Island Trip - Photos by James Ardill
The speaker for our April meeting was member James Ardill, who had
just returned from a trip with his wife to Norfolk Island where they celebrated
their 37 Wedding Anniversary.
Here is a summary of the talk including some of James’ photos.
Norfolk Island is approximately 3 hours by air from Sydney and is
only 8km x 5km in area. It is of
volcanic origin and has 20 – 50m cliffs around the majority of the coastline
(one of which James had to climb when he got caught by the tide!) Rough weather can limit the unloading of
goods, so the cost of living is high.
One apple cost $3.50 and petrol was $2.41 a litre. Residents are each allowed to have 10 cattle
roaming on the island.
There are well maintained walks.
About a quarter of the island is National Park which has one ranger who
is supervised from Christmas Island!
Nearby Phillip Island is a haven for breeding seabirds such as the
Providence Petrel and the Kermadec Petrel.
Feral predators have been removed from there. Polynesian Rats are still a major problem on
Norfolk Island and a baiting program is underway.
A number of bird species have been lost due to humans, pigs (there
were 400,000 there in the early days to feed the people), rabbits and
rats. Seven Norfolk Island species are
now extinct and their Boobook Owl is close to it. Currently, there are nine birds endemic to
Norfolk and Phillip Islands, of which James saw seven.
Red Junglefowl (“Feral Chicken”)
Feral birds: On Norfolk Island these include Northern
Mallard, Chickens running wild, Common Starling, Common Blackbird, California
Quail, House Sparrow, Rock Dove and Song Thrush. Our Crimson Rosella is also a feral there and
has been thriving, to the detriment of their Norfolk Island Green Parrot. The latter’s numbers are gradually increasing
Sea birds seen: Masked Boobys were breeding in long grass
and the Great Frigatebirds known as the “Pirates of the Airways” were also
starting to breed. Red Tropicbird chicks
look at you sideways, and if stressed, will regurgitate their food after you
have gone. Other seabirds James saw
lovely White Terns and Black Noddy, both of which
like the Norfolk Island Pines. His
highlight though was a Black-winged Petrel – a lifer!
Waders seen included: Short-tailed Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper,
Wandering Tattler, Ruddy Turnstone in full breeding colour, a Whimbrel on the
golf course and a Pacific Golden Plover, also in full colour. Numbers of White-faced Herons were the main
foraging bird there. They have more
white down their neck than mainland birds.
Wandering Tattler Pectoral Sandpiper
birds endemic to the island:
Norfolk Island Green Parrot – It is a
bit smaller than the Crimson Rosella and is green with red on the
forehead. They are not easy to
see. James had a good sighting on his
Norfolk Island Green Parrot
Scarlet Robin – James thinks this is a
separate species. The male has more red
than ours and the female has a strong red flush on the breast. They are stockier than ours too.
Scarlet Robin -
Male and Female
Norfolk Island Gerygone – It is a very
plain grey bird.
Norfolk Island Grey Fantail - A
subspecies of ours, it is buffer on the breast.
Norfolk Island Golden Whistler – It is a
subspecies (xantoprocta), and is very different to ours. There is no black or white, only dull yellow
on the breast.
Norfolk Island Boobook – There is much
concern about the status of the Boobook. No fledglings have been seen in the last few
years and the adults are rarely seen.
There have been three types of Silvereye, but the
White-breasted White-eye is thought to be extinct. The Slender-billed White-eye is endemic and
found in the rainforest. It feeds on the
ground as well as the trees and has a longer bill. They also get our Silvereye which is mainly
found in gardens.
There are no honeyeaters, or butcherbirds. Sacred Kingfishers are common in open areas
and seem to have taken over the Butcherbird role. Silvereyes and Robins are the main scrub
birds. The Nankeen Kestrel is their only
Grey Gerygone Golden Whistler ssp xantoproctor
Tuesday Morning Outing - 9 April 2019 Leader Marianne Terrill
Due to the absence of a number of our regular Tuesday walkers and
bird spotters the location was changed, on the morning, from Bendemeer to
Moonbi Common. There was evidence of
water in the creek following the rainfall the previous week, inviting some birds
to the area. The track between the creek
and the TSR provided a great sighting of six Turquoise Parrot along with two
Peaceful Dove feeding on the ground and in the same area, amongst the rocks
were seven Red-browed Finch. As it was
windy and cloudy it was hard to hear or see birds but we did see the following:
Eastern Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, Australian Magpie, Pied
Currawong, Superb Fairy-wren, Spotted Dove, Peaceful Dove, Red Wattlebird,
Crimson Rosella, Welcome Swallow, White-plumed Honeyeater, Fairy Martin, Dusky
Woodswallow, Willie Wagtail, Australian King-Parrot, Noisy Miner, Magpie-lark,
White-Throated Treecreeper, Jacky Winter, Nankeen Kestrel, Spiny-Cheeked
Honeyeater, Red-browed Finch, Turquoise Parrot, Crested Pigeon.
Sportsground and TSR - Tuesday Bird Walk – 23 April, 2019
Tamworth, along with Dubbo, was the hottest location
in NSW today (29 degrees).
On this very warm autumn day, a group of 14 Tamworth
Birdwatchers, saw 36 different species at two sites near Currabubula Creek. After a quiet start at the Showground, we
managed to reach 24 species. Following
morning tea, our bird count on the TSR was 23 species.
Included in our sightings were three new additions to
the Site Master List, which already boasts 86 species to date. The new species included a flock of 20
Plum-headed Finch discovered feeding on the grass near the children’s
playground. There was also a small flock
of Silvereyes calling nearby in the trees on the creek line. Lyn was very familiar with their call as they
evidently usually consume her crop of grapes. Our third new species was the Black-chinned
Honeyeater. It is categorised as a
vulnerable species, so it was reassuring to come across it on the TSR. Our group also sighted another vulnerable
species “floating” in the sky above the TSR……yes, you guessed it, Dusky
Another highlight of the morning was watching a
juvenile Little Friarbird foraging high in a flowering eucalypt. The brilliant yellow of its throat quickly caught
our eye as the colour was intensified by the morning sunlight.
My favourite moment of the day was learning about the
dark morph of the adult White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (ssp robusta). I had not
come across the dark morph of this species before. It was very interesting as we managed to get
better and better views of it and consulted each other, plus our bird apps, to
confirm the ID.
TBW outings are always enjoyable and you always
discover something new. So don’t miss
out….join us sometime soon! Denise
Dark morph adult White-bellied
Cuckoo-shrike (ssp robusta) Photo by Terri Mower
Forest Birdwatchers Visit Yarrie Lake 27 April 2019
There was never any hope of me replacing
all those wonderful people in the group, but at least I did manage to cobble
together a bird list. And I fell just one short of "ace birdwatcher"
status - try as I might, I did not meet the target (minimum requirement) of 50.
There is not a single species in that lot
that sticks out. But I can send, in a separate message, a short account of
strange behaviour that I observed (and a lesson regarding keeping original
What I did, just to give you a feel for how
this list was obtained: First I stayed
at the picnic shelter near the locked gate, opposite the caretaker's residents.
Shortly after sunrise I went for a walk
around the lake, then on to the levee out the back and into the
"swamp" where I can find Painted Honeyeaters if/when present. From there I cut across the scrub along a
gully to reach the road again near the end of the bitumen and that way I went
back to my vehicle (rather than following the track through the scrub close to
the lake's edge). Then I spent some more
time at the picnic shelter. I packed up when at least half an hour had passed
without another species added to the list (by then it had become very quiet all
The list is final; I have checked my photos
and did not take any audio recordings. Please let me know if there are any
Yarrie Lake 27/04/2019
Some water in the lake; extended shallow
puddle over 1/4 of its surface area when full. Cool morning (13 C minimum), light breeze,
sunny. Present: Michael Dahlem,
Species list: Australian Wood Duck, Grey Teal, White-necked
Heron, White-faced Heron, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Australian White Ibis,
Black-winged Stilt, Black-fronted Dotterel, Masked Lapwing, Peaceful Dove,
Bar-shouldered Dove, Common Bronzewing, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah,
Cockatiel, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Laughing Kookaburra, Striated
Pardalote, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Inland Thornbill, Noisy
Friarbird, Noisy Miner, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater,
Striped Honeyeater, Singing Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Eastern Yellow
Robin, Red-capped Robin, Jacky Winter, Grey-crowned Babbler, Rufous Whistler,
Grey Shrike-thrush, Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Restless Flycatcher,
Magpie-lark, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Australian
Raven, Double-barred Finch, Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin, Tree Martin,
I have never seen that many Black-fronted
Dotterels (maybe 100) or Peaceful Doves (also possibly 100) in one place.
Saturday Outing to Plumthorpe TSR 27
Sixteen of us
spent a great day at Plumthorpe TSR basking in lovely autumn sunshine. After a quick morning tea our day started in
earnest. As usual on a morning still
waiting for the sun to warm things up a bit, it was a slow start. The birds started to put in an appearance when
they thought it suited them. By the time
the top area down to the weir (just the rocks and not a trickle of water going
over) was surveyed our list was starting to cheer us up a bit. The Manilla River is just a series of puddles
at present but more than enough to satisfy the birds for a bathe and a
drink. There hasn't been any stock in there lately of course but it was
noted that there is some regrowth and a green tinge in some area.
When we were all
assembled at the weir the Azure Kingfisher appeared and he was happy to perch
on a branch and enjoy the sunshine. He
looked quite beautiful with the sun shining on him. It is always pleasing to hear and see the
Brown Treecreeper at Plumthorpe but we didn't think they were as prolific as in
previous years. While we were taking
time out at this spot we found a little group of White-browed Scrubwrens
darting in and out of a fallen log.
Later we headed
off to the western side of the T.S.R. to settle in under the shade for our
lunch break. No relaxing though, Penny spotted a Striped Honeyeater at the
water’s edge and we all had to go and admire this species that we don't see a
lot of. The next interruption was the
arrival of the Black-fronted Dotterel who seems to be a resident there. This was where we saw the only raptor for the
day, a Wedged-tailed Eagle which was really inspiring to watch as he very
gracefully soared above us.
group trooped back up to the weir area and added Scaly-breasted Lorikeet and
This was the time
Sue and Rob had to leave as it was Sue's birthday so we sent them off with a
poor rendition of Happy Birthday!
The diehards of
our group headed off towards the gate and were elated to finish the day off by
sighting (and photographing) three beautiful Red-winged Parrots.
Birds seen: Australian Wood
Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Hoary-headed Grebe, Common Bronzewing, Crested
Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Australasian Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, White-faced
Heron, Wedged-tailed Eagle, Black-fronted Dotterel, Galah, Sulphur-crested
Cockatoo, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Musk Lorikeet, Red-winged Parrot, Eastern
Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Azure Kingfisher, White-throated Treecreeper, Brown
Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Yellow Thornbill,
Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, White-plumed Honeyeater, Noisy
Miner, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird, Little Friarbird, Striped
Honeyeater, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Dusky
Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied
Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Australian Raven, Magpie-lark, White-winged Chough,
Apostlebird, Jacky Winter, Eastern Yellow Robin, Welcome Swallow, Tree
Martin, Mistletoebird, Red-browed Finch, European Goldfinch.