The Chat by bnmbgtrtr52


									                                          The Chat
  Number 43

  February 2010
                                          Newsletter of East Gippsland
                                          Bird Observation and Conservation

Committee:                                Regent Honeyeaters breed in East Gippsland
Chris Healey 5157 9036
Vice President
Ken Sherring 5156 4413
Jill Markey 5157 5206
Claire Beecher 5152 3729
Conservation Officer
Sue Welté 5156 2181
Max Markey 5157 5206
Harvey Rodda 5156 8245

                                          Adult male Regent Honeyeater at Mitchell River Silt Jetties, 18 Dec 2009

                                          Local birders have been excited by reports of           for future identification. This involved erecting
Inside this issue                         Regent Honeyeaters at Eagle Point in December           mistnets along the side of the road and water’s
                                          and January. The species is only a vagrant in           edge. Playback of recorded calls quickly
President’s Report                   2    the EGBOC region, with only 6 records in the            brought the male to investigate the apparent
                                          club’s files between 1992 and 2003. So when             intruder. He was soon caught, weighed, meas-
Notice: EGBOC Surveys 2010           2    reports surfaced of a pair feeding a young bird         ured, photographed and fitted with a numbered
Large forest owls in East Gipp-      4    along the Mitchell River Silt Jetties at Eagle          metal band and colour bands for easy identifica-
sland                                     Point there was a flurry of activity!                   tion. Attempts to catch the female were initially
  Rohan Bilney & Felicity L’Hotel-                                                                thwarted when the male became caught in the
lier                                      Word went out to Dean Ingwersen of Birds Aus-           nets twice more, but by the following day, Dean
                                          tralia, who as co-ordinator of Woodland Birds for       and Rohan were able to band both the female
Red in tooth and claw                4    Biodiversity, has a special interest in the Regent
                                                                                                  and the juvenile.
 Brian Bullivant                          Honeyeater. Dean immediately drove down
                                          from Melbourne to check out the reports and             Investigating subsequent reports, Ken Sherring
Birding without a field guide        5    invited EGBOC to participate in the search.             was able to confirm the presence of three Re-
 Chris Healey                                                                                     gent Honeyeaters in the same stretch of road
                                          Early on the morning of 18 December, Dean               reserve and adjacent house gardens on 8 Janu-
Report on BOCA Challenge             6
                                          met up with other local birders Rohan Bilney,           ary. They were presumably the same birds as
Count 2009
                                          Jim Reside and EGBOC members Ken Sherring               previously, so it was excellent news that the
Meeting points for outings Feb-      6    and Max Markey at the Silt Jetties. The enthusi-        juvenile had so far survived the various hazards
May                                       asts quickly located a pair of adults exactly           facing young inexperienced birds! This is the
                                          where reports had put them, and confirmed that          first recorded case of local nesting of the Re-
Bird camp at Dargo, Oct 2009         7
                                          they were feeding a juvenile. The young bird            gent Honeyeater in East Gippsland.
 Pat McPherson & Marg Hallett
                                          was still a weak flyer and not long out of the
Monthly report                       8    nest, indicating that the birds had nested in the       Over the last two months there were also uncon-
                                          immediate area. Local residents confirmed that          firmed reports of Regent Honeyeaters being
Outings schedule 2010                9    they had been seeing the birds over the previ-          seen in bushland at Wiseleigh (early December)
                                          ous 6 weeks or so.                                      and at Nyerimilang Heritage Park (early Janu-
Tail Feathers                        10                                                           ary).
                                          Dean decided to catch the birds to band them                                           (Continued on page 3)
 Number                                                                                                                            Page 2

President’s report — Chris Healey
Welcome to 2010! Last year ended well with           nomination to indicate he or she is willing to       The Chat is published three
another successful club effort in the BOCA Chal-     stand. Nominations will also be accepted from        times a year by East Gippsland
lenge Count early in December, followed by our       the floor at the AGM. There is no nomination         Bird Observation and Conserva-
Christmas Party at Nyerimilang.                      form.                                                tion, PO Box 825, Bairnsdale,
With a milder summer (so far) and some useful        The AGM is scheduled for 9 am on 22 February         Victoria 3875.
rain, we can hopefully look forward to some          at the DSE offices, Main Street, Bairnsdale,         EGBOC is grateful to the Depart-
good birding in the coming year. This year’s                                                              ment of Sustainability and Envi-
                                                     Regrettably, the lack of firm bookings has
birding schedule includes visits to a number of                                                           ronment for support in the pro-
                                                     meant we have had to cancel the Gabo Island
our regular sites as well as a few venues that                                                            duction of the Newsletter.
                                                     camp in March. We are looking at two other
we have not visited for some time. We have
                                                     camps for the year, however, in April and Octo-      The illustration of the White-
tried to include a few outings in the Sale-Maffra
                                                     ber. At this stage, we are still looking for sug-    fronted Chat on the cover is
region, and hope that some of our club mem-
                                                     gestions of locations, so if you have any ideas,     from The Slater Field Guide to
bers living in that area may be able to join us.
                                                     please let me or other members of the club           Australian Birds 1989.
Don’t forget that from this year we change to        executive know.
reporting to members on a calendar year basis.                                                            Contact The Editor at the above
                                                     Besides our regular Monday outings and camps,        address, or:
Thus, our Annual General Meeting will be held
                                                     the club will be continue the Bushfire Recovery
early in the year (22 February), rather than to-
                                                     Surveys and Wetland Surveys, but on a revised
wards the end of the financial year as in the
                                                     schedule. See the notice below for an update
                                                     on these activities.
All positions on the club executive will become
                                                     Happy birding for 2010!
vacant at the AGM. I encourage all members to
consider nominating for the committee. Written
nominations should be addressed to the Secre-
tary. If you are nominating another member,
please ensure that person countersigns your

New members
Welcome to new members since the last issue:         John O’Malley, Bairnsdale
Dale Kilby, Paynesville

Notice: EGBOC Surveys 2010
Bushfire Recovery Surveys:                      Markey): January, April, July, October          Macleods Morass, we will hold a fourth
                                                Waterholes (coordinated by Chris Healey):       count in late November or early December
Three years have now passed since the
                                                January, May, August, November                  (coordinated by Chris Healey).
devastating wildfires of the summer of
2006-07 in East Gippsland. We began our         Note that the club will hold one regular        EGBOC members and visitors are welcome
surveys of the immediate effects of the         Monday outing at each site during the year;     to participate in any of these surveys.
fires, and the slow process of recovery of      see the Outings Schedule for dates.             Contact the relevant coordinator (see Out-
habitat and bird populations in February                                                        ings Schedule for contact details).
2007, with regular monthly surveys at Mon-      Wetlands Surveys:
key Creek and Fairy Dell, and quarterly         As part of the club’s ongoing programme of
surveys at Waterholes. From this year the       birdwatching in a range of wetland, lake
club will scale back the survey schedule to     and beach sites across the region, we con-
quarterly at all three sites.                   duct quarterly surveys at Nyerimilang and
The proposed schedule is as follows:            Macleods Morass during scheduled Mon-
                                                day club outings to these locations. We
Monkey Creek (coordinated by Ken Sher-          conduct 20 minute counts at two points at
ring): March, June, September, December         each site. In addition to the three regular
Fairy Dell (coordinated by Max & Jill           club outings each to Nyerimilang and
Number                                                                                                                          Page 3

(Continued from page 1)

The Regent Honeyeater is seriously threatened
throughout its range, primarily through loss of
habitat. Once a moderately common bird of box
-ironbark forests, especially north and west of
the Great Dividing Range, its numbers have
been dropping dramatically in recent decades
as the once extensive box-ironbark forests have
been cleared. Prolonged drought in recent
years, which has resulted in greatly diminished
flowering of eucalypt forests, has almost cer-
tainly further contributed to the decline of Re-
gent numbers. The birds depend largely on
nectar from flowering box and ironbark species
for their food. Nestlings are fed predominantly
on insects caught at flowering eucalypts. Offi-
cially recognized as endangered, the total popu-
lation of the species is estimated at between
about 800 and 2000, making it one of the rar-
est of our diminishing woodland birds.
Anyone seeing or hearing of Regent Honey-
eaters in our area is encouraged to notify Dean
Ingwersen at Birds Australia, or EGBOC.

                                                   Clockwise from above: Erecting mistnets beside road; Dean Ingwersen with adult male;
                                                   Max Markey releases male; Juvenile begging; Dean weighs male. Photos: Ken Sherring
                                                   18 Dec 2009.
Number                                                                                                                                                         Page 4

Large forest owls in East Gippsland — Rohan Bilney & Felicity L’Hotellier
Three species of Large Forest Owl occur in            ant young had a home-range of 1535 ha MCP
south-eastern Australia, the Powerful Owl (Ninox      over a 7 month period, in a relatively disturbed
strenua), Sooty Owl (Tyto tenebricosa) and            and fragmented landscape.
Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae). There is
                                                      Home range size could not be determined for
limited ecological information available due to
                                                      Masked Owls as insufficient data was obtained.
difficulties associated with studying these spe-
                                                      Only a maximum of 3 nights tracking was ob-
cies, as they are nocturnal, occur at low densi-                                                                “To catch the reader's attention, place an
                                                      tained from any one individual.                           interesting sentence or quote from the story
ties, nest and (for Sooty Owls and Masked Owls)                                                                 here.”

often roost in hollow trees.                          All owls radio-tracked were shown to be residen-
                                                      tial and territorial. All non-breeding owls regu-
Research gathered information covering a range
                                                      larly traveled 2-3 km from their roosting site,
of ecological attributes from all three species of
                                                      flying a maximum of 5-8 km within a night. On
Large Forest Owl, by catching and radio-tracking
                                                      several occasions, female Sooty Owls were re-
individuals in areas where they occur together
                                                      corded staying within a few hundred metres of a
in East Gippsland.
                                                      roosting site all night.
In total 3 male and 5 female Sooty Owls were
                                                      Sooty Owls and Masked Owls were found to use
radio-tracked for durations of between 3 and
                                                      a large number of hollow Eucalypts for roosting
13months. Home range size varied significantly
                                                      which were scattered throughout the landscape,
between individuals, ranging between 310 ha-
3421 ha MCP. It appears that breeding status          ranging in size between 62-257 cm (DBH). The
and sex were the main determinants of home-           Powerful Owl roosted exclusively amongst the
range size, with home-ranges of males being           foliage of trees, predominantly within rainforest.
significantly larger than those of females. Home-                                                          Sooty Owl, Bairnsdale, 13 July
ranges of males were also found to significantly                                                           2008. Photo: Leah Beekman
overlap that of neighbouring pairs.
A single female Powerful Owl with two depend-

Red in Tooth and Claw — Brian Bullivant
I wish I hadn't mowed that patch of long grass.       I debated whether to go down and inter-
For several days I had noticed a rather scruffy       vene, jamas and all, but was forestalled by
little Common Bronzewing fossicking for grass         the raven's attempt to carry off the Bronzewing
seeds along with a couple of Eastern Rosellas,        to a nearby tree. It failed - probably its weight
but had thought little of it. That's what Bron-       was too great - the raven flew off, and an even
zewings do.                                           more beaten-up Bronzewing limped under
But when I finally mowed the grass it became
clear that all was not well with that one. It scut-   Good on you, I thought, maybe you have a
tled ahead of me looking very beaten-up indeed,       chance. But again no, the raven swooped down
with half its feathers missing. Not at all well,      into the same patch of cover, obviously deter-
but at least able to seek cover under nearby          mined to get a feed. That's that, I lamented, the
bushes. So I went on with my mowing.                  little Bronzewing had put up a brave bid to sur-
                                                      vive, but would not be able to do so again.
A couple of days later, early in the morning, and
still in my jamas, I checked out of my kitchen        Later in the day Little Patchy and I went down to
window while making a first cuppa to see what         investigate the patch; I took a spade to give the
might be around and there was the Bronzewing          remains a decent burial and consign it to
again, fossicking through the mown grass.             Gaia, but there was no sign of the bird or any
Good, I thought, it looks as if it might survive.     feathers. Maybe it escaped again, but I doubt it,
                                                      more likely the raven had managed to carry it
But no, an Australian Raven swooped out of the        off.
Tasmanian Bluegum, landed on the Bronzewing
and proceeded to peck it furiously. In the past I     I find it hard not to be emotionally affected by
had seen a Brown Goshawk use similar tactics          such events. I know, I know "nature red in tooth
to attack some Wood Ducks on the side of the          and claw" and all that, but I wish I hadn't mowed
dam, but to see an Australian Raven do so was         that patch of long grass.
a surprise.
Number                                                                                                       Page 5

Birding without a field guide — Chris Healey
We are well-served in Australia with a number of      many of them small and isolated, and even into
excellent field guides which are genuine              the 1990s, poorly known ornithologically. Al-
‘handbooks’ – comprehensive, informative and          though most of the islands have relatively few
small enough to carry in one hand or even a           species of birds, but there is incredible diversity,
back pocket in the field. Anyone who began            with many species being confined to a single is-
birding before the 1970s will remember strug-         land. With no book of any sort, many of my sight-
gling with what was then available to the aver-       ings remained unidentified for years, until a good
age birder – Cayley’s What Bird is That? or           modern guide was published by Coates and
Leach’s An Australian Bird Book. They had their       Bishop (A Field Guide to the Birds of Wallacea). It
merits at the time, but were not a patch on the       was only then that I could put a name to several
modern field guides.                                  mystery birds, including the gorgeous Lazuli King-
                                                      fisher seen in the lush jungle of Ambon and a
I have been fortunate to be able to combine           particularly beautiful fantail I encountered on the
birding with my profession as an anthropologist.      island of Banda that puts our own Rufous Fantail
First stop, Papua New Guinea, for four years          in the shade!
from 1970. Back then there were no field
guides. The best reference for birders was the        Lacking a field guide can be frustrating at times,
Handbook of New Guinea Birds by the great             but it really sharpens the wits and encourages
American ornithologists, Tom Gilliard and Austin      close attention to detail –which has paid off and
Rand. This was a fantastic resource, but it’s a       made me a better birder. If only I was as compe-
big book, heavy, rather technical, with only a few    tent at the beginning as I am now I would have
illustrations – not the sort of thing to lug around   got a lot more out of my New Guinea birding!
in the jungle.
However, it was all I had to identify all those
wonderfully new tropical birds, so it came with
me when I lived in a mountain village for a year.
                                                      Up a tree in PNG. Photo: Felicity Healey, 1974
More than 30 years later it still has a wonder-
fully evocative scent that transports me back to
the highlands – a heady mixture of woodsmoke,
human sweat and mould! One of the great
things about Rand and Gilliard is that they pro-
vide detailed descriptions of plumage to make
up for the lack of illustrations. I quickly learned
my way round most of the technical terms, and
the importance of taking detailed notes, so that
when I got back to base I could compare them
with the book to make identifications.
We made excursions into the high mountain
forest in search of birds of paradise, camping
out for several days in rough hunting lodges of
the villagers. We took along rice and local pro-
duce, but our local companions invariably
caught some sort of game on these excursions
to add to the evening meal – a cuscus or a giant
rat, and once some tiny bats.
Years later an excellent paperback field guide to
New Guinea birds was published, and it proved
its value on other field trips to the Aru Islands
(lying south of western New Guinea) and West
Papua, but somehow the ease of identifying a
new bird from a well-illustrated guide took away
something of the excitement of discovery!
After New Guinea came research trips to Borneo
and the eastern Indonesian Maluku Islands.
There are now excellent field guides for both
regions, but not then. There was a classic book
on Borneo birds, Bertram Smythies’ Birds of
Borneo, but few birds were illustrated, and many
were not even described in the text, which made
identifications difficult to impossible! Maluku
(the Spice Islands) presented even bigger prob-
lems. This is a region of innumerable islands,
Number                                                                                                                          Page 6

Report on BOCA Challenge Count 2009
EGBOC put on yet another great team           Fairy Dell, Bruthen and Canni Creek           species (17% of all species recorded,
effort in last year’s Challenge Count over    among others. The Marlo team also             about the same as the previous year),
the first weekend of December. The club       ranged to Cape Conran, Cabbage Tree           including Black Swan, Hooded Plover,
fielded two Teams, each conducting            Palms reserve and the Snowy River at          Spotted Pardalote, Tree Martin and Red-
counts within a 40 km radius of a central     Orbost.                                       browed Finch.
point: Team A surveyed the Bairnsdale
area, as in the past (our circle was actu-     Among the highlights for the count were 6    We recorded a total of 11,874 individual
ally centred on Nicholson), while Team B      Emu at Marlo, a pair of Pink-eared Duck at    birds (up from 9,215 in 2008). The most
                                              Lake Bunga, Topknot Pigeons (Marlo),          numerous species was Straw-necked Ibis
covered the Marlo-Orbost area.
                                              White-necked Heron (Nicholson and Wise-       (737 birds), followed by Crested Tern
The combined total number of species for      leigh-Bruthen), good numbers of White         (599) and Starling (584). Numbers of
both teams was 171, two more than for         and Straw-necked Ibis and Royal Spoon-        most of the more numerous species were
the 2008 event! The Bairnsdale team           bills nesting at Macleods Morass, Square-     up in 2009 on 2008 figures, notably for
notched up 159 species – one more than        tailed Kite (Nyerimilang-Nungurner), Spot-    Eurasian Coot, Crested Tern, Superb Fairy
in 2008, while the Marlo team recorded        ted and Spotless Crakes (Macleod Mo-          -wren, Magpie, Grey Fantail and Welcome
112 – two more than in 2008. Given that       rass), 6 Hooded Plovers (Marlo), Common       Swallow. Silver Gulls were much less
the Marlo team was made up of only            Sandpiper (lower Tambo), a pair of Marsh      numerous. Unwelcome feral introduc-
three members, their result is particularly   Sandpipers and 85 Sharp-tailed Sandipers      tions were also more numerous, particu-
impressive. Theirs was also the highest       (Macleod Morass), Little Tern at Lake         larly Blackbirds and House Sparrows,
number of species recorded by any of the      Tyers and Marlo, Little Corellas at several   with a minor increase in Common Mynas.
contributing groups! We are yet to learn      sites including about 100 at Bairnsdale,      On a more positive note, we actually re-
how our 2009 results compared with            Turquoise Parrot (Canni Creek), Eastern       corded 2 fewer Starlings than in 2008!
other teams around Australia.                 Koel (Kalimna, Raymond Island, Paynes-        This was another great result for EGBOC.
Team A covered more sites than in previ-      ville – possibly the same bird, Bruthen       It will be interesting to see if we can in-
ous years, and these took in a wide range     and Metung), Brush Cuckoo (Marlo), Red-       crease the number of species recorded at
of habitats, from lakes and swamps to hill    browed Treecreeper (Marlo), Southern          the end of this year with a carefully or-
forest and heathlands. We had partici-        Emu-wren (Canni Creek and Marlo), Wee-        chestrated campaign! Thanks to all
pating groups birding around Nicholson,       bill (Bairnsdale), Cicadabird (Fairhope),     those who participated in the challenge.
Bairnsdale, Swan Reach, Tambo River,          White-browed Woodswallows at various
Raymond Island, Paynesville, Eagle Point,     sites, including Blond Bay and breeding at
Newlands Arm, Banksia Peninsula, Blond        Trident Arm and Canni Creek, Rufous Fan-
Bay, Nyerimilang, Metung, Nungurner,          tail (Fairy Dell), Restless Flycatcher
Macleods Morass, Lake Tyers beach,            (Trident Arm), Bassian Thrush (Fairy Dell).
Trident Arm, Nowa Nowa, Lake Bunga,           Evidence of breeding was recorded in 29

 Meeting Points for Outings Feb-May 2010
 A reminder that we will no longer gather at Pin-         19 – Den Of Nargun Picnic Area - Dargo
 nock Street prior to departure for Monday Out-               road turn right into Waller road then
 ings. Instead, we will meet at or near the venue             into Nargun Rd
 site at times indicated. If in doubt, check with     MAY 3 – Nyerimilang Park
 leader of the day (see Schedule)                         10 – Gate of Water Treatment works, Hol
                                                              loway St, Bairnsdale
 FEB 1 – Nyerimilang Park at 9.00                         17 – Canni Creek Race Course
     8 – Gate of Water Treatment works, Hollo             24 – to be confirmed
          way St, Bairnsdale – 9am                        31 – Lake Bunga Beach Road parking area
     15 – Cnr Princes Highway and Bengworden
          Road - 9am
     22 – DSE office Bairnsdale - 9am
 MAR 1 – Cnr Bengworden and Comleys Roads –
      15 – Toilet block Metung Road - 9am
      22 – Picnic Point Reserve Yeates Dr - 9am
      29 – Mt Taylor Hall, Wy Yung-Bullumwaal
 APR 12 – Cnr Princes Highway and Burnt Bridge
          Road(Lakes Entrance side)
 Number                                                                                                                                Page 7

Bird Camp at Dargo, October 2009 — Pat McPherson & Marg Hallett
Dargo was at its best in the last week of     row road.                                      Laughing Kookaburra
October when thirteen members enjoyed a                                                      Sacred Kingfisher
wonderful birding experience. The weather     The week concluded with a great dinner at      Rainbow Bee-eater
was warm and sunny, the hills and valleys     the historic Dargo pub.                        White Throated Treecreeper
were green and contrasted beautifully with    Special thanks go to Jill and Max Markey       Satin Bowerbird
the purple bloom of the Paulownia trees       and Margaret Hallett for sourcing the ven-     Superb Fairy Wren
and the river was running clear and spar-     ues and to Jill and Max for their leadership   White-browed Scrubwren
kling beside our campsite on the Upper        over the five days.                            Yellow Thornbill
Dargo Road. Non-campers had excellent                                                        Yellow-rump Thornbill
accommodation at the Dargo River Hotel        The following species were recorded:           Brown Thornbill
with real chairs and beds in their own                                                       Spotted Pardalote
rooms.                                        Stubble Quail                                  Striated Pardalote
                                              Australian Wood Duck                           Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Happy hours alternated between both ven-                                                     White-eared Honeyeater
ues and there were no mosquitoes, no flies    Pacific Black Duck
                                              Spotted Dove                                   Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
and no flying ants to upset the positive                                                     Bell Miner
enjoyment of a glass (or two) around the      Common Bronzewing
                                              Wonga Pigeon                                   Red Wattlebird
campfire at the bush camp.                                                                   Scarlet Honeyeater
                                              Little Pied Cormorant
Birding was excellent at four sites – the     Great Cormorant                                Brown-headed Honeyeater
Upper Dargo Road, Black Gully Road, Short     Australian Pelican                             White-naped Honeyeater
Cut Road and Lower Dargo Road. Alto-          Brown Goshawk                                  Noisy Friarbird
gether 84 species were identified. High-      Wedge-tailed Eagle                             Eastern Whipbird
lights of the birdlife were three pairs of    Nankeen Kestrel                                Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike
(nesting) Rainbow Bee-eaters, a Crested       Brown Falcon                                   White-winged Triller
Shrike-tit, a pair of large baby Magpies      Masked Lapwing                                 Crested Shrike Tit
looking down from their nest and screech-     Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo                   Golden Whistler
ing incessantly, a pair of Goldfinch and      Gang Gang Cockatoo                             Rufous Whistler
numerous Noisy Friarbirds.                    Galah                                          Grey Shrike-thrush
                                              Sulphur Crested Cockatoo                       Olive-backed Oriole
Highlights of the human life were Max                                                        Dusky Woodswallow
Markey ‘calling down’ a Crested Shrike-tit    Rainbow Lorikeet
                                              Australian King Parrot                         Grey Butcherbird
at our lunch stop at the confluence of the                                                   Australian Magpie
Dargo, Wonnangatta and Mitchell Rivers;       Crimson Rosella
                                              Eastern Rosella                                Grey Fantail
Margaret Hallett producing her amazing                                                       Willie Wagtail
‘travelling dunny-cleaning kit’ and doing a   Horsfields Bronze Cuckoo
                                              Shining Bronze Cuckoo                          Australian Raven
splendid job on the bush toilet at the                                                       Satin Flycatcher
campsite, and Max spotting some Pipits at     Fan-tailed Cuckoo
                                              Brush Cuckoo                                   Magpie Lark
30 metres whilst negotiating a high, nar-                                                    White-winged Chough
                                                                                             Jackie Winter
                                                                                             Flame Robin
                                                                                             Eastern Yellow Robin
                                                                                             Australian Reed-warbler
                                                                                             Rufous Songlark
                                                                                             Welcome Swallow
                                                                                             Fairy Martin
                                                                                             Tree Martin
                                                                                             Common Blackbird
                                                                                             Common Starling
                                                                                             Red-browed Finch
                                                                                             Diamond Firetail
                                                                                             House Sparrow
                                                                                             Australasian Pipit
                                                                                             European Goldfinch

                                                                                               Max Markey, the ‘Shrike-tit Whisperer’, calling
                                                                                               down a Crested Shrike-tit for the benefit of
                                                                                               Dargo campers.

                                                                                               Photo: Jill Markey
Number                                                                                                                               Page 8

Monthly Report
Monthly Reports
This monthly summary draws on birding
records from EGBOC outings, reports
from members and sundry other sources
including the Birdline Victoria website
(BV) since publication of the last issue of
The Chat. Thanks to all those who pro-
vide information on unusual sightings,
interesting behaviour, seasonal migrants,
breeding records etc. The records below
are listed in good faith and have not been
subject to expert evaluation.
November 2009: The month saw a num-
ber of interesting records of summer
migrants and increasing breeding activity.
White-headed Pigeons and Crested Pi-
geons were seen at Gypsy Point (Janine
Duffy), with waders also noted in the far
east: Sooty Oystercatchers at Bastion
Point and Eastern Curlew at Coulls Inlet
(Janine Duffy) and 6 Red Knots at the
Snowy River mouth in Marlo (Len Axen).
                                              Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (above) and Australian
The Mallacoota-Genoa area also yielded
                                              Spotted Crake (right) at Macleod Morass, 7 Dec
a small flock of Glossy Black-Cockatoos
                                              09. Photos: Ken Sherring
feeding on casuarinas (Genoa peak) and
flying over Double Creek, where Southern
Emu-wrens were also observed (Janine
Duffy). A pair of Turquoise Parrots was       2 Spangled Drongo in suburban Maffra
seen near the Canni Creek racecourse          and several Rainbow Bee-eaters in the
(Rohan Bilney, BV), Channel-billed            Licola area (Robert Comb BV). White-
Cuckoo at Thurra River crossing on the        throated Needletails made their first ap-
Princes Highway (Mike Tarbuton BV), and       pearance a bit earlier this summer than in
a Brush Cuckoo at Mississippi Creek (Ken      recent years, with Len Axen noting 20+ in
Sherring). White-browed Woodswallows          Marlo on 22 Nov. White-winged Trillers
appeared in large numbers at several          were noted in several sites, including Mt
sites, including Mt Taylor, Canni Creek,      Taylor and near Bairnsdale at Broadlands,
where several nests were noted, Clifton       while a Rufous Fantail made an uncom-
Creek and Nicholson. Small numbers of         mon visit to Clifton Creek, a Leaden Fly-
Masked and Dusky Woodswallows were            catcher at Mt Taylor, and good numbers of
to be seen accompanying some of the           both Rufous and Brown Songlarks were
White-browed flocks. Some interesting         noted in pastures between Lindenow and
sightings in the west of our area included    Den of Nargun.                                   Jacquie Axen). Topknot Pigeons were
                                                                                               noted in several sites: at Cabbage Tree
                                              December: EGBOC members participating            Palms Reserve and Marlo (Len & Jacquie
                                              in the BOCA Challenge Count turned up a          Axen) and near Buchan (Jenny Edwards).
                                              number of interesting sightings and breed-       Ground Parrots were noted at Shipwreck
                                              ing records early in the month, including        Creek and Howe Flat near Mallacoota (Tim
                                              85+ Sharp-tailed Sandpipers at Macleods          Bawden BV), and Turquoise Parrots at
                                              Morass (see also report this issue on the        Canni Creek again. A female Sooty Owl
                                              2009 Challenge Count). Undoubtedly the           was spotlighted on the Cape Conran-
                                              most exciting breeding news for the              Cabbage Tree road by Tim Bawden (BV),
                                              month was the report of a pair of Regent         and a Square-tailed Kite made a Christ-
                                              Honeyeaters feeding a fledgling at Eagle         mas Eve appearance at Fairhope (Chris &
                                              Point (see story page 1), and Bob Sem-           Felicity Healey).
                                              mens’ record of an adult male Australian
                                              Figbird feeding a fledgling in Mallacoota        January 2010: Square-tailed Kites contin-
                                              township. While Figbirds have been re-           ued to be observed, with the first record of
                                              corded in East Gippsland most summers            the species in 30 years at Ellaswood
                                              in recent years, this is the first known         (Roger Bilney) and records at Fairy Dell
                                              record of successful breeding in our re-         (first record for site), Bruthen (Max
                                              gion. Little Egrets in breeding plumage          Markey) and the Alpine Highway just north
                                              appeared at the Snowy River entrance,            of Lucknow. A juvenile Grey Goshawk at
                                              Marlo, along with 15 Hooded Plovers,             Nyerimilang close to where a pair nested
 White-browed Woodswallow female on nest,
 Canni Creek, 9 Nov 09. Photo: Chris Healey   including 4 fully fledged juveniles (Len &                                (Continued on page 10)
Number                                                                                                                                  Page 9

                                                        2010 SCHEDULE
                                            NO OUTINGS ON DAYS OF TOTAL FIREBAN
Date           VENUE                         LEADER                        Date        VENUE                          LEADER

FEB      1     ‘Avril Yates Day’ Nyerimi-    Sue W: 5156 2181              JULY   5    Lindenow South                 Chris: 5157 9036
               lang: BBQ lunch
                                                                                  12   Nicholson Rail Trail           Sue P: 5156 8228
         8     Macleod Morass                Chris: 5157 9036
                                                                                  19   Log Crossing                   Ken: 5156 4413
         15    Hollands Landing/Victoria     Ken: 5156 4413
               Lagoon                                                             26   Buchan Caves Reserve           Max & Jill: 5157 5206
         22    AGM 9am DSE, Bairnsdale
                                                                           AUG    2    Nyerimilang                    Sue W: 5156 2181

MAR      1     Comleys Lane Gun Club         /June: 5152 1082
                                                                                  9    Macleod Morass                 Claire: 5152 3729

         8     Labor Day—No Outing
                                                                                  16   Red Bluff/Fishermans           Ken: 5156 4413
         15    Rough Rd/Tambo Bay            Sue W 5156 2181                           Landing
                                                                                  23   Glenaladale                    Joan: 5152 4327
         22    Picnic Point                  Joan: 5152 4327
                                                                                  30   Blond Bay                      Rob: 5156 6582
         29    Bullumwaal                    Chris: 5157 9036
                                                                           SEP    6    Sale Common                    To be confirmed
APR      5     Easter—No Outing
                                                                                  13   Stephenson’s, Ellasville Rd    Harvey: 5156 8245
         12    Cherry Tree                   Ken: 5156 4413
                                                                                  20   Sarsfield                      Chris: 5157 9036
         16— 19 Camp:                        To be confirmed
                                                                                  27   Trident Arm                    Len: 5154 8417

         19    Den of Nargun                 To be confirmed
                                                                           OCT    4    Eastern Beach—BBQ lunch        Camilla: 5156 2165
         26    Anzac Day — No outing
                                                                                  11   Fairy Dell                     Max & Jill: 5157 5206
MAY      3     Nyerimilang                   Sue W: 5156 2181
                                                                                  18   Camp—S Gippsland               To be confirmed
         10    Macleod Morass                Claire: 5152 3729

                                                                                  25   Jones Bay/Riverbank Rd         Rob: 5156 6582
         17    Canni Creek                   Harvey: 5156 8245

         24    Maffra/Heyfield               To be confirmed               NOV    1    ‘Greenhills’ Mt Taylor         Betty: 5153 2053

         31    Lake Bunga                    June: 5152 1082                      8    Canni Creek                    Harvey: 5156 8245

JUNE     7     Monkey Creek                  Chris: 5157 9036                     15   Metung                         Sue W: 5156 2181

         14    Clifton Ck/Bellbird Rd        Chris & Felicity: 5157 9036          22   Waterholes                     Chris: 5157 9036

         21    Eagle Pt Reserve              Norma: 5156 6835                     29   Lake Tyers Beach               Ken: 5156 4413

         28    Tressle Bridge/Costicks       Max & Jill: 5157 5206         DEC    6    CHALLENGE COUNT
                                                                                  13   CHRISTMAS PARTY

MEETING PLACE AND TIME: Meet at designated site as advised by leader of the day at 9.30 am (9 am Daylight
Saving Time) unless otherwise determined.
BRING: Morning Tea, Lunch, a folding chair and binoculars.
INQUIRIES: Leader of the day; or Chris Healey: 5157 9036; Jill Markey: 5157 5206 or Ken Sherring: 5156 4413.
                                                                                                     Schedule updated – Friday, March 05, 2010

If uncertain of start time and place it is important to check with the outing leader to confirm the starting point for the day. Do not as-
sume the meeting place will be the same as last time!
Tail feathers
Looking for something different for dinner    bushman’s recipe for cooking Sulphur-
recently, the Other Tail Feather came         crested Cockatoo: Put a cockie in a billy of
across this recipe in the provocatively       water with a brick. Bring to the boil and
titled, Is Emu off the Menu? Historic         simmer. When the brick is tender remove
Homes and Recipes of Gippsland:               billy from fire, toss out cocky and eat brick.
                                              The same recipe has been recommended
Parrot Pie: Put two parrots in saucepan
                                              for Cassowary.
and simmer for four hours. Turn into a pie
dish, season with salt and pepper and         Early settlers sampled many of our local
pinch of nutmeg. Cover with pastry and        birds. Red Wattlebirds in particular were
cook in oven for 30-40 minutes.               once considered a delicacy. Times change,
                                              mostly for the better, and our wildlife is
That’s getting on for five hours of cooking   mostly fully protected. Few today favour
for a couple of dead parrots! The book        eating wild game, beyond the vociferous
explains that parrots need a lot of cooking   minority asserting their right to kill ducks
because they may be old and tough. No         as ‘sport’. Maybe if their enthusiasm was
doubt the pastry is delicious, but its not    directed towards controlling feral birds…?
the most appealing of recipes.                But I’m still not inclined to try four and       If you think I’m tough, wait till you take on
The advice puts one in mind of the old        twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
                                                                                               a cassowary!

 The Chat
 If undeliverable, please return to:
 The Editor
 East Gippsland Bird Observation & Conservation
 PO Box 825 Bairnsdale Vic 3875

             O n th e w eb a t
        w w w . eg b o c. o r g . a u

  (Continued from page 8)                       (Roger Bilney BV), Tambo Upper (Faye Bed-
                                                ford BV) and Fairhope (Felicity & Chris
  in previous years suggests successful         Healey). Three Little Lorikeets feeding at
  nesting again this year (Rohan Bilney).       flowering eucalypts were a first record for
  Stubble Quail have been less evident than     Fairhope. Scarlet Honeyeaters continue to
  in previous years, but seen and heard at      be recorded in various locations, including
  Fairhope and Swan Reach. Visiting UK          Monkey Creek, Fairy Dell and Fairhope
  birders, Diane and Mike Pearson identi-       (where a juvenile being fed by an adult
  fied an Australian Spotless Crake at the      male suggests local breeding). The Bush-
  Waterholes Guesthouse wetland, a first        fire Surveys turned up a pair of Red-
  record for the site. More than 60 Eastern     browed Treecreepers and a single Large-
  Curlews were noted at Corner Inlet, Toora     billed Scrubwren at Fairy Dell, two Rufous
  (Steven Kuiter BV), while Latham’s Snipe      Fantails at Monkey Creek, and a subadult
  have turned up in good numbers at vari-       male Red-capped Robin at Waterholes
  ous sites: Howe Flat near Mallacoota          (new record for site).
  (Janine Duffy), by a farm dam at Fairhope
  (Chris Healey), and at least 30 at Lake
  Guyatt, Sale (Peter Ware). Dollarbirds
  have been noted at Ellaswood, where they                                                     Red-capped Robin, subadult male, Waterholes,
  are suspected to have nested this season                                                     14 Jan 10. Photo: Di Pearson

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