Campbell Park Nest Workshop

Sun 15 November 2015 08:00am

Jack Holland

This will be a repeat of the very successful practical nest workshops held over the past eleven years. As usual it will be a very informal outing which again has been timed to coincide with the peak of the breeding season. The morning will start with the usual short presentation including tips on the types of nests built by different species of birds, and how to find nests or nesting behaviour. This will be followed by several hours putting this into practice, with participants breaking into groups looking for breeding behaviour, signs of nesting, etc. This will also allow plenty of opportunities for bird watching.
This workshop is particularly suitable for beginners or those relatively new to bird watching, though more experienced members and repeat customers are also very welcome. Though every year has been different, we often don’t walk very far as there is usually is a “hot spot” where most of the breeding activity occurs. To participate, please contact Jack Holland (6288 7840) or by email on .

Meet at 8:00 am at the picnic tables at the far end of the car park. Take Northcott Drive up to the start of the Campbell Park Offices, where you take the right fork and keep to the outside of the very large car park, skirting it until you get to the end. Intending participants might also like to look at the Campbell Park map on the COG web site under the Maps, Forms and Lists button. Please remember to take morning tea to have out in the field.

Post event report

After a rainy week 17 members and guests joined me on a fine morning for the 13th running of this annual and still popular event.  Again the emailing of the notes beforehand allowed me to dispense with the usual short spiel and we decided to head out to beyond the horse gate where an inspection the day before had revealed most of the breeding activity was taking place within a pretty confined area.


Before doing this we inspected the nest of a Noisy Miner with an adult incubating in a small tree in the car park. I expect this species is a large contributing factor to the lack of birds on the SW quadrant of the horse gate as on both days they could be seen/heard up to there, whereas originally they were pretty much confined to the car park areas.  We did, however, find Crimson Rosellas entering and leaving a nest hollow, as well as a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike nest and young about 100 m before the horse gate, the only breeding activity we found in this area except for a number of dependent young Australian Magpies.


Once we crossed the horse gate, breeding activity really picked up, and we soon found Dusky Woodswallows on a nest in a slightly unusual spot amongst some regrowth on a large eucalypt branch (later we had good views of a bird on a nest at a more typical site, between peeled off bark against the trunk of a tree), and a White-winged Triller nest similarly hidden and only found when the adults swapped sitting duties.  There was another of this species on a nest only about 10 m away, and later we found another 2 nests relatively close by.  Also nearby were Grey Fantails building a nest of which only the base and pony tail were yet present, with another pair of this species feeding dependent young nearby.  A bit further away was a dome-shaped White-throated Gerygone nest, where we could watch both parents coming in to deliver food to their young through the side entrance.


Also within this very small area we were able to inspect a vacated Willie Wagtail’s nest in a very unusual position on a horizontal part of a large twisted bit of loose bark, as well as a vacated dome-shaped nest of the Buff-rumped Thornbill placed against the tree trunk behind some peeled off bark, and a much more substantial but falling apart old Yellow-rumped Thornbill nest.  Also in this area Red-rumped Parrots were repeatedly returning to presumed hollows in a dead tree masked by a group of Kurrajong saplings, and we later also found Brown-headed Honeyeaters feeding dependent young near here which allowed excellent views for this normally very actively moving species.


When we crossed back over to the SE side of the horse gate we were first shown by another group of observers a Mistletoebird’s beautiful pear-shaped purse nest with the slit-like entrance suspended high in a sapling, and then all participants were able to watch the female come in to feed the young.  We then moved to the corner where the Flame Robins nested last year trying to locate the Leaden Flycatchers we heard calling there, but only the male could be found; in contrast both were quite conspicuous by their calling and movement the afternoon before.  I was informed that the nest built previously had been abandoned due to the rain.  However, we were rewarded by good views of a pair of calling Western Gerygones; again these were quite mobile and a nest site could not be located.


We then moved back to the original area for a late morning tea, hoping that the young Australian Owlet-nightjars, so beautifully photographed and posted on the COG chatline the day before by Shorty, would finally show themselves.  Unfortunately they would not co-operate, but those of us that remained were able to attract the Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo that we had heard calling intermittently, and also get good views of a similarly calling Olive-backed Oriole.  Also seen during the morning was a lone and largely silent Noisy Friarbird and a male Rufous Whistler calling loudly, but neither of these three species showed any signs of breeding activity.


A total of 49 species were seen on the day, 13 of them recorded breeding at some level; unfortunately this includes Common Mynas again seen entering or examining several nest holes.  Everyone was amazed at so much breeding activity taking place in such a small space (estimated as less than 2 hectares), centred around the horse gate, and especially to the NW and SE of it this year.  My thanks again to Elizabeth Compston for pointing out some nests and nest sites during my inspection the afternoon before, to Con Boekel for doing so on the day, and to Shorty for the very timely posting of the owlet-nightjars on the COG chatline and providing directions for the tree.

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