Chris Coleborn

Recently I was able on my days off to visit a couple of local birding areas. They were ‘magic’.

The 1st October was an idyllic Spring day in the little gem of a National Park the Terrick Terrick. The birds loved it, and the bush rang with there calls everywhere. The park is full of birds at present, many giving evidence of breeding activity. I was atlassing mainly in the Pine/Box area of the Park, but had a brief foray into the grassland section of the park too.

In the Pine and Yellow Box forest section, the ground flowers were putting on a show. It was like a parkland as one looked across the open space under the pines. The wonderfully fresh tang of the pines scented the air.

Highlights were probably two separate sightings of male Black Honeyeaters and a Spotted Harrier. It was also good to pick up a flock of 7 White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike. Cockatiels were very common, and I saw several pairs entering or leaving tree hollow limbs apparently getting ready, if not already breeding. The usual endemic birds were plentiful too, with Gilbert’s Whistlers popping up in most sites, and making the bush ring with their calls. The Rufous Whistlers were good competitors though. The Black-chinned Honeyeaters were around as were the Crested Shrike-tits. Australian Ringnecks were often seen. Diamond Firetails popped up in quite a few places. One of the small number of resident Eastern Yellow Robins also showed itself. There are not too many west of this area - we are just about on their western boundary. Hooded and Red-capped Robins were plentiful and were flitting around from low branches to strike at insects on the ground.

A colony of Chestnut-crowned Babblers was recently re-discovered in this park. They were seen about ten years ago, but had not been seen until only weeks ago. This little colony is well east of their now accepted boundary. It was good to see them scampering along the ground and clambouring in the lower branches of the understory shrubs.

Patches of the Park were full of White-browed Woodswallows, though the resident Dusky Woodswallows were around too. In the open country small flocks of Black-faced Woodswallows were hawking and roosting on dead trees and fence lines. Over the winter months we had an eruption of Black-tailed Native-hens, and some are still to be seen. There was a flock of about 50 near a dam. Cuckoos were very common, with Horsfield’s-Bronze being the most common, followed by Pallid Cuckoos. A lot more cuckoos than normal. There was one Black-eared Cuckoo. The Rainbow Bee-eaters had also arrived, as had other migrants such as the Brown Songlarks, White-winged Trillers and Olive-backed Orioles. About 85 species were seen in all in this area(see LIST ‘B’)

Then on the 11th I went out Atlassing west of Cohuna/Kerang with another birdwatcher. It was a bit windy and overcast after storms on Sunday - clearing a bit in the afternoon. It was not ideal Spring weather for birdwatching, but the results were great!

Highlights were about 20 Orange Chats, many of them males in brilliant breeding plumage. When the sun broke through the clouds onto them, they simply glistened molten gold. We also saw over 30 Blue-billed Ducks on one lake, with a mixture of other ducks. The Great Crested Grebes we saw were also a bonus, as was the Baillon’s Crake. At a reserve west of Lake Boga, we really hit the high time. Our attention was drawn by a mournful "peeee peeee" call from a tree . We knew we had something out of the ordinary. A male Pied Honeyeater darted out of the tree, chased by a resident White-plumed Honeyeater. We came across at least three other males and one female. There were other inland Honeyeaters too. At one stage, my mate was viewing in his binoculars a displaying Male Pied Honeyeater, two female Black Honeyeaters and a vividly coloured male Crimson Chat - and while feasting on this "magic moment" a White-fronted Honeyeater landed in the same tree. A female Pied Honeyeater was flitting around as well. Flocks of Budgerigars enlivened the bush with their flashing green and yellow colours and cheerful sounds. Some 6 or so Blue-winged Parrots were quietly feeding on some of the low growing herbage. The Budgerigars were inspecting hollows, and with the Pied Honeyeaters were giving courting displays. We later found both a Pied Honeyeater’s nest with eggs and an Orange Chat with young. What a great day it was. We saw over 132 birds for the day.

Have a lovely Spring, and enjoy the birds and take in the wonders of the Creator.

Our LIST ‘A’ is as follows:

Stubble QuailBlue-billed DuckMusk DuckBlack Swan
Australian ShelduckAustralian Wood DuckPacific Black DuckAustralasian Shoveler
Grey TealChestnut TealPink-eared DuckHardhead
Australasian GrebeHoary-headed GrebeHoary-headed GrebeGreat Crested Grebe
DarterLittle Pied CormorantLittle Black CormorantGreat Cormorant
Australian PelicanWhite-faced HeronWhite-necked HeronGreat Egret
Intermediate EgretAustralian White IbisStraw-necked IbisRoyal Spoonbill
Yellow-billed SpoonbillBlack-shouldered KiteBlack KiteWhite-bellied Sea-Eagle
Swamp HarrierCollared SparrowhawkWedge-tailed EagleLittle Eagle
Brown FalconAustralian HobbyNankeen KestrelBaillon’s Crake
Purple SwamphenDusky MoorhenBlack-tailed Native-henEurasian Coot
Marsh SandpiperCommon GreenshankRed-necked StintSharp-tailed Sandpiper
Curlew SandpiperBlack-winged StiltBanded StiltRed-necked Avocet
Red-capped PloverBlack-fronted DotterelRed-kneed DotterelMasked Lapwing
Silver GullWhiskered TernRock DoveCommon Bronzewing
Crested PigeonPeaceful DoveGalahLong-billed Corella
Sulphur-crested CockatooCockatielCrimson Rosella (Y form)Eastern Rosella
Blue Bonnet (Y-vent form)Red-rumped ParrotBudgerigaBlue-winged Parrot
Pallid CuckooLaughing KookaburraSacred KingfisherRainbow Bee-eater
White-throated TreecreeperBrown TreecreeperSuperb Fairy-wrenWhite-winged Fairy-wren
Spotted PardaloteStriated PardaloteWeebillWestern Gerygone
Yellow-rumped ThornbillYellow ThornbillSpiny-cheeked HoneyeaterNoisy Friarbird
Little FriarbirdNoisy MinerYellow-throated MinerSinging Honeyeater
White-plumed HoneyeaterBrown-headed HoneyeaterWhite-fronted HoneyeaterBlack Honeyeater
Pied HoneyeaterCrimson ChatOrange ChatWhite-fronted Chat
Jacky WinterRed-capped RobinHooded RobinGrey-crowned Babbler
White-browedRufous WhistlerGrey Shrike-thrush Magpie-lark
Grey FantailWillie WagtailBlack-faced Cuckoo-shrikeWhite-winged Triller
White-breasted W/swallowsMasked WoodswallowWhite-browed WoodswallowDusky Woodswallow
Pied ButcherbirdAustralian MagpieAustralian RavenLittle Raven
White-winged ChoughRichard’s PipitHouse Sparrow European Goldfinch
MistletoebirdWelcome SwallowTree MartinFairy Martin
Clamorous Reed-WarblerLittle GrassbirdRufous Songlark Brown Songlark
Common BlackbirdCommon Starling

Australian ShelduckPacific Black DuckLittle Black CormorantBlack Kite
Whistling KiteSpotted HarrierBrown GoshawkWedge-tailed Eagle
Little EagleBrown FalconPeregrine FalconNankeen Kestrel
Black-tailed Native-henCommon BronzewingCrested PigeonPeaceful Dove
GalahSulphur-crested CockatooCockatielEastern Rosella
Australian RingneckRed-rumped ParrotPallid CuckooBlack-eared Cuckoo
Horsfield’sBronze-CuckooSouthern BoobookLaughing Kookaburra
Rainbow Bee-eaterBrown TreecreeperSuperb Fairy-wrenSpotted Pardalote
Striated PardaloteWeebillWestern GerygoneChestnut-rumped Thornbill
Yellow-rumped ThornbillYellow ThornbillSouthern WhitefaceNoisy Friarbird
Little FriarbirdNoisy MinerWhite-plumed HoneyeaterBlack-chinned Honeyeater
Brown-headed HoneyeaterBlack HoneyeaterWhite-fronted ChatJacky Winter
Red-capped RobinHooded RobinEastern Yellow RobinWhite-browed Babbler
Crested Shrike-titGilbert’s WhistlerRufous Whistler Grey Shrike-thrush
Restless FlycatcherMagpie-larkGrey FantailWillie Wagtail
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikeWhite-bellied Cuckoo-shrikeWhite-winged TrillerOlive-backed Oriole
Black-faced WoodswallowDusky WoodswallowPied ButcherbirdAustralian Magpie
Australian RavenLittle RavenWhite-winged ChoughSinging Bushlark
Richard’s PipitHouse SparrowZebra FinchDiamond Firetail
European GoldfinchMistletoebirdWhite-backed SwallowWelcome Swallow
Tree MartinFairy MartinRufous SonglarkBrown Songlark
Common Starling 

This report was published in The Christian Bird Observer’s Magazine, October 1999