Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May 2011

In  May 80 species of birds were recorded in the catchment area of the Gazette.  This is 5 more than in April this year and the same as May 2010.  Thanks to several observers in: the Molonglo Valley, Hoskinstown and Widgiewa Road.   

Only 1 species – Nankeen Kestrel  - was recorded as breeding.  The birds were seen involved in great affection, which in this species can occur some months prior to eggs being laid.  Juvenile Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos continue to be heard begging as they fly over, or sit in pine trees, but I regard this as evidence of indolence rather than breeding in the area. 

Flocks of finches feeding on grass-seeds, and sometimes mixed in flocks of several small bird species have been frequently noted.  On a couple of evenings our windows have been visited by hordes of moths, providing food for 'our' Tawny Frogmouths. 

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; Eurasian Coot; Black‑fronted Dotterel; Masked Lapwing;
2 Birds of Prey:  Brown Goshawk; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Brown Falcon.
3 Parrots and Relatives:  Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo; Gang‑gang Cockatoo; Galah;  Sulphur‑crested Cockatoo; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella; Red-rumped parrot.
4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds: Stubble Quail; Brown quail; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; Fan-tailed Cuckoo; Laughing Kookaburra.
5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; Yellow-faced Honeyeater; White-eared Honeyeater; Fuscous Honeyeater; White‑plumed Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird; New Holland Honeyeater; Brown‑headed Honeyeater.
6 Flycatchers and similar species: Golden Whistler; Rufous Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush; Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Eastern Yellow Robin; Welcome Swallow; 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; Spotted Pardalote; 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; Dusky Woodswallow; Skylark; 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


There has been a bit of action for this group in the recent past which presumably explains why I have given the nightbird group a second run!

This group includes the birds that are usually active by night, roosting quietly by day.  Not surprisingly they are not commonly reported (anywhere).  Most reports are of the calls of the bird, which carry long distances.  A hint for spotting them is to watch for the mobbing activities of small birds, giving a hint to the whereabouts of a roosting owl or frogmouth.

The exception to ‘unusual reporting’ in this area is the Tawny Frogmouth.  That reflects the presence of a breeding pair in our garden and I have recorded where they roost most days.  (They have 15 roost trees, of which about 5 are commonly used.)

The other more commonly reported species Southern Boobook, has the well known ‘more-pork’ call, frequently heard in September- October.  On two occasions I have found this species hiding in dense foliage in Cummbeun Nature Reserve.

Australian Owlet-nightjars have been reported in 10 months, typically sighting in the mouth of the tree hollows in which they live. 

4 species of Owl have been reported in the area.  Eastern Barn Owl has been reported 3 times while Powerful Owl has been reported once.  Barking Owl has only been reported once in the 4+ years I have been recording the birds but several longer-term residents have reported occasionally hearing the ‘murdered woman scream” of the bird in earlier years.