Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union. [isf'jan.
the Tuesday, and Dr. Cleland still found plenty of the malarial
mosquito pests available.
The return journey was commenced at 1.30 p.m. on 2nd
December, and at the small Overland Corner Dr. Cleland was
dropped, he purposing to strike across country * Going right
ahead, Waikerie was called on at 7.30 o’clock, just as hot winds
were travelling across its sand. These fruit-growing settlements
probably have a future, but it certainly will not do for prospective
settlers to see them first while a dust-storm is raging.
The night was spent at Boggy Flat, and Morgan regained at
mid-day on the Wednesday. Further good pace was made in the
afternoon, and the evening halt called at Nortel. It was a calm,
soft night, and, while a young moon did its best to beautify the
river, Dr. Leach lectured to an interested assemblage on the
general aspects of Australian bird-life. Quite an animated dis¬
cussion followed, and the lecturer was accorded a vote of thanks.
A “ below-stairs ” address on “Radium” later was not so
The looked-for cool change came up on Thursday, a sharp,
cold hailstorm occurring before mid-day. Some time was lost by
a boat overturning when aborigines came on board with
Cockatoos, but after that there was no stoppage till Mourkain,
near Foster, was reached. There Mr. D. Hutchinson received the
party hospitably. He has some fine fossil cliffs and swamp lands,
and the reservation of the latter should give a home to thousands
of birds. Crested Grebes nest there freely.
From that onward the only noteworthy stoppage was at a point
between Mannum and Murray Bridge, at mid-day on Friday.
This was the occasion of felicitous speeches. Mr. Mattingley
proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the skipper of the Arcadia,
Capt. Wolters, for his able management of the trip, and presented
him with a signed chart of the river. Mr. J. W. Mellor seconded
the motion, which was carried and responded to. A special vote
of thanks was also accorded Capt. S. A. White for his good
services, and the ladies’ general thanks were expressed by Mrs.
J. F. Mellor and Mr. Runge. So the excursion terminated on
Friday, 5th December. Results had been hampered by no one
having a first-hand knowledge of the best stopping-places, by
the weather being too hot, and the time of the year too late ; but
nevertheless the 200-mile trip had been productive of a profitable
and pleasant time.
Birds Identified, Lower Murray Excursion,
By (Capt.) S. A. White, M.B.O.U., &c.
Note.—T he following list is in the order of the R.A.O.U.
“ Check-list, 1 ’ and according to special request made in The Emu
* See separate account, p. 129.
Vol -^ II, j White, Birds Identified , Lower Murray Excursion.
vol. xii., p. 290, but is made under protest, for I believe in the
strict law of priority as set down by the National Cede, and in the
use of trinomials to describe sub-species.—S. A. W.
Dromaius novce-hollandice. Emu.—Although not seen, fresh tracks
and feathers were noted on more than one occasion, where the birds
watered at the river.
Geopelia tranquilla. Ground-Dove.—These lovely little birds were
often met with, and their deep cooing sounded refreshing on a hot day.
Phaps chalcoptera. Bronze-winged Pigeon.— These were fairly
numerous in places, rising from the ground with a great whirring
sound, and often perching on the limb of a mallee tree.
Ocyphaps lophotes. Crested Pigeon.—The Crested Pigeons were
remarkably quiet, and fairly plentiful in places. Nests with young
were observed, and a photograph was taken.
Tribonyx ventralis. Black-tailed Native-Hen.—Numbers seen on
the river-bank and in the lignum swamps.
Gallinula tenebrosa Black Moor-Hen.—Several seen on the river-bank.
Porphyrio melanonotus. Bald-Coot.—Plentiful in all the reed and
flag patches on swamps and back-waters. Found breeding
Fulica australis. Australian Coot.'—Two or three Coots were seen
on a large lagoon. They never collect in such numbers on the river
as they do lower down on the lakes.
Podiceps gularis. Black-throated Grebe.—A few were seen in the
Podiceps australis. Great Grebe.—Seen on the back-waters, and were
reported by residents as having nested in numbers at certain places.
Hydrochelidon fhiviatilis . Marsh Tern.—Great numbers of these
pretty Terns were observed fishing on the back-waters and sometimes
on the main stream during the first days of our progress We met
them in the same localities on our return down stream.
Lobivanellus lobatus. Spur-winged Plover.—Fairly plentiful on the
flats near the river.
Mgialitis nigrifrons. Black-fronted Dottrel.—An odd bird or two
met with all along the river.
Himantopus leucocephalus. White-headed Stilt.—A few Stilts were
seen on the wing passing from one swamp to the other. I have never
known these birds to nest on the Murray River ; they seem to prefer
the samphire flats of the plains. The absence of these birds on the
swamps is due, no doubt, to their being away nesting.
Gallinago australis. Australian Snipe.—Mr. J. W. Mellor procured
a fine specimen of this bird. It was a solitary, and was perched on
a log near the water.
CEdicnemus grallarius. Stone-Curlew.—Fairly plentiful, judged by
the numbers heard calling at night.
Ibis molucca. Australian White Ibis.—A few seen feeding in the
swamps near Murray Bridge. The bulk of these birds must have
been nesting in the flags lower down the river.
Carphibis spinicollis. Straw-necked Ibis.—The note for the White
Ibis well answers for this bird also.
Plaiibis flavipes. Yellow-billed Spoonbill.—A few seen perched on
dead trees over swamp.
Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union. [i St E >n.
Herodias syrmatophorus. Australian Egret.—Fair numbers of White
Egrets were seen perched on trees bordering swamps.
Notophoyx novce-hollandice. White-fronted Heron.—These widely-
distributed birds were observed all along the river.
Notophoyx pacifica. White-necked Heron. — One or two birds
observed on the early part of the trip.
Nyciicorax caUdonicus. Nankeen Night-Heron. — Night-Herons
were plentiful, and several large rookeries came under our notice.
These were situated in the thick foliage of the weeping willows. Many
immature birds were perching with the adults.
Botaurus pceciloptilus. Australian Bittern.— Two or three were
seen passing between clumps of reeds, and their deep booming note
was heard all night if we happened to be near the birds’ haunts.
Chenopis alrata. Black Swan.—Black Swans seldom visit the small
swamps in the day-time for fear of being molested. Messrs. Mackintosh
and Ouinn, Government officials, who had just returned from a visit
to Lake Bonney, stated the Swans were nesting in great numbers there.
Chlamydochen jubata. Maned Goose.—Ihese handsome birds were
not numerous. At many places on the river where, twenty years ago,
the birds were in hundreds, none was noticed.
Anas superciliosa. Australian Black Duck.—Fairly numerous, in
pairs and small families of six or seven.
Nettium gibberifrons . Grey Teal.—Not numerous. Where we saw
one there were five hundred twenty years ago.
Spatula rhynchotis. Australian Shoveller.—A bird or two seen on
Nyroca australis. White-eyed Duck.—A flock of a hundred or
more seen on a back-water.
Biziura lobata. Musk-Duck.—These birds were often seen on the
edges of reed-banks, and at the approach of danger dived. Some fine
old birds with large gular pouches were observed.
Phalacrocorax carbo. Black Cormorant.—In fair numbers, perched
on dead trees and snags in the water.
Phalacrocorax sulcirostris. Little Black Cormorant. — Not so
plentiful as the larger species. To all appearances some of these
birds were nesting in the sides of the high cliffs.
Phalacrocorax melanoleucus. Little Pied Cormorant.—Ihese birds
were seen on two or three occasions.
Plotus novcB-hollandice. Australian Darter.—One bird was observed
sitting on a dead tree near Murray Bridge.
Pelecanus conspicillatus . Australian Pelican.—These noble birds
were seen both on the river and on the swamp.
Circus goiildi. Allied Swamp-Hawk .—Several Harriers were seen
soaring over the reed-beds.
A slur approximans. Australian Goshawk.—Two Goshawks were
seen hawking over the big timber.
Uroaetus audax. Wedge-tailed Eagle—Few seen where they were
once plentiful along the river.
Haliastur sphsnurus. Whistling-Eagle.—These birds were very
numerous, and were often seen taking dead fish from the bank or
surface of the water.
White, Birds Identified, Lower Murray Excursion. 1 25
Falco lunulatus. Little Falcon.—They seemed to prefer the high
cliffs on the river, where numbers were seen flying or perched on the
face of rock.
Hieracidea heritor a. Brown Hawk.—Members of the party reported
having seen this bird.
Cerchneis cenchroides. Nankeen Kestrel.—These small, familiar
Hawks were plentiful, and no doubt nested in the cliff crevices.
Ninox boobook. Boobook Owl.—Although heard at night,_ did^not
seem to be plentiful. v.
Glossopsitta porphyrocephala. Purple-crowned Lorikeet.—Numbers
feeding in the flowering mallee.
Cacaiua %alerita. White Cockatoo.—Numbers of these fine birds
were nesting in the high cliffs rising from the river. The numbers of
Cockatoos are decreasing each year, poisoned wheat being responsible
for their destruction.
Young White Cockatoo at Entrance of Nesting Burrow.
FROM A PHOTO. BY A. H. E. MATTINGLEY.
Cacaiua leadbeateri. Pink Cockatoo.—One or two birds seen. These
handsome birds were in thousands on the river twenty years ago.
Cacaiua roseicapilla. Rose-breasted Cockatoo.—A few birds were
observed during the trip.
Calopsitta novce-hollandice. Cockatoo-Parrot.—Not numerous ; seen
only once, and most likely came in from the back country to water;
126 Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union ; [is?Jan.
Polytelis melanura. Black-tailed Parrot. — A few of these fine
Parrots were seen flying swiftly by. They seem to be very scarce
where I once knew them to be numerous.
Platycerous flaveolus. Yellow Parrot.—Numerous along the river,
and were mostly to be observed among the big gums.
Barnardius barnardi. Ring-necked Parrot. — Fairly numerous.
The immature male takes on the same dull plumage as the female.
These Parrots seem to prefer the mallee to the big timber.
Psephotus hcematogaster (?) Crimson-bellied Parrot.—Some of the
members of the excursion described a bird as the above, but I am
doubtful of its identity.
Psephotus hcematonotus . Red-backed Parrot.—On some of the
grassy flats these pretty birds were numerous, but they will soon
disappear as the imported Starling takes up their nesting hollows.
Melopsittacus undulatus. Warbling Grass-Parrot.—Small flocks of
these birds were seen coming in to and going out from water.
Dacelo gigas. Great Brown Kingfisher.—Fairly plentiful all along
the river in the big timber.
Halcyon pyrrhopygius. Red-backed Kingfisher.—The mournful yet
harsh cry of this ’ bird was heard at several halting-places. A
specimen was procured for identification.
Halcyon sanctus. Sacred Kingfisher.—The well-known call of this
bird was heard at one stopping-place only.
Merops ornatus. Australian Bee-eater—Bee-eaters were very
numerous in many localities we visited.
Cypselus pad ficus. White-rumped Swift.—One sultry, hot day
these birds were noticed flying overhead.
Hirundo neoxena. Welcome Swallow.—Plentiful on many occasions.
Cheramceca leucosternum. White-backed Swallow.—Often seen,
especially near sandy ridges, where, no doubt, they were breeding.
Petrochelidon nigricans . Tree-Martin.—Found nesting in the rocks
on the face of high cliff.
Petrochelidon ariel. Fairy Martin —Great numbers were flying
along the river. Huge masses of their strange, retort-shaped nests
were seen attached to the face of the rocky cliffs just above the wateri
Petroica goodenovii. Red-capped Robin.—These little birds were
seen at Bell Rock.
Smicrornis brevirostris. Short-billed Tree-Tit.—Plentiful along the
river ; found in mallee and red gum alike.
Falcunculus frontatus. Yellow-bellied Shrike-Tit.—Mr. Chisholm in¬
formed me that he observed a nest of this bird in the course of the trip.
Oreoica cristata . Crested Bell-Bird.—The well-known call of this
very widely distributed bird was heard on several occasions. I have
never found these birds very plentiful near the river; they become
more numerous as one gets back into the mallee.
Pachycephala gilberti. Gilbert Whistler.—These birds were very
plentiful at Bell Rock, between Lake Bomrey and the river. Many
pairs were located in the pine scrub. They were very wary, and
moved on in front of us. It was necessary to procure one for identi¬
fication, and this was managed by standing amongst the lower limbs
Voi.xm.'i White Birds Identified, Lower Murray Excursion. I2J
of a pine tree and calling a bird up. Although no nests were seen,
I feel sure they were breeding at the time of our visit.
Rhipidura motacilloides. Black-and-White Fan tail .-Thesehomety
birds were met with all through, out m the scrub as well as round
ResUess Hycatcher.-^ese birds were somewhat
numerous, and their strange grinding call was to be.heard at n ly
every place we landed. One nest containing young was seen, and
I fancy that many more pairs were nesting.
Graucalus melanops. Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike.-Seen dying over
the river, and were met with in the scrub.
Campephaga humeralis. White-shouldered CaterpUlar-eater -These
pretty and useful birds were met with in the mallee where they were
found breeding. In one instance two young birds were found
so large that they could only just hang to the rim of the nest ; the
parent 8 birds put themselves into a great fuss, and almost dashed into
on?s face in their frantic efforts to drive the intruder away
Pomatorhinus temporalis (?) Australian Babbler.-This bird was
reported to have been seen m the thick scrub back from the rive .
Pomatorhinus superciliosus. White-browed Babbler. A _ common
bird all through the river districts. They will keep so quiet in th
middle of theday that often one has no idea of their presence til
passing under a low tree, when they will break out into a babel of
discordant cries. , ,
Acrocephalus australis. Australian Reed-Warbler.-Found wherever
reeds or flags afforded them shelter. There is no doubt that the
Reed-Warbler is one of Australia's greatest songsters.
Acanthi™ chrysorrhoa. Yellow-tailed Tit-Warbler.-Observed in
many places along the river-bank.
Acanthiza uropyrialis. Chestnut-rumped Tit-Warbler. A specimen
procured by Dr. Cleland for identification. They were not numerous.
Pyrrholesmus brunneus. Redthroat.-Observed this bird for the
first time on the trip in the low bush between Lake Bonney and
th<T river They were singing most sweetly. A specimen procured
shows much less reddish marking on the throat.
Malurus cyaneus. Blue Wren-Warbler.-Observed m the first part
0t Malfms' melanotus. Black-backed Wren-Warbler .-I was not at
all surprised to find this glorious little bird, for it was from the Murray
mallee P belts that John Gould procured his type. On comparing this
ted with skins procured by Mr. A. J. Campbell from the Mallee m
Victoria they are found to be identical.
i/Tnhtv'ifc n^^imilis. Purple-backed Wren-Warbler. This is the
true assimilis and not the bird found further north and north-west
true asst ™^> Australia. The blue of the head and ear coverts is
of much darker shade than in the Central bird, which I have named
M. I amber ti morgani*
Artamus personalus. Masked Wood-Swallow.-Fairly numerous,
and found breeding in the mallee. . .
Artamus sordidus. Wood-Swallow.-This very widely distributed
bird was found almost everywhere we landed.
* See Austral Avian Record, vol. i„ p. 126 ; also Emu, ante, p. 28.
Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union. [ist'jan.
Colluricincla harmonica. Grey Shrike-Thrush —These fine songsters
were fairly plentiful on the river-flats, and were seen at the tops of
the highest gums.
GraUina picata. Pied Grallina.—The Murray River is the home of
these dainty birds. They were seen in numbers each day.
Corcorax melanorhamphus. White-winged Chough.—Met with in
large families, mostly in abraded plumage, owing to their having
finished nesting. A discussion took place re the colouration of the
eye. Some contend that when the bird is alarmed or worried it can
produce a scarlet membrane in front of the eye. My experience has
shown me that the eye is deep red during nesting time.
Aphelocephala leucopsis. Whiteface. — A very common bird
wherever we went.
Neositta pileata. Black-capped Tree-runner.—Met with in the
mallee and pine scrubs. A nest containing young was observed.
Climacteris scandens. Brown Tree-creeper.—These birds were
numerous amongst the big timber ; they were also seen in the mallee.
There were very large broods of fully fledged young moving about
with parent birds.
Pardalotus striatus. Red-tipped Pardalote.—Were fairly plentiful
amongst the red gums growing on the flats and near the river.
Melithreptus brevirostris. Brown-headed Honey-eater.—One or two
large parties of these birds were met with searching amongst the low
scrub for insect life.
Glyciphila albifrons. White-fronted Honey-eater.—Numbers of
these birds were found in the low scrub between Lake Bonney and
the river. They were attracted by the flowering shrub known as
the wild or native fuchsia (Correa speciosa). Many fully fledged young
birds were with their parents. I noticed the latter jumping about on
the ground in search of insect food. One's attention is attracted by
this bird’s zig-zag flight.
Ptilotis sonora. Singing Honey-eater.—Was met with many times,
and its melodious note often heard.
Ptilotis ornata. Yellow-plumed Honey-eater.—These birds were not
so numerous ; those observed had much darker plumage than those
found on Eyre Peninsula.
Ptilotis penicillata. White-plumed Honey-eater. — Found very
plentifully all along the river-bank, in the low scrub as well as among
Myzantha garrula. Noisy Miner.—One of the most plentiful birds
to be found on the Murray banks.
Acanthogenys rufgalaris. Spiny-cheeked Honey-eater.—This bird
is plentiful all along the river banks, and its peculiar gurgling call is
heard at its best when echoed amongst the high cliffs—a locality it
likes to haunt, and where I met with this bird for the first time
twenty-five years ago;
Entomyza cyanotis. Blue-faced Honey-eater.—This bird was met
with just after leaving Mannum. This is by'far the lowest point
down stream it has been known to come. James Cockerell collected
it at Mildura, but that is hundreds of miles up stream. The young
were with the parent birds, showing that they must have nested in the
Vol igr4 II J White, Birds Identified, Lower Murray Excursion.
locality. A single specimen was obtained by Mr. E. Ashby near
Mannum last year, and is now in the Adelaide Museum.
Philemon citreogularis. Yellow-throated Friar-Bird.—Numbers of
these birds were seen. They fly high at times, passing over the tree-
tops. Large young were flying about with the adult birds, the bird
being called the Yellow-throated because the immature bird has yellow
feathers on the throat, while the matured bird shows no trace of any
Anthus australis. Australian Pipit.—Numerous all along the river,
especially where any clearings extend.
Stagonopleura guttata. Spotted-sided Finch.—These pretty little
Finches were seen on the edge of cultivated ground.
Corvus coronoides (?). Australian Crow.—Birds were seen which
answered to this species, but one cannot be sure without handling
Cracticus destructor. Collared Butcher-Bird.—This Butcher-Bird
was once very plentiful in the Murray districts, but it seems to have
almost disappeared ; only one bird was seen in the course of the
Gymnorhina leuconota. White-backed Magpie.—A fair number of
these birds was seen, and often they came to the water’s edge in
search of insects and worms in the damp earth.
Owing to my not being in very good health after the recent
trying trip in the interior, I did not get about as much as some of
the other members.
Mr. J. W. Mellor informs me that he identified the following
Accipiter torquatus. Collared Sparrow-Hawk.
Dry modes hrunneopygius. Scrub-Robin.
Megalurus gramineus. Little Grass-Bird.
Artamus superciliosus. White-browed Wood-Swallow.
Zoster ops dorsalis. White-eye.
Pardalotus xanthopygius. Yellow-rumped Pardalote.
Plectorhyncha lanceolata. Striped Honey-eater.
Mirafra secunda. Lesser Bush-Lark.
Corvus australis. Australian Raven.
Mr. Mellor also informs me he picked up a dead specimen of the
last-named species, and that the basal down of feathers was black.
Thus 113 species were identified—a good performance, I consider,
for nine days’ observation.
By (Dr.) J. Burton Cleland, R.A.O.U.
On the return of the party to Overland Corner at mid-day on
Tuesday, 2nd December, the opportunity was taken of returning
to the starting-point, Murray Bridge, by a route which promised
some interesting country. The plan outlined was to proceed by
coach to Renmark, thence across the river to Paringa, and then