Murrumbidgee and Stromlo Forest Park sightings

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Subject: Murrumbidgee and Stromlo Forest Park sightings
From: Daniel Mantle <>
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 2009 12:29:59 +0100

Hi all,
Yesterday Beth and I did the Pine Island to Kambah Pool walk to get some exercise and see some of the Honeyeater migration. There were regular flocks of honeyeaters moving along the river but no huge movements - we probably saw less than 500 honeyeaters moving through along the whole 8km. The vast majority were typically Yellow-faced Honeyeaters but we also observed one flock of ~40 White-naped Honeyeaters, a few Fuscous Honeyeater, one Noisy Friarbird, and one Yellow-tufted Honeyeater that, obligingly, perched atop a dead tree before continuing northeast.
Nothing else of much interest - the usual Scarlet Robins, good numbers of Eastern Spinebill, and a few Mistletoebird (so much the same as the Wednesday Walkers saw). And a few sightings of Brown Goshawk moving low along the tree covered river slopes and followed each time by two Pied Currawong, hanging back about 50 metres.
Just as interesting were the large numbers of moths that appeared to be emerging and watching Beth trying to photograph grasshoppers and locusts that wouldn't sit still. We also saw and heard one poor female Eastern Grey Kangaroo being mercilessly pursued by a grunting mob of 6 large males - this was still going strong after 30 minutes as the chase circled past us several times.
Last weekend, I walked a stretch of the Murrumbidgee further downstream, from Casurina Sands back towards Kambah Pool (only the first couple of km and then doubled back along the top of the slopes). There were virtually no honeyeaters moving during this walk (late afternoon) and the robins were the main highlights - at least 10 Scarlet Robins, 3 Flame Robins, a pair of Eastern Yellows Robins and a fine male Red-capped Robin that came right in to investigate my squeaking and proceeded to hover a metre in front of my face. Again, there were the usual White-throated Treecreepers, Satin Bowerbirds, and assortment of resident thornbills and honeyeaters.
Earlier in the week Chris Davey emailed the group to ask if someone could take a look in at Stromlo Forest Park to compare the Autumn birds to those recorded on the Spring survey. I managed to visit the site twice (both late afternoon trips - not ideal) and it was very quiet both times. But the White-fronted Chats were present this evening only (2 male, 1 female) but the diversity was terrible. Certainly much lower than we recorded with Chris and Harvey in the Spring. The only other birds of any note were three Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo passing over. I will try to make an early morning visit this week or next weekend.
Definitely the most enjoyable observation of the week was when Beth found a Flame Robin in our back garden in Duffy - the first Robin of any sort we have recorded since we moved into the house 12 months ago.
Cheers Dan
Also popped into the Jerra wetlands on the way home today and the number of Black-fronted Dotterels was up to 23 birds in view at one time on the muddy surfaces.

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