Trip Reports

Tuesday Outing to Dungowan 11 August 2020

There was a lot of interest in the outing to the Dungowan area. It was a beautifully warm day and it was much appreciated after the recent cold snap. Birdwatchers had the unusual experience of having to dodge mud and puddles as they moved around. It was good to see Jean Coady getting out and about again, and to welcome our newest member, Ted Giblin, who is visiting from Port Macquarie.

The first stop was at the Tip Reserve on the Peel River. The birds took a while to get moving, but we ended up with a list of 26 species there. The river was running strongly so we weren’t able to walk along it at the lower level, but there was plenty to look at in the nearby trees and grass. Joan’s favourite bird, the Crested Shrike-tit turned up in one of the big gums, but the best sighting by far were the Plum-headed Finches we found at the top of the track. There was a flock of about 40. A few Red-browed Finches were amongst them.

After a leisurely morning tea during which we debated about the identity of a bird call we kept hearing (White-throated Treecreeper), we moved on to the Dungowan Sportsground where we were given a warm welcome by the resident horses and a couple of campers.

The river there is looking a real mess at the moment as it recovers from the inundation from the temporary weir. The leafless trees don’t help either and I hope it is just that they are deciduous and not that the extra water has killed them.

We saw 28 species at the Sportsground, but nothing out of the ordinary. There were two magpie nests in one tree. One had a Magpie sitting on it. Galahs were popping their heads out of hollows nearby. A large flock of Corellas put in a noisy appearance.

The following birds were seen at both locations:- Grey Shrike-thrush, Crested Pigeon, Galah, Willie Wagtail, Australian Magpie, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, White-browed Scrubwren, Red Wattlebird, Superb Fairy-wren, White-plumed Honeyeater, Welcome Swallow, Nankeen Kestrel, Australian Wood Duck and Mistletoebird.

On top of that, these birds were only at the Tip Reserve:- Peaceful Dove, Spotted Dove, Olive-backed Oriole, Crested Shrike-tit, Brown Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Plum-headed Finch, Red-browed Finch, Straw-necked Ibis, Eastern Rosella, and White-throated Treecreeper.

We then added the following birds at the Sportsground:- Pied Butcherbird, Noisy Miner, Laughing Kookaburra, Little Corella, Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Magpie-lark, Tree Martin, Red-rumped Parrot, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Double-barred Finch, Musk Lorikeet, Striated Pardalote and Australian Raven.

Annabel Ashworth

Pilliga Forest Birdwatchers Visit Dead Filly Tank, 15 August 2020

It was a dreary old day out in the scrub, with drizzle early on, then 100% overcast before some gaps showed between the clouds late on (hence no photos at all). I worked with binoculars only and had the recorder near the tank itself at all times, rather than taking it with me when walking into the scrub. Here is my bird list (38 species in total):

Brown Falcon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Common Bronzewing, Galah, Eastern Rosella, Australian Ringneck (Mallee Ringneck), Turquoise Parrot, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Black-eared Cuckoo, White-throated Treecreeper, Brown Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren, Speckled Warbler, Inland Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Weebill, Noisy Friarbird, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Jacky Winter, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey-crowned Babbler, Varied Sittella, Crested Bellbird, Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike-thrush, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Olive-backed Oriole, White-winged Triller, Dusky Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Spotted Bowerbird, Australian Raven, Mistletoebird.

I will leave it up to everyone to decide on the bird of the day.

Candidates are either the migrants (returning or not leaving at all), which are the Black-eared Cuckoo and White-winged Triller (male in eclipse), or a pair of Brown Falcons calling out to each other and obviously preparing for the new breeding season.

Michael Dahlem

TBW Walk Along the Peel River, Tamworth Tuesday 25 August.2020

Nine members left the carpark by the Paradise Caravan Park and headed along the track to the bridge where we were surprised to see a platypus. We thought we’d found more but the proved to be that rare species – the stick platypus! The recent minor flood had caused some damage to the track and debris prevented us from getting closer to the bridge. Heading back closer to the water, we saw many Fairy Martins going back and forth to their nests under the eaves of a small building across the river. We returned to the carpark for morning tea and were joined by Jean Cody who is working to improve her mobility challenge.

Returning to the river path towards Bicentennial Park, we saw a large successful family of Wood Ducks by the side of the algae-covered pond. Highlight of the day was the Azure Kingfisher spotted by Jill on the far side of the river.

Birds Seen:

Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Little Pied Cormorant, Straw-necked Ibis, Dusky Moorhen, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Eastern Rosella, Azure Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Superb Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren, White-plumed Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Brown Honeyeater, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Willie Wagtail, Magpie-lark, Australian Reed-Warbler, Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin, Common Starling, Double-barred Finch, Red-browed Finch, House Sparrow,

Terri Mower

Outing to Manilla Saturday 29 August 2020

Ten of us set off for our first full day of birdwatching in six months and what a glorious day it was! We began at Manilla Weir where the Namoi River was in full flow which was something I had never seen. As vegetation went from scrub to large mature trees with plenty of hollows there were plenty of birds, 35 species which were: Australian Wood Ducks, Pacific Black Duck, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Little Black Cormorants, White-faced Heron, Straw Necked Ibis, Nankeen Kestrel Dusky Moorhen, Galahs, Little Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Azure Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburras, Superb Fairy-wren, Purple backed Fairy- wren, White-browed Scrubwren, Striated Pardalote. We then went to the bottom of River Street and walked to the junction of the Namoi and Manilla Rives. The highlight for me was the mud nest of the White-winged Chough which contained a large juvenile and a parent with an adolescent looking on. The tails and heads were well over the side of the small nest. Over towards the river was a She-oak with an additional eight Choughs of various ages. We then had lunch in Rotary Park accompanied by the monotonous call of the Wonga Pigeon from the aviary and on to Higgins Bridge and the back of the showground. Three Musk Lorikeets were enjoying the pink blossoms of eucalyptus leucoxylon (yellow box which also has white and red forms) We saw 32 species along the river in addition to many on the above list due to more vegetation were White-throated Gerygone, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Brown Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Australian Reed-Warbler, Fairy Martin, Pelican, Peaceful Dove. Next stop was the Sewage Ponds which had many ducks- Pink-eared, Australian Shoveler, Grey Teal, Hardhead, Pacific Black Ducks; Australasian Grebe, Eurasian Coot, Straw necked Ibis, 18 species in total were seen at this site. A most successful day.

Lyn Allen