We need more rarities news

Subject: We need more rarities news
From: Julian Bielewicz <>
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 18:57:31 +1000
Phil wrote

>Dear All,
>I have been going through my copy of Australian Birding and was very disturbed 
>to read the rarities round up. In the round up there are several birds that I 
>would have gone for but did not know about. I would have thought that I was 
>up-to-date with most rarities reported through the grapevine and that I back 
>this up by reading birding-aus every day. So how come I, and presumably most 
>everyone else, did not know about them. 

Me too!!!

It was a point I tried to make some time back about being in ONLY IF ...

There has to be a better way, fellows!!

Meanwhile FAY and I 'ticked' off all the LORD HOWE ISLAND species we went

WHITE TERN:  everywhere!!  Doug Davidson even took one back home with him!

SOOTY TERN:  out at sea; during an around-the-island cruise with Ron Matthews.

MASKED BOOBY:  so you don't have to go to LHI but we'd dipped out elsewhere.

GREY TERNLET:  on rocks during above Matthews cruise.

LORD HOWE WOODHEN: back from the brink of extinction.

KERMADEC PETREL: from a small Cessna with the passenger door removed - and I
hate flying!

So, what's the story regarding the LORD HOWE WHITE-EYE??  FAY and I couldn't
REALLY spot any difference between this and your common or garden SILVEREYE
but HUTTON (1990) has it listed as a separate species.  Have we missed
something?  It doesn't appear as a separate species in CHRISTIDIS & BOLES

Also of interest the subspecies:

GOLDEN WHISTLER  Pachycephala pectoralis contempta.  Reminiscent of mainland
House Sparrow behaviour; ground foragers.  Their "whistle" is also
distinctly different, perhaps an island accent?

CURRAWONG Strepera graculina crissalis.  More secretive than mainland
cousins.  Call more abrupt but not unpleasant on the ear.  Usually one of
the first of the dawn chorus but a real bugger to eyeball.

And just to show that we're not ALL "twitchy" we enjoyed watching:

NANKEEN KESTREL: over Lovers' Bay and later a pair apparently hunting in
unison over Muttonbird Island.

SWAMP HARRIER:  hunting over Blackburn Island.

PACIFIC BLACK DUCK/MALLARD:  a few pures of each and a lot of "inbetweens"
adapted to saltwalter.  Handfed on NEDS BEACH.

BUFF-BANDED RAIL: secretive but expanding range.  Glimpses around weather

EMERALD GROUND-DOVE:  as friendly as your everyday pigeon around the city

SACRED KINGFISHER:  some of the most colourless specimens we've ever seen.
Our first had us guessing as it appeared a dual tone yuk and yukkier.  Even
the bill appeared TOO upturned for a sacred.  Saw some finer examples later.

COMMON BLACKBIRD:  ah that song!!!  Have to give it to this Pommie bird, it
has one of the most delightful songs I've ever had the pleasure of listening
to.  What a glorious early-morning call as you lie in bed wondering which
track to tackle after breakfast.  Twice came across an albino - at least
25%+ white on this male.

Especially for PHIL and others at SOSSA, we had good views of:

PROVIDENCE PETREL:  you can actually "clap" or yodel these down to ground level.

BLACK_WINGED PETREL:  enjoyed watching one wheeling, attempting to land,
circling, banking, etc. for an hour or more at NEDS BEACH.

FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER: they come in each evening on the "open" (sandy)
side of the island (e.g. NEDS BEACH).  

WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER:  they come in each evening on the "lagoon"
(volcanic soil) side (best by the flagpole in the little park near the
jetty).  A great way to conclude each day's birding, alternating between
this and NEDS BEACH to idle the wee hours away watching shearwaters glide
in.  MAGIC!

LITTLE SHEARWATER:  our at sea during Ron Matthews' cruise.  Said to nest on
Blackburn Island.

RED-TAILED TROPICBIRD: everywhere but crippling views from atop MALABAR.
Well worth the climb to watch these beautiful creatures in their courtship
flights (back and over; back and over).

COMMON NODDY: everywhere but especially over Muttonbird Point (from the
lookout build there - overlooking the MASKED BOOBY nesting colony on
Muttonbird Island).

WHITE-CAPPED NODDY:  not quite as common as the Common but readily seen,
especially out at sea (on a cruise).

For the shorebird/wader freaks:

PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER:  at least three, one in magnificent breeding plumage.
At the airfiled.

DOUBLE-BANDED PLOVER: at least 20 around the airfiled.

RUDDY TURNSTONE:  everywhere and I mean EVERYWHERE!!  Along the beach, on
grass, in parks, etc.  100s.  I had to back-off while photographing them at
NEDS BEACH to focus with my 300mm lens.

WHIMBREL:  a few around the airfiled.  Came across a solitary specimen at

BAR-TAILED GODWIT.  Again around the airfield.

PIED OYSTERCATCHER: one specimen on the golf course.

MASKED LAPWING: several, mostly around the airfiled and golf course.

Some of the others:

WHITE-FACED HERON:  in pastures

PURPLE SWAMPHEN: rare, around airfiled and swamp across road.

WELCOME SWALLOW:  everywhere

COMMON STARLING:  not that common!  A few around airfiled.

AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE-LARK:  this has to be the most dominant bird on the island.

FERAL PIGEON (sorry, ROCK DOVE): saw one specimen near settlement.

38 species.  

I plan to write up a more detailed report this weekend.  Anyone interested
in receiving a copy should drop me a line.

Julian Bielewicz

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