Gluepot in November

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Gluepot in November
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 17:30:58 +1100
Hi all,

Sometimes one just needs to get out of the city. I reached that point a
week or so back so I stuffed the Forester full of camping gear and food,
and went to Gluepot for a week of secluded, sunshine-filled days of
birding. And secluded it was. There were a few people looking at the
Scarlet-chested Parrots when I arrived and they were all camped at Babbler,
so I drove on around to Sitella where, after the first night, I was the
only camper. Imagine, by road the nearest people were the volunteers and
rangers, about 12 km away. Each night I had the Owlet Nightjars and bats
flying around my tent and in the morning I was awoken by the dawn chorus of
Jacky Winters, pardalotes, Weebills and babblers. On the second night it
rained about 5mm and soaked straight in. The roads did not become boggy but
as the morning sun warmed the wet earth and vegetation the smell of
freshness was intoxicating. Bliss, pure bliss.

I was also visited each day by hundreds of bees. To keep ants off my camp
table I set it up with a plastic cup full of water under each leg. These
cups hold about 200 ml each and every day the bees came in by the hundred
and drained them dry. They were very amicable bees and never disturbed me,
in fact they appeared most appreciative when I reached through the swarm to
extract the few that had fallen in and were threatened with drowning.

This was the first time I had taken an iPad camping too. It was very
pleasant to sit at the end of the day as the sun went down behind the
Mallee and the clouds turned pink, to sip on a cool drink and have Greig or
similar playing quietly beside me. I complimented Peer Gynt after the sun
went down by being able to read *The Silmarillion* long into the night
without having to worry about lanterns and moths. I do like my creature
comforts when I camp.

The birding was very hard work as everything was skulking around in the
bushes and wouldn’t come out to play, probably because it is breeding
season. There were young birds everywhere. I ended up with 59 species,
missing only the Red-lored Whistler from the expected birds. This is one
more species than I got back at Easter in 2010 so the birds were still all
there, just hiding. Highlights were the White-winged Fairy-wrens down at
Long Dam, the Jacky Winters who did a courtship flight and dance for me one
morning, the many thousands of Masked Woodswallows that flew overhead each
day, the male Rainbow bee-eater who decided that the middle of the sandy
Track 8 was the perfect place to dig a burrow, the Brown Goshawk who
thundered in, screaming as she came through the trees at Whistler Tank and
scattered drinking honeyeaters in all directions, and the Major Mitchell’s
Cockatoos that came into the visitor centre just as I was leaving.

The Jacky Winter display early one morning was very special. A pair flew
straight up from the Mallee just after sunrise, in Skylark fashion, until
they were mere specks in the sky. They did not call but hung for a few
seconds and then dove back down to land on a dead branch about 10 cm apart.
They then went into a hunched back, rump up, wings slightly extend and
tails fanned posture and reached their bills toward each other while
wagging their tales from side to side. They did this whole routine three
times and then disappeared off into the Mallee.

I also wondered about the Miners. The electric fence and goat eradication
has changed the Gluepot vegetation markedly. I remember my first visit back
in 2004 when the undergrowth was very sparse and in poor condition but now
it is coming back strongly and the cover is thick and flourishing. I am
sure the rain has helped too but when one looks over the north fence into
the Parcoola cattle station the difference is startling. Parcoola looks
like it is still in drought with nothing in leaf or flower and bare dirt
everywhere. The cattle and goats have stripped it bare.

Relating this to the Miners, in the area north of Whistler Dam and east of
track 4, I saw quite a few hybrid Black-eared/Yellow-throated Miners and a
few that would pass for pure Black-eared but none that I would call pure
Yellow-throated. From back in 2004 I have photos of pure Yellow-throated in
this area and it was interesting to note the change in species mix. I know
the hybrids will be around for a long time but maybe the change in habitat
will benefit the Black-eared Miners and hold the Yellow-throated to the
margins of Gluepot. I do not know about the area south of Whistler Dam or
west of tracks 4 and 1 because I saw no Miners in those areas.

And if you go to Gluepot, do drive right out to the north end of track 4,
or better yet, walk the road north from Grasswren Tank hide to the electric
boundary fence. Seeing the difference made by this fence and the active
goat eradication from within Gluepot is staggering.

Also, thanks to Suzi and Tony, the rangers, and the volunteers. As usual
the whole place is looking beautiful and it is nice to know that there is
such a special place to go birding when the city becomes just too much.

Oh, and the brightest Splendid Fairy-wrens I have ever seen are everywhere.



To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Gluepot in November, jenny spry <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU