Those who visited Callum Brae for the WBWS influx saw up to
50 or so at one stage, including a couple of Masked, but apparently they have all
now moved on, at least temporarily.
Yesterday,Julian and I explored the ‘Barron Woodlands’
pocket, south of Callum Brae, parking by the Monaro Highway and walking across
the grasslands for about 500m before coming to the scattered timber. The
grasslands were particularly rich in skylarks, with at least 3 pairs singing
like mad. The pocket itself, the furthest point of which is about 2km
from the highway, had Pallid Cuckoos, both gerygones, D Firetails carrying
grass stalks and most of the usual stuff. However we didn’t find
any Leaden Flycatchers (one of which Jenny Bounds had reported at CB), or
songlarks, or woodswallows of the Masked or WB variety.
My impression is that the woodlands still have less than the
expected range of birds for the season. There are, however, a LOT of starlings. When I walked that whole area for
last year’s blitz the starling was the second most abundant bird with
150-odd. It would not surprise me if it was now Numero Uno.
Today Alastair reported a possibly different-looking sandpiper
with 3 sharp-tailed at Kellys, so I ducked down for a look this evening.
I only found 3 SPs, the 4th possibly having been frightened off by a
large female harrier that was flying low and causing periodic
alarm-flights. I got a good look at the 3, and 2 were typical sharpies
while one was very slightly larger, greyer (no sandy or tawny tones), with
definitely blacker legs and bill. I’m no wader expert, but they all
seemed to me to be within the usual range of variation for sharp-tailed.
Joe Forshaw tells me that the female Musk Duck at Yerrabi
Pond is now feeding 2 young.