Tidbinbilla: Brush Bronzewing, Sea-Eagle [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

Subject: Tidbinbilla: Brush Bronzewing, Sea-Eagle [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 09:39:07 +1100
I left work early yesterday afternoon at 4.30pm to head to Tidbinbilla to
find the Brush Bronzewing. I arrived at the reserve after 5 and stopped to
watch a flock of over 20 YELLOW-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOOS feeding in low
shrubs along the main road.

I then drove to the Camel Back Road and parked by the granite boulders. Not
hearing any bronzewings calling I headed up the nearby fire trail which
winds behind the outcrop. Still no sign of any bronzewings but I did get
superb close up views (in fact 3 metres away) of 3 recently fledged
WHITE-EARED HONEYEATERS while their parents were trying to distract me. It
was a good opportunity to note down the similarities and differences with
the Lewin's Honeyeater. White-ear fledglings have a small yellow ear spot
and a yellow gape. Other birds around the outcrop included DUSKY

After walking some 300 metres along the trail I headed back and down the
road to the outcrop. As I was returning a fast flying pigeon flew across
the road and alighted in a tall dead eucalypt. It had come from the dense
vegetation in the koala enclosure. A BRUSH BRONZEWING. It almost
immediately commenced calling. I slowly inched closer down the road until I
had a clear view of the bird in the sunlight. For the next 10 minutes
(5.50-6pm) I watched noting all its features - rufous shoulder and nape,
small rufous area on chin, buff-yellow forehead, 2 rows of sheen in the
wings and an almost bluish tinge to the back of the head and breast. It's
call started slow and then slowly accelerated as well as slightly rising in
pitch. The call does sound more like a 'woop-woop' then an 'oom-oom' as
mentioned in some field guides. It was an amazing sight in bright sunlight
and my thanks to Alistair Smith for finding the bird.

While this bird was calling another bird was calling further in or beyond
the koala enclosure. When one stopped the other stopped. At 6pm it flew
down behind the outcrop, probably to the fire trail where Paul Taylor later
said he saw it.

Having seen the bird much quicker than expected I decided to walk down to
the intersection of the loop road and Camel Back Rd and watch birds coming
into drink along Mountain Creek. Birds here included YELLOW ROBINS,
as well as the obligatory water skinks. A strange call unknown to me
eventually turned out to be a young GREY SHRIKE-THRUSH.

I then drove to the Black Flats Dam car park and walked to the dam. Here I
found some 6 MAGPIE GEESE with 4 youngsters in tow in addition to the more
usual waterbirds. Upon arrival I flushed a large eagle from the dam island
which then alighted behind the dam in a tall dead eucalypt. Unfortunately I
had the sun in my face but it didn't seem quite right for a Wedge-tailed
Eagle. As it had flown it had shown its tail feathers to be white on top.
Most of its body was a dirty brown. Correct me if I am wrong but I don't
believe Wedgies have white tail feathers on top. Its profile showed a
longish beak and slightly narrow head. It then glided off over the treetops
slowly towards the other ponds in the wetlands. It had a large wingspan and
slightly splayed wingtips in flight. I can only assume that it was an
immature WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE. I'm happy for people to send me their
opinion on this. Has this species been recorded in Tidbinbilla before?

Also at the dam a WHITE-THROATED GERYGONE (heard), TREE MARTINS and back by
the creek at the car park more SATIN FLYCATCHERS.


Marnix Zwankhuizen
Senior Analyst/Programmer
Java Enterprise Technology
IT Branch
Australian Electoral Commission

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