TAMWORTH BIRDWATCHERS Inc
16 May 2020 Moonbi Common by James Ardill
I had a brief excursion into the Moonbi Common last week and saw a few Turquoise Parrots, Jacky Winters and one Crested Shrike-tit. The sun was low and the light was not getting any better so I was determined to return in a better part of the day.
Saturday the 16th arrived and the temperature was 17 degrees approaching 11:00 am, so with my jeans tucked into my boots with my spats on I ventured back out for a couple of hours of birdwatching.
Got up to the fork on Moonbi Common Road and instead of going up the road like last week, I turned right and crossed over the creek. Some Red-browed Finches were there and White-browed Scrubwrens as well. Lo and behold a Plum-headed Finch landed on a branch and stayed long enough for several photos. Some bird twitterings led me deeper into the scrub with sticky beaks left right and centre!
More Red-browed Finches and a pair of Eastern Rosellas were quickly encountered and in my wanderings came upon a well-used track, by horses and motorbikes. So I decided to proceed along this track parallel to the Moonbi Common Road but on the northern side of the creek. I was heading back toward Moonbi and it was a quite productive decision. Welcome Swallows, Dusky Woodswallows,
Willie Wagtails and Grey Fantails were quickly photographed and then the fun started.
A Fan-tailed Cuckoo was spotted near the creek line and although flighty, enough photographs were taken to satisfy this young fellow. Then the find of the day – a ROSE ROBIN in glorious colour and with just a hint of a white spot on the forehead. Well one hour later and hundreds of stickybeaks later I had sufficient photos to last me a life time – OK maybe six months.
Did I tell you about the four Turquoise Parrots feeding quietly along this track with a female and a juvenile allowing some great photos to be taken. I was conflicted by an almighty dilemma: parrot ….robin…. parrot ….robin….cuckoo….parrot…. you get the picture.
Well after two hours of nonstop action I started back and behold a small family group of four Speckled Warblers were twittering in the low branches of the cypress pines. Afraid to say many more photos were taken. Did I mention that the male Rufous Whistler was in good voice along with the female and an immature male being around.
Saw the robin again and headed uphill to get a few more shots if possible. Some Australian Ravens flew over, when the warbling of a White-throated Gerygone enabled some great shots interspersed with some lovely captures of Spotted Pardalotes. The day was getting better and it was only 2:00 pm.
Continued to climb the hill and saw Grey Shrike-thrushes energetically chase each other around. This lead to the Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater posing with Silvereyes and Yellow Thornbills foraging in the canopy. A pair of Crimson Rosellas appeared after I disturbed 10 or 12 Peaceful Doves feeding on the ground although they took to the closest trees rather than disappearing altogether like usual. Back to the Crimsons so some nice shots of them as they were quite obliging landing in a tree just 10 metres away and stayed there.
Collared Sparrowhawk flew past and accelerated when he saw me. He did not perch so probably looking for dinner. My wife called and asked me where was I? Up the hill I replied. Over the hill she retorted! 3:00 pm and I was going to be home two hours ago. I will be right down, get the cuppa ready!
My cup of tea was cold. 100 metres from the car and I was ready for home. White-throated Treecreeper shimming up the rough bark of a stringybark. Some excellent shots there, then a young Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike feeding along a branch.
I’ll take that and then to my amazement a pair of Crested Shrike-tits flew into the tree above my head and started to feed and display and generally make themselves highly noticed. Highly photogenic birds must I say. Home by 4:30 pm and some 287 photos and some 39 species. I am done for the day!
MY BIRDS OF THE DAY
in order of delight
1. Rose Robin
2. Crested Shrike-tit
3. Turquoise Parrot
4. Plum-headed Finch
5. Fan-tailed Cuckoo
6. Speckled Warbler
7. White-throated Gerygone
8. Collared Sparrowhawk Australian Magpie
Eastern Yellow Robin
Common Myna Trapping and a Collared Sparrowhawk
By Bruce Terrill
The local Collared Sparrowhawk has spoiled my most recent attempt at Common Myna trapping.
In the past foxes and feral cats have been a problem by attacking the Mynas within the trap. Now another problem has occurred in the form of the local Collared Sparrowhawk.
It took three days before I trapped my first Myna then with this caller in the trap another seven Mynas were trapped on the next day. I euthanized most of the trapped birds and kept a couple as callers and I was confident that with a flock in excess of forty Common Mynas in the area I was on my way to trapping many of them. Alas it was not to be, it seems the callers attracted the attention of Currawongs, Ravens and a very determined Collared Sparrowhawk.
The distress call of the Mynas attracted the attention of other birds including a Willie Wagtail, several Magpie-larks, Magpies and a noisy onslaught from the neighbourhood Guinea Fowl, all getting involved to frighten the Sparrowhawk away. This cacophony of noise attracted human attention and this combined to cause the Sparrowhawk to depart.
I decided a spell in the shed for the trapped Mynas was necessary before bringing the trap out and placing it in a different location. Again the Collared Sparrowhawk found the trap and attempted to pluck the Mynas from the trap before being hunted away by the similar cohort of birds including the noisy Guinea Fowl and us humans.
Repeat of above procedure, then new location but again no further trapping success. However, after three days the Collared Sparrowhawk returned finding the trap and is again chased away. As I can see the trap from the house I keep watch. However in a ten-minute period, when my attention was elsewhere the Sparrowhawk returned and while I was quickly alerted to its presence by the alarm call of the Mynas and other birds, it had managed to kill and partially consume one of the caller Mynas through the mesh.
This means no more Myna trapping, for at least the time being. The object to trap and euthanize Common Mynas must be done humanely which is not possible with constant Sparrowhawk harassment. I also suspect that once the caller birds have been threatened in the trap they don’t work as callers.
While it is always nice to see local raptors I would prefer it if they did not attacking my Myna trap and I would really like it if they caught more Mynas for themselves. However the evidence suggest that our local Collared Sparrowhawk specialises in catching Magpie-larks. The tell-tale piles of feather left behind and an earlier sighting of a Collared Sparrowhawk consuming a Magpie-lark on our lawn.