birding-aus Black-breasted Buzzard - another at Gunbower Island, Victori

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Subject: birding-aus Black-breasted Buzzard - another at Gunbower Island, Victoria!
From: "Lawrence E. Conole" <>
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 10:17:40 +1000
I've just returned from another survey trip to Gunbower Island (35°45'S
144°17'E) on the Murray River near Cohuna in north-central Victoria
(between Echuca and Kerang).  A few points of interest:

(a) A sub-adult BLACK-BREASTED BUZZARD perched on one of my transect
lines on 6/7/99!  These raptors are very rare in Victoria, but this
follows on from an adult I saw at Gunbower Island earlier this year
(5/2/99).  Very interesting - perhaps they've bred locally!  I had views
of this young BBB as close as about 12-15m before it flew - closer than
any view I've previously had of the species 'not flying'.  The
extraordinarily long wings overlap the tail by quite a bit when folded,
and overall the bird is an odd shape compared to shorter winged raptors
- much more graceful in flight.

(b) Something of a 'faux spring' feeling was evident at Gunbower too,
with many FAN-TAILED CUCKOOS calling in the dawn chorus and at times
through the day.  One morning they were joined by a HORSFIELD'S
BRONZE-CUCKOO.  On my way home from Gunbower to Melbourne, I had a rest
break at Terrick Terrick National Park on the plains between Cohuna and
Bendigo.  There I saw a splendid Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo feeding with

(c) A small flock of 5 AUSTRALIAN (MALLEE) RINGNECKS in Black Box
woodland on Gunbower Island.  This is slightly extra-limital - though
they used to occur regularly at Terrick Terrick (about 40-50km south)
until about early 1998.

(d) SPOTTED PARDALOTES are quite abundant in River Red Gum and Black Box
on Gunbower Island in autumn-winter (more or less absent in summer).  At
one of my sites there was a pair of the mallee subspecies of Spotted
Pardalote - the YELLOW-RUMPED PARDALOTE - overlapping with the more
common nominate form.

(e) A male RUFOUS WHISTLER and DUSKY WOODSWALLOWS foraging in Black Box
added to the 'faux spring' atmosphere.  It looks as though a few
otherwise migratory species overwinter in this area.

3 Gezireh Street, Pascoe Vale South,
Victoria 3044 AUSTRALIA.  37°44'27"S  144°56'17"E
Phone (03) 9354 2484; Mobile (0419) 588 993
E-mail: <>
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