New England lagoons

Subject: New England lagoons
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 17:34:05 +1000
I made a morning's trip to Little Llangothlin Lagoon (north of Guyra, NSW)with
local birder Tim Kenny yesterday (Tuesday 9 August).
Recent rains have put some water back in the lagoon, but there are few waterfowl
compared to its usual showing.  We nevertheless counted something like 12 Musk
Ducks and a compact flock of 30 Blue-Billed Ducks.  Most of the remainder were
Shoveler and Grey Teal, with a handful of Black Duck. The Great Crested Grebes
seem to have gone elsewhere, in fact the only Grebes definitely identified were
Australasian, though at that distance we could not be sure of excluding
Hoary-Headed. We made a good list of raptors, with two Swamp Harriers
patrolling the lagoon, Wedge-Tailed and White-Breasted Eagles, Whistling and
Black-Shouldered Kites, Kestrel and Brown Goshawk. Best view was of two pairs
of Flame Robins hawking flies on the weedy mud at the water's edge, the males
both showing brilliant colour in the sunshine.
At Dangar's Lagoon, Uralla, where I go regularly, the situation is even worse at
present, with a few Grey Teal virtually the only ducks to be seen. Even the
hundreds of coots that are usually present have all departed. But there the
rising water, after a two-year drought, has submerged all the remaining dead
reeds, and there is no cover at all.  Even the young White-Breasted Sea-Eagle
which was picking off the coots one by one, has sought better pastures. Let's
hope spring's new crop of reeds, when it comes, will see the ducks come back.
John Clifton-Everest

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