Annual General Meeting 22 August 2019

Presidents Report for 2019 Presented by Bruce Terrill President  
2018 / 2019 was a challenging year for TWBs.  The continued big dry is having a major impact on environmental conditions and is no doubt having a negative impact on native birds throughout the drought affected areas. 
While we have maintained the same level of organised bird watching, we have avoided those locations that are very dry and have no surface water.  Generally while we have sighted a reasonable number of different birds on our outings it seems that for many species the numbers are lower.  For some key species such as the Regent Honeyeater there have been no reported sightings in our polygon in excess of 12 months.
Throughout the year the committee with the help of a few keen members have ensured the proper running and organisation of TBWs.  We have organised bird watching activities, guest speakers and have taken an active role in educational, environmental and conservation matters.
TBW acts as a conduit for like-minded people to have social contact with fellow members and enjoy the company of like-minded people.  However for some of our activities the level of participation by members is disappointing.  Of particular concern are the numbers attending Tuesday morning bird walks particularly during the colder months and poor attendances at our winter meetings.
It seems that Tamworth Birdwatchers Inc. is at a crossroads.  In addition to much of the work falling back to the willing we are facing a gradual decline in our financial position.  Our future is very much dependent on the input from members in assisting with the running of our activities and in assisting the committee in negotiating a way forward into the future.  We need members to help the committee with assistance and ideas for fund raising and how we may survive into the future, including consideration of joining or amalgamating with another bird watching organisation as opposed to continuing to stand-alone.
I would like to encourage all members who feel they can contribute to consider standing for a position on the committee.  For any member who doesn’t feel confident to take a committee role you can be reassured that existing committee members will be willing to guide new committee members.  Additionally there are ordinary committee positions that provide an opportunity for any member to learn how the committee operates and to ease into a possible future specific role on the committee in the future. 
Finally I would like to acknowledge the work of our dedicated committee and those members who have assisted.  Without this help we would not have been able to run our meetings, would have missed out on many guest speakers and would have not had had our bird watching outings.  I thank the committee and all members who have helped for their input and hard work. 
A comprehensive list of our activities and achievements for the year follows this summary.  This list is quite impressive and again reflects the hard work of our committee and members who pitched in.
Conservation and Environmental Activities
·      Participation in Making Central Inland Glossies great Again” Glossy Black Cockatoo project in the Pilliga (22/6/19)
·      Feral Bird Traps continue to be made and sold
·      Letters to Tamworth Regional Council re Council wide protocol for control of feral bird species
·      Evening Owl Activity led by Dr Steve Debus, School Environmental and Rural Science, University New England (28/10/18)
·      Donation by Tamworth Birdwatchers Inc. to Birdlife Twitchathon
·      Submission to NSW Govt. re Draft TSR Management Plan (19/12/18)
·      2019 Enviro Race – Tamworth Birdwatchers included as one of the Quiz/Race Points for students (31/5/19)
·      Road works Rangari Road – Letters submitted to Tamworth Regional Council, Gunnedah Shire Council and Kevin Anderson, MP
·      2018 Threatened Species Day –
·      Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot Surveys
·      Club members participated in seasonal surveys at Warrabah NP and carried out regular monthly surveys at Quipoly Dam.
·      Bird lists entered into Birddata by Group Recorder
·      Members and School children involved in Aussie Backyard Bird Count
Education, Publicity, Community and Promotion
·      Publication of monthly Newsletter
·      Regular notices submitted in Community Announcements to multiple media outlets.
·      Media release July 2018 “Bird watching a nature break.”
·      Media release August 2018 “Bird Count Tops 200, But the Count Continues.”
·      Prime TV interview Jean Coady – Swooping Magpies, September 2018
·      Media Release Northern Daily Leader –re Donation Children’s Books, Tamworth Base Hospital (28/11/18)
·      ABC Radio – “Shout Out” segment interview by Jean Coady and Bruce Terrill.
·      Weekly Times – news item re Neville Cayley talk by Warwick Schofield
·      Threatened Species Day display at Marsupial Park with Children’s guessing competition
·      TBW manned a display at the Enviro Race in Bicentennial Park involving local schools.
·      Sale of our greeting cards, which feature bird photographs taken by members
·      Donation Children’s Bird Books to Children’s Ward, Tamworth Base Hospital
·      200 Bird Count for 2018 completed.
·      Landcare Photographic Competition – Public vote for best photo to TBW member Denise Kane.
·      Birdlife Northern Campout – Members acted as guides for participants for bird outings to locations in our area. (22-25/3/19).
·      Members attended Managing Established Pest Animals and Weeds – workshops conducted by Local Land Services and Land Care groups and Dpt. Primary Industries (17/5/19)
·      In excess 40 bird traps made by Eric Fair and sold with income to TBWs.
Saturday and Sunday Field trips:
·      July 2018: Sunday field trip to Dowe National Park
·      July 2018: Crawney Pass National Park and Timor Caves Reserve
·      August 2018: Tarpoly and Borah TSRs
·      September 2018: Gunnedah, including Porcupine Hill, Black Jack Forest and Cushan’s Reserve and Mullibah Lagoon.
·      October 2018: Curracabundi National Park and Conservation Area, Nowendoc.
·      October 2018: Sunset Owl Outing led by Dr Steve Debus.
·      November 2018: Camp Out – Warrumbungles, led by Terri Mower
·      November 2018: Gwyder Park TSR, west of Uralla
·      January 2019: Sheba Dam, Hanging Rock.  
·      February 2019:  Wooldridge Fossicking Reserve and Dangars Lagoon, Uralla. 
·      March 2019: Lake Keepit.
·      April 2019: Plumthorpe TSR west of Barraba.
·      May 2019: Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot survey Barraba/Manilla area.
·      Plus 20 Tuesday morning outings
Meetings Guest Speakers
·      July 2018 Annabel Ashworth and Eric Fair: Bird watching Trip to Western Australia.
·      August 2018 Jean Coady: A Pictorial Tribute and Reminiscence for TBW 20 years. 
·      September 2018 Neal Foster, Local Engagement Officer, Commonwealth Environment Water Office: Murray Darling Basin & benefits to Northern Basin
·      October 2018 Dr Steve Debus, Research Associate in Zoology and Adjunct Lecturer, School of Environmental & Rural Science UNE: Australian Owls
·      November 2018 Nell and Wayne Chaffey: Trip to Mongolia and their time with one of the few remaining traditional Eagle hunters. 
·      February 2019: Jan Hosking:  Tourism and Birds of Sri Lanka.
·      March 2019 Warwick Schofield: The life and work of Neville W Cayley.
·      April 2019 James Ardill:  Birds of Norfolk Island. 
·      May 2019 Lyn Allen: A visit to Lake Eyre.
·      June 2019  Alex Habilay, Environmental Health Officer, Tamworth Regional Council: Management of Flying Fox colony in Tamworth
Organisational Matters
·      Printed set of note cards for sale depicting member’s bird photos.
·      Closure Bird Route 19 – Casuarina Crossing – Advised closure Newcastle mining company, Impact on Bird Route Brochure. (Currently modifying copies of Bird Route brochure).
·      Purchased Computer through TRC Community Grants.
·      Committee organised activities and guest speakers.
·      Relocation of field trip rendezvous site to Community Centre Carpark..
Other Issues
·      Death of Past President – Bob Faulkner in March 2019.
·      TBW received and acknowledged the donation of several valuable bird references which are now included in our library.
Current Membership stands at 75 but to date only 53 are currently financial.

Field Trip Sunday 11 August 2019 to the Back of Borah and Beyond
By Bruce Terrill
Sounds like an adventure, well it was; a fabulous day in the great outdoors.  Eight hardy bird watchers ventured out on a day that was certainly far from ideal for bird watching.  The sky was cloudy it was very very cold, very windy and late in the day there was even a little bit of freezing sleety rain.  Doesn’t sound like much fun but at days end we all agreed it was a great days outing and while birds were not in great numbers there were some very good sightings.

At our first stop Tarpoly TSR, conditions were rather bleak and very cold, but soon after our arrival we sighted a pair of Hooded Robins.  They apparently were quite excited to have our company and came to within 10 metres of us and stayed in our close proximity for several minutes before they lost interest and flew away. 
While bird numbers were rather sparse we were able to establish a reasonable but modest bird list that included the Hooded Robins, Diamond Firetails and Brown Treecreepers.  We also heard what we believe were Babblers but these were not sighted so not included on the list
As it was too cold and exposed at Tarpoly for any further bird watching we travelled to Borah TSR where we parked in a depression that provide a small degree of wind protection and circled the wagons, (our three 4wd vehicles), before enjoying a rather wind swept morning tea.
Borah TSR was dry and very overgrazed but there was a small amount of water in the creek and we walked the length of it through the TSR.  We returned to our vehicles via the hilly area between the creek and the road.  The poor conditions and sparse bird numbers were challenging but with persistence we were again able to compile a reasonable bird list.  After this rather lengthy walk we arrived back at our vehicles in time for lunch before travelling to Adams TSR. 

At Adams TSR we parked across the creek in an open area away from trees and the risk of windblown falling limbs.  Upon exiting our vehicles we were greeted by raptors calling from a nearby tree.  This was a breeding pair of Brown Falcons which having been disturbed, flew to and from this particular tree, giving away the location of their nest. 
We spent a little more time in Adams, which again was quite desolate and dry, and only saw a few more birds.  Unfortunately we did not sight or hear any Babblers and the very active roost that had been seen earlier in the year seemed to be somewhat smaller and possibly abandoned. 
From Adams we went into a new area for us, the Back Borah TSR.  I had been made aware of this reserve when I contacted the Local Land Service prior to this outing.  This TSR runs from Adams TSR through to Borah TSR and is roughly parallel to Borah Road but is some one to two kilometres to the east.
The reserve has a track through it that for most of its length had been recently graded but it is still very much 4wd drive only.  The track is narrow and in some places very steep with challenging creek crossings, which in wet weather would be impassable.  This reserve is definitely only 4wd accessible in dry weather.

Eucalypt trees, mainly white box, dominate the reserve and there is a good covering of understory shrubs in most areas.  The more open areas appear to be healthy grassy box woodland but the dry conditions are taking their toll. 
Having sighted Turquoise Parrots flying across in front of us we stopped to investigate further and saw Diamond Firetails as well as several other bird species.  On a good day in a reasonable season it would appear to be a great birding spot.
While stopped at this location a ute load of pig hunters with their dogs, drove through.  They apparently were in a great hurry as they quickly disappeared and were not sighted again.  Begs the questions as to how they accessed the reserve, the legality of their activity and the impact their activity has on the Reserves environment.
Unfortunately our time in Back Borah TSR was limited as we were quickly running out of day so we spent most of the time slowly driving through the TSR.  After a while the track petered out to a barely visible ungraded track.  However the area was familiar as we were getting close to Borah TSR, so it looked an easy task to follow the track, into Borah TSR across Borah Creek and back onto Borah Road. 

However at this point we arrived at a gate, which had a very obvious large chain with an equally large lock.  Late in the day we didn’t fancy a rough drive back through Back Borah TSR.  Thankfully a check of the lock revealed it was a combination lock that was the same as the one on the gate into Adams TSR, what a relief.
We were on our way home but firstly a quick check of Borah Crossing TSR.  This was so we could have input into the LLS review of that Reserve.  We arrived there as the light began to fade.  It was very overgrazed with stock accessing the reserve apparently from other properties that front the foreshore of the almost dry Keepit Dam.  There was evidence of recent woodcutting.  All in all it was a pretty sorry sight, made somewhat more dismal by a shower of very cold sleety rain.
However this could not detract from what had been a very enjoyable day with everyone enjoying the great outdoors and great company.
Please see bird lists below.

Tarpoly Bird List: Welcome Swallow, Australian Wood Duck, Brown Treecreeper, White-throated Treecreeper, Fairy Martin, Tree Martin, White-plumed Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Galah, Eastern Rosella, Red-winged Parrot, Diamond Firetail, Grey Shrike-thrush, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Superb Fairy-wren, Australian Raven, Laughing Kookaburra, Willie Wagtail, Pacific Black Duck.
Borah TSR Bird List: LaughingKookaburra, Australian Magpie, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Striated Pardalote, Little Lorikeet, Galah, Brown Treecreeper, Jacky Winter, Superb Fairy-wren, Australian Raven, Pied Currawong, Restless Flycatcher, Magpie-lark, Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, White-winged Chough, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Grey Fantail, Golden Whistler, Yellow Thornbill, Willie Wagtail, Common Bronzewing.
Borah Creek Reserve: Laughing Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-Wren, Little Lorikeet, Galah, Welcome Swallow, Magpie-lark, Tree Martin, Fairy Martin, Black-fronted Dotterel, Pacific Black Duck, Common Bronzewing, Little Corella.
Adams TSR: Brown Falcon, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Striated Pardalote, Brown Treecreeper, Noisy Miner.
Back Borah TSR: Turquoise Parrot, Diamond Firetail, Crested Pigeon, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Common Bronzewing, Dusky Woodswallow, White-bellied cuckoo-shrike,Australian King-Parrot, Little Lorikeet, Red-winged Parrot, Fuscous Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Magpie-lark, Australian Raven.

Pilliga Forest Birdwatchers Visit Yarrigan 17 August 2019
Yarrigan had some pleasant surprises this year, we had three new faces.
Blake McCarthy from the Coonabarabran National Parks, John Whittall, our own Baradine National Parks Manager and May Fleming, our Brand new Glossy Black Cockatoo Study Coordinator - welcome aboard the three of you.  You come at a time when we urgently need new members and to have people of your capabilities is a real bonus.  We had Margaret, Bruce, Helen, Shirley and David there too, so there were eight of us and we made good use of our numbers by chalking up 50 birds for the day.
We started off at the end of Lizard Road which becomes Moke Road.  It is a good spot there really with Bugaldi Creek just to the east of us and some beautiful big Yellow Box and White Box to encourage the birds.  As the oldest member there I can remember seeing water in the creek!

We saw 46 birds here.  These are what we saw - Wedge-tailed Eagle, Peaceful Dove, Crested Pigeon, Galah, Little Corella, Australian King-Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-winged Parrot, Cockatiel, Eastern Rosella, Australian Ringneck, Red-rumped Parrot, Australian Owlet Nightjar, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Brown Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, Speckled Warbler, Inland Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Weebill, Striped Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, White-plumed Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey -crowned Babbler, Varied Sittella, Golden Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, White-browed Woodswallow, Dusky Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Magpie-lark, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Australian Raven, Apostlebird, White-winged Chough, Spotted Harrier.

The big thrill here was the Spotted Harrier.  In our nine years of bird watching we have only one recording of Spotted Harrier and that was at Narrabri Lake.  No doubt among us we have seen them on numerous occasions.  In fact I banded three young birds in a nest years ago the other side of Gulargambone, but they have given us a miss on our bird outings.  They are the first bird I focused my binoculars on when I first started serious bird watching.  That big grey hawk gliding low over the grassland became something unbelievable!  What magnificent birds they are!
The Little Corella was a single bird which made it a bit unusual too.  It must have missed the boat somewhere.  They are usually swirling about in a hundred odd flock screeching their heads off.  We have few records of them either.  Only four entries apart from Narrabri Lake.
Our records suggest that Cockatiels do not particularly fancy the forest either. While we recorded them on both of our Yarrigan sites, it needs to be remembered that both these sites border open farming areas.  They have only been recorded on one genuine forest site and that was Ruins Road Dam in 1915.

So we called the crew together and while drinking coffee discussed our next move for more Yarrigan birds and lunch.  Where there is some water and some shade (it was getting rather warm).  Looks like Pig Dam then.  "I want to go slow at Yarrigan Dam where we were last time and saw the Hooded Robins" that was Margaret.  "Oh" I said, I will go ahead and set the lunch table up in the shade at Pig Dam.  There was water in Yarrigan that we had to go past but there was no shade there.  So now we were going from South Yarrigan to North Yarrigan, a distance of about 10ks.  We recorded 31 birds at Pig Dam but only four that were not recorded in the South.  They were Emu, Double-barred Finch, Rufous Whistler and Common Bronzewing.  This gave us our 50 for the day leaving us well satisfied. Unfortunately the Hooded Robins evaded Margaret as she was coming through but that is birdwatching as we well know.  Next outing is at The Sculptures if todays bike riders have not frightened all the birds away and of course if conditions are such that the forest is closed because of fire danger.  We will keep you informed.
Best Wishes and Happy Birding,   David and Shirley
Saturday Outing 24 August 2019 - Horton Falls National Park and Surrounds
We weren’t able to report a “Regent”.
We didn’t spot a “Swift Parrot”.
We did enjoy observing many Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters in our time wandering along Cut Road Creek  Road. 
In fact as soon as we stepped out of our cars, Chris said, “I can see a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater”. The cataract ops have certainly been a success!
The drought is severe as we all know and we were lucky to find at least a little water at the locations we visited.  We got a very close view of a couple of White-naped Honeyeaters as they came down from high in the canopy to drink at a dam.  Some of us were also fortunate to be near a small pool in the Horton River when a pair of Variegated Fairy-wrens came in to drink.

The group was able to add three new breeding records to the TBW site lists during this warm and sunny winter day.  Superb Fairy-wrens were busy collecting nesting material at Cut Road Creek Road, as were Fairy Martins at Little Creek TSR. At Little Creek TSR we also found intact and disintegrating bottle nests under the bridge.  In addition a Noisy Miner was observed on a nest at this location.
Vulnerable species were in short supply on this outing. We came across only Little Lorikeets and Brown Treecreepers. However, it was great to see Little Lorikeets at all three sites we visited.

It’s always a thrill to be able to add new species to a site’s bird list. The group was able to do this for all three sites today.
Three new bird species were spotted at Horton Falls National Park. Little Creek TSR also yielded three new bird species. Plus a bonus echidna waddling down an embankment delighted us all. Along Cut Road Creek Road we were able to add nine new species, including one vulnerable species. Very rewarding indeed.

Following are the Bird Lists for the day:-
Cut Road Creek Road – 17 species
Little Lorikeet, Crimson Rosella, Brown Treecreeper, White-browed Scrubwren, Superb Fairy-wren(SB), Striated Pardalote, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, White-naped Honeyeater, Grey Shrike Thrush, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye, Fairy Martin.

Horton Falls National Park – 19 species
Little Lorikeet, Crimson Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Yellow Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, Spotted Pardalote, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Grey Shrike Thrush, Olive-backed Oriole, Pied Currawong, Grey Fantail, Restless Flycatcher, Eastern Yellow Robin, Silvereye.
Little Creek TSR – 22 species
Australian Wood Duck, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Musk Lorikeet, Little Lorikeet, Australian King-Parrot, Eastern Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote, Eastern Spinebill, Noisy Miner (AON), Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Little Friarbird, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail, White-winged Chough, Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin(SB).
Denise Kane

Tuesday Walk Along the Peel River Tamworth 27 August 2019
Only three keen birdwatchers met behind the Community Centre and we decided to spend the morning along the Peel River starting from the Brisbane Street carpark. We wandered slowly towards the new Jewry Street Bridge and were pleased to be joined by Mandy who was out for a walk. The Reed-Warblers were loudly advertising their return from the far north while a Black Kite circled low over our heads. By the time we circled back to the carpark, most of the morning was over, so we had a cuppa and wandered home.

Birds seen:
Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Crested Pigeon, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, White-faced Heron, Black Kite, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Laughing Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, White-plumed Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Little Friarbird, Grey Shrike-thrush, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Australian Raven, Magpie-lark, Australian Reed-Warbler, Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin, Common Blackbird, Common Starling, Red-browed Finch.
Terri Mower
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