Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February 2017

I'll start with a shot of a Kookaburra from Margie McComb.
In view of the Kooka's dietary habits Margie decided to keep the winter shade cloth over the stag-horn at their back door while the grey shrike thrush raised their young.

While thinking of Kingfishers, here is the Summer migrant, Sacred Kingfisher.  This one was in a group of 3 seen by Joy Williams and from its rather muted colours I reckon it is a youngster, not long out of the nest.
This year a pair of Sacred Kingfishers were kind enough to breed in a property on Knox Close.

The month closed off with the excitement of a Powerful Owl heard early one morning along Wanna Wanna Rd on 28 February.  During the month, the other notable unusual birds were: 

  • an Intermediate Egret seen on the rapidly shrinking marsh on the Plain - notes on identifying Egrets are here
  • at least 2 juvenile Nankeen Night Herons - originally seen at the Molonglo Crossing on Briars Sharrow Rd, then 1 near a farm dam on Plains Rd and finally 1 perching in a somewhat blackened eucalypt in our yard on 28 February; 
  • the first Pink-eared Duck for several months seen pn the marsh on the Plain; and
  • a Black Falcon seen on the Plain.

The final species in that list calls to mind the increased raptor diversity in the area, with Swamp and Spotted Harriers, and Little Eagle reported.

Overall we recorded 103 species - a little above both average and the number for the last 2 years.
I have been very surprised by the number of species which have been seen in the burnt area.  An initial report was compiled on  25 February and I'll update it in the near future.

There have been a few reports of breeding (species highlighted in red below).  Most of the Summer migrants are still around - and in fact Dusky Woodswallows have finally appeared in numbers at Whiskers Creek Rd.  I will do a special report on their movements soon.

As always, thanks to the observers who have provided reports to me for the month.  These have covered sites in Whiskers Creek Rd, Widgiewa Rd, Knox Close, Radcliffe Circuit, Captains Flat Rd, Molonglo River Park, Molonglo Valley, Wanna Wanna, and Hoskinstown Village and  Plain. I'm always happy to receive reports, my email address is

1  Waterbirds (pt 1):  (pt 2)(Pt 3); (Pt 4): Musk Duck; Black Swan;  Australian Shelduck; Australian Wood Duck; Pink-eared Duck; Australian Shoveler; Grey Teal;  Pacific Black Duck; Hardhead; Australasian Grebe; Hoary-headed Grebe; Little Pied Cormorant; White‑necked Heron;  Intermediate Egret; Eastern Great Egret: White‑faced Heron; Nankeen Night Heron; Australian White Ibis; Straw-necked Ibis; Eurasian  Coot; Black-winged Stilt; Black‑fronted Dotterel; Masked Lapwing; Whiskered tern

2 Birds of Prey:  Brown Goshawk; Collared Sparrowhawk;Spotted Harrier; Swamp Harrier; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Little Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Brown Falcon; Black Falcon, Peregrine Falcon.

3 Parrots and Relatives:  Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo; Gang‑gang Cockatoo; Galah;  Sulphur‑crested Cockatoo; Australian King‑parrot; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella; Red-rumped Parrot

4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds (Pt 1) (Pt 2) (Pt 3): Stubble Quail; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; Southern Boobook; Powerful Owl; Painted Button-quail; Laughing Kookaburra; Sacred Kingfisher; Dollarbird

5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; Yellow-faced Honeyeater; White-eared Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird; Brown‑headed Honeyeater; Noisy Friarbird.

6 Flycatchers and similar speciesRufous Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush; Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Leaden Flycatcher; Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Eastern Yellow Robin; Welcome Swallow

7 Thornbills, Finches and similar species (Pt 1) (Pt 2):  Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren; Weebill; White-throated Gerygone; Striated Thornbill; Yellow‑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