Nest Hirds swamp

To: <>
Subject: Nest Hirds swamp
From: "Simon and Alex Starr" <>
Date: Tue, 31 May 2011 21:52:08 +1000
Hi all,
I spent a lot of time at Hirds swamp in the early 2000's when environmental 
flows were used to fill it,  and the nest certainly looks like the 
White-bellied Sea-eagle's nest that was well used in that time.

The swamp has been dry for a number of years, but this year it filled from 
natural flooding.... a remarkable event considering the adjacent Pyramid creek 
has been dredged to a depth of a number of metres.  This summer's flood was so 
huge that the Pyramid creek levels were high enough to flood the swamp over a 
number of weeks.

After the environmental flooding that took place over a number of years ( 2001? 
to 2005?) the vegetation in the swamp undertook a massive change. The lignum 
tripled in size and filled in a lot of gaps.  Cumbungi and phragmites spread, 
covering much of the open water, and a variety of grasses and herbs have grown 
in the intervening claypans, creating a dense cover of vegetation, where before 
there was very little.   It has made birding at the swamp much more 
challenging.  I imagine there must be a whole host of birds utilising the area, 
but how to get in and see them??

As an aside, a recent night-time survey on native grasslands in the Terrick 
Terrick region, was interesting for the change it showed from this summer's 
50 or 60 plus Stubble Quail were flushed, so they have definately hung around, 
along with a number of Pipits, Brown Songlarks and a few Singing Bushalrk.  
However Button-quail have all but left, after the huge numbers present this 
summer.  And no Plains Wanderers were seen with the grass swathe being too 
overgrown for them.  
A surprise was an Owlet-Nightjar seen in grasland some 300 metres from the 
nearest tree.

Simon Starr.


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