The first visit by our group to the bushland reserve ‘Ruthven St South’ on Toowoomba’s southern edge proved to be enjoyable, with relatively rich birdlife.
In sunny weather with only light winds, the eight observers followed the maintenance track across the plateau and down the escarpment into the reserve’s lower areas.
The reserve is covered in eucalypt woodland with dominance varying from gum-topped box at the top to yellow box and (mountain) forest red gum lower down, narrow-leaved ironbarks being present throughout.
Understorey has a mix of tussock grass and native and weedy shrubs. Some of the shrubland, a mix of native and weedy shrubs, in upper sectors well beyond the firebreak, had been slashed to ground level; this is of some concern because manicured woodland leaves no habitat for many of the small bush birds and encourages incursion by Noisy Miners—which on this day were confined to top south-western edges of the reserve.
Three standardised 2.0-hectare, 20-minute surveys were completed, each yielding 10 to 13 bird species. Within the overall total of 40 species, Bell Miner (a colony of 50 along the main gully), Silvereye (42), Australasian Figbird (13) and Grey Fantail (10) were counted in highest numbers.
Interesting interactions between three Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and five Galahs seemed to involve contest for a nesting hollow.
Two pairs of Spotted Pardalote were perching low near grassy banks, perhaps checking out potential nest sites.
A Grey Goshawk quietly snuck into view, undetected by the alarm-raising birds, before soon slipping away.
Full sighting list for the day:
|Australian White Ibis
|Eastern Yellow Robin