Birds Seen in the Early Days 

Mrs Menzies, nee Margaret Tindell, was born in Scotland in 1817. So she was 21 when married. As her journal shows she was seriously minded even when young. "She had strong and abiding religious convictions which she carried out in practice and which sustained her in death." Not only in church matters was this true, but in all her conduct. She was indeed a gracious lady and was loved by all who knew her.

She died on 29th March 1861 at the age of 44 and was buried beside her husband, mother and three children in their private cemetery above the cliff-like borders of the Minnamurra with its beautiful rock lilies as a lasting remembrance of the work done by her and her husband.

IN her journal Mrs Menzies made no mention of the birds,  but later she made a list of them on two sheets of paper. She missed some that must have been there at the time the, black swan, black shag and others But the list is a good one. Some of the birds disappeared with the destruction of the brush and the forest. The list shows the wonderful wealth of bird life that then existed.

Alf Wilford in May 2003 kindly went over the list making comments on which of the birds are still seen today and some other interesting comments.

Mrs Menzies List

Birds of Prey

2 Eagles: -  Slack or wedge-tailed

                  White breasted or fishing

5 Hawks:    Spotted whistler

                   large- brown or swamp

                 White, Bush Sparrow



4 Owls      Masked, Bush Cuckoo

                       Small Spotted Owl

Alf Wilford's Comments

Birds of Prey

Eagles:             Wedge-tailed Eagles - seen occasionally

                          White breasted Sea Eagles - fairly common.

Hawkes:            Swamp Harrier- common. The other names are puzzling. Possibly refer to Nankeen Kestrel, Black - Shouldered kite, Brown Goshawk, Black Shouldered Kite, Brown Goshawk, Australian Hobby or Little Falcon, all common around here.


Lyre bird; Brush turkey

7 Pigeons:  Emerald amaranth, flock,

                 white necked, green dove,

                 Brown  or pheasant tailed,

                Wonga Wonga ; or blue      




                 Bronze-wing or forest


Australian curlew.


2 Quails: Forest, brush


Lyre bird: still quite common.

Brush Turkey: some believed to live in the bush west of Wollongong.


Emerald amaranth?? Possibly Emerald Dove, which is stated as declining in NSW.

Flock Pigeons?? Possibly Top-knot Pigeons, seen occasionally

White necked: White headed Pigeons fairly common


Brown Pigeons are seen occasionally so are Wonga Pigeons and Bronze Pigeons.

Australian Curlew: Curlews are not as common  now.


Quails: Stubble Quail, Brown Quail sometimes seen

Birds that Wade

3 cranes: Blue, White, Nankeen or heron;

              Brown Bittern, Red necked avocet;

               Stone curlew

Australian sand lark

2 Plovers : Spur winged, Golden


Birds that Wade

The three "cranes" mentioned are the white-faced Heron, The Great Egret and the Nankeen Night Heron. All still common.

The Brown Bittern and Red Necked Avocet are sometimes seen.


The Beach Stone-curlew is considered vulnerable.

Australian sand lark??
Plovers: The spur-winged Plover is unknown to me, but my book states that it occurs in this area.

Birds that Swim

Australian pelican, sea gulls

5 ducks: Black, Wood, Pink-eyed Australian teal


Australian  teal, Musk.


Birds that Swim

Australian pelican common.

Sea gulls probably more numerous than in previous years

Ducks.  Black Ducks and Wood Ducks are common.

Pink-eyed??? Pink eared Duck perhaps

Grey Teal and Chestnut Teal are common.

Musk duck unknown to me but supposedly common.



4 Swallows: .blue bill or wood swallow

                      red breasted or house

                      Australian Martin

                      Australian Swift


Large billed butcher bird

Satin Bower bird. Cat birds

Australian Crow. Magpie

Laughing Jackass or brown kingfisher

Cinnamon breasted kingfisher

2 Wrens:   Blue wren or super warbler

                 Red wren

Bald headed friar bird. Blood bird


Diamond bird. Silver eyed warbler.


Red Bill.

4 Thrushes. White or slate coloured

Ant or short billed crow Ground.   Blue.


2 Robins: Yellow, Red Breasted


Coachman.  Ground Hen.

3 Fly catchers: White fronted

                        Black throated,


Australian tree climbers:

2 larks: Ground. Sky


Razor grinder. Black and white pheasant

Dollar bird. Bell bird.

Cuckoo: Bronze(and cuckoo hawk),


Slender billed honey eater

 Blue and buff ant-eater

3 Cockatoos:   Crimson tailed  Black

                        white or yellow crested


11 Parrots:  Red created, scarlet breasted,

Crimson laurie, Purple laurie,

 Ground or Zebra; Blue Mountain Blue Rosella;

Blue, Buff and  yellow grass; 

Crimson fronted parakeet, green beak paroquet


Wood Swallows, House Swallows (now called Welcome Swallows) both common. 

Martins and Swifts seen occasionally.




Grey Butcher-bird common

Satin Bower-birds common. Cat birds are seen in the rainforest.

Crows, Magpies common.

Kookaburra: not seen as often as in previous times.

Cinnamon breasted kingfisher?? could refer to Azure Kingfisher, occasionally seen in Summer.

Wrens:   Blue wren common. Red Wren ????

Friar Bird common.  Blood bird?? Probably refers to Red Wattle Bird which is quite common

Diamond bird or Spotted Paualote are common.

Silver Eyes are common

Red Bill?? Red-browed Finches are common

4 Thrushes. Grey Shrike-thrush is common. The Bassian Thrush is probably the 'Ground' Thrush referred to. The Blue Rock Thrush is unknown to meand is said to be very rare in Australia.

Robins: The Yellow Robin is sometimes seen but I have not seen the Red Breasted Robin for years.

Coachman?? Ground Hen??  Unidentifiable

Fly catchers; Jacky Winter seen infrequently








Australian tree climbers:

Larks: Australian or Richards Pipit is common on Minnamurra Headland. Skylark may come here occasionally but not known to me.

Razor grinder.?? Probably refers to the Restless Flycatcher which I have not seen in this area.  White Pheasant????

Dollar bird common in Summer. Bell bird not known in this area.

Cuckoo: Bronze Cuckoo is common. Cuckoo Hawk ?? May refer to Channel-bill Cuckoo common in summer.

Slender billed honey eater?? Possibly refers to Eastern Spinebill. common

Blue and buff ant-eater??

3 Cockatoos:   Crimson tailed ??? The yellow tailed Black Cockatoo is common

The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo or White Cockatoo is quite common.

Parrots: Red Created?? Scarlet breasted may refer to Australian King Parrot.


Crimson laurie, common:  Purple laurie??

Ground Parrot is rare and endangered and lives at Barron Grounds

Blue Mountain Rosella?? The Blue, Buff, Yello Grass, Crimson fronted parakeet and green beak are not identifiable either.

Surprisingly, Mrs Menzies made no mention of the following birds which are common and I think would have been common then.

ibis, Spoonbill, Black Swan, Grebe, Cormorants, Oyster-catchers, Terns, Sandpipers and Godwits, Stilts, Pied Currawong, Peewee, Grey Fantail, Fantail Cuckoo, Brush Cuckoo, Pallid Cuckoo, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Eastern swamp Hen, Dusky Moorhen (perhaps the latter two may be represented by Coachman and Ground Hen), Noisy Miner (perhaps her Bellbirds), Longrunner, Scrub Wren.

The following birds are common now but are recent arrivals due to environmental change and introductions (ferals).

Galah, Crested Pigeon, Corella, Cattle Egret and the feral Sparrows, Starlings, Indian Mynah, Spotted Turtledove, Bulbul.

She would not have any of these.

Alf Wilford May 2003