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Meeting Report
Norfolk 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.

       
  California Quail                                                           



 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 now though.

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 included the
lovely White Terns and Black Noddy, both of which like the Norfolk Island Pines.  His highlight though was a Black-winged Petrel – a lifer! 





White Tern










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   

Land 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 last day.




      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 raptor.





                    



  
                 Grey Gerygone                        Golden Whistler ssp xantoproctor
 
TRIP REPORTS
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.
 
Currabubula 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 Woodswallows.
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 Kane




Dark morph adult White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (ssp robusta) Photo by Terri Mower








Pilliga 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 images).
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 around).
The list is final; I have checked my photos and did not take any audio recordings. Please let me know if there are any questions.
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 found: 49
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, Mistletoebird, Silvereye.
Remarks:
I have never seen that many Black-fronted Dotterels (maybe 100) or Peaceful Doves (also possibly 100) in one place.
Michael Dahlem
 
Saturday Outing to Plumthorpe TSR 27 April 2019
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.
Eventually our group trooped back up to the weir area and added Scaly-breasted Lorikeet and Little Friarbird.
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.     
Joan Dunne.

 
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