'Blitzin', blitzin', blitziiiin' away'

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Subject: 'Blitzin', blitzin', blitziiiin' away'
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2008 11:04:51 +1100

My effort fell into 4 parts.   I began at 0745 on Saturday with my promised check of Callum Brae and nearby woodlands which lasted 4 hours.   This demonstrated Butterfield’s Law: the further you walk the more birds you find, with an intimation of Dabb’s Paradox:  at the end of a long walk the less birds you write down, particularly the common ones.  As I remember the first blitz the most numerous birds in that area were E Rosella, starling and C Rosella  -  all in that order and each well over the hundred.  This time, covering rather less distance, the C Rosella was top with 45 (probably undercounted) and the starling well down with 21.  Altogether 49 species.  Surprise:  the small number of P Currawongs (2), which were outnumbered by Greys when I found a pair west of Mugga Lane feeding a large centipede to their dy.


Late in the afternoon I checked out the spot at Oaks Estate where Bob Rusk used to monitor Old Swoop, and sure enough the pair of feisty B Goshawks were there, one circling the nest carrying a large rat, the tail trailing.  Otherwise that spot was rather disappointing.  I then spent an hour near the east end of the Queanbeyan Sewage Works, walking downstream from the crossing on Oaks Estate Road.  Quite a few coots and Grey Teal but nothing special.


On Sunday morning I was leading a bird walk of the Friends of Mount Majura, an initial surprise being the number of starters (25) which for much of the morning threatened to outnumber the tally of bird species encountered.  We began at that famous spot where 4 pairs of Regent Honeyeaters had nested at this time some 14 – or was it 13 – years ago.  Not much of an omen, though, as we ploughed through relatively bird-free woodland, but did find another active goshawk nest and a Leaden Flycatcher o.n..  Commonest bird was Weebill (23), certainly undercounted.  Species count just edged ahead of number of counters with 29.   Surprise:  in 3 hours of strolling through the woodland, admittedly with a few distractions, we met not a single Grey Fantail or Rufous Whistler.  (They were pretty sparse at Callum Brae, too, in fact the insect-eaters were well down.)


On the way home, I diverted to push through the Diabetes Walkers and what seemed to be a naval commemoration ceremony, just to count, specifically, the birds on the Pied Cormorant islet, in case no-one else had done so.  Result:  Great Cormorants 10, Pied Cormorants 2, Darter 1.  In view of the restricted spatial nature of that exercise, I ignored the 2 swans with 5 cygnets under the bridge, as well as the Massed Swans at the usual Kingston feeding point.


My last count was a protracted affair 1630-1915, much of it conducted on the nature strip with a glass or 2 of red to ensure that account was taken of the local birdlife.  This certainly brought to light where all the currawongs had got to.   I am happy to report that the modest total of 14 species included ‘Indian Peafowl 12’.  These arrived, first, in a group of only 5, but then at about 1910 the rest came streaming down the middle of the road running like mad in case they missed their pre-roosting snack, and just getting inside my deadline.  



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