COG Visit to Goulburn

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Subject: COG Visit to Goulburn
From: "Jack and Andrea Holland" <>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 2005 07:32:31 +1100
If any subscriber to this list is interested there are still a couple of vacant spots for the proposed trip to Goulburn on Saturday - details follow.  It will be an early start for the bush birds but if you are interested in the sewage farm only a time and meeting place can be arranged for the afternoon (around 2 pm).
Jack Holland. 

A number of COG members will be visiting Goulburn on Saturday 26 November, to lead beginners bird walks for the Goulburn Field Naturalists.  Places we propose to visit again are the lovely woodland at Kenmore Dam (with lots of orchids at the moment), the nearby Kenmore Quarry and Wollondilly River, and the Gorman Road Sewage ponds to look at waterbirds.  There are limited opportunities for some other COG members also to attend ? if you are interested please contact Jack Holland on 6288 7840 (AH) or by E-mail on m("","jack.holland");">.

The write up of our visit at this time last year follows.

Goulburn;  Saturday-Sunday 20-21 November 2004

Perhaps it was the surfeit of outings and good birding over the past month that meant that few members or guests joined me on this joint outing with the Goulburn Field Naturalists (GFN).  This took in some of the best birding spots round Goulburn, including some of the now Greater Argyle Council (GAC) sites where special permission is needed for access.  Certainly the low participant numbers were a surprise given the strong interest expressed for a return visit by the very big group who came with me last February.

On Saturday afternoon we first visited the Gorman Road sewage ponds, an area of large finishing ponds before the water is irrigated on the nearby fields on which cattle are grazed, supplying the GAC with some valuable revenue.  These ponds are very extensive in size, being very much bigger than those at our local sewage farm at Fyshwick.  And the numbers waterfowl on them were corresponding higher including a conservative 400 Hardhead, 150 Pink-eared Duck, several hundred Grey Teal, and 300 Hoary-headed Grebe.  A total of 9 duck species was seen, including at least 6 Musk Duck, at least 10 Chestnut Teal and Australasian Shoveller and 4 Blue-billed Duck.  The latter two both had young, a rare record for the region for the last-named, as did the Pacific Black Duck.

We also visited an area of rehabilitation round the old brick pits on the Mulwarree River where an Eurasian Coot nest with young was seen, and finished the afternoon at Marsden Weir on the Wollondilly River where a lone Glossy Ibis was determined to keep feeding in what was obviously a favourite damp patch, despite our very close approach.  A White-bellied Sea-eagle high over as we drove into our motel completed off a perfect afternoon?s waterfowl watching (except for the very cold breeze coming off the water).

On Sunday the focus was more on bush birds.  We first visited the Kenmore Dam and its associated woodlands where we notched up a total of 49 species in a couple of hours.  Highlights included Sacred Kingfisher, both species of Gerygone, Speckled Warbler, a pair of Scarlet Robins carrying food, Leaden Flycatchers, a White-winged Triller and a flock of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos with squawking dependent young as we were leaving.  This area has a variety of habitats including the large dam which supplied the nearby former Kenmore Hospital with drinking water, and in addition to birds is an even better spot for plants.  Sadly a change of Council has meant that this area, which was formerly earmarked to be bought for conservation purposes, is now under threat of development, and COG is proposing to write letters of support for its preservation based on our findings.

We finished off the day on a longer walk starting walking along the corridor encompassing the nearby the Kenmore Quarry and then along the northern bank of the Wollondilly River skirting the southern edges of the Cookbundoon ranges to Murrays Flat.  Initially we saw a similar range of bush birds plus Double-barred Finch, until we came to the long reach on the river where the undoubted highlight was at least 15 Freckled Duck.  The total number was hard to estimate as they were loafing in small groups under the willows fringing the banks.  A Nankeen Night Heron was also seen by some participants.  However, the most unexpected observation here was an immature male Red-capped Robin with a red wash in the breast and a brown forehead, repeatedly giving his telephone ring call.  This was Rodney?s first record for district of this species.

All in all a most successful visit, with over 95 species seen over the weekend.   Once again we'd like to thank the GFN especially Rodney Falconer for giving up his weekend and showing us so enthusiastically all his favourite bird spots (as well as plants etc) and for Peter Mowle for arranging access to the Greater Argyle Council land.  Goulburn certainly has a lot to offer in terms of variety etc and a further return visit to sites not seen this time is planned, in line of my policy to co-operate with like-minded organisations round Canberra.  Pejar Dam is now nearly dry but apparently is a hot spot for Diamond Firetail, which have been reported feeding on the seeding grasses growing where the water has receded. 

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