Pilliga Forest Birdwatchers Visit The Sculptures 21 September 2019

I don't know whether I should congratulate Bruce Thew and Blake McCarthy for venturing out on a not very nice day or congratulate the rest of you for having enough sense to stop at home. Anyway there were only the three of us battling a strong SW wind which did at least blow some of the house flies away. In all seriousness I must thank Bruce and Blake for persevering with the day and producing a bird list of 29 under great difficulties.

As usual Bruce was there bright and early returning from the walk soon after I arrived with a bird list of about 15 or so. As Bruce was driving into the Sculptures he noticed a small waterhole in Dandry Creek as he crossed it. It had obviously run when all the creeks in that area had run bankers back in February or March when 500mls of rain fell in Gwabegar. The rain came and went so qujckly that it had no effect on the drought other than to fill all the dams in that area which was indeed a blessing for the region. However the creeks were soon dry again and most of the River Oaks are dead along the banks.

Countless thousands of trees have been lost. If the dry continues through the coming summer the results could be catastrophic.

Blake arrived presently and set off in a different direction. I said to him in order to brighten his day "Don't come back without at least 10 birds, will you?" He returned in time to join us for a cup of coffee with a record of about another 15. "Ha", I thought "We have another good birdo here". While having our cup of coffee break a female Fan-tailed Cuckoo landed in a nearby Pine tree and obligingly showed the mottled chestnut on her breast. The male has prominent chestnut breast while the female has the upper breast chestnut and the lower breast white.

I had better tell you what else was recorded: Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eastern Rosella, Australian Ringneck, Fan-tailed Cuckoo,, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote, White-throated Gerygone, Little Friarbird, Noisy Friarbird, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey-crowned Babbler, White- browed Babbler, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Dusky Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Currawong, Australian Raven.

With a Noisy Miner, two Friarbirds and five Honeyeaters, it would have to be said that the Honeyeaters dominated the day and I am afraid there is not much more I can say to you about the birds of the day. We decided that we would have an early lunch and leave the cold windy day to the Sculptures!

This month will be different, we go to Trapyard Dam. It is always good in the spring! Look forward to seeing you there

Best Wishes and Happy Birding David and Shirley

Tuesday Walk at Kingswood Park 24 September 2019

Seven TBW members turned up for the walk on a lovely morning. There were good number of the larger birds but very few smaller ones. Bird of the day was a Brown Goshawk.

The list for the day was: Noisy Miner, Rainbow Lorikeet. Eastern Rosella, Crested Pigeon, Welcome Swallow, Galah, Noisy Friarbird, Australian Raven, Pied Butcherbird, Australian King-Parrot, Common Starling, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Spotted Dove, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater White-plumed Honeyeater, Common Blackbird, Bar-shouldered Dove, Pied Currawong, Magpie-lark, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Superb Fairy-wren, Brown Goshawk, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Red-rumped Parrot, Striated Pardalote.

Margaret Crisp

          Saturday Outing to “Rangari” 28 September 2019

What a day! Many cars and 24 members out to enjoy the day and find a good number of birds as well. As we arrived at the dam we found it contained a good amount of water with a countless number of Black Swans and other water birds.

At morning tea we had listed 32 different species. We all enjoyed seeing the Red-kneed Dotterel and the Black-fronted Dotterel at the same site at the same time.

The next site we moved to was Rangari Creek and the Myall trees to search for the Painted Honeyeater. Gail and Chris had heard it calling, but we found it much harder to find. After some time we found one and while having lunch another two appeared across the road from our lunch spot.

Birds numbered 42 at “Rangari”.

After lunch we moved on to Borah Crossing where there was very little water and also very few birds with only 12 species being recorded.

Our final stop for the day was at Manilla Sewage Treatment Works where there was a good number of water birds including about 80 Pink-eared Ducks, 50 Grey Teal, 50 Australian Wood Ducks and 20 Australasian Shovelers. We got a total of 20 birds at this site. From here we set off for home after a very enjoyable day.

Margaret Crisp

          Outing to “Little Rock” Kelvin Sunday 6 October 2019

By the time we gathered birdwatchers from both Tamworth and Gunnedah, we had 19 people visiting “Little Rock”, a property situated at the south end of the Kelvin Hills approximately 20 kms north of Gunnedah. It was a warm day for October and the paddocks and bush were extremely dry. Fortunately there was still a little water in the dams.

“Little Rock” was owned by renowned artist, the late Pat Rowley and her husband, Stan Lumsden, also deceased. Four of our members had been friends of Pat and Stan and as the property was now up for sale, they decided to visit it one last time. As Gail and Matt Pickett are currently keeping an eye on the place, they organised the visit. A big thanks goes to them.

The group met at the front gate, where the best birds were found. Both the public road and the entrance road were tree lined. Blue Bonnets have been seen along here in the past, but this time we were satisfied with birds such as Singing Honeyeaters, Rufous Whistlers, a Sacred Kingfisher and White-browed Babblers. We also watched a Nankeen Kestrel pay attention to a hollow in a tree and fly off with something in its talons. A Painted Honeyeater was heard twice, but we did not locate it.

We went across to a bush block at the northern end of the property. The dam there is usually a top spot for birds, but being the middle of a day and such a dry time, nothing much was moving. The best bird was a White-necked Heron roosting in a nearby tree. Some Peaceful Doves wandered in for a drink and there was a juvenile Olive-backed Oriel in the tree above us, but we soon headed up to the house for a pleasant, fly-free lunch in the gauzed verandahs overlooking the view. We also enjoyed a tour of the house which still displays some of Pat’s artwork. A few birds were added as they came to drink at nearby pools. All up we recorded 40 birds.

On the way home, most of the group took a long way home and were shown Matthews Reserve on the NW shore of Keepit Dam. Whilst it is barren and dry at the moment, people were interested to learn of its’ existence and we did see a young bird peeping out of a narrow slit in a tree – unfortunately, a starling. Southern Whitefaces were recorded just before the Reserve however, so that was a good end to the day.

Photo by Kevin Overton

Bird list: Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, White-necked Heron, White-faced Heron, Straw-necked Ibis, Nankeen Kestrel, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eastern Rosella, Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated Treecreeper, Yellow Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Eastern Spinebill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Singing Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Painted Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Rufous Whistler, Olive-backed Oriole, White-browed Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Willie Wagtail, Australian Raven, Leaden Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, White-winged Chough, Apostlebird, Silvereye, Tree Martin, Common Starling, Mistletoebird, Double-barred Finch.

Annabel Ashworth