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

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Subject: Tidbinbilla: Brush Bronzewing, Sea-Eagle [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
From: <>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2008 09:59:28 +1100
There was a pair 50 metres apart on the track down into Flea Ck (turn right
heading down to the Goodradigbee from Piccadilly Circus for those who don't
know) Monday last week - I know them well from living on King Island where
they are common.

Also a pair of quail thrushes on the track from Flea Ck around the west of
Mount Coree to the Powerline trail.  Didn't get to do much birding as there's
heaps of snakes around and we had four kids under six with us (two adults).
First time I've been up there since the fires - brought a tear to my ear but
there is promise.

On the snake topic the week before whilst swimming in the the goodradigbee at
Flea ck my mate came across a Brown Snake sunning on a rock in the middle of
the river!  It took off across the current and up the bank!  I've never heard
of this before so I asked if it might have been a Copperhead???  But he (and
I) don't really know much about Copperheads, if they frequent water or not.
I've seen brown snakes chasing frogs etc in swampy places and obviously they
need to cross water but it would be a good photo!

Cheers Alex.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, 17 January 2008 9:39 AM
Subject: Tidbinbilla: Brush Bronzewing, Sea-Eagle

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 WOODSWALLOWS, SATIN

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, RED-BROWED
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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