Vol. 5 No. 2-text

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Published by the N, S, Field Ornithologists Club
tVol, 5 No. 1st September 1970
Patron: A. H. Chisholm, 0, B, E. , F. R. Z. S.
President. G. Dibley
18 Russell St., Oatley
Phone No. 57-6298
Vice -President: Dr, R. Mason
Rosemead Rd. Hornsby.
1 ,
Hon. Editor: L. Courtney Haines,
10 Loquat Valley Rd, Bayview,
Hon. Secretary Mrs. L. Smith
Treasurer. 84 Arabella St., Longueville.
Phone No, 42,2418
Activities Officer: Mrs, M. Dibley
18 Russell St, Oatley
Phone No, 57-.6298
Recording Officer: A, Rogers
P. 0. Box 83, Coogee.
Conservation Officer: H. Battam
Alpine Place, Engadine.
Annual Subscription: Due 1st July each year,
Single Member $1. 50; Junior Member $1.00; Family $2.00,
(Registered at the G. P.O. Sydney for transmission by post as a
At a special meeting held at the Australian Museum on the
evening of 21st July last was decided that the new name of the
Club sould be the “N,S W Field Ornithologists’ Club”.BIRDS – 10 – 1 September 1970
The Committee for the Club’s current year (1st July 1970
to 30th June 1971) is as listed on the front cover,
Any member who would like a copy of the Constitution as
amended and adopted please send a stamped, addressed envelope
to the Secretary.
Members are reminded that Annual Subscriptions are now
over due, “BIRDS” will be published bi monthly in future and with
our limited funds prompt payment of your subscriptions will greatly
assist the Club.
For many years the recording of observations in N.S. W.
has been carried out by a small number of the State’s more senior
ornithologists and but for their diligence much valuable information
would have been lost or forgotten. To expand and publicise this
important aspect of field ornithology, our Club plans to produce
an Annual Bird Report, which, it is hoped, will contain in system-
atic list form, all the more important observations made in N.S,
Information of this nature built up over a number of years could
then be of use in determining the status or changing distribution of
species for conservation purposes and for updating local lists or
As the report will be confined to one complete issue of
“Birds” per year, the published records must be selective, e, g.
omitting the more common day to day observations, Some headings
for which records required are as follows
Rare visitors.
Species well outside their normal range,BIRDS – 11 1 September 1970
Arrival and departure dates for migrants,
Over -wintering or summering by migrants.
Relative abundance of summer or winter visitors from year
to year.
Common species, particularly large numbers or species
well out of their normal habitat (Winter flock-
ing etc.
Beach washed records of sea birds.
Breeding recordings (perhaps indicating an extension of
The minimum information required for each species is
number observed, date and locality; however, the more informat-
ion supplied the more valuable will be the record. In the case of
rare or unusual observations, details of plumage, calls, habitat and
behaviour should be supplied. Messrs. Hindwood and McGill have
consented to consider such observations before publication,
Although 1970 is well advanced it is intended to produce a
report for that year. This may be limited in content but it will
act as a guide to members for a full scale report in 19710 The
success of this scheme depends on members’ contributions and
your enthusiastic support is requested.
Please send in observations commencing 1st January 1970
NOW and at regular intervals to – The Records Officer, C/o 84
A.rabella St., Longueville, NSW 2066.
Coogee N. S. W.
The Spangled Drongo (Chibea bracteata) is a regular migrant
between New Guinea and eastern Queensland; at the same time it
is present in eastern Queensland throughout the year. Its known
breeding range extends south to about Macksville, 250 miles northBIRDS 12 – 1 September 1970
of Sydney. Whether, during migration, northern populations of this
species move farthest south, or whether there is an overall shift
south during spring and early summer and a return northern move
ment in late summer and autumn is a matter that has yet to be de-
A point of considerable interest is that, after the close of
the breeding season, numbers of Drongos move into central -coastal
and south-eastern New South Wales; even extending, at times, into
eastern and southern Victoria (less than a dozen records) and
northern coastal Tasmania (at least three occurrences). Most of
these southern records are for the autumn and winter months.
The intriguing question about the southern movement of
Drongos is this° Why do individuals of a species that is essentially
tropical and sub -tropical in its distribution move into an autumn
and winter climate at the close of their summer breeding season?
Some of the birds seen in south-eastern Australia have golden –
yellow eyes (irides) and are presumably immature; others, with
deep red eyes, are adults.
Near Sydney the species has been noted during every month
of the year, though it is quite rare from mid -October to January,
with numerous observations of single birds or small parties between
February and September. The “peak” period is March to August.
Mr. J. Debert informs me that similar circumstances apply
to the Forster district, though more birds are to be seen in that
locality, which is about 150 miles north of Sydney. I have seen then
near Forster catching honeybees coming into hives. The bees were
held in the tip of the bill and wiped against branches before being
swallowed. Such an action may have something to do with the sting
of the bee. In one instance Jack Debert observed (July 1963) about
30 drongos in a loose party and he not infrequently sees from six
to a dozen birds in one day when bird watching.
The following records from near Sydney during 1966 wBIRDS – 13 1 September 1970
give an indication of whai usually takes place when a proportion of
the Drongo population moves into south-eastern Australia: –
24,2066, Seaforth, one (Mr, Douglas); 25,4.66, Warwick
Farm, one (E, S. Hoskin and K. Hindwood); 30,4,66, Bayview, one
killed by a cat (L. C. Haines); 19-21,6.66, Caringbah, one (F.
Johnston); 26,6066, Lugarno, one (A, R. McGill); 907.66, Bayview
one (G. Stevens and K. A. Hindwood); 21,7.66 to early October 1966,
as many as four birds in a bush garden being fed on bread and meat
(Mrs. Barter);2207.66, Newport, one (E0S0Hoskin).
Drongos are omnivorous in their diet, eating insects,grubs,
nectar (especially from coral -tree blossoms) and pollen. Small
birds, such as pardalotes and thornbills, are chased and killed and
then plucked before being eaten. Drongos also follow cuckoo –
shrikes and leatherheads and rob them of insects,
Lindfield, N. S. W.
On 29th June, 1970, at “The Pines” six miles from Narrabri
on the Bullawa Creek Road, I was walking through a grass paddock
with my German short -haired pointer dog, searching for quail.
The time was 1135 hours and after a few minutes the dog
pointed and I flushed a pair of Stubble Quail° I was surprised to see
a dark falcon -like bird make a half-hearted swoop at one of the quail.
After I flushed the next quail the do g had pointed, the bird returned
accompanied by its mate, At first I thoughtthey were Brown Fal-
cons (Falco berigora) but this was not the case,
The cb g again pointed and another quail was flushed and one
of the falcons swooped after it. To the surprise of the landholder
Jim, Egan, who was droving cattle along the road and was standing
by his horse, the quail landed between himself and the horse, In
Jim’s own words_ “I was so scared that I might frighten the bird,
I couid hardly breathe” The quail stayed there for about 30 secondsBiRDS 14 September 1970


whilst the falcons circled o,…erhead. However, the horse -stamped
;.’s foot and the quail flew into the next paddock, the falcons again
giving chase but missed! I observed all +his standing in the paddock
and for the next 20 minutes the falcons soared about, me, waiting, but
the dog did not flush another quail.
The falcons were under observation for 30 minutes. During.
this time I did not observe either bird to flap its wings, they both
soared and glided continuously. The birds were dark overall with
lighter facial markings but these were not very prominent. The
wings were a dark brown underneath with no underwing pattern, ex-
cept that the primaries appeared lighter than the under coverts.
Legs were whitish and not particularly noticeable. The tail was some
times fanned and appeared to be square, and not rounded, Neither
of the birds hovered, side -slipped or flapped, features normally
associated with Brown Hawks,
One bird was smaller than the other and neither was heard
call. During the period of observation the birds were consistently
mobbed by a pair of Black -shouldered Kites, There was no doubt
in my mind that they were Black FalcOns (Falco niger).
The day was fine and observation was made with binoculars
size 7 x 50, A Brown Hawk was flushed two hours later and enabled
field comparisons to be made,
National Parks and Wildlife Service’
During the period 12th to 21st May, 1970, I was on recreat-
ion leave and stayed at Dunbogan, a seaside resort on a headland overt
looking the entrance of Canden Haven River. During my stay there,
I observed considerable numbers of Eastern Silvereyes (Zosterops
lateralis), Yellow -faced Honeyeaters (Meliphaga chrysops), Red
Wattle=birds (Anthochaera carunculata) and Noisy Friar -birds
(Philemon corniculatus) flying northwards.
To the north at Lake Inness, Limeburners Creek, and NorthBIRDS 15 September 1970

  • 1
    Haven. flowering of Broad Leaved Paper Barks (Melaleuca species)
    Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta) and Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus
    grandis) was in progress and the above mentioned honeyeaters were
    observed in these forests, the commonest bird present being the
    Noisy Friar -bird. The following notes were taken: –
    12th May, 1970: 8.10 a, m, – winds – light westerlys.
    Yellow -faced Honeyeaters passing over and heading north at
    the rate of co 249 per hour, in flocks ranging from five to 26 birds.
    Total time of observation was 22 minutes,
    16th May, 19707 9.05 a, m, – winds – light westerlys.
    Yellow -faced Honeyeaters passing over at the rate of 240
    birds per hour in flocks ranging from five to 46 birds. The migrat-
    ion was still continuing at midday when I left the area.
    19th May, 1970: 7,30 p.m, – winds westerly,
    Whilst bream fishing in shallow water in the Bay of Dunbogan
    I heard Noisy Friar birds calling and by the light of the moon I ob-
    served a flock of c, 40 flying northwards across the bay. By this time
    the sun had been set for at least an hour and it was quite dark, If it
    was not for the birds calling I would not have observed the flock pass-
    ing over,
    20th May, 1970: 5,25 a, m, – bream fishing – wind light from
    the west and still quite dark.
    Yellow -faced Honeyeaters were heard calling as they flew
    across the Bay northwards, No numbers could be assessed because
    of the darkness. Yellow -faced Honeyeaters, although common in
    Banksia near the house were not observed migrating later that morn-
    National Parks and Wildlife Service.BIRDS – 16 1 September 1970

The following letter was received from Mrs. Dulcie O’Leary
of Kundabung, North Coast, NSW, The letter is dated 21st April
Dear Sir,
Would you please advise me whether a pure black Pee -Wee
(Magpie Lark) is very rare, We have one here, it is a wild bird.
The parent birds brought him into our yard when he was very young
The young births pureblack and when in direct sunlight has a touch
of green sheen on his back, The parents are normally coloured.
I would like to know if a black Pee -Wee is rare, as I have
never seen one before and I have lived in the bush all my life, –
Yours faithfully etc,
N, B, It would appear that apure black Pee -Wee is indeed quite
rare, The Australian Museum has in its reference collection of
birds a long series of Pee-Wees or Magpie -Larks as they are
officially named; but the collection is completely devoid of melanic
The ffoolllloowwiinngg is an extract from a letter I received from
Mrs. Elsie Worthington of Blackpool, England, The letter is dated
12th March, 1970,
“I saw our first returning waders at Knott End on August
16th, 1969, Turnstones, Ringed Plover, Oyster Catchers and
Dunlin feeding on the mud flats and salt marshes of the estuary of
the river Wyre, eight miles north of Blackpool, As Blackpool is
a very popular holiday resort catering annually for nine million
visitors (I check the figures at the Town Hall this morning), it is
late October before they’re all departed and I can resume wader –
watching on our seven miles of lovely golden sands, Our tides
range between 27 feet and 33 feet at high water and take two and a
half to three hours before the sand is uncovered, leaving plenty
of food for both gulls and waders, Three of our four species of
gull, the Great Black -back (worlds largest gull), the Herring gull,BIRDS , 17 – 1 September 1970
and the Black -headed Gull are resident; but the Lesser Black –
backed Gull goes south for four winter months.
Our waders are montly Redshanks, Oyster Catchers (your
Pied) Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Bar –
tailed Godwit and occasionally the Black -tailed Godwit. Near my
home are some 100 foot cliffs of boulder clay and I often see wint-
ering Meadow Pipits (smaller than your Pipit) feeding on the grass=
grown slopes and Rock Pipits on the shore. A pair of Pied Wagtails
usually winter in the .Sunken Gardens near the cliffs. Last winter
I saw a Purple Sandpiper, a rare visitor to Lancashire. By the
end of March all the waders are off to their breeding grounds;
the Knot and Sanderlings to the barren Arctic tundra, the rest to
Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Holland and Scandinavia, “
Our Assistant Secretary, Mr. R. Cooke, is to be married
on 10th October and on behalf of the President and all members I
would like to extend to Bob and Joan our best wishes for their
future happiness.
At Mona Vale, N. S.W. on 12th May, 1970; I observed five
Swift Parrots.
L. C. H.
Bayview, NSW,BIRDS = 18 – 1 September 1970
The excersion to Yeramba Lagoon was held on a beautiful
winter’s day and attracted 53 members, The attractiveness of
the area (including wattle in bloom), fine weather and the Annual
General Meeting in the afternoon no doubt accounted for the large
Yeramba Lagoon and the surrounding bushland afforded
members a very fruitful bird count – in all 50 species (almost
bird per member).
The water birds were most plentiful and included 5 Nankeen
Night Herons in trees on the water’s edge, White Ibis, Chestnut
Teal, Grey Teal, White -eyed Duck, Little Grebe and Brown
Landbirds sighted included White naped Honeyeater, Spotted
Pardalote nesting, Fuscous Honeyeater, Brown Weebill, Painted
Quail, Yellow -tufted Honeyeater, Rose Robin and Golden Whistler.
Fleeting glimpses were had of the Little Marshbird and some
members suffered some confusion in deciding whether it was the
marshbird calling or Ernie Hoskin.
Much credit is due to Bankstown Council in the good work it
has done in freeing the area of pollution, installation of sewerage
and creation of the lagoon conducive to nesting water birds, A wild-
flower garden is also under construction for the area.
The party then drove to Oatley Park for lunch and discussion
ensued for the rest of the afternoon on the formation and re -naming
of the Club,
Many thanks to Mr, and Mrs, Goldstein for a most enjoyable
Mosman, N. S. W,BIRDS 19 1 September 1970
MEETING, 181h JUNE 1970
Illustrated Address – Mr. George Dibley, retiring Chairman, gave
an address entitled “Stamps and Ornithology”.
A number of colour slides were screened excellently illust-
rating many of the postage stamps discussed. Some countries have
never issued stamps depicting birds, but a great number had, and
some, particularly South American countries, had used some of
the more interesting birds found there, over many years. The
lecturer traced the history of some Australian issues. Five pages
of bird stamps were tabled for inspection.
It Cooper noted 4 Spotless Crakes on a lagoon near Uralla;
A. McGill reported on 28 Pink -eared Ducks and 8 Red -kneed
Dotterels at a small swamp near Baker’s Lagoon; M. Henry re-
ported a Jabiru at Myall Lakes; Pam Cooper observed a White –
necked Heron at Roseville Golf Course and a King Parrot feeding
on Camellias at Roseville.
MEETING, 16th JULY, 1970.
Illustrated Address – Given by Mr. IC A. Hindwood and entitled
“Nadgee Nature Reserve”.
This inviting Reserve was visited by Mr. Hindwood and
others for a week a short time ago. It is situated on the coast
north of the Victorian border, The bird list for the area was 130
species, including such rare birds as the Ground Parrot, Eastern
Bristel-bird, Olive Whistler and Striated Field -Wren. A number
of colour slides were screened, depicting the various habitats
found within the Reserve’s boundaries, as well as coastal beaches,
rocky headlands and some short swift -flowing rivers., There was
some indication of human occupation in earlier years Quite a
number of sl1des showed birds foundthere and of particular interest
was one of the nest and eggs of the Ground Parrot.BIRDS – 20 – 1 September 1970
Roberts observed a Barn Owl at Hornsby on June 15;
E. S. Hoskin reported two pairs of Regent Bower -birds at Mitchell
Park; T. Lindsay noted a Jabiru south of Nowra in early July;
M. Dibley found 2 grey Currawongs near Heathcote on July 5;
Mrs, Bonser located a Stone Curlew at Sackville in early July;
A, Rogers stated that a Giant Petrel ringed as a nestling in the
South Orkney Is, was recovered 3 months later off Malabar —
also 20 Blue -winged Shovelers and 20-30 Red -kneed Dotterels at
Bushells and Bakers Lagoons during July 5-12.
In the event of bad weather, fuel shortages, bushfires etc
ring leader to see if outing has been cancelled, No outing has
been cancelled to date, but it is possible.
For details of September Field Day see “BIRDS” Vol 5.
No, or contact Mrs. Dibley, ‘phone 57-6298,
St. Albans Town Common,
Leader: Mrs. E. K. Bigg, 634-2503
Meet 9.30 a. m. on St. Albans Road, Cross on right hand
Wiseman’s ferry and turn left, Meet at small clearing on left
1.3 miles from ferry. This is a birdy spot for morning tea, We
then proceed to St. Albans. Very little walking necessary, Lunch
at cars,

NOVEMBER OUTING has been changed from Sunday. 22nd to

Saturday, 14th,