Vol. 2 No. 4-text

PDF version available here: Vol. 2 No. 4

Price 10c. Published by the Gould League Birdwatchers.
Vol. 2. To. 1st January, 1968.
Hont_SecretarLand Editor: L. COURTNEY HAINES.
10 Loquat Valley Road, Bayview.
Observations Committee: HINDWOOD and A.R. McGTLL.
Field -clay Orpniser: P.E. ROBERTS (47-9240)
26 Bayview Street,Mt.Kuring-gai.
Art Adviser E.S. HOSKIN.
PhotoI:apli.p Adviser: NORMAN CHAFFER.
iAsistant Secretax_z: R. COOKS.
assistant Field -Dam Organiser: G. DIBLEY.
Lorna Blacklock
Whitey flew into our garden in Brisbane one bright morning, so
closely followed by a group of common sparrows that at first sight
it seemed that a lost white canary was about to be attacked and
rescue was indicated. But it was quickly apparent that not only
was he a sparrow, too, but was the undoubted leader of the group.
For over two years these birds visited our garden regularly and
a pattern of behaviour emerged, which varied only slightly. First
would come Whitey, who took up a position on the capacious, wide –
mouthed letter -box that was to be a never -failing source of inter-
est to him (he would often rest briefly on the edge of the slot
and peer inquisitively into the recess). The other birds – some-
times seven and never fewer than six – who flew in his wake dis-
appeared into the hedge or hopped about in a busy way at a slight
distance. Whitey’s inspection of the letter -box over, then came
the dust -baths, and here his exclusiveness was clearly indicated.

  • 25 -BIRDS – 26 – January 1. 1968
    The rreesstt of the group had their baths in our gravel path, fluffing
    their way down to the warm Queensland earth; Whitey invariably
    took his dust-bath, alone, outside the gate where there Was less
    gravel and more dust.
    The presence of these shallow round holes in the path was there-
    after always an indication that Whitey and company had called in.
    This group did not, as far as we know, visit the res of the
    garden, which was large, semi -tropical and much favoured by birds
    of many kinds from kingfishers to honeyeaters. The sparrows
    appeared to prefer the hedge and the gravel path.
    Whitey’s greatest joy was a patch of freezias under the jacaranda
    tree. Each year as the new leaves emerged he would fly down into
    the patch and go for prolonged “swims”, wriggling his little white
    body in and out and diving in again and again from the edge. The
    scent of the freezias when in flower must have pleased him, too,
    for he was observed to “swim” among them for over a quarter of an
    hour. He expressed his delight during these sessions by a series
    of little chirrups, like the settling -down -for -the -night sounds
    sparrows make. No other member of the group joined in this game;
    in fact all remained at some distance until it was over.
    This joyous little bird’s passion for swimming in the freezias
    apparently overcame his natural wariness and led to his end; for,
    when some days had passed without a visit from Whitey, and the
    path remained free of shallow, round dust -holes, investigation
    revealed a few white feathers among the blossoms.

KING PARROT: Two observed feeding in fruit tree. Appin, 2.9.’67.
MANED_GOOSE: Three feeding near small pond. Appin, 2.9.’67.
FLAME ROBIN: Seven males and four females observed perching on
fences. Oberon, 17.9.’67.
SCARLET ROBIN: One male observed in open forest. Oberon, 17.9.’67.
PEREGRINE FALCON: Three seen soaring overhead. Jenolan Caves,
BROWN HAWK: One observed in dead tree by roadside. Jenolan Caves,
BROWN FIELD LARK: Two observed, also heard singing. Pittown Swamp,
GLOSSY IRIS: Two identified on small island in swamp. Pittown,
1.10.167.BIRDS – 27 – January 1, 1968.
LARGE-BITA74D SCRUEWREN: Six seen in dense bush area. Springwood,
ROCK WARBLER: Two separate sightings in gully. Springwood, 1.10.’67.
TINNY -CROWNED HONEYEATER: Two seen in heathland. Royal National
Park, 15.10.’67.
GANG GANG COCKATOO: Four observed at the Upper Causeway, Royal
National Park, 15.10.’67.
CATTLE EGRET: Three seen in full breeding plumage. Albion Park,
EASTERN. BRISTLE -BIRD: One observed in swampy area. Barren Grounds,
GREY CUIZRAWONG: Four identified as they flew over heathland,
Barren Grounds, 15.10.167.
SCARLET ROBIN: A pair found nesting in a species of tea -tree,
Barren Grounds, 15.10.’67.

  • ATHOL COLEMANA, Northmead,

The following are birds observed nesting in the Casino district,
since 1st September, 1967:-

  1. 4HIEb-HEADED SITTELLA: 4 pairs all with their nests invariably
    in upright forks of vertical dead branches of live trees.
  2. VaiITE-THROATED -WARBLER: 10 pairs each with their nest suspend-
    ed from thin twigs of saplings varying from 7 to 18 feet high;
    7 bloodwoods, 2 gums and 1 honeysuckle were used as nesting
    sites. 2 nests contained an egg of the Golden Bronze Cuckoo.
  3. NORTHERN YELLOW ROBIN: 2 pairs, one of which lost their first
    clutch of eggs. The other pair feeding 3 young in their third
    nest this season; their two previous clutches of 2 eggs were
    taken from the nests.
    4.. WHITE…WINGED TRILLER: 2 pairs had their nests in the same
    camphor laurel tree. Both were brooding 2 eggs.
  4. RUFOUS WHISTLER: 7 pairs; three with young, one brooding 3 eggs;
    one lost their young, the remaining two nests just completed.
  5. RAINBOW -BIRDS: 6 pairs brooding eggs in their nests tunnelled
    into sandy and soft red soil ridges.
  6. RED -BACKED WREN: 3 pairs, each with a brood of 3 nestlings.
  7. BROWN HACK AND CRESTED HAWK: Both using same nest -sites as
    previous years. Brown Hawk with young. Crested Hawk commenced
    brooding on 11.10.’67.
    ARTHUR BOND Casino, N.S.W.
    ****BIRDS – 28 -. January 1′. 1963.
    On Monday, 6th November my wife andJ sighted the Little Friar –
    bird at our home at Hornsby. It was feeding on nectar from a
    bottlebrush (C. citrinus) just outside our kitchen window at
    8.00 a.m. and remained for 5 or 10 minutes before flying away.
    have not sighted this species previously in Hornsby, and the
    bird has not returned since, to the best of our knowledge.
    Hornsby, iv. S.’:.

With reference vae t o Mr. K.Awa .va lc.m. H MATEiRIALS,annalt le di@ wA on’t o60 d,-a ss. 1 artic’ le, “Birds that
seek nesting material from Living Mammals, “BEDS,.” Vo1.20No.5,
the following addition can be made to the list of honeyoaters
which have this habit.
Yellow -throated Honeyeater (from man, cow, dog).
From my experience with these birds they prefer light-coloured
hair to dark.
Apparently only two genera of this large family have taken
advantage of the habit.
qALL, Nth. Hobart, Tasmania.

Whilst searching reeds bordering a stream at Narrabeen, N.S.%
on 29th October, 1967 for the nests of Reed Warblers, I was
fortunate in obtaining a splendid view of that most elusive of
birds, the Little Bittern.

The nest and egg of the Noisy Scrub -bird have been discovered.
It would appear that one egg only forms the clutch and .in
comparison with the size of the bird it is large.

Mrs. R. Osborne of Beecroft, .N.S.vd. mentions in a letter to
me, that a Satin Bowerbird has built its bower in her garden
and she has been able to enjoy watching the bird’displayin.

Mrs. Molly Thomas of “Oakvale”, Albion Park, N.S.. has’
identified 100 species of birds inhabiting her farm. Recently,
a Bronze Cuckoo killed itself against a glass door. The speciman
was given to Mr. Sefton of Wollongong, who identified the birdBIRDS – 29 – January- 1, 1968.
as a Golden Bronze Cuckoo, an uncommon species for the district.
A Blackbird was observed at Wolli Creek, a tributary of Cooks
River, N.S.W. on 24th September, 1967 by Mr. R. Lossin, Chief
Taxidermist at the Australian Museum.

The reports of field -days to Pitt Town Lagoon and Toongabbie
Creek, “BIRDS”, Vol.2,No.31 were submitted by Miss Mollie Black
of- Killara and Miss Doris Stenhouse of West Pymble.
David Sawyer of Collaroy Plateau, Sydney observed three Brown
Songlarks (2 males and 1 female) on 18th November, 1967 on Long
Reef Golf Links. In the same area a Pipit’s nest containing one
warm egg was located and six inches away was another Pipit’s nest
with 2 downy young. The nestlings appeared to be 4 or 5 days old
and were covered with light grey down.
Earlier in the season David Sawyer found at Botany three very
small Pipit nestlings which were covered with dark greyish –
black down, and the question is raised – does the colour of Pipit
nestlings change as they grow older?

Mr. Reg. Fordham of Randwick writes that on Saturday, 4th
November last, he watched a Kookaburra feeding its young in a
nest built into an active white -ant’s nest, high up in a gum tree.
On Wednesday, 8th November, Mr. Fordham escorted Mr. and Mrs.
Rice of Tamarama to a lake in Centennial Park, where a Little
Grebe was observed with three young; also a pair of Maned Geese
on the bank and two pairs of Black Duck with five and three
ducklings respectively.

“Nature Walkabout” by Vincent Serventy, A.H. & A.W. Reed,
Sydney. 137 pp. ‘X.50.BIRDS – 30 – Janu.aa_14.1268.
Mr. Vincent Serventy, Naturalist, Television personality
and Editor of “Wild Life in Australia” in his latest book
“Nature Walkabout”, takes the reader on a trip of 15,000 miles,
beginning in Perth, W.A. and ending six months later in Sydney.
Travelling in a well equipped caravan with his wife, Carol
and their three children, the Serventys set off on a walkabout
that led them to the pearl-port of Broome, across the Northern
Territory and then southwards to Alice Springs; thence to Mt.
Isa, Cloncurry, Normanton, the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cairns.
Green Island on the Barrier Reef was visited, after which
the family of devoted naturalists moved down the coast to
Brisbane, the Green Mountains of the Macpherson Ranges, the
Gold Coast and finally Sydney.
The reader is at once infected by Mr. Serventy’s great
love of the Australian bush and its natural history.
A great feature of the book is the wonderful collection of
illustrations in natural colour. Included, are photographs
of fringed lilies, vivid red and green Kangaroo Paws and the
remarkable Umbrella Flower.
Insects and reptiles taken in natural habitatS enhance
easily readable text.
Among the gallery of birds and mammals, the reader meets
new and old friends. Emu and chicks, Wild Turkey, Crimson
Rosella, Podargus and Boobook Owl to mention only a few. On
the Barrier Reef, one is introduced to the Bosun Bird, Sooty
Terns with their harsh “wideawake” cries, Crested and Lesser
Crested Terns and Turnstones, also the colourful fish of the
Reef and other coral wonders.
Well bound and presented in an attractive dust jacket,
“Nature Walkabout”, with its vital message of conservation,
is a book that every Australian should read. It is an ideal
gift for friends living in other parts of the World.
***BIRDS – 31 – FIELD EXCURSIONS Januy Saturday. 13 Mount Keira 1,eader: Harry Battam In a rainforest habitat, Mr. Battam proposes to demonstrate mist -netting techniques; this may be an opportunity to get a close-up look at some seldom -seen birds. Meet at 9.30 at the junction of the Mt. Keira – Mt. Kembla and Mt. Keira Picton Roads. Latecomers, proceed 1 miles towards Mt. Kembla, and
the party will be not far away.
paturdAy Februar.z.4.4 – Murphy’s Glen Blue Mountains –
Leader: George Dibla
Murphy’s Glen is a gully clothed with wet sclerophyl. Meet
at 9.30 at Bull’s Picnic Ground, which is west of Linden
immediately after the Highway crosses the railway, before reach-
ing Woodford. The party will then proceed by car to Murphy’s
Glen. Latecomers can get directions from the kiosk and should
have no trouble locating the party.
March: Botany Bad