Trip Reports

Tuesday Morning at Woolomin Reserve 13 October 2020

Eight of us were able to enjoy more of this lovely spring weather out at Woolamin Reserve on Tuesday 13 October. First up we heard then saw the Dollarbirds, as usual sitting at the top of one of the tall eucalyptus trees. A lone Wood Duck was wandering around and the only Kookaburra seen did several fly-byes. From the bridge we listed several Superb Fairy-wrens and two Pacific Black Ducks quietly enjoying a dabble in the slow flowing Peel River. An Australian King-Parrot flew by and the Mistletoebirds continually announced their presence. Down the lane we added a Silvereye and a Grey Fantail busily feeding together. After chatting with one of the remaining campers we wandered down to the very pretty Peel River and were lucky enough to be able to watch an adult male and female Rufous Whistler with their one offspring feeding right in front of us. They didn’t seem to mind us being there. On the way back to the cars a Wedge-tailed Eagle was spotted overhead. Back up on the Reserve again there were two Musk Lorikeets sitting side by side on a large branch and as we watched they moved into their hollow home. This was just one of the many hollows seen here. Most had a resident bird sitting close by and one Little Corella was seen busily enlarging the opening and another Rainbow Lorikeet fly to its hollow with a fresh twig in its beak. As we watched it maneuvers the twig into the opening we were surprised when it chucked it out the other side. Obviously it wasn’t quite what was needed!

Driving down one of the back streets on the way out we had to stop the car as Terri and I were convinced that there were two adult Masked Lapwings with two young squatting on the edge of the road (the way they often do!) As we approached very slowly these “babies” stood up and it turned out it was four adults, no babies. We did wonder if they may have been teenagers though. We had a laugh at ourselves and realised you can see anything if you use your imagination!

Our final total was 37 birds seen for the morning being: Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Spotted Dove, Crested Pigeon, Bar-shouldered Dove, Straw-necked Ibis, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Masked Lapwing, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Musk Lorikeet, (sugg), Australian King-Parrot, Eastern Rosella, Laughing Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Dollarbird, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Yellow-rumpled Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Rufous Whistler(yon), Grey Shrike- thrush, Australian Magpie (yon), Pied Currawong, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Australian Raven, Magpie-lark, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow, Common Starling, Mistletoebird, House Sparrow.

Joan Dunne.

Pilliga Forest Birdwatchers Report on Timmallallie Dam 19 September 2020

Well, Timmallallie Dam has certainly been altered to become probably the Timmallallie Dam Wetland. It could well be the largest wetland in the Forest. Let's hope the birds find it the good place to be also. This month it gave us only 33 birds which was a bit of a let-down after last month's 60 odd. However this was not so surprising as for some reason it has never yielded large numbers despite the very good habitat. Although seven of our regulars were missing we still had nine turn up for the day. A very warm welcome to Sally Forsstrom who will we hope become a regular while we can keep her from returning to the Field Nats in Dubbo, and we were fortunate in having Karen Dunne and Mark Delany, two very proficient bird watchers from the coastal town of Ballina, who were staying at Camp Cypress. Just after we arrived I was standing looking down at the water's edge with Mark and he said Looks like a Peaceful Dove has just arrived". He lifted his binoculars and said "It has a red eye. It is a Diamond Dove" What a great bird to start our list for the day. The Woodswallows were out in full force. The White-browed were there in their usual large numbers accompanied by their few Masked, but the Dusky and White-browed were also there to keep them company. The Magpie-larks were busy feeding young in their nest with the Willie Wagtail's nest nearby. This has happened so often over the years that I always look for a Willie's nest when I see a Magpie-lark's. White-winged Trillers were paying the same tree close attention so they were probably aiming to join the other two. Their little flat nest is hard to see.

Here are the birds we saw today: Australian Wood Duck, Diamond Dove, Peaceful Dove, Common Bronzewing, Galah, Blue Bonnet, Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo, Black-eared Cuckoo, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Red Wattlebird, Noisy Friarbird, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Willie Wagtail, Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, White-winged Triller, White-breasted Woodswallow, White-browed Woodswallow, Masked Woodswallow, Dusky Woodswallow, Magpie-lark, Australian Magpie, Apostlebird, Plum-headed Finch, Fairy Martin, Rufous Songlark, Western Gerygone. The most unusual sighting for the day would have to be the Blue Bonnet Parrot. I don't think we have recorded it in the Forest itself. It is usually seen in more open country round Teridgerie or West of Baradine. If you are driving to Coonamble you will probably see a Blue Bonnet. If you are driving to Coonabarabran you probably won't. Some of the Gum trees present that had missed the 2018 fire will be flowering soon which may have been why we recorded five Honeyeaters and a Wattlebird, catching the first flower or waiting in anticipation. LIz Cutts was there with her wonderful camera set up among the trees beside the dam, but I am afraid it was a rather disappointing day only producing for a single Wood Duck. Cups of coffee in the sun, lunch in the shade says that we had a typical pleasant spring day to be out and about, with a recently burnt Forest desperately trying to make a comeback and provide a welcome to her birds. I think we would all have been home by 3.30pm.

Yarrigan National Park next month (one of our favourite sites) but more of that later.

TBW Saturday Outing to Bundarra Area 26 September 2020

On a fine but very windy Saturday morning, nine eager members made the 160 km journey to join me in exploring what was new territory for TBW. As I now live in Bundarra, I was asked to meet them and lead, using my slowly growing local knowledge. We visited three sites, the naming of which is rather vague, but we will stick with what my local informant, the official contact officer, has given me. The effect of drought is evident in the district, but many trees are showing signs of recovery. There is no fire damage.

There were a few particularly interesting sightings during the day. At the first site, we noted a pair of Australian Wood Ducks with seven ducklings on the dam. Also of interest here was the very close proximity to each other of White-throated Gerygone and Western Gerygone, seen by the group as being unusual. Of particular interest at Rifle Range was the sighting of a Diamond Dove. The sighting of the Purple-backed (Variegated) Fairy-wren at Clark’s Creek Junction, close to a Superb Fairy-wren was also quite interesting.

The first site on the itinerary was the western portion of the Bundarra Common, which overall straddles the Bundarra to Bingara Road. The portion we visited is an area of about 500 hectares of open Eucalypt woodland, with areas of open grassland, and a small number of Angophora. Roughly central is a small dam, which was full of water. On the western boundary lies Baker’s Creek, which is flowing well. There is little sign of damage by humans.

Bird list for Bundarra Common, Western Portion: Australian Wood Duck, (yon), Crested Pigeon, Straw-necked Ibis, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cockatiel, Eastern Rosella (yon), Laughing Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, Western Gerygone, White-throated Gerygone, Yellow Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Noisy Minor (aon), Blue-faced Honeyeater (yon), Noisy Friarbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie,

Australian Raven, Willie Wagtail, Magpie-lark, White-winged Chough (aon).

Next, we went a couple of kilometres north of Bundarra village, along Thunderbolt’s Way, to what is known locally as The Old Rifle Range, but has no known official name. It is just a parcel of crown land that is open to the public, similar size to above. I know of no water in it. It lies on the eastern verge of Thunderbolt’s Way and is opposite the Racecourse. The vegetation there is similar to what is on the Bundarra Common, except that perhaps half of the tree coverage is Ironbark, which is why I put it on the list. Unfortunately, there is no sign of the Ironbark flowering, but at least one Angophora was in profuse flower, creating much interest among the resident birds. Being open to the public, it has some rubbish.

Bird list for Bundarra Old Rifle Range: Diamond Dove, Peaceful Dove, Nankeen Kestrel, Galah, Eastern Rosella, Sacred Kingfisher, Superb Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote, Fuscous Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush (yon), Dusky Woodswallow, Australian Magpie, Willie Wagtail, Australian Raven, Magpie-lark, Eastern Yellow Robin, Rufous Songlark, Mistletoebird, Diamond Firetail (yon).

My final offering for a visit was what is known as Clark’s Creek Junction. It is a small area of park on the southern bank of the Gwydir River, at its confluence with Clark’s Creek, under and to the east of the bridge which carries Thunderbolt’s Way over the river, and lies on the northern edge of town. The river is flowing strongly.

Bird list for Clark’s Creek Junction, Bundarra: White-faced Heron, Dusky Moorhen, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Laughing Kookaburra, (sugg) Purple-backed Fairy-wren, (previously named Variegated Fairy-wren), Striated Pardalote, Noisy Friarbird, Australian Magpie, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Magpie-lark, Welcome Swallow.

Abbreviations: yon young out of nest, aon adult on nest, sugg Suggestive. In this case the Kookaburra was seen entering hollow in tree. I had compiled a list of 35 species within about 5 km of Bundarra, in preparation for the visit, to which the visitors added 17. Thank you one and all!

There was 43 species seen for the day, seven of which were breeding records.

Brian Leslie Birding and Best Wishes, David and Shirley

Attunga State Forest – Tuesday Bird Walk – 27th October 2020

The constant calling of an Eastern Koel greeted us, and remained heard, throughout our birding survey at Attunga State Forest.

Other spring/summer migrants were also present, including Rainbow Bee-eaters, White-winged Trillers and a pair of Leaden Flycatchers.

There has been an influx of Diamond Doves in our region this year and we heard one calling on our outing this morning. They have been recorded at this location before, but are rarely seen.

The master list for this site already boasts 151 species. While we didn’t manage to find a new one today, the birds were active after the recent heavy falls of rain. Our tally for the morning was 40 species.

Brett commented that the habitat of the area where we were birdwatching had good structural diversity. This in turn results in good bird diversity. The diversity this morning included observing five vulnerable species. The Little Eagle was amongst the five. We were fortunate to have a reasonably long look at it, as it flew over the forest.

Our Group Recorder was also delighted to hear that we were able to contribute three new breeding observations to the TBW records. These were for Jacky Winter, Rufous Whistler and Diamond Firetail.


Common Bronzewing, Diamond Dove, Peaceful Dove (5), Little Eagle, Galah (3), Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Lorikeet (8), Eastern Rosella (2), Turquoise Parrot, Eastern Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Speckled Warbler, Western Gerygone, White-throated Gerygone (2), Yellow-thornbill (2), Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Striated Pardalote, Fuscous Honeyeater (3), White-plumed Honeyeater (4), Noisy Friarbird, White-winged Triller (2), Rufous Whistler (3)(B), Grey Shrike Thrush, Olive-backed Oriole, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail (2), Australian Raven, Leaden Flycatcher (2), Magpie-lark (2), White-winged Chough (6), Apostlebird (4), Jacky Winter (B), Eastern Yellow Robin (2), Rufous Songlark (4), Mistletoebird, Diamond Firetail (4)(B).

Denise Kane