Ducks feeding

Subject: Ducks feeding
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003 13:41:18 +1000

Last Tuesday I was having lunch at the base of Burrendong Dam (south-east of Wellington, Central West NSW) adjacent to spillway.  

Attracted to the spillway of the dam were about 100 cormorants of three species (Little Black being by far the most common), a dozen or so pelicans, 30 Black Duck, 20 Grey Teal and a lone Hardhead.  Standing expectantly on the rocks nearby were 5 White-faced Heron and a Great Egret.

The current release from the dam is relatively small (about 80 or so megalitres a day) so the water was being released primarily from one pipe.  The cormorants and pelicans were swimming into the strong current within the sluiceway while the duck were doing likewise but further from the pipe.  The cormorants were diving, the pelicans plunging their bills, while the duck were pecking material from the surface.  I have no idea what they were feeding on but there was obviously something there worth their while.

The dam is very low about 8% capacity on Tuesday (after the rain Sunday night - 39mm the first here for about 6 weeks - it's now 9%!!).  As the water is released from the bottom it's possible that all manner of stuff is being stirred up.

Moving away from birds - about 60m downstream, in the first large pool of water - was a Platypus.  Noteworthy only in that I'm not used to seeing them at midday.  It was possibly also feeding on things expelled with the released water.


David Geering

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