Black-necked Stork Update 7

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Black-necked Stork Update 7
From: "Greg Clancy" <>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 21:13:19 +1000

Black-necked Stork Update 7

Correction: In my Black-necked Stork Update 4 I misspelt the specific name of the real Jabiru Jabiru mycteria. I wrote it as Jabiru mycterus.

Moree storks: Very exciting news from Jen Southeron of Moree, northern New South Wales. She and her husband Bruce have located an active nest of the Black-necked stork near Moree. It presently has three nestlings. I had planned a trip to document this nesting event but it had to be postponed due to the rain. A postponement due to rain is a rare event these days! Anyway we are heading out west in early July – weather permitting. Jen and Bruce had suspected local nesting of storks for a few years due to the young age of birds observed in the area but confirmation did not occur until this year. This is the first confirmed New South Wales breeding record of the species west of the Great Dividing Range.

Start to local breeding: The pair of storks at Arndilly north, Tullymorgan were sitting on the nest (and presumably on eggs) last week so the breeding season has started. However, yesterday June 23, no activity was detected on the nest despite an hour’s nest watch. I don’t blame the bird for sitting tight (and low) if it was there as we had moderate and very chilly winds blowing. I will be checking the nest tomorrow. No other local pairs have started nesting (at least to my knowledge).

Black-necked Stork breeding diary: K. S. Gopi Sundar, Principal Co-ordinator – Indian Cranes and Wetlands Working Group has asked me to collaborate with him to maintain a diary of BNS breeding throughout the species’ range. I will co-ordinate records in Australia. Anyone with information on breeding of storks in Australia, including historical information, is encouraged to send it to me for collation and forwarding to Gopi. Gopi has asked for the following: location name (nearest town, village, waterbody etc.); Brief description of locality – water availability, protection status of wetlands, threats to habitat and birds; details of nesting activity – location of nest (in tree, shrub etc), nest tree species, years observed breeding, breeding results – no. of young produced. Additional information such as egg laying dates, fledging dates etc. would be valuable. People providing data will be acknowledged in any published papers that may eventuate.

Storks and Steers Part 4: Ever since my encounter with the rogue steer I have been keeping a weather eye on the local cattle. As over 90% of stork nests that I have documented are situated in areas where cattle grazing is the main land use it is only natural that I will come into contact with these animals regularly. When checking out a stork nest site near Kempsey I was slushing through a muddy wetland, weighted down with spotting scope, binoculars, camera, tape measure, height meter and dictaphone, having just tiptoed around a very large Brahman bull in one paddock and a very solid Charolais bull in another, when we came face to face (almost!) with a cow and calf. Having visions of attempting to jump the fence with all of the valuable and delicate gear and being with someone whose fear of cattle was greater than mine we decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and retreated. She was probably only curious but the one thing worse than a charging bull is a charging protective mother cow. At a banding weekend at Tullymorgan recently I was told that I could erect some mist nets over the fence in the next paddock. "Oh by the way there is a bull in there but he shouldn’t be any problem". This was despite the fact that the bull had just put its owner in hospital with a few broken ribs. My nets stayed on the ‘bull free’ side of the fence.

A visit to the Gorge, on the Clarence River, where we were checking out a large dam where Black-necked Storks have been seen, brought us into contact with another large bull. We had made our way around the edge of the wetland when suddenly the bull decided to stake his claim on the paddock. Down went the head, up came the dust and we were in no doubt that he resented our intrusion. I didn’t mind this display, but because I have a vivid imagination, and a good memory of the rogue steer, I didn’t want to hang around to see what the next act entailed. I had visions of swimming fully clothed in the dam with my spotting scope! What really worried me was that my companion, who had walked around Africa alone and seems to have no fear of animals said that he thought that, maybe, we should head back to the vehicle.

Post Graduate Conference: Next Tuesday I will be presenting a PowerPoint presentation at the UNTAMED postgraduate conference at the National Marine Science Centre in Coffs Harbour. The title of the presentation is ‘Feeding behaviour and diet of and endangered waterbird, the Black-necked Stork’. It will be a trial run for the Australasian Ornithological Conference to be held at Blenheim, New Zealand in December 2005 where I hope to present an upgraded version of the same talk. By the way UNTAMED stands for ‘UNE Terrestrial and Aquatic Management and Ecology Discussions’.

Tweed Valley: Despite an earlier diagnosis that the BNS was extinct in the Tweed Valley I have received a number of recent observations of the species there. No nest yet but I am hopeful. To encourage the Tweed Bird Observers and to provide them with some information on the species I presented a talk at their May monthly meeting. It was well received and the club members were very friendly and hospitable. I visited the former nest site at Stotts Island but didn’t find a current storks’ nest but did find a new Osprey nests on the Island. I observed the Island from the mainland on the northern bank of the River.


Your observations: The rumour that I don’t want any more stork records is not true. Please keep them coming in. I will be keen to keep receiving stork records indefinitely and not only while I am doing my PhD. I hope to be able to collate all of the records eventually and will endeavour to enter them into the NSW National Parks Wildlife Atlas Database. If you are sending me records that have already been entered into this, or another, database, can you indicate that at the time to avoid me double entering them.


Thanks to all of those people who have provided me with records, photos etc. since my last update.





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