Brindabellas, Uriarra and Newline report

To: <>
Subject: Brindabellas, Uriarra and Newline report
From: Daniel Mantle <>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2010 11:17:54 +0000




Hi All,


I went out birding with Jarkko Koskela before he returns to Finland after 8 months in Canberra. There are still a few birds around the ACT that Jarkko was keen to see so we started off in the Brindabellas trying to track down some Pilotbirds at the top of Blundells Creek Road. We heard several birds in the wet forest at the top of the road but were unable to even get a glimpse so we tried the track through the ferns (the one that runs beneath the powerlines – I have had luck here before) and we got cracking views of a pair feeding along the path and around a large muddy puddle 50 metres down the track. One bird was noticeably duller than the other and we wandered if this bird may have been a young bird and at one stage there was an exchange of food but this could still have been just a pair exchanging food.


Another bird that Jarkko needed was Rose Robin and although we heard a few distant birds we never saw any – this was in complete contrast to my last visit two weeks ago when they much in evidence chasing each other and singing well into mid-morning. Next target was Satin Flycatcher and as per usual they were common from half way down the track onwards. As with my visit two weeks ago we quickly found an active Satin Flycatcher nest – both nests were located in the fork of three smallish dead-looking/leafless branches that were several metres above the level of post-fire re-growth and thus very easy to spot and very exposed.


Other nice birds were Flame Robins, loads of calling Eastern Whipbirds and a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo (which reminds me, the road up to Corin Dam was Cuckoo-central 2 weeks ago with the birds gorging on caterpillars in the last few kilometres of the road before the dam. At one stage I had a Shining Bronze-cuckoo and a Brush Cuckoo in the same bush only 3 metres away. Of course, the camera was in the car whilst I had the sound recording equipment in hand. The Brush Cuckoo wouldn’t shut-up but the Shining Bronze-cuckoo that was I was targeting wouldn’t call at all. Typical! There were several other Shining Bronze-cuckoos calling but too far off to record, one other Brush Cuckoo and dozens of Fan-tailed Cuckoo).


Back to today, about 2/3 down Blundells Creek Track it became too boggy to continue so we turned around and headed back up the road only to find that the gate at the top had been padlocked closed since we entered at about 6am. Thankfully the padlocks were only secured to the pole with wire that we could untwist. So beware that this road may be closed for the next few days.


We then returned down the ranges to have a look for Hooded Robins along the lower portion of Warks Road. Roger Williams reported birds in this area and near Bullock Paddock Road earlier in the year and I have been watching and sound recording the pair along lower Warks Road this Spring. Unfortunately we couldn’t locate the birds this morning, which is unusual as this pair seems to be very faithful to a small area of cleared scrub adjacent to the pine forests. The male also uses the tops of the pine trees as a prominent perch.


Jarkko and I then continued along Uriarra Road past the homestead and pond to try and find some Singing Bushlarks. There have been a couple along this stretch of road this year but they are very few and far between compared to last year and we could not track any down this morning. There are Stubble Quail calling from every paddock though, even in the middle of the morning heat. They have been much in evidence for over a month now.


Note: Uriarra Crossing was opened again this morning but the waters were still lapping over the edge at spots – very impressive.


From here we decided to have a look at Newline Paddock as there were several species there that would also be new for Jarkko. We had great views of Brown Treecreepers and just as we were leaving a Crested Shrike called near the entrance gate and flew into the trees above us. Overall Newline Paddock seemed pretty birdy for the midday heat but long gators are a MUST with the abundant spikey grass seeds.


I have often found Speckled Warblers in the bushes near to the Newline Quarry entrance so we briefly stopped here and waded through the hip high grasses. I tried some high-pitched squeaking to bring in some small birds – the only thing that responded was a fox that popped up only metres away in the long grass. I don’t know who was more surprised.


Cheers Dan

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