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Pilliga Forest Birdwatchers Visit Yaminba Creek 18 May 2019
Hullo Everyone,
I was there bright and early, I thought.  I was happy to sit in the warm car and wait for the others to turn up.  About 3 minutes later Lou and Shirley turned up from Coonabarabran and a few minutes after that along came Mary and Innes from Narrabri, Mary with her wonderful camera so I was not so bright and early after all!      And it wasn't very long until Margaret came along all the way from Gilgandra.  How fortunate we are to have these great bird watchers keen enough to travel such long distances to give the club support. 
So Yaminba Creek had 6 of us buzzing about checking on her birds.  Perhaps Shirley and I did not do a lot of buzzing but we enthusiastically reported what we had seen during the day.  The birds were not quite as keen as we were perhaps for we only recorded 25 for the day.  At first we were saying "of course you can't expect too much. They have no water with a dry creek etc"  Margaret put a stop to this argument when she came back from a walk along the creek and said with a great deal of enthusiasm "There is a beautiful big water hole down there, it's a beauty!" Off went everyone under 90 to have a look. Shirley and I saw some very nice photographs.
These are the birds we saw:  Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian King Parrot, Eastern Rosella, Australian Ringneck, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, Speckled Warbler, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, White-plumed Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey-crowned Babbler, Grey Shrike-Thrush, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Raven, White-winged Chough, Welcome Swallow.
Well, we sat in the sun and drank our coffee, we sat in the sun and enjoyed our lunch, and grizzled a bit about the birds not seen (we wanted 50) but we gave the world in general a pretty good going over.
About 1pm we left the birds to their water hole and headed off home, contented to see at least 50 when next we visited the area!
Next month to Timmallallie Dam and its packed full of water, but more of that later.
Best Wishes and Happy Birding
David and Shirley
 
 
Tuesday Trip Outing to John Ives Park and Glengarvin Reserve – 11 June 2019
Five birdwatchers set off on a perfect day to visit two sites in the Oxley Vale part of Tamworth.   A total of 31 species were seen over two sites.
We first visited John Ives Park which has numbers of large eucalypts, many of which were in full flower.   As a result we found a good number of birds chasing the blossom, plus hordes of Crested Pigeons.   There is little understory there, so small birds were absent.   A total of 16 species were sighted there.
After morning tea, where we were joined by a sixth birdwatcher, we went into the Glengarvin Reserve and were pleased to see some of the smaller species.   One tree in particular caught our eye.   Planted by a nearby resident, it was a red flowering gum.   It was covered in small red blossoms and contained 3 Brown Honeyeaters, 2 Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters plus a number of Silvereyes.
Further into the reserve was the highlight of the day – lots of Finches.   A Zebra Finch was the first to catch our eye, but we soon added Double-barred Finches and four Plum-headed Finches.   Later on we stumbled across a large flock of Red-browed Finches to complete the set.  
An Azure Kingfisher had been seen on this stretch of river recently, but there were no birds around the water today.   Lots of White-plumed Honeyeaters in the trees along the riverbank though.   We counted a total of 24 species in the Reserve and may have found a few more had we walked down to the end.

Species seen:-
John Ives Park – Crested Pigeon 23, Australian Magpie 4, Pied Currawong 8, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 2, Starling 9, Magpie-lark 1, Rainbow Lorikeet 6, Noisy Miner 6, Australian King Parrot 4, Common Myna 2, Eastern Rosella 5, Grey Butcherbird 1, Black Kite 2, Galah 2, Spotted Dove 3, Australian Raven 1
Glengarvin Reserve– Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 4, Silvereye 3, Superb Fairy-wren 5, Double-barred Finch 20, White-plumed Honeyeater 13, Brown Honeyeater 3, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater 4, Rainbow Lorikeet 6, Pied Currawong 3, Starling 3, King Parrot 5, Black Kite 2, Whistling Kite 1, Eastern Rosella 3, Willie Wagtail 3, House Sparrow 1, Zebra Finch 6, Plum-headed Finch 4, Little Corella 2,  Spotted Dove 2, Pied Butcherbird 1, Red-browed Finch 20, Galah 2, Magpie-lark 2
Annabel Ashworth
 
Tuesday Outing to – Bendemeer Campground to Muluerindi Bridge. Leader: Bruce Terrill – 25 June 2019
The weather was cold and windy when we began our morning walk along the McDonald River. Plenty of weedy shrubbery along the southern end of the riverbank with small pools of water lying stagnant in places in the riverbed. We did hope the weedy shrubbery might prove shelter for small birds, but none to be seen. A dozen or so Pied Currawong were spotted and heard before a pair of Pacific Black Ducks flew off from one of the riverbed pools. Disappointed we headed back for morning tea but had to shelter from the wind against the vehicles, beanies and gloves still on. For those of us who stayed on a few more birds were seen along the northern end of the river for our walk up to the Muluerindi Bridge. Sight of the day was probably the flock of Red-browed Finch on the walk up and then the grouping of the Great Egret, White-necked Heron and Wood Ducks on the boulders below the bridge area.

Australian King Parrot, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Pacific Black Duck, White-faced Heron, Galah, Silvereye, Kookaburra, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Pied Butcherbird, Starling, Superb-fairy Wren, Willie Wagtail, Red-browed Finch, Dusky Moorhen, Little Pied Cormorant, Masked Lapwing, Little Corella, Peaceful Dove, Grey Teal, Crested Pigeon, Great Egret, White-necked Heron, Australian Wood Duck.
 
Gunnedah Outing June 29, 2019 – Leaders Gail Pickett and Francis Wright
Tamworth Birdwatchers arrived in Gunnedah on a lovely warm Winter’s day. We had a great turnout of 17 people, including visitors from Gilgandra (Margaret Wyndyer) and Narrabri
(Margaret & Innes Wheeler). Our first location was Wandobah Reserve, where close to 2000 trees and shrubs were planted during 2000/2001 as a response to salinity in the area. Gunnedah Shire Council wanted to put a new drainage channel through the reserve, in order to do so they had to remove several old eucalyptus trees as well as some young ones. To mitigate this they planted new trees and contracted Phil Sparks to install new nest boxes to replace the old trees with nesting hollows.
Our birdwatchers had about an hour and a half to wander among the area. Early on a raptor was sighted at the top of a mature dead tree, and it looked like it had recently caught its prey which it was holding with its claws.  It took some time to identify it, but members agreed that it was an Australian Hobby. We were fortunate that it stayed in that position for at least 5 minutes, so quite a few members were able to observe it and photograph it.
10.15am - 11.45am, Wondabah Road Reserve alongside Skate Park.
6 Blue-faced Honeyeater, 6 Noisy Miner, 53 Crested Pigeon, 6 Red-rump Parrot, 2 Magpie-lark incl. nesting, 6 Starling, 4 Pied Currawong, 4 Australian Magpie, 2 Masked Lapwing, 6 Eastern Rosella, 2 Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, 3 Pied Butcherbird, 2 Kookaburra, 1 Australian Hobby, 6 Galah, 1 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, 7 Double-barred Finch, 3 Spotted Pardalote, 3 Striated Pardalote, 3 House Sparrow, 1 Wedgetail Eagle, 1 Back Kite, 4 Mallee Ringneck, 2Willie Wagtail, 1 Striped Honeyeater, 1 Common Myna, 3 White-plumed Honeyeater, 3 Noisy Friarbird, 1 Mistletoebird, 1 Yellow-throated Miner, 1 Yellow-rumped Thornbill, 1 Grey Butcherbird, 6 Superb Fairy-wren, 2 Australian Raven, 2 Rainbow Lorikeet,  1 Musk Lorikeet, 2 Rock Dove.  Total: 37

Bird count and lunch at Wandobah Reserve.
After lunch the group headed to the Wallaby Trap, which is at the base of Porcupine Lookout. During the last outing to Gunnedah, the elusive White Winged Fairy-wren was heard but not seen - but NOT this time!!! The group fanned out amongst the sparse shrubs with much anticipation as we could hear the chitter of what we assumed were Fairy-wrens nearby. Our two visitors from Narrabri, Mary and Innes Wheeler were the fortunate ones to spot one White Winged Fairy-wren among other Fairy-wrens. Quite a few members stood watch nearby but there was only the one sighting.
 12.55pm - 2.20pm Porcupine Hill, Apex Road - Wallaby Trap
1 Pied Butcherbird, 2 Eastern Rosella, 4 Australian Magpie, 1 Magpie-lark, 4 Superb Fairy-wren, 6 Noisy Miner, 2 Pied Currawong, 3 Yellow Thornbill, 3 Variegated Fairy-wren, 2 Mallee Ringneck, 4 Yellow-rumped Thornbill (nest building), 1 White-winged Fairy-wren, 5 Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, 3 Grey-crowned Babblers, 3 Grey Fantail, 2 Crested Pigeon, 3 White-crowned Babbler, 1 Mistletoebird, 1 Speckled Warbler, 1 Australian King Parrot, 1 Wedgetail Eagle, 1 Willie Wagtail, 1 Grey Shrike-Thrush, 1 Silvereye, 1 Double-barred Finch, 1 Red Wattlebird, 2 Galah, 1 Striated Pardalote, 2 Australian Raven. Total: 30.

The final location was Mullibah Lagoon. The last time the group visited, the reeds and grasses had been burned which allowed us to be able to see the entire body of water. This time however there was an abundance of grasses and reeds in approximately half of the lagoon. The absence of recent or decent rainfall was evident in the reduced amount of water in the lagoon. Interestingly, in contrast to most other towns in the region Gunnedah is not on any water restrictions.
2.30pm - 3.20pm, Mullibah Lagoon, Henry Street.
1 Noisy Miner, 6 Pacific Black Duck, 1 Australian Hobby, 1 Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, 2 Pied Currawong, 2 Magpie-lark, 1 White-faced Heron, 2 Australian Kookaburra, 1 Yellow-billed Spoonbill, 9 Crested Pigeon, 1 Pied Butcherbird, 2 Eastern Rosella, 1 Australian Raven, 1 Australasian Grebe, 1 Dusky Moorhen, 12 Little Lorikeet, 2 Musk Lorikeet, 1 Rainbow Lorikeet, 30, Wood Duck, 1 Noisy Friarbird, 1 Striped Honeyeater, 2 Masked Lapwing, 2 Grey Teal, 1 Straw-necked Ibis, 1 Whistling Kite, 2 Australian King Parrot. Total: 26.
 
Social Meeting 28 June. “Flying Foxes in Tamworth”
As a result of Tamworth Regional Council receiving a grant for $33,000 to help manage the flying-fox colony along the Peel River, Alex Habilay, Environmental Health Officer with the Council was invited to speak to us about flying-foxes and how the funds would be used in Tamworth.
Alex began by telling us that there are three species of flying-fox native to NSW. Tamworth has the Grey-headed flying fox (listed as threatened under the Threatened Species Conservation Act) and the Little Red Flying-fox. The Grey-headed Flying fox is recognisable by its rusty red fur collar and grey head. It is the most vulnerable. 
There are two main camps in Tamworth, one is along the Peel River - Goonoo Goonoo Creek area and the other is the Peel River – King George V Avenue area. The Peel River - Goonoo Goonoo Creek camp is considered an historic site and has status of national significance. A survey count as of 17/05/19 resulted in 9,140 Grey-headed Flying fox and 135 Little Red Flying-fox. 
Other facts disclosed were that a single flying-fox can disperse 60,000 seeds/night and can travel around 50km – 100km/night.  Seed dispersal and pollination makes flying-foxes critical to persistence of many plant communities with many eucalyptus relying on them for pollination. They have over a 70% chance to transport pollen undamaged and their metabolisms enables them to move matter through the gut in about 20-60mins.
The funding from the NSW government will be used to create alternative habitat to the Gipps Street flying-fox camp, and create a buffer between the colony and the public recreation area on Kable Avenue. A fixed binocular unit is to be installed and Council aim to host a “Bat Night” and educational campaign.
More information can be found in Council’s document: ‘Flying-fox Camp Management Plan – Peel River Camp’.
 

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