Bronzewing Diary 2014

To: "'Ross Macfarlane'" <>, <>
Subject: Bronzewing Diary 2014
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 00:19:37 +1100

Surely not a Malleefowl. I believe it looks typical of a nestling pigeon of
some kind, especially with the ridiculous looking bulbous beak, so I suggest
take the likely pick from the species likely to be there (Crested Pigeon
likely?). A close up of the feet will usually help in a case like this. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Ross Macfarlane
Sent: Friday, 17 October 2014 8:42 PM
Subject: Bronzewing Diary 2014

Well I finally was able to return to Bronzewing Flora & Fauna Reserve, in
the wake of the devastating fires in January this year. In case you didn't
know, my Dad & I have been monitoring malleefowl mounds there since 2002 -
part of Joe Benshemesh's long-term malleefowl monitoring project which is
supported by the volunteer efforts of the Victorian Malleefowl Recovery

The Bronzewing monitoring site, which measures about 3km by 1.5km at the
northern end of the 16,000ha reserve, has 108 nest sites, of which typically
15-20 have been active in any 1 year (the record was 32 in 2012.) But with
the entire site and over 80% of the whole reserve being burnt in January, we
had little expectation of finding mounds being used to incubate eggs for the
next few years at least.

So little faith! We went there after our annual training weekend at
Wyperfeld last weekend, and in 3 gruelling days (too little time for a site
this size, even with most of the mallee bush gone,) we found 2 active
mounds, and on Tuesday I photographed the male at the mound, in a tiny
unburnt remnant. The other active mound was not even that lucky - the trees
had been scorched and the leaves in the canopy were all dead.

But at that mound: a conundrum. Can anyone help me identify this chick which
I found face down next to the base of the mound? I should say it actually
gaped once when I first found it.

There was no sign of a nest above the mound anywhere. We debated whether it
was a partially developed malleefowl embryo that had been kicked out when
the egg broke, but a) no way, b) it doesn't look anything like a megapode
chick, and c) no, bleeping, way. My working hypothesis is it was carried off
by something like a currawong or butcher-bird but was dropped when the bird
was surprised by our approach.

Some more of my very modest pics can be found here:
?sort=3&page=1, and include a nest of a little button-quail that my Dad
flushed as we walked through the bush.

We were a bit slack about keeping a list (too busy trekking around mounds to
chase birds) but these are what I can recall off the top of my head:

emu (didn't see one but lots of tracks, including chicks) malleefowl (fist
pump) little button-quail mallee ringneck parrot regent parrot (in a few
unburnt mallee trees at the northern edge of the reserve) galah common
bronzewing pigeon crested pigeon rainbow bee-eater splendid fairy-wren
chestnut quail-thrush (lovely views as it gave its alarm and contact calls)
wood-swallows (calling overhead - probably white-browed) willy wagtail jacky
winter yellow-throated miner rufous whistler grey shrike-thrush grey
(black-winged) currawong grey butcher-bird Australian (black-backed) magpie
Australian raven

But few signs of life on the wind-swept sand hills in the centre of the

Nevertheless, Earth abides, including Bronzewing. I look forward to watching
it recover over the next couple of decades...


Ross Macfarlane

Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group, Inc.

)  0417 370 371


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