Spring arrival of cuckoos

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Subject: Spring arrival of cuckoos
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 21:59:26 +1000
Hi Birders,
I grew up in the inner western suburbs iof Sydney at Summer Hill and I lived there from 1942-1970, and I have no recollection of any Koel or Channel-billed Cuckoos there, or at Old Toongabbie where I lived from 1970-1975 or any where else in Sydney. The Koel Cuckoo was a bird I look forward to see and hear when I visited my grandparents at Saratoga/Davistown on Brisbane Water (on the NSW Central Coast) or at Avoca Beach where later I visited my parents. I moved to Coonabarabran 1975-1982 where spring was announced each August by the arrival of the Pallid Cuckoos, and later in October when the Channel-billed Cuckoos came to the Warrumbungle NP and some other areas around Coonabarabran, so that I soon became familiar with those large Currawong scaring cuckoos!
On my return to Sydney 1983-1988, and living at Camp Cove, Sydney Harbour NP Koel Cuckoos were regularly seen and initially an occasional Channel-billed Cuckoo was seen but by the time I left for the Central Coast in 1988, both species were a reasobaly common summer feature of the whole of the Sydney area but more importantly in the northern suburbs of Sydney. Here on the Central Coast, like Sydney, they are common summer migrants. E.S.Hoskin in his book The Birds of Sydney 1991 says that earliest arrival that he knew about for a Koel Cuckoo was 18/8/1974 (although most did not arrive until mid September) and for the Channel-billed Cuckoo was 7/9/1975.
The first Channel-billed Cuckoo for the spring of 2003 in the Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong Region as reported by my spies and or on on Birding-aus was at Cooks River, Arncliffe on 8 August (John Clifton-Everest) and the next at Kincumber on 17 August (Irene Travers). These however were just a few early birds, with the bulk of the birds returning about the second week of September viz
Kirribilli    7/9/03    Kutis Lindsey
Mardi near Tuggerah    10/9/03    John & Carole Carpenter
Jesmond, Newcastle 11/9/03    Peter Ekert
Glebe    11/9/03    Andrew Taylor
Seven Hills    11/9/03    Edwin Vella
Woodford, Blue Mountains    16/9/03    Carol proberts
Pretty beach, Wagstaff    17/9/03    Jeff Drudge
Bateau Bay    17/9/03    Alan Morris
North Bombi, McMsters Beach    18/9/03    John McLennan
Centennial park    19/9/03    Frank Hemmings
Heathcote    19/9/03    David Hair
Beecroft    19/9/03    Lorne Johnson
This year the Koel Cuckoos arrived a bit later but there were still a few early birds with the first bird reported from Centenial Park 17/8/03 by Jerry Duane and one at Toronto 20/8/03 by Paul Osborne, but then there was a three week gap before the birds move into this Region over a much more widespead area, obviously 17-19th September was a key arrival date for the Koels viz
Gosford Golf Course    11/9/03    Robert Quinan
Avoca Beach    17/9/03    John McLennan
Avondale    19/9/03    Paul osborn
Jesmond    19/9/03    Peter Ekert
Kirrawee (male & female)    19/9/03    Jenny Madeline  
I may ofcourse have missed other sightings and so I would be happy to be corrected or have my summary added to!
Alan Morris
Records Officer, Birding NSW
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