On Saturday, October 22nd, 1910, the
NSW Gould League of Bird Lovers was formed by a small group of teachers, at a
meeting in the shade of a tree in the grounds of Wellington Public School (in
the central west of the State).
This event is commemorated by locals with an Annual
Regional Birdcount, where participants meet at the school to compare scores, and
to give some thought to that special place – hallowed ground for bird lovers in
the district. We have been doing
this for about 15 years now, so it is an established event. It’s held in September (I don’t know why it’s
not in October, but what’s a month between friends anyway?), and involves
birders from Wellington (the organisers), Orange, Forbes/Parkes, and
The idea is for teams to start early, count birds in as
many habitats as possible in their own area, and then continue counting en route
to the Bird Tree in Wellington, reaching it at 3.3 00pm. Competition is fierce
but somehow we remain friends!
Orange is at a disadvantage (I reckon) because many
birds are not present there as early in spring as they are in the more westerly
areas. It helps, obviously, to have
skilled observers, a few teams to cover all habitats, and also to have the
habitats to cover! Forbes/Parkes
has some beaut areas, specially the well-known Gum Swamp… Dubbo has the Western
Plains Zoo which is a wonderful place for birds, as well as Goonoo
This year the count was held on Sunday September
The winner was Forbes/Parkes with a super total of 140
species, Dubbo came second with 107, followed by Wellington with 87 (much lower
than usual), and Orange with 83.
Of note: The only Chestnut-rumped Heathwren was recorded by Dubbo, and special
sightings for Forbes/Parkes were Spotted Quail-thrush, Black-eared
Cuckoo and two White-breasted Sea-Eagles. Orange recorded the only Great
This year there were few woodswallows recorded,
and babblers were scattered, with Dubbo and Forbes/Parkes each recording
both Grey-crowned and White-browed, however, neither Orange nor
Wellington recorded any at all.
Finches were few and far between for most of the region:
Forbes/Parkes recorded Red-browed Firetail and Diamond
Firetail, Orange recorded only Red-browed, Dubbo was sadly finchless
but Wellington recorded finches by the truckload.
Robins were about, but not numerous: no Flame
Robins were recorded (they have been in some years), Forbes/Parkes was the
only one to record Red-capped Robin; Hooded Robin was recorded by
both Wellington and Parkes, and everyone got Eastern Yellow Robin
The day ends with a BBQ and some socialising… and the
telling of tall tales. Should
anyone be in the region in September, any
of the teams would welcome helpers. Contact me on 02 6882 2056 for more info
next year if you’re interested.