 Australian Birds (15)
There is a clear indication that Cisticolas favour the rank vegetation around swamps in
preference to dense stands of Cumbungi, Common Rush and would certainly avoid the
extensive areas of Spiky Rush J. acutus that can be found in Sunraysia. Despite the loss
in recent years of many hectares of land that was used as flood irrigation for dairy cattle
there is still plenty of flood pasture for Cisticolas to be found and further watch will
advance the knowledge of their distribution.
would like to thank P.A. Bourke for his field observation record of the Dare
I –
ton birds and for helpful comments on this paper.
CHRIS SONTER, 72 San Mateo Avenue, Mildura, Vic. 3500.
On 9 May 1979 a pair of Jacky Winters Microeca leucophaea was observed
in a park at South Grafton. One bird was normally coloured but the other was
completely white in plumage. It was not a pure albino as it had dark brown eyes.
Its bill was bright pink and its legs were orange. Its size, shape, tail waving habits
and association with the normally coloured Jacky Winter enabled it to be
identified as that species. A number of local residents thought that it was a white
canary but its flycatcher type bill proved this to be incorrect. It was observed
almost daily either alone or with one normal plumaged bird until 22 May 1979. It
was not seen again until 6 June 1979 whereafter it was observed almost daily
until 19 June 1979.
No subsequent sightings have been made and it may have fallen prey to a
Brown goshawk Accipiter fasciatus, or Collared Sparrowhawk A. cirrhocephalus
or moved into more natural surroundings. The latter is possible as Jacky Winters
usually visit the parks and residential areas of South Grafton only during the
autum and winter and apparently move to nearby bushland areas to breed.
On 14 May in addition to the white bird and its companion four other Jacky
Winters were present. They gathered together on a television aerial and were
calling. It appeared that the presence of the white bird had prompted this activity
which had not been observed previously. When perched in a tree or on the
ground the white bird was very obvious and it is remarkable that it escaped the
talons of a raptorial bird for over one month. There are two possible reasons for
this. Firstly a number of fences and letter boxes in the area are painted white.
When perched on one of these objects the white bird was well camouflaged.
Secondly, the number of Brown Goshawks and Collared Sparrowhawks visiting
the area at that time was far less than the previous year when they were seen on
most days.
G. CLANCY, 17 Margaret Crescent, South Grafton N.S.W. 2461.-.11141
-Vol. 15, No. September, 1980

McC311i, Arnold Keith Hindwood’s contribution to
New South Wales Ornithology 1
Brooker, M.G. & A Black -breasted Buzzard at the
Macquarie Marshes, New South Wales 4
J.0 Wombey
Clancy, reci P. A White-rumped Swiftlet at Iluka,
News South Wales 4
zzard, J. & W.D. A sight record of the Herald Petrel
Watson off northern New South Wales 5
Clancy, reg P Mobbing of a dead Southern Boobook 6
Debus, S.J.S. Little and Forest Ravens in New South
Wales 7
Boles, Walter F. A notable record of the Yellow -legged
Flycatcher 12
Sonter, Chris Golden -headed Cisticola at Dareton
and Buronga. N.S.W. 14
Clancy, G. A white Jacky Winter 16
Registered fur Posting as a Periodical – Category B