Saturday, December 24, 2011

More news from Bungendore

A message to the COG Chatline mentioned hearing a Koel in Bungendore in December.  They came through Carwoola a litlle earlier but have been silent since.

While passing the holding paddocks on Trucking Yard Lane on 22 December we counted 24 Australian Shelduck grazing. A post to the COG Chatline reported 43 Shelduck by the 24th of December.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pelicans: slightly out of area

Ellie has reported to me that
"I was driving back to Bungendore from Goulburn, on the Tarago Rd, on Nov 14 or 21 this year at about 4.30PM-5PM when I saw a flock of a couple of hundred pelicans.  They were just past Elmslea and Buckingham Estates and were flying in the direction of Lake George or Lake Bathurst. I know they don't qualify for your bird list in the Gazette but I thought it was interesting."
 It most certainly is an interesting sighting.  I can't recall hearing of a flock of Pelicans of this size in the area around Canberra of interest to COG:
 Presumably it is a result of the inland lakes drying up after a good breeding season.

Although there are no water bodies in the Carwoola area big enough to support such a flock the odd bird may turn up (or be seen flying overhead).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The causes of increasing number of species

Following my initial circulation of the monthly report a reader asked:
" ...just wondering what your theory may be on the cause of the increase in number of species seen by month? From this graph it looks like its gone from 60 mto 90 in four years. La Ninya?"
This is a very good question and I shall try to answer it, as far as I can, in what follows.  In so doing I hope to avoid proving the rule stated by a past Australian Statistician:
"If a statistic looks interesting it is probably a processing error."
A primary cause of the increase in the number of species may be an increase in the effort put in.  For the first few months I was more or less the only person contributing to the statistics (which I did because that is the sort of thing I am interested in).   Then an observer in Hoskinstown joined in providing monthly reports, and after another year or so, another observer also began to pass on the records he maintained each month.  I have separated the reports provided under these three scenarios below.


There is clearly a 'jump' following the additional data from the observer in Hoskinstown, but the increase attributable to the observer in Widgiewa Rd is less clear.  Interestingly, using that well known statistical technique "gut feeling" I believe there are a number of species reported on a regular basis from Widgiewa that aren't reported frequently by others (eg Hardhead, Stubble Quail, Eurasian Coot).

Since the series looked rather like an abused cross-cut saw blade I decided to remove the effects of seasonality using a 12 month moving average, centred on the 7th month.  (Details of the calculation available on request.)
This shows that there is a steady increase over time.  If the analysis was looking at the total number of species ever recorded in the area over time, such an increase could be expected as 'unusual' species occur for the first time and are added to the list.  However, an increase in the average of this nature cannot be explained by such a mechanism.  It is particularly puzzling since in 2010 there were very few waterbirds recorded in the area as they had moved to the flooded inland areas to breed.

If there was a 'real' increase in diversity in the area (such as would arise from Climate Change) it could be expected that this would be revealed by the results of the Garden Bird Survey (GBS) undertaken by the Canberra Ornithologists Group.  (This covers all of urban Canberra-Queanbeyan and a scattering of sites in the rural hinterland including my site and one in Hoskinstown.)  However a chart of the number of species recorded each week (raw data and moving average) in the GBS does not show a systematic increase.
My personal GBS site (restricted to 3Ha around our house) shows a small dip in the early weeks followed by a gradual increase in the average number of species recorded for effectively no overall change.
The increase in more recent months probably reflects:
  1. my increasing familiarity with the birds in the area (I think my effort is similar); and/or
  2. the outcome of efforts to regenerate the vegetation on our property.
However it is not sufficient to explain the growth in the overall series.

At the time of publishing this post I conclude that the only remaining source of change is the information provided by other members of the Carwoola Community, who do not record birds on an ongoing basis but advise me of the observations that are of particular interest to them.  My gut feeling is that such reporting has increased, but I do not have any recorded data to support this. This conclusion stresses the importance of a wide range of observations and the great value of ad-hoc reports.

Summary
There is some evidence that factors of widespread impact such as climate change are not responsible for the observed increase in the average number of species reported in Carwoola.  Likely causes are seen to be:
  1. An increase in the amount of information reported on a regular basis; 
  2. Efforts to regenerate vegetation has led to a small increase; and
  3. Increased numbers of ad-hoc reports by many members of the community.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011

Welcome to the first monthly report created as a blog post, rather than a reproduction of a hard copy oriented report! Some information about the rationale for this report is the first post on the blog.  A full list of the birds seen since the project started is included in an early post as is a list of all species recorded as breeding.

The new approach starts with a bang, as in November 2001 108 species were recorded across the area.  This is the most species we have recorded in a single month as shown in the following graph (the adjusted curve allows for seasonal variation).

and is 7 more than October 2011 and 12 (!!) more than November 2010.   
 20 species were recorded breeding in this month.  As shown in this graph, November is a peak breeding month: the polynomial trend is included to remove the statistical "noise" and not to suggest any forecasting ..
Getting back to current events, many thanks to observers in Widgiewa Road, Hoskinstown, Plains Road, Radcliffe and Molonglo River Park for their reports and records.

As is becoming an annual  event at fruiting time for Acaia dealbata, Superb Parrots have been reported from the Hoskinstown Plain.

The outstanding events of the month have been the concentrations of raptors both diurnal and nocturnal on the Hoskinstown Plain.  I reported last month about the large number of Black-shouldered Kites seen on lower Widgiewa Rd (overlooking the Plain).  They have continued to be seen, although perhaps in slightly diminished numbers towards the end of the month.  They have been joined by large numbers - at least 11 and perhaps as many as 20 - of Brown Falcons.  To top this off a Black Falcon  has been seen on the Plain by several observers including this author.   After dark up to 4 Barn Owls have been seen regularly along Plains Rd.


The return of waterbirds has also continued.  This has been particularly noticeable for White-necked Herons (previously known as Pacific Herons) which have been sighted on many of the dams and watercourses around the area.  In addition a sighting of Yellow-billed Spoonbill in Molonglo River Park was the first for the area since I started recording. Also in that area, Black-fronted Dotterels were reported as breeding successfully.

Here follows the list of species observed.  The format of the list has changed slightly, in that through the electronic format it is now possible to link to photographs of the birds in the pages towards the end of the blog.  Of the 163 species recorded since I started these reports 50 have associated photographs.  In the list this is  indicated by the name, in blue or purple type, being underlined.  Migrants are in italics and species for which breeding activity has been recorded in the month are in bold type.

1  Waterbirds:   Australian Wood Duck; Grey Teal; Pacific Black Duck; Hardhead; Australasian Grebe; Little Black Cormorant; Little Pied Cormorant; White‑necked Heron; Cattle Egret; White‑faced Heron; Nankeen Night Heron; Straw-necked Ibis;Yellow-billed Spoonbill; Purple Swamphen; Dusky Moorhen;  Eurasian Coot; Black‑fronted Dotterel; Masked Lapwing
2 Birds of Prey:  Black-shouldered Kite; Brown Goshawk; Collared Sparrowhawk; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Little Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Brown Falcon; Australian Hobby; Black Falcon, Peregrine Falcon.
3 Parrots and Relatives:  Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo; Gang‑gang Cockatoo; Galah; Sulphur‑crested Cockatoo; Australian King‑parrot; Superb Parrot; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella; Red-rumped parrot 
4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds: ; Stubble Quail; Rock Dove; Spotted Dove; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; Australian Owlet-nightjar; Common Koel; Channel-billed Cuckoo;  Shining Bronze‑cuckoo; Pallid Cuckoo; Fan‑tailed Cuckoo; Brush Cuckoo; Eastern Barn Owl; Laughing Kookaburra;Sacred Kingfisher; Rainbow Bee‑eater; Dollarbird;
5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; Yellow-faced Honeyeater; White-eared Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird;  Brown‑headed Honeyeater; Noisy Friarbird
6 Flycatchers and similar species: Rufous Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush; Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Leaden Flycatcher Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Welcome Swallow; Fairy Martin; Tree Martin
7 Thornbills, Finches and similar species:  Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren; Weebill; Western Gerygone; White-throated Gerygone; Striated Thornbill; Yellow Thornbill; Yellow‑rumped Thornbill; Buff‑rumped Thornbill; Brown Thornbill; Southern Whiteface; Spotted Pardalote; Striated Pardalote; Silvereye; Double‑barred Finch; Red‑browedFinch; Diamond Firetail; House Sparrow; European Goldfinch
8 Other, smaller birds:  White-throated Treecreeper; Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike; Olive‑backed Oriole; White‑browed Woodswallow; Dusky Woodswallow; Skylark; Rufous Songlark; Common Blackbird; Common Starling; Mistletoebird; Australasian  Pipit;
9  Other, larger birds: Satin Bowerbird; Grey Butcherbird; Australian Magpie; Pied Currawong; Grey Currawong; Australian Raven; Little Raven; White-winged Chough

Friday, November 25, 2011

Just to get things going!

I have been contemplating doing a blog about the birds of Carwoola for some time.  However I have continued to use the hard copy Stoney Creek Gazette for disseminating summaries of the information gathered (by my own observations and those of several others in the area) each month.  Since it appears that the hard copy Gazette may die in the near future I have decided to bite the bullet and start this.

So that there is something to repay you for visiting the blog here is a link to a page in my 'personal' blog about recent excitements.

My intention is to upload all the past reports to the Gazette as separate posts together with most of my photographs of birds in the area.  That took a little time but has been largely completed by the end of November.

The next major addition will be to work out how to present photographs in the blog.  I suspect that will involve a fair amount of thought so don't hold your breath!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 2011


 In October a very good  99  species of birds were recorded in the catchment area of the Gazette.  This is 2 less than the remarkable total in September this year and 2 more than October 2010.  Several observers have noted a high level of diversity.

Thanks to several observers in: the Molonglo Valley, Captains Flat Rd, Hoskinstown, Radcliffe and Widgiewa Road.    There have been two records of dead  Barn Owls – most likely hit by vehicles – on Plains Rd (as noted last month this species irrupted into Canberra this year as the mouse plague declines in the West of the State).   At least 3 (live) Barn Owls have been present on Plains Rd in mid November.

Similarly, Black-shouldered Kites have continued to be sighted by a number of observers with the flock at the head of the Hoskinstown Plain reaching 16 birds towards the end of the month.  There are continued observations of up to 10 Brown Falcons and 4 or more Nankeen Kestrels, in a small area which is also likely to be due to feasting on mice.  

A Cattle Egret was also seen in the area, only the second seen on that property in the last 10 years (and the first reported since I started doing these reports).

Migrants are shown in italics below.  Note that most of the regularly reported migrant species have begun to return already.  While there are a few more to come to Carwoola, they have been reported in Canberra.  21 species which have recorded breeding (broadly defined) this month are underlined.  I’d welcome records of any breeding activities seen in the area as well as first arrivals of any migrants not recorded below.

1  Waterbirds:  Black Swan;  Australian Shelduck; Australian Wood Duck; Grey Teal; Pacific Black Duck; Australasian Grebe; Little Black Cormorant; Little Pied Cormorant; White‑necked Heron; Cattle Egret; White‑faced Heron; Dusky Moorhen;  Eurasian Coot; Masked Lapwing; Latham’s Snipe,
2 Birds of Prey:  Black-shouldered Kite; Brown Goshawk; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Little Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Brown Falcon.
3 Parrots and Relatives:  Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo; Galah;  Sulphur‑crested Cockatoo; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella; Red-rumped parrot
4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds: Stubble Quail; Brown quail; Rock Dove; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; Painted Button-quail; Shining Bronze‑cuckoo; Pallid Cuckoo; Fan‑tailed Cuckoo; Southern Boobook; Eastern Barn Owl; Laughing Kookaburra;
5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; Yellow-faced Honeyeater; White-eared Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird; New Holland Honeyeater; Brown‑headed Honeyeater; Noisy Friarbird
6 Flycatchers and similar species: Golden Whistler; Rufous Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush; Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Leaden Flycatcher; Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Hooded Robin; Eastern Yellow Robin; Welcome Swallow; Fairy Martin; Tree Martin
7 Thornbills, Finches and similar species:  Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren; Speckled warbler; Weebill; Western Gerygone; White-throated Gerygone; Striated Thornbill; Yellow‑rumped Thornbill; Buff‑rumped Thornbill; Brown Thornbill; Southern Whiteface; Spotted Pardalote; Striated Pardalote; Silvereye; Double‑barred Finch; Red‑browed Finch; Diamond Firetail; House Sparrow; European Goldfinch
8 Other, smaller birds:  White-throated Treecreeper; Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike; Olive‑backed Oriole; Dusky Woodswallow; Skylark; Australian Reed-warbler; Common Blackbird; Common Myna; Common Starling; Mistletoebird; Australasian  Pipit;
9  Other, larger birds: Satin Bowerbird; Grey Butcherbird; Australian Magpie; Pied Currawong; Grey Currawong; Australian Raven; Little Raven; White-winged Chough

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 2011


 In September an astonishing 101 species of birds were recorded in the catchment area of the Gazette.  This is 11 more than in August this year and 15 more than September 2010.  I have noticed a significant increase in the diversity on our property in the past few weeks and other observers have noticed things ‘picking up’, especially with some dry country birds arriving.  
This graph has been added to show the growth in number of species recorded each September since we moved here.  The trend is a little bogus since observer effort has increased.

Thanks to several observers in: the Molonglo Valley, Captains Flat Rd, Hoskinstown, Radcliffe and Widgiewa Road.   

There have been a number of notable sightings in the month.  A King Parrot was reported from the Hoskinstown Plain: this is the third month in a row that this species has been reported instead of the usually infrequent reports. (I regard this as a positive!)   

There has been another record of Barn Owl (which have irrupted into Canberra this year as the mouse plague declines in the West of the State).   It is likely that the increased sightings of Black-shouldered Kites are also due to this cause.  These sightings have included an unusually large group of 6 hunting around 2 properties overlooking the Hoskinstown Plain which by 29 September had risen to an extraordinary (I am beginning to run low on superlatives) 14 birds in a single tree.

It is also noteworthy that after a shortfall for several months waterbirds especially White-necked Herons are returning 

Migrants are shown in italics below.  Note that most of the regularly reported migrant species have begun to return already although there are a few more to come.  16 species which have been seen to have commenced breeding (broadly defined) this month are underlined.  I’d welcome records of any breeding activities seen in the area as well as first arrivals of any migrants not recorded below.

1  WaterbirdsMusk Duck; Black Swan;  Australian Shelduck; Australian Wood Duck; Pacific Black Duck; Hardhead; Australasian Grebe; Little Pied Cormorant; White‑necked Heron; White‑faced Heron;; Australian White Ibis;; Dusky Moorhen;  Eurasian Coot; Masked Lapwing;
2 Birds of Prey:  Black-shouldered Kite; Brown Goshawk; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Little Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Brown Falcon; Peregrine Falcon.
3 Parrots and Relatives:  Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo; Gang‑gang Cockatoo; Galah;  Little Corella; Sulphur‑crested Cockatoo; Australian King-parrot; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella; Red-rumped Parrot
4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds: Stubble Quail; Brown quail; Rock Dove; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; Painted Button-quail; Horsfield's Bronze‑Cuckoo; Shining Bronze‑cuckoo; Pallid Cuckoo; Fan-tailed Cuckoo; Eastern Barn Owl; Laughing Kookaburra.
 5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; Yellow-faced Honeyeater; White-eared Honeyeater; White‑plumed Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird; Brown‑headed Honeyeater; White-naped Honeyeater; Noisy Friarbird
6 Flycatchers and similar species: Golden Whistler; Rufous Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush; Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Leaden Flycatcher; Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Flame Robin; Eastern Yellow Robin; Welcome Swallow; Fairy Martin; Tree Martin
7 Thornbills, Finches and similar species:  Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren; Weebill; White-throated Gerygone; Striated Thornbill; Yellow‑rumped Thornbill; Buff‑rumped Thornbill; Brown Thornbill; Southern Whiteface; Spotted Pardalote; Striated Pardalote; Silvereye; Double‑barred Finch; Red‑browed Finch; Diamond Firetail; House Sparrow; European Goldfinch
8 Other, smaller birds:  White-throated Treecreeper; Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike; Olive‑backed Oriole; Dusky Woodswallow; Skylark; Australian Reed-warbler; Common Blackbird; Common Myna; Common Starling; Mistletoebird; Australasian  Pipit;
9  Other, larger birds: Satin Bowerbird; Grey Butcherbird; Australian Magpie; Pied Currawong; Grey Currawong; Australian Raven; Little Raven; White-winged Chough

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August 2011


 In September an astonishing 101 species of birds were recorded in the catchment area of the Gazette.  This is 11 more than in August this year and 15 more than September 2010.  I have noticed a significant increase in the diversity on our property in the past few weeks and other observers have noticed things ‘picking up’, especially with some dry country birds arriving.  


Thanks to several observers in: the Molonglo Valley, Captains Flat Rd, Hoskinstown, Radcliffe and Widgiewa Road.   

There have been a number of notable sightings in the month.  A King Parrot was reported from the Hoskinstown Plain: this is the third month in a row that this species has been reported instead of the usually infrequent reports. (I regard this as a positive!)   

There has been another record of Barn Owl (which have irrupted into Canberra this year as the mouse plague declines in the West of the State).   It is likely that the increased sightings of Black-shouldered Kites are also due to this cause.  These sightings have included an unusually large group of 6 hunting around 2 properties overlooking the Hoskinstown Plain which by 29 September had risen to an extraordinary (I am beginning to run low on superlatives) 14 birds in a single tree.

It is also noteworthy that after a shortfall for several months waterbirds are returning 

Migrants are shown in italics below.  Note that most of the regularly reported migrant species have begun to return already although there are a few more to come.  16 species which have been seen to have commenced breeding (broadly defined) this month are underlined.  I’d welcome records of any breeding activities seen in the area as well as first arrivals of any migrants not recorded below.

1  WaterbirdsMusk Duck; Black Swan;  Australian Shelduck; Australian Wood Duck; Pacific Black Duck; Hardhead; Australasian Grebe; Little Pied Cormorant; White‑necked Heron; White‑faced Heron;; Australian White Ibis;; Dusky Moorhen;  Eurasian Coot; Masked Lapwing;
2 Birds of Prey:  Black-shouldered Kite; Brown Goshawk; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Little Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Brown Falcon; Peregrine Falcon.
3 Parrots and Relatives:  Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo; Gang‑gang Cockatoo; Galah;  Little Corella; Sulphur‑crested Cockatoo; Australian King-parrot; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella; Red-rumped Parrot
4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds: Stubble Quail; Brown quail; Rock Dove; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; Painted Button-quail; Horsfield's Bronze‑Cuckoo; Shining Bronze‑cuckoo; Pallid Cuckoo; Fan-tailed Cuckoo; Eastern Barn Owl; Laughing Kookaburra.
 5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; Yellow-faced Honeyeater; White-eared Honeyeater; White‑plumed Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird; Brown‑headed Honeyeater; White-naped Honeyeater; Noisy Friarbird
6 Flycatchers and similar species: Golden Whistler; Rufous Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush; Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Leaden Flycatcher; Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Flame Robin; Eastern Yellow Robin; Welcome Swallow; Fairy Martin; Tree Martin
7 Thornbills, Finches and similar species:  Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren; Weebill; White-throated Gerygone; Striated Thornbill; Yellow‑rumped Thornbill; Buff‑rumped Thornbill; Brown Thornbill; Southern Whiteface; Spotted Pardalote; Striated Pardalote; Silvereye; Double‑barred Finch; Red‑browed Finch; Diamond Firetail; House Sparrow; European Goldfinch
8 Other, smaller birds:  White-throated Treecreeper; Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike; Olive‑backed Oriole; Dusky Woodswallow; Skylark; Australian Reed-warbler; Common Blackbird; Common Myna; Common Starling; Mistletoebird; Australasian  Pipit;
9  Other, larger birds: Satin Bowerbird; Grey Butcherbird; Australian Magpie; Pied Currawong; Grey Currawong; Australian Raven; Little Raven; White-winged Chough

Monday, August 1, 2011

July 2011


In  July 2011 78 species of birds were recorded in the catchment area of the Gazette.  This is 13 more than in June this year and one more than July 2010.  Thanks to several observers in: the  Molonglo Valley, Hoskinstown, Radcliffe and Widgiewa Road.   

There have been a number of notable sightings in the month.  4 female King Parrots were sighted in Radcliffe – the first at that site.  They are very rarely reported in the area generally.  Scarlet Robins have appeared again in my site and a property overlooking the Hoskinstown Plain.  I suspect they are moving through, as normal  in preparation for Spring in the higher country.  A huge flock of at least 50 immature/female Satin Bowerbirds was seen in the Plain on 31 July following a similar earlier sighting in Hoskinstown: extraordinary records.

Migrants are shown in italics below and species for which breeding (broadly defined) has been observed this month are underlined.

1  Waterbirds:  Musk Duck; Black Swan;  Australian Wood Duck; Grey Teal; Pacific Black Duck; Australasian Grebe; Little Pied Cormorant; White-faced Heron; Australian White Ibis; Purple Swamphen; Eurasian Coot; Masked Lapwing
2 Birds of Prey:  Black-shouldered Kite; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Little Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Brown Falcon; Australian Hobby
3 Parrots and Relatives:  Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo; Gang‑gang Cockatoo; Galah;  Sulphur‑crested Cockatoo; Australian King-parrot; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella
4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds: Brown quail; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; Fan-tailed Cuckoo; Laughing Kookaburra;
5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; White-eared Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird; Brown‑headed Honeyeater
6 Flycatchers and similar species: Golden Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush; Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Flame Robin; Eastern Yellow Robin; Welcome Swallow;
7 Thornbills, Finches and similar species:  Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren; Speckled warbler; Weebill; Striated Thornbill; Yellow‑rumped Thornbill; Buff‑rumped Thornbill; Brown Thornbill; Southern Whiteface; Striated Pardalote; Silvereye; Double‑barred Finch; Red‑browed Finch; Diamond Firetail; House Sparrow;
8 Other, smaller birds:  White-throated Treecreeper; Varied Sitella; Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike; Common Blackbird; Common Starling; Mistletoebird; Australasian  Pipit;
9  Other, larger birds: Satin Bowerbird; Grey Butcherbird; Australian Magpie; Pied Currawong; Grey Currawong; Australian Raven; Little Raven; White-winged Chough

.Breeding Records

There have been very few breeding records in recent months (as expected).  However August is the month when some of the locally resident species begin their breeding activity.  These initial stages will typically comprise observations of
  • Breeding Displays: usually males strutting their stuff to impress females, which can be impressive flights by raptors or intricate ‘song and dance routines’ by the smaller birds; or
  • Nest Building: in many cases this will be indicated by seeing the birds flying about with beaks full of nesting material.
I’d welcome any observations of such activities (or more flagrant breeding activity).

Friday, July 1, 2011

June 2011

Thanks to Julienne and John for pinch hitting for me this month while I visited the North Coast!!

In June 2011, 64 species of birds were recorded in the catchment area of the Gazette. Thanks go to observers in Hoskinstown, Forbes Creek and Widgiewa Road. Two species were recorded as breeding. A Black Swan with 3 dependent young was seen on Foxlow Lagoon and an Australasian Grebe also with 3 dependant young was observed on a dam in Hoskinstown. In the coming weeks we may be fortunate enough to see Black-shouldered Kites. Sightings of these kites have been noted in nearby locations where the number of mice has increased.  (Did we ever! see a post in my main blog for events in September -which carried on more on less into November.)



Bird species of June are listed below. Migrants are shown in italics below and species for which

breeding (broadly defined) has been observed this month are underlined.


1.Waterbirds: Musk Duck; Black Swan; Australian Shelduck; Australian Wood Duck; Grey Teal; Pacific Black Duck; Australasian Grebe; White-faced Heron; Dusky Moorhen; Eurasian Coot; Masked Lapwing.

2 Birds of Prey: Wedge-tailed Eagle; Little Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel.

3 Parrots and Relatives: Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo; Gang-gang Cockatoo; Galah;

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella.

4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds: Brown quail; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; Laughing Kookaburra.

5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; White-eared Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird;

Brown-headed Honeyeater.

6 Flycatchers and similar species: Golden Whistler; Rufous Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush;

Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Welcome Swallow.

7 Thornbills, Finches and similar species: Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren;

Speckled warbler; Weebill; Striated Thornbill; Yellow-rumped Thornbill; Buff-rumped Thornbill;

Brown Thornbill; Southern Whiteface; Silvereye; House Sparrow; European Goldfinch.

8 Other, smaller birds: White-throated Treecreeper; Varied Sittella; Dusky Woodswallow;

Common Blackbird; Common Starling; Mistletoebird; Australasian Pipit.

9 Other, larger birds: Satin Bowerbird; Grey Butcherbird; Australian Magpie; Pied Currawong; Grey Currawong; Australian Raven; Little Raven; White-winged Chough.

Winter Birds

During the cooler months birds tend to „mob up‟ to form larger flocks for protection as they seek winter feed.

The larger birds are most likely to join with other families of their own species to roam. During the last 6 weeks there has been local sightings of groups of 50 -200 Little Ravens, up to 100 Aust. Wood Ducks, 200-300 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, 30-40 White-winged Chough, up to 50 CrimsonRosella and 25 Gang-gangs.

Mixed Feeding Flocks (MFFs) are the go for the smaller birds that are happy to form loose groups of mixed species. Amongst the trees in timbered country you may see a MMF of Varied Sittella, Whiteeared Honeyeater, White-throated Treecreepers, Superb Fairywren, Red-browed Finch, Buffrumped, Striated & Brown Thornbill, Weebill, Silvereye, White-browed Scrubwren and Scarlet Robin.

While on the Plain the MMF may be Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Superb Fairywren, Silvereye, Buffrumped  & Brown Thornbill, Flame Robin, Southern Whiteface, Red-browed Finch and occasionally Double-barred Finch and Diamond Firetail. The largest number noted recently was a MMF of 100.

However it is likely that rural properties will have experienced smaller groups