As I promised, the move from Melbourne to Dubbo is resulting in my getting
out more. Took the opportunity yesterday to participate in the Dubbo Field
Nats quarterly Glossy Black Cockatoo count in Goonoo State Forest.
Volunteers were posted at every dam in the forest from about 5.30PM. As one
would expect this was a very interesting exercise. I found it very
different from dam watching in Killawarra State Forest (NE Victoria) where
large numbers of honeyeaters were guaranteed. The most obvious birds on
arrival were the Pied Currawongs, stacks of them, also Magpies and WW
Choughs, a few Red Wattlebirds and Noisy Friarbirds were also present. From
about 6.30 the number of Eastern Rosellas, Ringnecks and Common Bronze-wings
started to increase. Other than a couple of Yellow-faced and White-eared
Honeyeaters no small honeyeaters visited "my" dam. The afternoon sun on the
Ringnecks revealed colours that I don't think I had noticed before, they
were absolutely stunning birds. The Eastern Rosella also seemed much more
colourful than birds normally seen outside the forest. Perhaps it was the
The first pair of Glossies appeared at 6:30 with the numbers gradually
building up from 6:50. The first five came down to drink at 7:08 with the
bulk of the birds sitting or swooping around calling. From about 7:25
drinking began in earnest with birds swooping down from the larger trees
into small trees at the waters edge and then to the waters edge. There was
a lot of action with much squabbling in the trees and cockies flying around.
In total, 64 birds were counted coming to the water at this particular dam
with many juveniles among them. It was estimated that at least 70 birds
were present as not all appeared to drink.
Once the last Glossies had departed, everyone met at a predetermined dam to
collate the numbers and partake in dinner. The total Glossy count was the
highest to date with over 300 cockies counted.
Besides the Glossies, the highlights for me were the hundreds of Common
Bronzewings coming in to drink, and having 55 Eastern Rosellas at the water
at once. These birds were brilliantly coloured. Easterns are a nice bird
but these birds were spectacular! Once again, it may have been the light or
is the diet of these forest rosellas superior to that of more agricultural
On a more frustrating note, several nightjars were obvserved flying over the
road. The failing light and an annoying habit of flying among the trees,
meant that, despite my best efforts, I couldn't get a good enough look at
them to id them. Both White-throated and Spotted Nightjars occur in the
Cheers from sunny Dubbo
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