Vol. 15 No. 2-text

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Journal of the
December, 1980
Vol. 15, No. 2

ISSN 0311-8150

Registered 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. 2857AIMitiliiiAll
Vol. 15, No. 2 December, 1980
Edited by T.R. LINDSEY
This is the Tenth Annual Report, and the end of our first decade of operation
seems to have been marked by an unusually quiet year. 1979 had its fair share of
vagrants and accidentals – highlights include a record of the Herald Petrel (the first
for the State), the Buff -breasted Sandpiper, the Red -necked Phalarope and the
Yellow Wagtail. Also outstanding was a breeding record of the Beach Stone
Curlew. These aside, however, movements and occurrences of birds in NSW during
the year conformed faily well to expected patterns.
My sincere apologies are due to the membership at large for the lateness of
this Report. This has been a difficult year for me for various reasons; indeed,
these difficulties and the pressure of other commitments forced me to consider
resigning as Records Officer several times, but it seemed to me that should con-
tinue, both because, at the time, these difficulties appeared temporary and
because handing over to someone else appeared likely to result in even further
delay. Unfortunately, my difficulties turned out to be less temporary than had
hoped. I have been unable to devote as much time to this Report as I would have
liked and it is less substantial than it might have been. anticipate much better
results with the 1980 Report.18 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
Not all records received in any one year are, of course, published in these
Reports. All, however, are entered onto the appropriate species files. Now that
these have been accumulating for a decade, it is interesting to scan these files. For
many species a significant body of data has now been gathered. Observations that
did not appear of particular interest in isolation now take on added significane
when viewed in relation to other reports and some clear patterns are beginning to
emerge. It is hoped that these files can now form the basis of some important
studies on the occurrence and movements of several species within the State. At
the end of our first decade, would like to thank contributors for their support in
the past and urge their continued co-operation in the preparation of these
My special thanks are due to Alan E. F. Rogers and Alan Morris for their
assistance in the compilation of this Report.
T. Lindsey
RECORDS OFFICERDecember 1980 19
N. Anderson D. Larkins
K. Avery A. Lindsey
T. Lindsey
M. Baldwin
W.P. Barden B. Mannes
D. Best S. Marchant
R. Bigg A. D. Morris
G. A. Blackwell A. K. Morris
C. M. Bonser J. Morse
T. Bonser A. McBride
J. Brickhill R. McCutcheon
W. J. Brooke A. McGill
A. S. Cartwright National Parks and Wildlife
G. P. Clancy Service (NPWS)
A. Colemane J. Noye
R. M. Cooper
M. Crawford S. Parks
E. Pratt
A. Dampney
S. J. S. Debus T. Quested
L. Dixon
T. Dunlea G. Saals
B. Salter
J. J. Francis B. Sargent
D. Sawyer
J. Gerritson E. Schafer
N.W. Schrader
N. Hermes L. Smith
J. Hobbs C. Sonter
G. Holmes D. Stringfellow
E. Hoskin
B. Howie J. N. S. Tarr
T. Tasoulis
Illawarra Bird Observers E. Thomas
Club (IBOC) D. Turner
J. lzzard
F. van Gessel
H. R. Johnston
J. Wilson
N. Kutz J. D. Woodhouse
J. Waugh
G. N. Langfield
B. Larkins N. Yates20 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
Emu A number of north coastal reports, scattered
throughout the year; several indicate breeding in the area. Localities mentioned
include Iluka NR, Brooms Head, Red Rock, Wooli, Taloumbi, Sandon and Gul-
marrad (GPC, ES).
Yellow -nosed Albatross One off Ballina 4 Sept (JI).
White -headed Petrel One beachwashed on Windang Beach 26 March
(LSm per JDG).
Herald Petrel One about 30 km E of Ballina 19 May (JI, WDW
see Aust. Birds 15:5).
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Inland records: one caught alive at Wirrimbirra
near Bargo 11 May (AMcG), and one found after a storm at Dungog 7 May
(BSa et al).
Buller’s Shearwater One off Ballina 11 Dec (JI).
Hutton’s Shearwater 7 off Ballina 4 Sept, and one same area 4 Oct (JI).
Wilson’s Storm -petrel Present off Ballina 5 May Oct (JI, WDW).
Black -bellied Storm -petrel One off Ballina 18 June (WDW) and 2 off Ballina
4 Oct (JI).
Common Diving -petrel One beachwashed on Port Kembla beach 20 Sept,
the first found in the district for 18 years (TD per JDG).
Brown Booby One subadult at Charlesworth Bay N of Coffs
Harbour 4 July and one immature same place 5 July; one adult at Station Creek,
Red Rock NP 10 Oct (GPC)
Little Bittern One adult male caught and banded at Lawrence
27 Sept (GPC).
Brown Bittern One at Mountain Lagoon near Bilpin 24 Feb
(TQ, AC); seldom reported in the Blue Mountains area.
Whistling Tree -duck 13 on Carramor Station E of Gilgandra 3 Feb
(NA per AKM).December 1980 21
Plumed Tree -duck About ten reports from scattered localities, includ-
ing: 6 at ‘Cambria’ near Barham 1 Nov (ET); 17 at Parkes Sewerage Ponds 30 Sept
(JDW); 44 at Wallundry 18 km NE of Temora 30 Nov (WJB); 150+ at Pughs
Lagoon, Richmond 10 July (CMB), and 12+ on the Clarence River near Grafton
21 Jan (GPC).
Freckled Duck Many thousands on the Bulloo Overflow, Salt Lake
(Cobham) and Fort Grey Basin lakes, Sturt NP Oct -Dec, the highest numbers in
years (NPWS). The possibility of the Coopers Creek and Bulloo River basins being
major areas of occurrence for this species warrants further attention. Also several
eastern records: 3 at Monaro Swamp bear Berrigan 31 Jan (JI); 2 at Spring Creek
Reservoir 4 km S of Orange 27 May (WJB); one shot 22 km N of Barham 3 Mar
(ET); several at Griffith 12 May (GB); 4 at Parkes Sewerage Farm 9 Feb (NS).
Osprey Many reports received, mostly within the expected
range north of Coffs Harbour. None confirm breeding, although several reports
are strongly indicative. Localities mentioned include South West Rocks, Law-
rence, luka, Southgate, Evans Head, Wooh and Nambucca Heads; one was report-
ed at Watson’s Bay, Sydney 12 July (TQ). The number of the records raises the
possibility that previous estimates of the species’ status in NSW were pessimistic;
a survey would be of interest.
Black -breasted Buzzard One 9 km N of Narrandera Sept (BS – see Bird
Observer 576).
Square -tailed Kite One adult in Grafton 6-8 Nov where it was seen to
raid the nests of House Sparrows along suburban streets (GPC – see Aust Birds
Letter -winged Kite One at ‘Berida’ 20 km W of Gilgandra 1-6 Dec
(AmcC per AKM).
Crested Hawk at Castle Hill (? immature) 30 Jan (SD); and one
at Thornleigh 31 Jan and 18 Aug (BH).
Grey Falcon at Round Hill NR 17 Aug (JJF, JMP, AMcB);
and 2 on 20 Aug (NS).
Peregrine Several records in the Sydney region: 1 at Darling-
hurst 12 Feb (LJH); in Lane Cove River valley 11 Jan, 9 Feb and 25 Feb (BH,
GNL); at Kurnell 8 Nov (JW); and 2 near Maianbar 10 Feb (DT). Several other
records scattered over the State.
Malleefowl 3 mounds prepared for breeding at Round Hill
NR, the only active mounds seen during an aerial survey of over 100 marked
mounds in the area 21-24 Aug (JB).22 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
King Quail 2 at Brundee near Nowra 23 Aug (JH). Rarely re-
ported from the south coast.
Red -chested Quail One flew into a window at ‘Cumberdeen’ 20 km
NW of Baradine 16 May (AKM).
Marsh Crake One at Round Hill NR 18 Aug, an unusual locality
(JJF, AD, AMcB).
Bustard 4 on Pindari Downs NE of Tibbooburra 6 Aug, 7
at Terarakie NE of Tibbooburra in June (JG); 1 at Frankston Wildlife Refuge 16
km S of Collarenebri 18 Nov (JMo) was the observer’s first record in 20 years;
near Smithville, June (LD). Reported in Sturt NP more regularly (Jan -Aug) in
1979 than in 1978, singly or in pairs, none in summer (JG).

Beach Stone -curlew Pair bred at Red Rock NP 10 Oct 26 Nov, one

chick banded (GPC – see Aust Birds 14:55).
Grey Plover One at Harrington 22 Nov (GPC); one in breeding
plumage at Boat Harbour 13 April (JJF); one at Botany 22 Dec (KA); 3 at Corn-
erong Island 19 Jan and one same place 19 March (JH).
Banded Stilt 4 adults and one immature at Fletchers Lake 6
Feb; one immature 16 Nov and 40+ 24 Nov also at Fletchers Lake (CS).
Red -necked Avocet 100,000 at Telephone Lake, Sturt NP in Nov
(NPWS); 1,000 at Fletchers Lake 24 Nov, growing to 5-6,000 by 4 Dec (CS).
Ruddy Turnstone Inland record: one at Fletchers Lake 24 Nov (CS).
Black -tailed Godwit Inland record: 6 at Parkes Sewerage Works 11-22
Nov (NS, JDW).
Bar -tailed Godwit One at Fletchers Lake 6 Feb and 2 in breeding
plumage same place April (CS).
Knot 2 at Lake Goram Oct (GH).
Long -toed Stint One at Parkes Sewerage Works 11-22 Nov (JDW,
Buff -breasted Sandpiper One caught and banded at Kooragang Island 10
March (FVG, WPB – see Aust. Birds 14:33).
One at McGraths Hill 12 March (ASC) and one
male at Ballina 17-21 Nov (JI, WDW).December 1980 23
Red -necked Phalarope One at Mother of Ducks Lagoon near Guyra 29
Jan and 3 Feb (GH – see Aust Birds 13:75).
Common Noddy One at Towra Point 17 Feb (EH, JDG, IBOC).
Little Tern The status of the species in NSW has recently
been summarised (Morris, 1979, Corella 4:105-110): reports received conform
to this analysis. Between 15 Nov 1979 and 22 Jan 1980 a colony of 20 pairs
nesting within the Botany Bay MSB container terminal (NH).
Crested Tern Over 1,000 pairs nested on North Solitary Island
Oct -Dec as they did in 1978 (GS).
White -headed Pigeon Sydney records: up to 9 present June -Nov in the
upper Lane Cove River valley (DL, BL); at Devlins Creek, Cheltenham 23 Sept
Spotted Turtledove Several at Dubbo 16 May (AKM); there appear to
be no previous records from this area.
Brown Pigeon Southern records: 1 at Moruya 12 May (SM) and 1
at Nadgee NR 16 Nov (GS).
Bar -shouldered Dove Two 24 km W of Rankin Springs 4 Nov (JT) and
one at Round Hill NR 26 June (CS); both records are close to the limits of known
Green -winged Pigeon One at Comerong Island 21 May (JH).
Wompoo Pigeon Breeding at Long Point 40 km SE of Armidale 16
Dec (GH).
Gang -gang Cockatoo Flock of 12, including males, females and juveniles,
at Livingston SF 25 km S of Wagga Wagga 11 March were on the western limits
of range (JB).
Red -winged Parrot Southern record: one 13 km NNE of Mudgee 19
Aug (WJB).
Turquoise Parrot Eleven records received, none of which mentioned
breeding; all are from localities within the known distribution as analysed by
Morris (Aust Birds 14:57-67).
Brush Cuckoo Arrival dates: Reserve Creek, Murwillumbah
30 Sept (EP); Warrumbungles NP 13 Oct (AKM); Hornsby Heights 16 Oct (MCr);
Moruya 21 Oct (SM). Departure dates: Moruya 31 Jan (SM); Reserve Creek,
Murwillumbah 3 March (EP). Also at Mt. Warning 31 Aug (G LC).
Little Bronze Cuckoo One adult male caught and banded at South
Grafton 16 Oct; one female or immature same place 26 Oct (GPC).
Koel One male at Kennington 5 km S of Coonabarabran
23 Nov – 5 Dec (AKM – see Aust Birds 10:75). Arrival dates: Reserve Creek,
Murwillumbah 18 Sept (EP); South Grafton 17 Oct (GPC); Thornleigh 9 Oct
(BH). Departure dates: Moruya 8 Jan (SM); Thornleigh 19 March (BH); Reserve
Creek, Murwillumbah 5 April (EP).
Channel -billed Cuckoo Departure dates: Nowra 27 Jan (JH); Cooyal 26
Jan (NK); Reserve Creek, Murwillumbah 17 Feb (EP). Arrival dates: Reserve
Creek, Murwillumbah 19 Sept (EP); Grafton 18 Sept (GPC); Cooyal 24 Sept
(N K); Gilgai 6 Oct (MB); Nowra 28 Oct (JH) and Moruya 13 Oct (SM); Warr-
umbungles NP 20 Oct (AKM).
Powerful Owl One at Forestry Commission, West Pennant Hills
3 Nov – 7 Dec, seen on many occasions and by numerous observers. One at Dud-
ley 5 Jan (SP, TT); one along the Upper Lane Cove River 12 Aug (BL); one at
Blackbutt Reserve 20 March (WPB).
Grass Owl One near Casino 10 Oct, one at Broadwater NP
31 Oct and one at Ballina 22 Nov (JI, WDW).
White -throated Nightjar Earliest record at Moruya 20 Oct, departure 17
March (SM).
Spine -tailed Swift Departure dates: Moruya 2 April ISM); Narraweena
18 Marc!? (AGL); Corindi 16 March (GPC); Reserve Creek, Mulwillumbah 2 April
(EP). Arrival dates: Reserve Creek, Mulwillumbah 17 Oct (EP); Grafton 13 Oct
(GPC); Warrumbungles NP 12 Oct (AKM); Dee Why and Lane Cove 3 Nov (AGL,
JHa, DS, GNL); Thornleigh 22 Oct (BH).
Mangrove Kingfisher 2+ at Ukerebagi Island, Tweed River 21 Oct (JI)
and 2 pairs at Tweed Heads 28 Aug – 6 Sept (G LC).
Dollarbird Departure dates: Moruya 17 March (SM); Lane
Cove 9 March (GNL); Columbine Mountain 30 km SW of Orange 11 March
(WJB); Gulargumbone 7 March (DBe); Coonabarabran 16 March (AKM); Grafton
(Pipeclay Creek) 16 March (GPC) and Reserve Creek, Murwillumbah 16 March
(EP). Arrival dates: Reserve Creek 7 Sept (EP); Lawrence 28 Sept (GPC); Gilgai 4
Oct (MB); Armidale 18 Oct (SD); Royal NP 9 Oct (DT); Moruya 22 Oct (SM).
Yellow Wagtail One at Bakers Lagoon 29 April and May (GB,
NY – see Aust Birds 14:35-36).December 1980 25
Cicadabird Departure dates: Moruya 18 March (SM); Hornsby
Heights 16 March (MCr); Cooyal 13 Feb (N K); Reserve Creek, Murwillumbah 11
April (EP). Arrival dates: Reserve Creek 16 Oct (EP); Thornleigh 15 Oct (BH);
Moruya 12 Oct (SM) and Coonabarabran 27 Oct (AKM).
Varied Triller One at Long Point 40 km SE of Armidale 16 Dec
Blackbird One at Moruya for 2-3 days in June and a male
4-14 Dec (SM). Seldom reported from the south coast.
Southern Scrubrobin Northern record: 2 at Red Tank Station 90 km NE
of Ivanhoe 4 Sept (NS).
Black -faced Monarch Departed Moruya 15 Feb, arrived Oct (SM).
Leaden Flycatcher Departure dates: Moruya 17 March (SM); Ballinore
32 km E of Dubbo 9 March (WJB); Warrumbungles NP 9 April (AKM); Reserve
Creek, Murwillumbah 21 April (EP). Arrival dates: Reserve Creek 4 Sept (EP);
Coonabarabran 17 Sept (AKM); Stanfield near Blayney 20 Oct (WJB); Moruya 6
Oct (SM).
Hall’s Babbler Reported near Lerida Tank 35 km SW of Cobar
(HJ – see Bird Observer 576).
Tawny Grassbird Several at Bakers Lagoon 26 May (BM, JMP)
and 2 at Woolooware Swamp, Cronulla 27 Fen (JW).
Striated Grasswren 8 near Red Tank Station 90 km NE of Ivanhoe,
including a pair with flightless young 3-4 Sept (NS).
Shy Heathwren 2 pairs (1 nesting) at Round Hill 29 Sept (CMB).
Striated Fieldwren immature at Mountain Lagoon 17 Feb (RB, RG,
AC). Detailed notes submitted
White -throated Warbler One seen by 3 observers 18 km S of Collarenebri
11-18 April (RMC).
Grey -fronted Honeyeater Present 10 km N of Sandy Creek on the Mt. Hope –
Cobar Road Oct (LS).
White -fronted Honeyeater Breeding at Round Hill NR 28 Sept (CMB).
Black Honeyeater 2 pairs at Round Hill 28 Sept (CMB) and one male
at Taleeban 20 km E of Rankins Springs 3 Oct (JB).26 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
Pied Honeyeater 3 at Round Hill 17 Aug (JJF, AD, AMcB).
Star Finch A flock (maximum 24 on 5 May) at Bakers Lagoon
was first reported 30 April (AMcG, LS, RB, DSS, JN), thereafter seen on many
occasions by many observers. Breeding probable as flock included juveniles of
various ages.
Spice Finch 25 at Glenroy Vineyard, Cooyal near Mudgee 12
Aug (NK – see Aust Birds 14:51); also 70 at Murwillumbah 1 Sept was the observ-
er’s first record for the area (G LC).
Paradise Riflebird Western record: present at the summit of Big
Hill on the Armidale-Kempsey Road 18 March and 31 March (GH).
Forest Raven Several further records in the Myall Lakes area
(see 1978 report); a pair at Mungo Brush 4 Aug and a pair at Sandbar, Smiths
Lake 5-6 Aug (BH, BM, JWiI). Debus (1980, Aust Birds 15:7) has reviewed the
status of this species in NSW.December 1980 27
On 10 January 1964 I waded along a channel transversing part of the bed of
Lake Gol Gol in south-western New South Wales. The channel carried a dense
growth of Cumbungi Typha sp. in which a few pairs of Clamorous Reed -warblers
Acrocephalus stentoreus were nesting. Much of the lake bed had recently been
covered with over 30 centimetres of water which had flowed in from the nearby
Murray River in flood but this water was now seeping away or draining back into
the river. The flooding of the lake bed had initiated a mass breeding of frogs, the
most abundant of which was Litoria raniformis. Many of these had climbed high
into the cumbungi where they sat at rest on the broad leaves, dropping into the
water as approached. Some were adult up to 85 millimetres in length but the
majority were froglets in varying stages of final metamorphosis.
again waded the channel on 18 January. By this time most of the lake bed
was dry although there was still about 30 centimetres of water in the channel. The
cumbungi was now seething with frogs which had obviously forsaken the water-
less lake bed for this refuge. In places the cumbungi was weighed down by them,
leaves dragging in the water. Frogs were grouped on the rims and in the cups of
the Reed -Warblers’ nests completely covering the eggs or young therein. Of five
nests found on my first visit three had failed by my second visit and in another
failure was imminent. Details of the nests follow.
Nest 10 January 18 January Comment
3 young which left 5 frogs 3 banded young near
the nest during nest
banding but were
2 1 young just 4 frogs No remains of young
3 3 eggs 2 young under Young alive but inert
5 frogs
4 3 eggs 1 egg, 4 frogs Egg crushed into lining.
Yolk dry
5 3 young just Nest collapsed No young in nearby
starting to feather 8 frogs on cumbungi
On my next visit on 23 January the channel had been cleaned out by a dredge
effectively ending my observations.28 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
On 21 January visited the channel along which the flood waters from the
Murray River had flowed to fill Fletchers Lake, some 15 kilometres west of Lake
Gol Gol. At its height this channel had flooded across an extensive area of salt –
bush but now had been reduced to its original narrow course which choked with
dense Lignum Muehlenbeckia cunninghamii. As at Lake Gol Gol it was apparent
there had been a mass breeding of the frog L. raniformis and hordes of frogs and
froglets were taking refuge in the lignum. Also there was a concentration of
Little Grassbirds Mega/urus gramineus in the lignum so I made a search for their
nests. Details of my finds follow.
Nest Contents Comment
1 3 eggs, 6 frogs Eggs cold, each contained a
dead embryo
2 2 eggs, 6 frogs Eggs cold, addled
3 3 dead young under Young half -fledged
large frog
4 4 eggs, 5 frogs Eggs cold, addled
5 3 eggs, 8 frogs Eggs cold, addled
6 4 young about 3 Bush growing in mud not
days old. Alive water
7 3 full-fledged young. Young bush with thin twiggy
Alive growth. No frogs in bush
8 4 young about 3 As Nest 7
days old. Alive
9 2 eggs, 2 newly As Nest 7
hatched young
10 1 egg, 3 full-fledged As Nest 7
young. Alive
Another eight nests were found, all in a state of collapse and all containing
numerous frogs but with no evidence of avian occupation remaining.
There can be no doubt that the congregating of the frogs on the birds’ nests
effectively, if inadvertently, prevented incubation of the eggs and brooding or
feeding of the young. Apart from the unexplained disappearance of a small nestl-
ing from Reed -Warbler Nest 2, there was no suggestion of direct predation. The
reluctance of the frogs to perch in a bush not standing in water and their reluct-
ance or inability to climb the thin twigs of new Lignum bushes fortuitiously saved
some nests from failure.
J. N. HOBBS, 87 Plunkett Street, Nowra, N.S.W. 2540.December 1980 29
Blowfly strike, the infestation of the wool, skin or flesh of the sheep by larvae
of the blowfly, usually Lucilia cuprina is a perennial problem to the Australian
sheep -farmer. Usually the blowfly restricts its egg -laying to the damp portions of
the fleece, ie. the crutch and the anal and genital regions. Regular removal of the
wool from these areas (crutching) and docking of the tail are accepted forms of
control which lessen the potential for infestation.
In 1973 and 1974 unprecedented rains fell at Ivanhoe, New South Wales.
In 1974, 904 millimetres, three times the annual mean, were recorded. Fleeces,
frequently drenched in rain and constantly dragged through lush grass often high-
er than the sheep, were unable to dry out and blowflies were able to attack any
part of the sheep’s body. Many graziers fought a losing battle in their efforts to
control the infestations. Sheep were often seen trailing long skirts of wool stripp-
ed from their bodies by the activities of the maggots. Others, weakened by the
attacks, lay still in the paddocks, many finally succumbing to a lingering death.
Little Crows Corvus bennetti and Little Ravens C. mellori, both common
birds of the area, were quick to avail themselves of the abundant food supply. It
became commonplace to see both species, usually gathered into mixed flocks,
walking round the inert sheep picking maggots off the ground or off the wool.
Such opportunist feeding soon graduated into pulling wool off the sheep to reach
the maggots in the flesh. At first the birds concentrated on sheep laying down but
later as many as two or three at a time could be seen riding sheep as they walked
or grazed, heads and bills deep in the fleece scattering large tufts of wool to the
wind as they tugged it away from the body.The birds perched on and attacked
any part of the upper body, sometimes leaning precariously over to probe into the
sides. Others stood under stationary or slow -moving sheep and lunged their bills
into the wool on the undersides.
Many sheep had raw open wounds caused by the maggots which could possib-
ly have led the birds to feed on the living flesh but obtained no actual evidence
of this. My observations indicated that only maggots were taken but the potential
for Kea -like attacks is obvious. The more lively sheep attempted to dislodge the
birds by running about or butting at them with their heads but most reconciled
themselves to their riders, possibly even welcoming their attentions which must
have removed many of their wriggling tormentors. Some prostrate sheep were
seen to wince and feebly kick out when a bird was probing indicating the bill
could be driven in hard or deep.
Rowley and Vestjens, (1973 CS/RO Wild/. Res. 18, 131-155) in their detailed
survey of food of the Corvids, recorded blowflies, adults and pupa as well as lar-
vae, as being frequently taken by both the Little Crow and the Little Raven. How-
ever, they imply the larvae are taken from carcases or carrion and make no ment-
ion of the feeding habit described here.
J.N. HOBBS, 87 Plunkett Street, Nowra, N.S.W. 2540.30 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
The Pink Robin Petroica rodinogaster is generally regarded as a common
bird in Tasmania, an uncommon breeding bird and winter visitor in Victoria and a
rare wintering bird and post -breeding visitor in the high country of the ACT and
southern NSW (Trudgeon 1975). This species has also been recorded as a vagrant
near Sydney (Dibley and Dibley 1973) and near Pittsworth, Queensland (Temple
Watts 1971) and in small but regular number in South Australia during recent
years (Rowley and Paton 1978).
The presence of the Pink Robin in the ACT was confirmed when birds were
mist netted in wet sclerophyll between April and July 1962 (Lamm et. at. 1963).
It is now considered to be a rare but regular winter visitor. The first documented
record for NSW appears to be an adult female mist netted by Wilson (1965) on
27 April 1963 in a tall Ribbon Gum Eucalyptus viminalis forest near the south-
west corner of Lake George, 70 km northeast of the ACT records.
Five specimens of Pink Robin in the Snowy River Collection in the National
Museum of Victoria were taken between 28 February and 9 March 1941 65 km
slightly north-west of Orbost, Victoria (Wilson 1965). Tennyson Creek Flora Re-
serve is no more than 100 km north of this site. Located approximately 40 km
southwest of Bombala, NSW, it is an area of native forest maintained by the
Forestry Commission of NSW in Bondi State Forest. The major tree species are
Messmate E. ob/iqua, Shining Gum E. nitens and a Narrow -leaf Peppermint E.
robertsoni. The understorey is lush, thick and dominated by Acacia mearnsii
and tree ferns Cyathea Sp. The surrounding topography is rugged and steeply
sloping with drier forest on the ridge tops and moist forest types with rainforest
understorey in the fullies.
On 1 January 1978, W. Boles mist netted a male Pink Robin (Australian
Museum Registration Number 0.46559) in brown plumage in Tennyson Creek
Flora Reserve, Bondi State Forest, NSW (Lindsey 1979). Two more birds, both
males, were netted on 3 January 1978.One bird(AM 0.46550)was adult breeding
plumage while the other (AM 0.46561) was in brown plumage. All three had
fully pneumatised skulls.
On 14 May 1978 an adult female Pink Robin was banded by the Australian
Museum (Australian Bird Banding Scheme Number 013-14927) on a study plot
2 km north of Tennyson Creek Flora Reserve. The study site is a mixed forest of
Ribbon Gum, Snow Gum and a Narrow -leaf Peppermint E. dives (G. Gowing,
pers. comm.).
On 3 December 1979 J. Shields observed an adult male Pink Robin during a
census being conducted in the western part of Bondi State Forest, 20 km from
the flora reserve.December 1980
In late November 1979 J. Shields began visits to Tennyson Creek Flora Re-
serve on a daily basis. On 25 November a pair of Pink Robins in adult male and
female plumage were observed feeding in a wet gully on the northern slope of Mt.
Tennyson. On subsequent trips to the area, a pair of birds was seen in the same
gully and were suspected of being resident.
On 30 November the female was seen carrying fibrous material (four cm. in
length). On 26 December both male and female robins were observed feeding two
apparently still flightless young. The young were perched three metres from the
ground in dense growth of A. mearnsii. Adult Pink Robins were seen feeding
young on three occasions (27 and 30 December 1979, 2 January 1980). On the
last occasion the young were observed to fly thirty metres without difficulty. No
nest was located during the observations.
In late January, W. Boles began mist netting in adjacent areas of native forest
(Messmate, Brown Barrel E. fastigata and Monkey Gum E. cypellocarpa). Three
Pink Robins in brown plumage were taken on 26, 27 and 28 January. Two were
males with fully pneumatised skulls (AM 0.53171 and 0.53168). The remaining
specimen was a female with an unpneumatised skull (AM 0.53171).
Though a nest was not found, these observations and specimens constitute
basis for considering the presence of a breeding population of Pink Robins in
the ranges of extreme southern NSW and northern Victoria. This supports the
suggestion forwarded by Wilson (1965) to explain the origin of wintering Pink
Robbins in the ACT and surrounding areas of NSW.
Dibley, G. and M. Dibley, 1973. An observation of a Pink Robin near Sydney. Aust. Birds 7,60.
Gall, B.C. and N.W. Longmore. 1978. Avifauna of the Thredbo Valley, Kosciusko National Park.
Emu 78, 189-196.
Lamm, D.W., S.J. Wilson and W. Belton. 1963. New information on birds of the Australian Capital
Territory. Emu 63, 57-65.
Lindsey, T.R. 1979. N.S.W. Bird Report for 1978. Aust. Birds 14, 1-22.
Rowley, D. and J.B. Paton. 1978. The Pink Robin in South Australia. S.A. Orn. 28, 21 -22.
Temple Watts, B. 1971. Pink Robin in Queensland. Aust. Bird Watcher 4, 100.
Trudgeon, J.W. 1975. The Pink Robin in New South Wales. Aust. Birds. 10, 38-39.
Wilson, S.J. 1965. New information on some birds of New South Wales. Emu 64, 209-213.
JAMES M. SHIELDS Wildlife Section, Forestry Commission of New South Wales, Oratava
Avenue, West Pennant Hills. N.S.W.
WALTER E. BOLES, Australian Museum, College Street, Sydney, New South Wales.32 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
On 5 June 1978, we noticed three Logrunners Orthonyx temminckii feeding
in leaf litter at the side of the Wonga Trail, Dorrigo National Park, New South
Wales. The birds, a male, female and juvenile were quite undisturbed by our
presence and we were able to observe them for several minutes at a distance of
three metres.
The young bird was foraging in the leaf litter, occasionally picking up food
items but also being fed by the adult male. The male scratched until he found a
food item which he then quickly carried to the young bird at least a metre away.
He then rapidly returned to his foraging spot and continued searching or
remained by the young bird, feeding it with items uncovered by its own
scratching. During our period of observation, no feeding of the young was done
by the female.
The female foraged to one side and we observed her employ two foot
movements while feeding. When starting to search an undisturbed area, she
removed the large leaves and sticks with vigorous sideways kicks, the leg
extending straight out to one side. A series of kicks with the same leg were often
made in rapid succession, usually followed by several with the opposite leg. The
smaller, underlying pieces of litter were sifted with typical front to back scratches.
When approached to within a metre, the birds showed alarm and moved off
several metres but after a few seconds returned to their original foraging areas
and continued feeding, apparently unconcerned by our presence.
WALTER E. BOLES, Department of Ornithology, Australian Museum, College
Street, Sydney, N.S.W. 2000
JAMES J. SHIELDS, Wood Technology and Forest Research Division, Forestry
Commission of N.S.W., Pennant Hills, N.S.W. 2120.December 1980 33
On Wednesday 27 August 1980 whilst observing waterfowl on a shallow inlet
at Fort Grey Basin in Sturt Nation Park, noted the following feeding association
between two Little Grebes Podiceps novaehollandiae and a single Freckled Duck
Stictonetta naevosa. These waterbirds were feeding amongst a large number of
Pink -eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus, Grey Teal Anas gibberifrons
and Little Grebes. When first seen, the Freckled Duck was resting, but at 1345
hours it began to feed by up -ending. Immediately two Little Grebes swam to
within a metre of it, and began to feed in the following manner:
As the duck up -ended both grebes immediately dived, sometimes as close as
half a metre from the duck. In the course of its up -ending, the duck’s position
frequently changed, and the grebes often surfaced considerable distances from it.
They would immediately swim back to the duck and wait for it to up -end again
before they dived. The water round the duck during this up -ending was changing
colour as the bottom of the inlet was disturbed. This pattern of up -end and dive
continued until 1405 hours when the duck swam to the shore. The grebes follow-
ed until it left the water, when they swam back towards the centre of the inlet.
continued to watch them for at least ten minutes, but neither bird attempted a
continuation of this feeding behaviour with any of the other ducks present.
It was apparent that the grebes were commensal with the Freckled Duck,
due to the latter’s feeding method disturbing bottom dwelling organisms for the
grebes to feed upon.
GRAHAM BLACKWELL, 60 Backhouse Street, Wentworth Falls, N.S.W. 2782.34 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA by Graham Pizzey, illustrat-
ed by Roy Doyle, 1980. William Collins Sons and Co. Ltd., Sydney Pp 460,
Col. pll 56, B & W 32; 17 pp of maps for 697 species. 212 x 135 mm. $25.00.
In 1972 I remember meeting Roy Doyle at the Australian Museum where he
was painting the waders for the colour -plates to be used in this field guide. That
this book has been at least ten years coming is not surprising in view of the great
detail it contains. It is with pleasure therefore, that review this first true “field
guide” of the birds of Australia. It is a “true” field guide, because all the birds are
covered in one volume and because it has the semi -hard cover which we come to
accept as standard for field guides. The book details 726 species recorded for
Australia, with over 700 species illustrated in about 1300 individual paintings.
The book is another in the series of Collins’ Field Guides, and is similar in
design and style to J. Galbraith (1977 Field Guide to the Wildflowers of South-
eastern Australia) and R. A. Falla et a/ (1978 A New Guide to the Birds of New
Zealand) with the exception that the page size is larger, and compared to the
New Zealand Guide, has twice as many pages.
Graham Pizzey should need no introduction to Australian readers, because
books, mainly containing bird photographs;
through his TV films; newspaper articles (mainly in Victoria); and as leader for a
number of bird -watching safaris. This field guide, which consider to be an excell-
ent work, will make him known to all ornithologists, here and overseas. He is to
be congratulated on a very fine effort.
Information in the book is somewhat dated, it would appear to me to have
been closed off about late 1977 and so does not include any of the exceptional
records of 1978 onwards. This means that some misproven theories are still main-
tained (e.g. the alleged separate populations of Superb Parrots, the northern
population now considered to be winter migrant flocks from southern N.S.W.); a
number of re -discoveries are not mentioned (e.g. Night Parrot, the nesting of the
White -fronted Tern in Bass Strait, and the second and third records of the North-
ern Shoveler); and some recent species added to Australian List are missing, (e.g.
Streaked Shearwater, Arctic Warbler, Green Sandpiper and Lesser Black -backed
Gull – since disputed). Data used in the book was drawn from all Australian
ornithological journals including “Australian Birds” with considerable use being
made of the N.S.W. Bird Reports 1970-1977. The author acknowledges two of
our members, Dr. Leighton Llewellyn and John Disney who contributed personal
observations and helped in other ways.
Names and nomenclature are always of interest to bird watchers so that the
system used by the author will attract some comment. Generally speaking for
scientific names Condon (1975, Checklist Birds Aust. 1) was used for non -passer-
ines and Schodde (1975, Interim List of Aust. Songbirds) was used for passerines.December 1980 35
This means that for the first time in an Australian bird book, Sittellas, stripe –
crowned pardalotes and a number of the fairy -wrens are treated as one species,
although all forms are illustrated. However, he has not lumped into the one
genus Sericornis, the Scrubwrens, Heathwrens, Fieldwrens etc., as recommended
by Schodde (Loc. cit). Also, the Wedgebill is treated as one species and not two
as is done by recent authors.
As the Recommended List of Australian Bird Names (1977 Emu 79 Supple-
ment) was not published at the time the book went to press the new Common
names obviously could not be adopted. However, even if it had been published,
it would appear from the author’s comments that he did not favour the “Re-
commended Names” and has followed instead C.S.I.R.O. (1969 Index of Austral-
ian Bird Names). In addition he has created two new names, viz, Diving Whistling
Duck and Plumed Whistling Duck. No wonder new bird watchers get confused
as these two ducks have been given different names by all contemporary authors,
viz, Dendrocygna arcuata has been known as Water Whistling Duck (CSIRO),
Whistling Tree Duck (Cayley), Water Whistle -Duck (Firth and Slater) Walter
Whistleduck (Macdonald), Whistling Tree Duck (Condon), and Wandering Whistl-
ing Duck (1977 Recommended List). Similarly, D. eytoni, has been called by the
same authors Plumed Tree Duck, and Grass Whistling Duck. Mr. Pizzey should
have overcome temptation and left these poor ducks alone! As there are over
2000 ornithologists using the “Recommended Names” in the Australian Bird
Atlas and in bird banding projects, considerable confusion will arise over this
field guide’s return to many old names. Those people who object to common
names such as “Greygone”, “Calamanthus”, “Hylacola”, and “Pacific Baza”
will be pleased! Nevertheless, it is regretted that many of the more widely accept-
ed new names have not been used.
The illustrations are the best Australia has seen in a bird book. For instance
all waders are depicted in both breeding and non -breeding plumages, as well
as flight patterns for both plumages, where applicable, which is a great help.
Coloured illustrations of hawks and falcons in immature plumage are also
additional to what is normally available, while honeyeaters have been fully de-
picted. By displaying tail patterns in cuckoos, warblers and head patterns in cist-
icolas (to mention a few), identifying birds in the hand has been made much
easier. The front cover which depicts a Galah, Wompoo Pigeon (NB not a Wom-
poo Fruit -Dove!), and Yellow -tufted Honeyeater is superb, and the book should
be purchased for that reason alone! Graham Pizzey says in the acknowledgements
that Roy Doyle was not a specialist wildlife artist, but by the time he finished the
book he was a superlatively good one! I am sure that all readers will agree. A few
problems have arisen in the colour printing, the most noticeable is that the grey
on the breast of the Spotted Quail -thrush has come out blue, but for most species
the colours are true to life.
Some errors have crept in distribution data in the text for birds found in
New South Wales. For example, Barcaldine (0.1d) is stated to be in the Fillip36 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 2
Scrub instead of Baradine (Scaly -breasted lorikeet). Similarly Orange is said to
be near the Goonoo Forest, which it is not! (Yellow -plumed Honeyeaters), while
it is Leura and not Laura in the Blue Mountains (Satin Bowerbird). The western
distribution of the Dollarbird and the Buff -tailed Thornbill is too restrictive; and
it is the Broad -tailed Thornbill and not the Brown Thornbill which occurs in the
Warrumbungles. However, generally speaking the distribution date is very detailed
and concise, and these corrections are only of a very minor nature. The distribut-
ion data is the best that have seen published for all of Australia.
Distribution maps at the back of the book for 697 of the 726 species listed,
are provided. These are generally correct although for N.S.W. the following are
not: Fairy Prion, Freckled Duck, Chestnut- breasted Shelduck, Superb Parrot,
Channel -billed Cuckoo, Marbled Frogmouth, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Lewin
Honeyeater, and Desert Chat. Some others require a slight adjustment, and it
should be said that there are no records for Painted Firetails in far north-western
N.S.W. The species names of five rainforest pigeons on the maps are the1977
Recommended English Names, and not the names used in the text.
Two things detract from the presentation of my copy of the book, one being
that for pages 164-185 every second page has been shadow -printed, but maybe
this is not the cause for all copies. The second is that noted 13 major error on
the maps of the inside covers -towns and rivers named or located wrongly etc. At
the next re -print a major overhaul of these maps must be carried out.
The quality of the illustrations, the completeness of the distribution data and
descriptions, and the fact that this one -volume field guide costs less than the other
two -volumes field guides at present available, will ensure that this book will soon
be purchased by all ornithologists. certainly recommend it to all readers.
Alan K. Morris.
Dear Sir,
In an article by A. K. Morris, (1980 Status and distribution of the Turquoise Parrot in New
South Wales, Aust. Birds 14:57) the author quotes from remarks allegedly made in an article
in the Aust. Bird Watcher 3: 301.
Regrettably my remarks here have been misquoted for the text of my article clearly shows


  1. I saw only one Turquoise Parrot, not more.
  2. The sighting was not on Marrapinna Station but many miles to the south and generally
    in the area east of Mootwingie towards the Broken H ill -Ti boo bu r ra Rd.
  3. The bird was not breeding as far as I know.
  4. I did not cite it originally as a female Scarlet -chested Parrot. At the time I had not

had previous experience in the field, and very little in aviary conditions, with either the Scarlet

chested Parrot or the Turquoise Parrot, and was unsure in the field at the time of an identific-
ation. At the time of sighting I wrote down a detailed description of what I saw, then visited
the Adelaide Zoo on return to Adelaide a few days later.
GORDON R. BERULDSEN, 18 Caber Street, Kenmore Queens/and 4069.=
1.Vol. 15, No. 2 December, 1980
Lindsey, T. N.S.W. Bird Report 1979 17
Hobbs, J. N. Frogs as a deterrent to breeding success in Reedwarblers and Grassbirds
Hobbs, J. N. Crows taking blowfly maggots from living sheep 29
Shields, J.M. and W. E. Boles
Evidence of breeding by the Pink Robin in New South Wales 30
Boles, W.E. and J.M. Shields
Observations on the feeding habits of logrunners 32

Blackwell, G. Feeding association between Little Grebe and Freckled Duck 33

Book Review A.K. Morris 34
Letter to the Editor – G. Beruldsen 36
Registered for Posting as a Periodical – Category B
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