Spring in Mulgoa Valley

To: michael hunter <>
Subject: Spring in Mulgoa Valley
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:20:11 +0000
Hi Michael et al.

The departure of the horse people may well have resulted in the Sparrow
decline. Lots of grain and grain portions in horse dung. People, who, in
the days of horse transportation , who gathered horse and oxen dung for
sale to gardeners, were known colloquially as 'Sparrow Starvers'.

On Monday, September 18, 2017, michael hunter <>

> Hi All.
>            We have had some good sightings in our part of Mulgoa Valley
> over the last week.
>            Best was a juvenile BAILLON’S CRAKE among the reeds on a dam,
> new for my local list.
>             A circling SWAMP HARRIER, with Brown Goshawk close by and a
> Nankeen Kestrel,  CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT,   AZURE KINGFISHER  not new but
> occasional and nice to see.
>             Several CATTLE EGRETS, none in breeding plumage. Three
> flock of EUROPEAN GOLDFINCHES feeding on flowering thistles. The Spotted
> Pardalote is back. Swallows are nesting very messily under the eaves. The
> extended family of five Purple Gallinules who foraged together over winter
> have reduced to one pair after a concerted wings and tail-up chase lasting
> several days to oust the breeding territory’s excess capacity. Reed
> Warblers returned a fortnight ago. Whipbirds seen, growling but not
> whipcracking on the overgrown creek. Eastern Yellow Robin and Grey Thrush,
>  as well as Blackbirds, who wake us just before dawn with their beautiful
> song.  A Golden-headed Cisticola and Richards Pipit seen and heard two
> weeks ago but not since.
>              We started putting out Wild bird Seed, consisting mainly of
> wheat, corn, sunflower seed with interesting results.  The container is a
> rectangular bowl on our small back “lawn” outside the kitchen window.  Most
> unexpected is that Magpies are eating a lot of something in the mix,
> probably the corn, whole kernels. There is a pecking order, a
> Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is king, then Galahs, Magpies, Bar-shouldered
> Doves, Spotted Turtledoves, Peaceful Doves, Double barred and Red-browed
> finches.
>            And a young House Sparrow.  House Sparrows were numerous until
> the horse people next door departed, with their horses, four years ago, and
> the sparrows just disappeared (until last week.) As they have from many
> areas, possibly because of the lack of insects to raise young at that one
> critical post hatching period although they are granivorous birds.
>            The Mix has only been out for a few weeks and still attracting
> new spp.  Crimson Rosellas have approached and eat seeding winter grass in
> the lawn, and seed scattered on the grass, but have yet to come to the
> bowl, which is under a nominal shelter of slatted pine.  A family of King
> Parrots eyed the seed off from an adjacent tree, hopefully might put in
> another appearance. YT Black Cockatoos are feeding young and pruning nearby
> pines, and although pictured on the Wildmix bag, have not shown interest in
> the handout.  Apart from the Bar-shouldered doves and Doublebars who nest
> close by, none of the birds stay longer than it takes for a good feed;
> dependence will not be an issue, the bowl is only refilled every second day.
>                What a nice Spring, all we need is some real rain to keep
> things growing and going.
>                            Cheers
>                                      Michael
>               PS We are off next week on yet another attempt for the
> Princess Parrot, somewhere between Jupiter Well, Kunawarritji  and Lake
> Tobin.     Any tips as to where to look or recent sightings?
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