Molesworth, TAS

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Molesworth, TAS
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2009 13:04:38 +1100
Hello all,

Finally back in the modern world with internet connection restored. Bron and I have moved to an 18 acre property at Molesworth which is about 30 km north-west of Hobart. Its regarded as remote and as such we are able to get our internet connection via satellite dish. We have about 4 hectares of bushland and 3 hectares of ex-grazing country that is at risk of becoming a thistle jungle after record rainfall since we moved here a couple of months ago. This came after a long period of drought. Our dam which was once a tiny thirsty pond has now transformed into an 80 metre long lake. So far on our dam we have had nesting Tasmanian Native-hens, Pacific Black Ducks, Chestnut Teal and now the Australasian Grebes are sitting on eggs. I have to say though that I don't know exactly where the ducks nested. Parents and ducklings occur irregularly- I assume they are using other dams in the area as well.

The native-hens had clutch of five, but only one seems to have survived to the current moment. Dogs may be the culprits as I watched an unknown dog harassing the native-hens a week or so ago. The parents approach seems to be to run away making a great racket to attract attention. I think our Masked Lapwings have a more effective approach. When a dog gets too close they dive-bomb the offending animal mercilessly until it gives way. It seems to work as they have successfully raised their four chicks to the current moment. I find it interesting that the secretive and shy native-hens haven't been as successful as the bold as brass lapwings.

The migrants have all been returning including Welcome Swallows, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Dusky Woodswallow, Striated Pardalote, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Pallid Cuckoo. The bird list is up to 41 species now, respectable for Tasmania. Birds that I used to take for granted on the mainland like cuckoo-shrikes and woodswallows are welcome and fascinating migrants here. No sparrows, starlings or blackbirds yet although I have had them all within a kilometre of our boundaries. Probably the rarest bird on the list is the Spotted Quail-thrush which we have had a few times but only irregularly. I suspect that our block is only a small part of their territory. On the mammal front we have Bennett's Wallaby, Tasmanian Pademelon, Tasmanian Bettong along with the vegetable-marauding Brushtail Possums and rabbits.

The rosellas are another interesting feature. A few months ago I reported to birding-aus my sighting of a suspected rosella hybrid. This rosella along with its Green Rosella mate are regular visitors to our backyard. I have managed to take many photos of the bird since we've been here. I've put some of them up on my website ( I suspect that it is a male and that its Green Rosella mate is a female. It is the only "Eastern" that I have seen in our vicinity so far. The hybrid rosella calls like an Eastern when relaxed but like a Green when it is disturbed. It holds food in its right foot. Its Green mate holds food in its left foot.




Michael Todd
PhD Candidate- Tasmanian Masked Owl
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 05, Hobart, Tasmania 7001
Mobile: O458 394676
FAX: (03) 6226 2745 Wildlifing (


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