Ruthven Street South Bushland Reserve

Spotted pardalote – Pardalotus punctatus Photo credit: Mitchell Roberts

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.

Photo credit: Scot McPhie

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.

Typical scene at the Ruthven St South Bushland Reserve Photo credit: Scot McPhie

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.

Slashing present in the reserve Photo credit: Scot McPhie

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.

Bell miner – Manorina melanophrys – Photo credit: Mitchell Roberts
Bell miner – Manorina melanophrys – Photo credit: Mitchell Roberts

Interesting interactions between three Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and five Galahs seemed to involve contest for a nesting hollow.

Sulphur-crested cockatoo – Cacatua galerita – Photo credit: Mitchell Roberts

Two pairs of Spotted Pardalote were perching low near grassy banks, perhaps checking out potential nest sites.

Spotted pardalote – Pardalotus punctatus Photo credit: Mike Ford

Spotted pardalote – Pardalotus punctatus Photo credit: Mitchell Roberts

A Grey Goshawk quietly snuck into view, undetected by the alarm-raising birds, before soon slipping away.

Full sighting list for the day:

Australasian FigbirdSphecotheres vieilloti
Australian King-ParrotAlisterus scapularis
Australian White IbisThreskiornis moluccus
Bar-shouldered DoveGeopelia humeralis
Bell MinerManorina melanophrys
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina novaehollandiae
Brown Cuckoo-DoveMacropygia phasianella
Brown HoneyeaterLichmera indistincta
Brown ThornbillAcanthiza pusilla
Collared SparrowhawkAccipiter cirrocephalus
Crested PigeonOcyphaps lophotes
Eastern WhipbirdPsophodes olivaceus
Eastern Yellow RobinEopsaltria australis
Fairy-wren spp
GalahEolophus roseicapilla
Golden WhistlerPachycephala pectoralis
Grey FantailRhipidura fuliginosa
Grey GoshawkAccipiter novaehollandiae
Grey Shrike-thrushColluricincla harmonica
Laughing KookaburraDacelo novaeguineae
Lewin’s HoneyeaterMeliphaga lewinii
Magpie-larkGrallina cyanoleuca
MistletoebirdDicaeum hirundinaceum
Noisy FriarbirdPhilemon corniculatus
Noisy MinerManorina melanocephala
Pale-headed RosellaPlatycercus adscitus
Rainbow LorikeetTrichoglossus moluccanus
Red-browed FinchNeochmia temporalis
Scaly-breasted LorikeetTrichoglossus chlorolepidotus
SilvereyeZosterops lateralis
Spotted PardalotePardalotus punctatus
Striated PardalotePardalotus striatus
Sulphur-crested CockatooCacatua galerita
Torresian CrowCorvus orru
Varied SittellaDaphoenositta chrysoptera
Varied TrillerLalage leucomela
Variegated Fairy-wrenMalurus lamberti
White-browed ScrubwrenSericornis frontalis
White-naped HoneyeaterMelithreptus lunatus
Wonga PigeonLeucosarcia melanoleuca
Yellow-faced HoneyeaterCaligavis chrysops