A total of 17 separate eBird checklists from the ‘Parkwood Road, Wallaroo’ NSW hotspot in January this year contained Golden-headed Cisticola, as did three further eBird checklists from specific locations along the NSW portion of
that road. Altogether, 11 separate birders have reported the species from the NSW section of Parkwood Road this year.
I do tend to look for the cisticola in the damper depressions with greener grass, but my impression is that they can in fact be seen and heard all along the road.
From: Philip Veerman <>
Sent: Sunday, 3 February 2019 10:54 AM
To: 'Geoffrey Dabb' <>;
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] The significance of Parkwood Road
Yes and as noted on Friday, I also found “one Cisticola, that one making up the full set of that group perhaps”. I wonder whether others found it. A very golden
headed one at the little wet green patch on the right of the road I think a bit before the “Parkwood” driveway. I have been there once, a 65 km round trip. Although at the end of the road is a grand entrance to Ginninderra falls. Except it is closed. I believe
I had been through that entrance once before, maybe 20 to 25 years ago.
From: Geoffrey Dabb
Sent: Sunday, 3 February, 2019 10:31 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] The significance of Parkwood Road
I have made 11 visits to this site, beginning on 14 January. While the occasional raptor sighting is of interest to some, to me these are not particularly unusual given the expansive vistas and the nature of the terrain.
My interest has been in the grassland birds, here in exceptional numbers because of widespread drought conditions. Of particular interest is the number of Horsfield’s Bushlarks, an uncommon bird around Canberra, and clearly breeding at the site. The number
of bushlarks to be seen, with such close views, offers a spectrum of plumage stages, from plain worn-plumage birds to remarkably bright ones, with a few young birds.
A more common local species is the skylark, to be found at several spots around Canberra, but providing a steady background noise at the site with incessant song-flighting (becoming less frequent in the last few days,
I think). When perched on a wire it shows its ridiculously long hind-claw. According to one book: ‘almost certainly an adaptation to a cursorial existence, [but] its exact function is uncertain’. There you are then.
Then there are the conspicuous Brown Songlarks, with their loud skritchy-skratchy song.
Apart from the song-flighting they let you know they are
there by sitting on fence-posts with that brazen I AM SONGLARK pose. More difficult to find are examples of plumages other than the breeding male, but over several visits I have accumulated images of what might be about ten different non-BM individuals, mainly
juveniles. Some of these have boldly striped underparts that bear no relation to any field guide illustration. I wonder whether the different plumages of this species are well understood. Certainly there is quite a degree of inconsistency in the books.
And the pipits. We all know the ‘typical pipit’, but there are some little chaps along Parkwood Road that would test the most experienced pipitologist. Without starting on the problems of bill, claw etc, I offer the
below assortment from my ‘query species’ folder to see what you think.
I might add that I found a Rufous Songlark out there, to complete the grassland suite.
I do not have space here to start on the bird counters and bird photographers. Also seasonally abundant.