Spring migrants in NSW

To: Peter Ewin <>
Subject: Spring migrants in NSW
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 15:45:38 +1100

I agree that the Koel is the harbinger of Summer. The ancient round "Summer is Icumen In" must have been written by someone with great pre- cognisance of English settlement of Australia, because when it comes to "Lhude sing Cuc-cu", there is no "Cuc-cu" more "Lhude" in my book than a Koel. Perhaps when the round is performed in Australia, Koel should be sustituted for "Cuc-cu".


Carl Clifford

On 06/10/2008, at 3:20 PM, Peter Ewin wrote:

I was away (trip report to follow) when Tony (I think) questioned why everyone was so obsessed with reporting Koels on Birding-Aus. I think there are three reasons why this happens:

Some of it I think stems back to our European (British) background where the return of such migrants as Barn Swallows and Common Cuckoos are definite indicators of the arrival of spring.
From this NSW Birding (whatever NSWFOC is now called) used to publish records of return dates in their newsletters and annual reports. I don't think Alan Morris still subscribes to Birding-Aus but I think he still looks through the archives and so I find it the easiest way to report them.
Personally, when I lived in Sydney, the call of the Koel in particular was a strong indicator that spring was here and that summer wasn't to far off. The Channel-billed Cuckoo was a less welcome call - particularly is it not very pleasant, and even so at 3am outside your bedroom window. Given these points, here are some sightings of spring migrants in NSW (and SE Qld) that may be of interest. They may not be arrival dates, but some would be pretty close. Painted Honeyeater - Boree 20km east of Wyalong on the Newell Highway 17/9

Rufous Songlark (going beserk), Sacred Kingfisher & Fairy Martin - Gum Swamp (Forbes) 18/9 No Martins were seen the previous day, but virtually every culvert north of Forbes then had them.

White-throated Gerygone - Jabiru-Geneebeinghi Wetland (Casino) 19/9 (also at Crystal Creek the following day)

Spectacled Monarch, Black-faced Monarch, Rufous Fantail - Mebbin NP Fig Tree walking track (SW of Murwillumbah) 21/9

Brush Cuckoo, Latham's Snipe - Cram's Farm Clarrie Hall Dam (Tweed Valley) 21/9

Black-faced Monarch - Mt Warning carpark 21/9

Common Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo - Crystal Creek (near Chillingham) 22/9 (though mum said she heard a Koel further up the creek a couple of days earlier)

Leaden Flyctacher - Crystal Creek 1/10 (though near Gympie on 22/9)

Dollarbird - Broadwater township 1/10 (though near Narangba Qld 23/9)

Rainbow Bee-eater - Gap Dam SF (west of Rankins Springs) 4/10 (seen earlier at Rainbow Beach (Qld) and Woolgoolga (breeding) but probably resident there.

I thought I saw possible White-browed Woodswallows while driving on the Mid Western Highway on the 17/9 but these were not confirmed. I also thought I heard a Cicadabird once at Crystal Creek (20/9) but it never called again so I am not certain it was not a Lewin's HE that I was half hearing while reading a book.



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