Stone curlews and other nice central NSW birds

Subject: Stone curlews and other nice central NSW birds
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 08:42:09 +1000


Have just spent the last two days on a property near Collie, about 1 hour north-west of Dubbo in beautiful central NSW.  The purpose of the trip was to help colleagues from the NSW NPWS Threatened Species Unit based at Dubbo erect a fence for a pair of Bush Stone-curlews.   This species is now very scarce in NSW due to predation of young, and presumably eggs, by foxes.   Despite being within a stones throw of the "Merrigal" homestead this pair have not produced young for at least ten years.  Other pairs on the property, and on other properties in the district, are in a similar position.  Hopefully the fox proof fence being put around their "camp" will help.  Similiar fences are planned for other pairs.

At least one curlew was in residence while the fence was being built.  No effort was made to find the birds, the last thing they need is more disturbance.  A calling curlew was also heard from the shearers quarters (four kilometres from the homestead) in the early hours of Thursday morning.  A pair of Banded Lapwings at this latter location was also nice.

Although fencing did not provide much opportunity to bird a couple of nice birds did wander by.  At "Merrigal",  pair of Mulga Parrot were probably just east of their range limit.  Five Superb Parrots were nice as was a Black Falcon cruising by.  A Black Falcon was also seen 6km south of Collie on the trip up on 12 September.  Also seen on the trip from Dubbo were eight Glossy Black Cockatoos 3km north of Collie.  These were interesting in such a fragmented landscape although strips of Casuarina commonly occur along roadsides in this area.

On 13 September, after the fencing was completed, we had a look at Dragon Cowal, a nice wetland north of Merrigal.  Lots of ducks and other waterbirds including 3 Black-tailed Native-hen and about a dozen Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and about the same number of Red-kneed Dotterel.  At Meryon Cowal, on Merrigal, were LARGE numbers of Grey Teal with Shovellers, White-eyed Duck and Pinkears scattered through them.  A White-bellied Sea-eagle was the highlight here.  The ducks were showing it a very healthy respect.  Also present were another five Black-tailed Native-hen.

On of the funniest things I have seen in a while was a group of about 15 Emu running away from us through a Canola paddock.  All that could be seen were half their neck and their heads moving like a pod of Lock Ness Monsters through a sea of dazzling yellow.



David Geering
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 2111
Dubbo  NSW  2830
Ph: 02 6883 5335 or Freecall 1800 621 056
Fax: 02 6884 9382

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