Mon, 5 Aug 2002 11:33:30 +1000
During a visit to my parents in Orange, (NSW Central Tablelands) on the
weekend, on Saturday I drove to Forbes and visited the legendary Gum Swamp.
I had a feeling that it would be a good day when I stopped the car to
observe two Apostlebirds and was distracted by what I initially thought was
a out-of-range white backed magpie. As soon as I lifted my binos I knew I
was looking at my first Ground Cuckoo Shrike. What's more it was nesting in
a nearby eucalypt which afforded us great views of its diagnostic features.
The nest was in the fork of a tree appeared to be constructed nearly
completely of wool. It may have had young in it as one of the three GCS
returned to the nest with a grub in its beak.
Gum Swamp is just out of Forbes on the West Wyalong road (you can't miss it)
and is fed by the local sewerage farm, so is not suffering from the big dry.
There was a mass of waterfowl including Freckled, Blue-billed, Pink-eared
and Musk duck. Two White-bellied Sea eagles were nesting in huge nest in a
dead gum and at least four whistling kites and two peregrines were evident.
I also caught a glimpse of a Swamp Harrier. Gum Swamp is surrounded by Grey
Box? woodland and the highlights here were two Crested Shrike tits and
Restless Flycatchers. It must be an awesome place in Spring. I have included
a complete list below of birds seen Orange to Forbes return and Gum Swamp
(marked with an *).
To round off a wonderful ornithological weekend, on the drive back from
Orange to Canberra yesterday afternoon I saw a Black Falcon and Spotted
Harrier about 10 km on the Canowindra side of Cowra. In all I saw 12 raptors
over the weekend, though interestingly only one Wedge-tailed Eagle.
Little Pied Cormorant
Australian Wood Duck
Pacific Black Duck*
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alastair . smith <=
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