[no subject]

Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 10:05:08 +1100
Very heavy rainfall last week has dramatically raised the water-level at Dangars
Lagoon (Uralla, NSW) and seen the rapid arrival of good numbers of waterfowl.
Though the level is still some way below its pre-drought average of three years
ago, water continued to drain into it over the weekend. Most importantly, the
rain has seen the return of two species that have been conspicuously absent for
the last few months. On Saturday morning I found there a pair of Great Crested
Grebe and at least one pair of Blue-billed Duck.  There were also good numbers
of Pink-eared Ducks, and a flock of 30 Plumed Whistling Ducks. Courting pairs
of Hoary-headed Grebes seemed to be almost everywhere, certainly in excess of
100, but the lack of thick reed cover may limit breeding for many species.
(Every time the reeds start to reach above the surface another downpour puts
them underneath again.)
Waders are hard to find, as there is no exposed mud and they have either gone or
retreated to the swamped grassland round the margin.  However there were a few
small flocks of Sharpies flitting about.
Rain has also begun to fill the neighbouring Racecourse Lagoon (about a
kilometre to the West) and there are good numbers of ducks moving there (Teal
and Shoveler mainly).  But the most important change here  is the increase in
Whiskered Terns, which are probably breeding, though they seem to move to
Dangars to feed every afternoon.  I counted c.60 terns at Racecourse Lagoon on
Saturday morning.

John Clifton-Everest

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