MEETING REPORT 28 June 2018
Around Queensland to Cape York and Back
At June’s social meeting, members were treated to an illustrated
talk by James Ardill. James had recently
undertaken an extensive trip to northern Queensland, visiting places like Mt
Isa and Lawn Hill National Park, before travelling right up Cape York to the
northernmost tip of Australia.
James is well known for his love of watching and photographing birds
wherever he travels. His knowledge of
the different species is extensive and he was able to show photographs of the
birds he saw on the trip, and to discuss how to identify them.
Many of the northern Queensland birds are unknown in our area, so it
was a real treat to see them on the screen.
For example, there were three Fairy-wrens that we don’t have – the
Red-backed, the Purple-crowned and the Lovely Fairy-wren.
He showed a number of northern honeyeaters including the
Rufous-banded, the Yellow-tinted, the Banded, and the Yellow-plumed. James also used the device of adjacent photos
to point out how to identify one from another e.g. the Grey-fronted Honeyeater
from the Grey-headed Honeyeater. Three
very similar birds that are found in coastal north Queensland are the Lewin’s
Honeyeater, the Yellow-spotted Honeyeater and the Graceful Honeyeater. All are a greyish colour with a yellow mark
behind the eye. They are incredibly
difficult to distinguish in the field, as the photos illustrated.
Other rainforest birds shown included the Palm Cockatoo, the
Eclectus Parrot, the Cassowary, the engaging White-faced Robin and beautiful
Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher to mention just a few.
It is hard to know how James managed to find time to see and
photograph all these birds as he travelled 9700 kms in only 28 days! During this time he also attended the wedding
of his niece. He photographed 50 new
birds and took over 3000 photos in total.
He also had a major altercation with a 600kg bull resulting in major
damage to his vehicle.
Thankyou James for sharing your adventures with us
Photo: James Ardill
Walk in Tamworth Botanic Gardens 12 June 2018
Twelve shivering birders meet at the
Gardens today totally convinced we would be lucky if we saw anything more than
the magpies and currawongs hanging around the car park.
It took a while to get our list going but as usual if
you look hard enough you will see the birds.
We were a bit disappointed to see that the path had been "tidied
up" quite a bit in the area frequented by the finches etc, but the
faithful little Superb Fairy-wren put in an appearance and a Crimson Rosella
was spotted in the gum tree along with a White-eared Honeyeater, which was very
Soon the Red-browed Finch showed up and we
thought maybe the morning would turn out o.k. after all. On the top track we found the remains of a
poor little possum of some sort, his head was gone which made it hard for us to
decide which one it was. We thought an
owl may have made a meal out of it. That
was the most interesting find in that area so we turned back and had our
important morning tea break!
Fifteen Wood Ducks flew over us on their
way to the pond and we found quite a little hot spot on the way down to the
gully with White-browed Scrub-wren, Eastern Spinebill, a Golden Whistler (F), a
lovely flock of Yellow Thornbills, a lonely Grey Fantail and a Grey
Shrike-thrush. With 24 species now on our list and the sun finally shining we
were happy to call it a day and head off home.
Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Rainbow Lorikeet, Mistletoebird,
Superb Fairy-wren, Crimson Rosella, Red-browed Finch, White-eared Honeyeater,
Red Wattlebird, Galah, Rock Dove, Australian Raven, Crested Pigeon, Australian
Wood Duck, Eastern Spinebill, Yellow Thornbill, White-browed Scrub-wren, Golden
Whistler (F), White-throated Treecreeper, Grey Fantail, White-plumed
Honeyeater, Willie Wagtail, Grey Shrike-thrush, Spotted Dove.
Forest Birdwatchers Visit the Sculptures 16 June 2018
If you happen to have missed the visit to
the Sculptures, don't be disappointed, you didn't miss much. It was a cold cloudy day. When at last the sun did try to show itself,
there was a cold breeze blowing the warmth away, but mind you, we broke a
record for the day. We saw the least
number of birds recorded since we started observing. We saw seventeen birds. I won't keep you in
They were: Peaceful Dove, Glossy
Black-Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eastern Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra,
White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Weebill, White-plumed
Honeyeater, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey-crowned Babbler, Golden Whistler, Grey
Shrike-thrush, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Australian
Lou and John were there from Coonabarabran,
Bruce and David from Baradine, and then along came Margaret, all the way from
Just as Margaret arrived, she said "Come
and have a look at this magpie". I didn't say to her, fortunately, "I
see twenty magpies on most days". There on top of a big dead pine tree, perched
a magpie with more white on it than any I have ever seen. Thank you, Margaret.
Bruce and Lou ventured round the Sculptures
walk and came back having seen three birds over the full distance. Margaret did the same thing and saw only
three birds. If they were there they
were keeping themselves well hidden. It
was Margaret who saw the Glossy Black-Cockatoos. If I was to select a Bird of the Day, it
would be a toss-up between the white Magpie and the Glossy Black-Cockatoos,
both were Margaret's sightings. Of
course, we are getting used to Margaret seeing the Bird of the Day. Last month she spotted the Hooded Robins.
Later in the morning, endeavoring to warm
the inner man with a cup of hot coffee, we looked at each other and said
"Let's have an early lunch and get out of here". Thank you to all those who left the comfort
of their homes.
Next month we will have a warm sunny day
out at Trapyard Dam, one of our favourite sites. Look forward to seeing you there.
Best Wishes and Happy Birding,
David and Shirley.
Birdwatchers Outing to Endeavour Park Tamworth Tuesday, 25 June 2018
As soon as we got out
of the cars in the carpark, most of us realised that we had not put on enough
layers! We made our first stop the
enclosed aviary and enjoyed close-up viewing and a few near-misses from the
energetic Rainbow Lorikeets swooping at close quarters. Our two U3A guests in particular were pleased
not to have to locate the birds in the binoculars for a change. The walk along the track towards the Botanic
Garden was very quiet in terms of birds and at morning tea, we were considering
the possibility of a record low count. Perhaps
we needed to go back to the aviary!! Luckily
after refreshments, we found a few more on the track from the ephemeral wetland
area, which obviously was not wet at the moment, down the gully. All in all 18 species was all we could manage.
Birds seen: Peaceful Dove, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Galah,
Rainbow Lorikeet, Eastern Rosella, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb
Fairy-wren, Yellow Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, White-eared Honeyeater,
Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Grey Fantail, Australian Raven, Magpie-lark,
Mistletoebird, Double-barred Finch, Red-Browed Finch.
Outing to Quirindi and Quipolly Dam 30 June 2018
On the 30th June 13 Birders had a great day out at
Quirindi. When we arrived Geoff was there also Gail and Francis from Gunnedah
along with the friendly town geese who tried their best to join us for a quick
cuppa before we set off on our walk along the edge of the Quirindi Creek. This
track meanders along the creek, past several adult exercise stations (they were
tested by the fittest) all the way to the railway viaduct.
We saw a variety of birds along here including
a couple of water birds, White-browed Scrub-wren, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, a
Black Kite, and Australian King-Parrots. Further along we added Brown
Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Nankeen Kestrel, and a Collared Sparrowhawk. We
ambled back to the cars through a good stand of trees and added Willie Wagtail,
Grey Fantail and a Black-shouldered Kite.
To get to the second part of the track we
drove our cars to Rose Lee Park where we expected to see the Blue-faced
Honeyeater and we weren't disappointed. No sooner were we out of the cars and
they came swooping over us to the creek. All thoughts of lunch were put on hold
until we went after the Honeyeaters who had landed in another lovely wooded
area. It was here that a beautiful Striped Honeyeater was found and very
obligingly gave us all a good look at him as he fed on the edge of the tree he
Next an Azure Kingfisher was added to our
list along with an Australasian Darter with wings wide spread to dry off. The
sun had put in an appearance by this time and we all enjoyed the warmth after a
chilly start. Finally we had time to eat lunch and set off again on another
part of the creek where we listed Crimson Rosella, Little Pied Cormorant,
Little Lorikeet, Crimson Rosella and an Australian Hobby. With 50 species on
our list it was time to move on to Quipolly Dam. We only visited the big dam as
the smaller one is completely dry and over grown with weeds.
Birds seen at Quirindi: Australian Magpie,
Purple Swamphen, Magpie-lark, Dusky Moorhen, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Rainbow
Lorikeet, Spotted Dove, White-browed Scrub-wren, Galah, Yellow-faced
Honeyeater, Rock Dove (AON), Eastern Rosella, Black Kite, White-plumed
Honeyeater, Australian King-Parrot, Brown Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Eastern
Spinebill, Pacific Black Duck, Yellow Thornbill, Crested Pigeon,
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Straw-necked Ibis, Nankeen Kestrel, Grey Fantail,
Pied Currawong, Superb Fairy-wren, Collared Sparrowhawk, Willie Wagtail,
Yellow-rumped Thornbill, House Sparrow, Black-shouldered Kite, Striated
Pardalote, Noisy Friarbird, Laughing Kookaburra, Masked Lapwing, Striped
Honeyeater, Azure Kingfisher, Australasian Darter, Common Starling, Blue-faced
Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Crimson Rosella, Little Lorikeet, Australian Wood
Duck, Little Pied Cormorant, Mistletoebird, Little Corella, Pied Butcherbird,
Australian Hobby Red-rumped Parrot.
Quipolly Dam. First job here was for some
of our group to get out their scopes and check out the White-bellied Sea-eagles
across the other side of the dam and yes, they were both there with one busy
re-arranging the nest (SB. Suggestive Behavior). Two beautiful Great Crested
Grebes went sailing by and we soon spotted the Musk Ducks. We only spotted two
Pink-eared Duck and saw two Australian Pelicans. With all the usual water birds
we soon had 36 species including a Whistling Kite.
A lovely day spent with good friends
enjoying what we all love to do --- bird watching! Birds seen at
Quipolly Dam: White-bellied Sea-eagle, Great Crested Grebe, Sulphur-crested
Cockatoo, Black Swan, Magpie-lark, Pied Currawong, Great Cormorant,
Australasian Grebe, Australasian Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Welcome
Swallow, Musk Duck, Australian Pelican, Hardhead, Fairy Martin, Pacific Black
Duck, Black-winged Stilt, Australian Wood Duck, Galah, Grey Butcherbird, Common
Starling, Australian Magpie, Australian Raven, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot,
White Ibis, Masked Lapwing, Yellow Thornbill, Superb Fairy-wren, Eastern
Rosella, Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Teal, White-faced Heron, Pink-eared Duck,
Whistling Kite, Crested Pigeon.
Black-fronted Dotterel Photo: Eric Fair