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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


Purple-crowned Fairy-wren
Photo: James Ardill



TRIP REPORTS
Tuesday 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 pleasing.
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.
Birds seen:  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.  
Joan Dunne.
 
Pilliga 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 suspense.
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 Raven.
Lou and John were there from Coonabarabran, Bruce and David from Baradine, and then along came Margaret, all the way from Gilgandra.
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.
 
Tamworth 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.
Terri Mower

Saturday 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 was in.
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.  

Joan Dunne


Black-fronted Dotterel   Photo: Eric Fair

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