My blitzing this year, with James and
Karen, included several nominated/allocated grid cells to the south of
Canberra on Saturday afternoon, including J20 (between Namadgi Visitors Centre
and Naas). I20 (from Apollo Rd), I21 (Fitz's Hill property), I22 (near Rocky
Crossing) and H23 (Boboyan Rd at Nursery Creek).
Most were essentially roadside stops with a bit of
wandering, but there were nevertheless some interesting birds recorded. The best
was perhaps 'Fitz's Hill', no doubt partly because of the unexpectedly good
turnout including a pair of Hooded Robins, A male White-winged Triller, and
Other good birds included Southern Whitefaces,
Wedge-tailed Eagles at most sites, and Flame Robins with dependent young.
Rainbow Bee-eaters were common, as were Rufous Whistlers (cf Geoff Dabb's
Because we didn't have time to do the walk in to
Nursery Swamp, I instead did a late afternoon survey of the area around the
creek near the Nursery Swamp carpark. This turned out to be a great site and
included a pair of Latham's Snipe (I recorded snipe from here about a decade ago
and this is the first time I've looked since, so a score of two hits out of
two!), Swamp Harrier, a pair of Fan-tailed Cuckoos, and male Hooded and Scarlet
Robins within 5 m of each other (just beautiful).
On Sunday morning James and I also took the canoe up
the palaeochanels at Jerrabomberra Wetlands. Saw another two Lathams Snipe and a
pair of Red-kneed Dotterels at the 'dotteral ponds' (neither species has been
common at Kellys Swamp this year) as well as all the usual suspects, plus a
single Pied Cormorant at the outflow of Jerrabomberra Creek into LBG opposite
the construction area in Kingston. I wouldn't be surprised if this was a
different bird to the two recorded by Geoff at Aspen Island.
Other highlights included a young Brown Snake in the
middle of Apollo Road near Naas, and a Blotched Bluetongue along Orroral Road.
Not a frenzied weekend of blitzing, but a very pleasant
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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
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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