Julieanne and Ren Milsom
15 December 1991

Dear Margaret and Peter,

Thank you for your kind note. We just left the flat as we found it. All three of us really enjoyed our stay in the Adobe Flats. We found the flat very comfortable and relaxing – we wonder why we need a twenty square house here at Glen Waverley. And we never stopped marvelling at the unusual and effective construction.

I have enclosed a bird list as we promised, along with a rough map in case you wish to give it to other guests interested in birds and not wishing to be driving all over the district or like us, they cannot visit the National Park because of their dog.

For myself, the Scarlet Honeyeaters, the Cicadabird and the Brown Greygones with their unusual domed nest and its hooded entrance were highlights of our week at the Adobe Flats, but the following episode was hard to beat.

Near Buckland’s Jetty one morning I observed a Marsh Harrier flying from the vicinity of the large dam on the edge of the National Park. It appeared to be carrying prey, possibly a rabbit kitten or more likely a duckling of the Maned Duck family seen there previously.

The Harrier flew up the cleared hillside, perhaps to a stump to perch upon whilst devouring the prey. As it flew higher, it was set upon by a single Whistling Kite and 2 or 3 magpies.

The Marsh Harrier was not having much trouble but then a second Kite zoomed in. The first action of the second Kite was to fly at the first Kite to show its authority then the two Kites attached the Harrier together with the magpies skirmishing around the perimeter. Under the combined onslaught the Harrier appeared to drop the prey into the grass and itself being forced onto the ground.

The two Kites continued to attach the Harrier, at times the Harrier and a Kite standing on the ground trading blows with their wings – the Harrier being a little bigger had the better of it except that the second Kite would dive-bomb the Harrier whenever the opportunity arose.

I assume that either the Harrier had again taken possession of the prey when it came to ground or in fact it had not dropped the prey. After what seemed to be about five minutes, the Marsh Harrier must have seen a tiring of the attach or at least an opportunity to break out and it rose from the ground and swooped down the hillside and was lost from view in the vicinity of a smaller dam behind the larger one. I shifted position to view the corner of the cleared area but could not see the Harrier.

It seems unlikely that the Harrier entered the forest – this smaller dam was very much filled with reeds and I wondered if the Harrier might have had a nest in the reeds.

Love from Julieanne and Winnie

Bird List for Mallacoota

23-30 November 1991

Birds sighted by Ren Millsom whilst staying at the Adobe Flats. All species were recorded within walking distance of the flats, within the town area or around the 7km walking track, along the Lakeside Drive and foreshore and by observing over the Inlet with a telescope (25X) from our flat or from Captain Stevenson’s Point. Only one species, the Superb Lyrebird, was seen within the National Park. (The species numbers refer to the numbers in Simpson and Day, 1984).

  • 5 HOARY-HEADED GREBE – 15 in small bay near wharf
  • 77 AUSTRALIAN PELICAN – About 100, mostly on Goodwin Sands
  • 86 LITTLE PIED CORMORANT – Only a few – surprising
  • 87 GREAT CORMORANT – Also common
  • 96 WHITE-FACED HERON – Common
  • 99 GREAT EGRET – A few around the inlet
  • 100 LITTLE EGRET – A single bird near the gull rookery
  • 111 WHITE IBIS – A few small groups (5) on the Inlet & at Betka River
  • 112 STRAW-NECKED IBIS – Odd birds overhead at the flats
  • 113 ROYAL SPOONBILL – 12 regularly roosting opposite the wharf
  • 118 BLACK SWAN – Probably several thousand. Mostly on Goodwin Sands
  • 127 CHESTNUT TEAL – 500-1000, mostly on Goodwin Sands
  • 133 MANED DUCK – Small parties most areas; 2 pairs with young. One family only 5 ducklings
  • 146 WHISTLING KITE – Pairs near flats, other near town & the aerodrome
  • 147 BROWN GOSHAWK – Large birds mostly near town, maybe near Adobe Flats
  • 148 COLLARED SPARROWHAWK – A single adult in gully behind the flats, a juvenile on the foreshore
  • 151 WHITE-BELLIED SEA EAGLE – One beyond Betka River & one sailed past Adobe Flats one afternoon
  • 155 MARSH HARRIER – 1 or 2 along the foreshore, maybe nesting near Buckland’s Jetty
  • 206 PIED OYSTERCATCHER – Probably 100 all up at Goodwin Sands and the entrance
  • 207 SOOTY OYSTERCATCHER – A pair at Bastion Point
  • 208 MASKED LAPWING – Odd pairs, probably nesting at the entrance
  • 214 HOODED PLOVER – A pair on the beach just west of Bastion Point
  • 222 RED-CAPPED PLOVER – Probably 40+ on the sand tidal flats at Captain’s Point
  • 230 EASTERN CURLEW – About 4, as above
  • 250 BAR-TAILED GODWIT – 80, as above, roosted on Goodwin Sands
  • 251 RED KNOT – Often 6 together, probably 15 in total
  • 261 RED-NECKED STINT – At least 10, possibly 30+ on tidal sand off Capt Stevenson’s Point
  • 280 SILVER GULL – Very common, nesting opposite the wharf
  • 290 CASPIAN TERN – Odd birds always over Bottom Lake
  • 299 LITTLE TERN – Odd birds off Captains Point. Probably nesting on a narrow island on Goodwin Sands
  • 300 CRESTED TERN – 500+, probably nesting with the gulls
  • 317 SPOTTED TURTLEDOVE – Common around houses
  • 324 COMMON BRONZEWING – Not common, only very brief glimpse – appeared to be common species
  • 332 WONGA PIGEON – Calling a number of areas, a single bird visited the flats daily
  • 339 GALAH – Common, counted 30 on SEC wire outside flats
  • 346 RAINBOW LORIKEET – Common throughout
  • 350 MUSK LORIKEET – A Few pairs, mostly near Mirrabooka Road
  • 352 KING PARROT – 3 or 4 about the flats
  • CRIMSON ROSELLA – ditto. Also occasionally in other places
  • PALLID CUCKOO – Calling most locations. Seen less often
  • FAN-TAILED CUCKOO – Calling frequently, seen twice (in scrub)
  • 392 HORSEFIELD BRONZE-CUCKOO – 2 juveniles near flats, fed by Blue Wren
  • 393 SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO – 2 at different locations, probably both var. Lucidus and plagosus present
  • 419 WHITE-THROATED NEEDLETAIL – Overhead on 2 occasions, once 3 hrs before a thunderstorm
  • 428 SACRED KINGFISHER – Not seen but calling repeatedly on Casuarina Walk
  • 440 SUPERB LYREBIRD – In National Park beyond Buckland’s Jetty
  • 447 WELCOME SWALLOW – Common
  • 448 THREE MARTIN – Common
  • 456 BLACK-FACED CUCKOO-SHRIKE – A few all areas
  • 459 CICADABIRD – One Banksia hill above Karbeethong Road
  • 465 BLACKBIRD – Most areas, even in scrub in National Park
  • 469 ROSE ROBIN – 2 brown birds in the gully behind flats and a male on Banksia hill
  • 478 EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN – Moderately common suitable locations
  • 488 CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT – One in the gully behind the flats
  • 492 GOLDEN WHISTLER – Common with juveniles in several areas
  • 495 RUFUS WHISTLER – Common all areas
  • 500 GREY SHRIKE-THRUSH – Not common and quiet, most areas
  • 503 BLACK-FACED MONARCH – Regularly in gully, also on Casuarina Walk
  • 510 LEADEN FLYCATCHER – Fairly common in the gully at the back
  • 514 RUFUS FANTAIL – 3 near Pittosporum Walk, in the gully and Buckland’s Jetty
  • 515 GREY FANTAIL – Most areas
  • 516 WILLY WAGTAIL – Surprisingly few – just 2 single birds at Karbeethong and town
  • 520 EASTERN WHIPBIRD – Common all suitable habitats and some in marginal habitats
  • 543 SUPERB FAIRY-WREN – Very common
  • 551 SOUTHERN EMU-WREN – A very active party at beach end of Heath Walk
  • 570 WHITE-BROWED SCRUB-WREN – Present in several areas
  • 575 CALAMANTHUS – One displaying openly at the end of Heath Walk – nest?
  • 578 BROWN GREYGONE – Fairly common in gully at the rear pair building a nest
  • 587 BROWN THORNBILL – Common all areas
  • 595 YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL – Only in town camping area
  • 596 STRIATED THORNBILL – Fairly common in forest areas
  • 602 WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER – Seen two areas
  • 603 RED-BROWED TREECREEPER – One adult feeding a juvenile in gully at rear
  • 608 RED WATTLEBIRD – Fairly common
  • 610 LITTLE WATTLEBIRD – Common along coast and foreshore
  • 619 BELL MINER – Small colony in gully at the rear
  • 625 LEWIN’S HONEYEATER – Odd birds about the flats and elsewhere
  • 630 YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER – Very common all areas
  • 651 WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER – A small party often seen in gully at rear
  • 656 TAWNY-CROWNED HONEYEATER – Single bird on salt marsh between town and Karbeethong
  • 658 NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER – Very common all areas
  • 667 EASTERN SPINEBILL – Common around the flats
  • 674 SCARLET HONEYEATER – Widespread along foreshore, mostly in Melaleuca ericafolia
  • 682 SPOTTED PARDALOTE – Common throughout mostly heard
  • 689 SILVEREYE – A few parties
  • 692 HOUSE SPARROW – Common around houses
  • 696 RED-BROWED FIRETAIL – Very common all areas
  • 717 COMMON STARLING – Very common all open areas
  • 718 COMMON MYNAH – Around town
  • 720 OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE – 3 birds in all – half way to town and Banksia bill
  • 724 SATIN BOWERBIRD – 2 or 3 amongst houses at Karbeethong
  • 738 AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE-LARK – Not common – mostly in pasture areas
  • 749 AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE – Very common, particularly about flats
  • 750 PIED CURRAWONG – Only a few on the south side of town
  • 753 AUSTRALIAN RAVEN – Odd pairs all areas

TOTAL: 91 native, 5 introduced species.

PS. Ren had a slight handicap in the form of his Labrador dog, Winnie, ie. NO NATIONAL PARK VISITS!