Thursday, April 10, 2014

168

Please excuse the repetitious, geeky nature of these new bird updates. I'll mix up the nature of the WB posts a lot more very soon. Anyway, a weird call close to home at 5pm got me rushing outside to investigate. What was it? A Little Friarbird, possibly lost, as it's a western NSW bird really. Happy days. Bird 168. Little Friarbirds are rarely seen in the Greater Sydney area. I guess they're rare in the Illawarra/Southern Highlands too. LJ, April 10 2014.

OUTING

I'll be leading a bird outing in Morton National Park next Monday morning from 8am. Meet at Gambells Rest at the end of Church St, Bundanoon. Bring binoculars, patience and a sense of humour. We'll be targeting the harder to see species - Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Rockwarbler, Brown Gerygone, Beatiful Firetail etc. All welcome. If it is pissing down, it will be off. Email me at lorne.johnson@dow.catholic.edu.au if you have any queries. LJ, April 10 2014.

Monday, April 7, 2014

167

2 Red-rumped Parrots were flying over the Flame Robin paddocks down Shangri la Rd mid-afternoon Sunday. Bird 167. I've been waiting for RRPs to show up. Not sure how numerous they are in the Southern Highlands - I've had them on the outskirts of Moss Vale. Other species of note down Shangri la were: 8 Buff-rumped Thornbills, Scarlet Robin (male), Rose Robin (male; returned), Black-fronted Dotterel, Little Black Cormorant, Yellow-faced Honeyeater (2 feeding on ground with party of Yellow-rumped Thornbills) and a White-throated Treecreeper foraging on a wall for two minutes (never seen this before). LJ, 7 April 2014.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

TODAY, THE DAY OF BRIGADOON, OUR SCOTTISH FESTIVAL, I FINALLY SAW A GREY CURRAWONG IN BUNDANOON

Though I've heard Grey Currawongs calling three or four times before in Bundanoon, I've never laid eyes on one. They're scarce buggers, more easily seen south of Bundanoon in Penrose and Tallong, where the habitat is drier. I was blessed to get my nocs onto one down Old Argyle Road mid-afternoon - the bird's sharp, parrot-like chiming alerted me to its presence. Unfortunately, I only had a four second view of it, as the bird was dashing through the canopy. Grey Currawongs are such striking birds, even with their sooty plumage. They're often solitary, or in pairs or trios. They're a bird I'd love to know more about. LJ, April 5 2014.

Monday, March 31, 2014

MASKED OWL HABITAT?

A three minute walk from my home, there's this eye-catching land, on private property, bordering Morton National Park. I reckon it's suitable Masked Owl habitat. One of the least seen of NSW's nocturnal birds, the Masked Owl favours ecotone where dense forest, open grassland and waterways converge. I've never seen one; I've heard them call in northern Sydney and at Monga National Park near Braidwood. About two weeks ago, I'm 95% sure I heard one calling from this pictured area. I need to put in time searching for it... LJ, March 31 2014.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

166

After a bit of investigative work, I've decided I did indeed hear a Lewin's Rail late last year, at Ferndale's swamp. So, another bird for the list, and a secretive, skulking one at that. It's a pity I didn't get to see the thing. LJ, 18 March 2014.

Friday, March 14, 2014

165

Whenever I set out into the field I do so with a spring in my step, my heart, my lungs. I'm ever-hopeful, driven, open to everything, focused. I always cross my fingers for the unexpected. Often, I'm handed predictability. Sometimes, the stars and ferns and rocks and waterfalls conspire/align and left-field things occur. Last Saturday, I had one unexpected thing after the other... Firstly, Brown Goshawks swooping at, and dashing after one another (something I've never seen before) by Shangri la Road's dam. Then, a pair of Diamond Firetails (one an immature) in Shangri la Road's paddocks. Nice one. Bird 165 for the list and something I thought would never turn up in Bundy. I was cheering, dancing, having not seen a Diamond Firetail in the wild for at least fifteen years. I'd say DFs are very rare in the Highlands. I know of no records for the district. DFs have been recorded at Marulan, which lies right on the Southern edge of the Highlands. A little later, 5 Varied Sittellas and a White-throated Treecreeper were scampering all over a telegraph pole on the cornner of Penrose Rd and Lucas St. Peculiar? I guess a telegraph pole is just another tree with food in their tiny minds. Afterwards, a male Superb Lyrebird was in an open area not far from Santi Forest Monastery (Buddhist) showing off his dazzling courtship routine (striking, shimmering tail feathers completely fanned out and projected over his entire body, then the odd bit of mimicry - e.g. a Crimson Rosella's flight call - and his unique stream of earth-music) to another male, for two minutes. Must have been some sort of tribute to Sydney's Mardi Gras! This is the first time - in some twenty-five years of birding - I've seen this spectacular event. Suffice to say, I was gobsmacked. Lastly, not long before dusk, a Grey Goshawk was powering over home (unmolested by other birds strangely enough). These are the moments I crave. These are the moments birders live for. LJ, March 14 2014.