TAMWORTH BIRDWATCHERS Inc
MEETING REPORT AGM 27 March 2021
The AGM was held at the Saturday outing to the Botanic Gardens. After the Acting Presidents and Treasurers reports all positions were declared vacant and Chris Kane ably conducted the election of officers, the result of which follows the Treasurers Report.
Acting Presidents Report 2019 - 21
Our last AGM was on 22nd August 2019, 19 months ago. Covid prevented us from having our usual AGM in 2020, and has also caused considerable angst in many ways.
In March 2020 all meetings and fieldtrips ceased. Fieldtrips and committee meetings resumed, with strict covid rules, in July 2020, however the social night time meetings are still not happening.
The saddest event that has happened since our last AGM was the death of member, Russell Watts, on 12th August 2020. Russ initiated the Bird Routes of Barraba, for which he received an AM in 2008. He and his wife Jenny were given life membership of Tamworth Birdwatchers in 2008. We continue to monitor, update and promote these routes and have extended them to the whole Tamworth area. We are in the initial stages of developing a memorial for Russ and Jenny Watts at Barraba in collaboration with Tamworth Regional Council.
Also in August 2020, we regretfully accepted the resignation of two very active members, Bruce and Marianne Terrill. As well as being enthusiastic birdwatchers, Bruce had been president since 2017 and Marianne secretary since 2015. Between them they devoted a lot of time and energy to our organization and made significant achievements.
Various members have stepped up to lead us to new interesting sites on our Tuesday and Saturday outings, as well as revisiting our regular sites. Terri Mower organized a campout to Mudgee in September 2019. Thankyou leaders, you are essential if we are to keep having outings and we welcome more members who would like to have a go. Joan, our Group Recorder, continues to send our valuable survey results to Birdlife Australia.
In November 2019 we collaborated with Alex Habilay to be part of Tamworth Regional Council’s “Bat Night”. Our expo tent displayed the Threatened Species Photos that Denise had compiled from members photographs. A small group of our volunteers helped the public with information about our local birds and also had fun trying out the new bat viewing telescope in Bicentennial Park.
Denise has been very busy in her role as Conservation Officer and she has written several letters on our behalf including:
• Submission to the 2019 Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act 1999) + Letter to Hon Barnaby Joyce MP re same – 17/4/20
• Submission re the Narrabri Gas Project (SSD-6456) – 29/7/20
• Letter to Hon Kevin Anderson MP re logging in Swift Parrot Habitat – 14/11/20
• Letter to Gunnedah Shire Council re Rangari Road Upgrade and protection of the Weeping Myall Woodland habitat of the Painted Honeyeater – 21/1/21
Denise and Bruce worked with Tamworth Regional Council to produce a new version of our bird route brochure that fitted with other council documents and in 2019 Denise successfully submitted a council grant to print revised children’s bird walk brochures.
In 2020 I wrote a submission to council for computer software and hardware, some of which I already use but some of which may sit idle until we are clear of covid.
Jan has spent the 19 months ensuring our accounts are in order and reporting to our committee meetings.
Bill and Margaret Crisp generously hosted the Christmas party for both years, the last one being quite tricky to comply with covid requirements.
Despite covid, Eric kept the information flowing through our monthly newsletter and Annabel kept our website up to date.
James Ardill, as well as being public officer, has developed a Facebook page in our name. It is for bird photographs only, and only open to members after applying to James. Social media is something we may explore further in the future.
Covid has certainly caused us difficulties and changed the way we conduct fieldtrips, meetings and other events. I’d like to conclude by thanking the committee for keeping Tamworth Birdwatchers viable and moving forward despite such difficult circumstances. And thank you, members, for your continual support shown by your presence at our events.
Jean Coady Acting President
Tuesday Walk at “Minderoo” Wisemans Arm Road, Attunga 9 March 2021
This, our second bird walk at “Minderoo” was as pleasing as the first last spring. Four members attended, being Bill, Mandy, Penny and myself. We found a total of 35 different birds including two vulnerable species, which were the Brown Treecreeper and five Diamond Firetails having a drink from a puddle on the road. We also saw a Bar-shouldered Dove that had us a little unsure of its identity, but Mandy was able to get a good photo for ID.
Bird list: Red-rumped Parrot, Pied Butcherbird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Willie Wagtail, Welcome Swallow, Crested Pigeon, Little Corella, Australian Magpie, Eastern Rosella, Galah, Magpie-lark, Eastern Yellow Robin, White-plumed Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush, Peaceful Dove, Noisy Miner, Australian Raven, Pacific Black Duck, Common Bronzewing, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Bar-shouldered Dove, Grey Butcherbird, White-winged Chough, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Superb Fairy-wren, Rufous Songlark, Rainbow Bee-eater, Restless Flycatcher, Double-barred Finch, Red-browed Finch, Diamond Firetail, Brown Treecreeper, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Olive-backed Oriole.
Saturday Outing to “Springcart”, Weabonga, 13 Mach 2021
The rain descended on “Springcart” and Grant advised “there was no morning chorus this morning, only the sound of the chooks”. That was on the 27th February. Regrettably the outing was postponed, with a new date to be advised.
Wind your clocks forward two weeks.
Grant, Perna and their family, welcomed us as we arrived at their large dam for Mach 2 of our visit. This time around the weather was mostly sunny, with some patchy cloud in the afternoon.
Fifteen observers explored a range of different areas on the property with 4WD and AWD vehicles. We recorded bird species along the creek, wooded areas and exposed hilltops.
By early afternoon the group had observed 39 species. We enjoyed lunch and a “bird call” at the “Wedding Pavillion”, which has a magnificent view looking down Swamp Oak Creek. The consensus was that it would be a great spot to camp overnight.
Our survey had added 14 species to the existing “Springcart” bird list. The sightings included four vulnerable species and three breeding records. The vulnerable species were Little Lorikeet, Varied Sittella, Dusky Woodswallow and Diamond Firetail. The breeding species were Australian King-Parrot, Eastern Spinebill and Dusky Woodswallow.
Particularly enjoyable moments for me were the “pop” of red as the Scarlet Honeyeater foraged in a bunch of mistletoe and the distinctive falling note call of the White-throated Gerygone which revealed its presence in the same tree.
Ten of the original 15 observers continued to enjoy the afternoon at the nearby “Kings” Travelling Stock Reserve. We had only recently become aware of this TSR, so easily added 9 species to the existing bird list. The total list of 21 species recorded on this short visit is included below.
Brown Quail, Australian Wood Duck (20), Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck (3), Australasian Grebe (2), Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove (2), Masked Lapwing (2), Musk Lorikeet (12), Little Lorikeet (2) V, Australian King-Parrot (juvenile), Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairy-wren (4), White-throated Gerygone, Yellow-rumped Thornbill (3), Striated Pardalote, Eastern Spinebill (6, including a juvenile), White-plumed Honeyeater (2), Noisy Miner, Scarlet Honeyeater (2), Varied Sittella (6) V, Rufous Whistler (2), Grey Shrike Thrush, Dusky Woodswallow (8, including a juvenile) V, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie (4), Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail (6), Magpie-lark, Jacky Winter, Rufous Songlark, Welcome Swallow (3), Mistletoebird (3), Red-browed Finch (10), Diamond Firetail (2) V, Australasian Pipit (7).
Peaceful Dove, Little Lorikeet (2) V, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, White-throated Gerygone, Yellow Thornbill (2), Yellow-rumped Thornbill, White-plumed Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater (3), Rufous Whistler, Grey Shrike Thrush, Australian Magpie, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Restless Flycatcher, White-winged Chough (5), Eastern Yellow Robin (2), Rufous Songlark, Mistletoebird, Red-browed Finch (4).
Leader: Denise Kane
South Australia Road Trip Part Three - James and Kerrie Ardill
Port Augusta to Mt Ive
Well after the excitement at the Arid Zone Gardens in Port Augusta with my very first Rufous Fieldwren and a lovely Chirruping Wedgebill, it was back on the road. Port Lincoln was our destination until the lack of accommodation over the Long Weekend forced a change of plans. We decided to head anticlockwise by going to Mt Ive homestead to chase grasswrens and some of the western species. Predictions of 25 mm of rain also
We travelled to Iron Knob and had a quick look round. No birds of note and the town was certainly very much a mining town. After a brief toilet break and again lack of birds, we headed west planning to stop and investigate the mallee near Lake Gilles. We found a track (as described in a bird route guide) and drove some 3 or 4 km up it. The track was a bit wet but not slippery. Heard some whistling so stopped and chased down the birds. It was some 20 minutes of walking through 10 metre tall trees trying to get close before I actually got close to take some shots of the Western Golden Whistler. It was around this time that I started to get guilty about leaving Kerrie so I headed back but not before finding a Striated Pardalote.
We then proceeded down to Kimba (about 10 km) and refilled with fuel before we headed north. The road was tarred and good for 30 km and then we hit dirt.
The dirt road was well graded yet rain was falling and getting heavier. Hoping to get to Mt Ive quickly the trip became slower and slower as the rain continued and the roads started to resemble inland lakes. The last stretch was 20 km of 30 cm deep water from one gutter to the other gutter. We persisted and eventually arrived at the homestead and got our accommodation – a donga just big enough for a double bed and a little ensemble.
We spent two nights at Mt Ive and I spent many hours walking on the bluebush flats around the airstrip and home dams. Some highlights of birds seen:
Little Button-quail was flushed on the last evening and after many attempts finally got some photos when the bird only ran away rather than flying. It helped that the bird kept returning to the original spot I first saw it. I reckon there was either a nest or maybe a good food source there. Anyway I got a photo.
The Splendid Fairy-wren was present and presented very well indeed.
A Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo was around one of the homestead dams and I was surprised at how undisturbed it was. I was able to take quite a few excellent shots of this pretty bird.
Around the airstrip was 20 to 40 hectares of bluebush which had quite a few White-fronted Chats and it was great to see a lifer - the Redthroat. Strong singer but quite wary and would not allowed close approaches. The bluebush being less than a metre tall did not provide much cover!!
Right around the time that I saw the button quail, this Hooded Robin appeared in the same area. I managed to get a few nice photos chasing this bird simultaneously with the BQ! I was most wearied by the time the sun set to say the least.
Spent some time walking the low hills and the surrounding flat areas for the two grasswrens observed at MT Ive. Unfortunately not a pip and my endeavours were futile. In my travels or should I say travails, a pair of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos ( I will not call them Pink Cockatoos) were seen in a faraway tree and I was able to get close enough to get some reasonable shots of the central Australian subspecies mollis - lack of yellow in the crest is its distinguishing feature.
The Yellow-rumped and Chestnut-rumped Thornbills (in particular) were quite common
White-browed Babbler and I believe an immature male Crimson Chat were other highlights of our stay at Mt Ive.
So far 119 species seen with 21 new species and subspecies – leaving Mt Ive to get to Ceduna and the Eyre Peninsula.