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Showing posts from May, 2012

ANPS goes to Mundoonen NR

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After a rather misty drive from Carwoola we all met at Murrumbateman and then headed off towards the metropolis of Yass.  Turning off the highway and successfully negotiating the poorly signposted roundabout we got back to the Hume Highway as intended.  Unfortunately the poor signposting continued when we got to the required turnoff which pointed to Sheldrick's Lane, rather than the old highway alignment.  (From various Googlings, Sheldrick's Lane appears to be a small road that runs North off the old Hume Highway - in the image following it is visible in the top RH corner.) So despite my trying to dredge up old rally navigation skills I missed the call, and we visited a nice rest area a few km down the track before doing a (legal) U turn.

The track up Mount Mundoonen was investigated and the cliff-like nature of the surroundings noted.  All four in Ros's car voted with the Nays so back to the bottom of the hill.  We then went a few 100m down the old road alignment to the …

A visit to parts of Jerrabomberra Wetlands

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Being in Canberra this morning with a couple of hours between dropping Frances off and having to meet up with her I decided to propel my treadlie in the direction of Jerrabomberra Wetlands.

The quick way of doing this trip on a bike is to pass by Norgrove Park in Kingston.  This was at one stage the premier crake/rail spotting site in Canberra.  Then the developers got active and basically turned most of the area into playground for big Tonka Toys and the place looked completely buggered.  That had depressed me so I haven't been there for a while.  The boyz-with-toyz have moved away a little bit so the place looks as though it might have a chance of recovering.  Very few birds around as I passed through.

Getting into the Jerrabomberra area I first stopped at the Westernmost Hide (labelled Tadorna).  The level of water in the Creek was still very low and the only birds visible were 4 Black swans and 1 feral Muscovy Duck.  Even less birds were visible at Fulica Hide, possibly becaus…

Bath time for birdies

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About 18 months ago we installed a bird bath outside our kitchen window.  It seemed to take a fair while for the birds to start using it but it now gets a visit once or twice a week in the cooler months, and has featured in some earlier posts.  (I must start taking records to investigate an hypothesis that they come more often in the cooler periods.)  Today was certainly cooler, albeit not as "cooler" as yesterday, and a very entertaining flock of birds came through to bathe.

The first wave to come in were Superb Fairy-wrens.  This one is an adult female.
 From the bright blue tail this is a non-breeding male.  While we have had some brilliant breeding-plumaged males around in the recent past, none took the plunge today.

 When bathing the tail gets waggled back and forth such that my camera can't keep up.  However the general "ball of fluff" appearance makes it worth including this image.
 Then some Yellow-rumped Thornbills arrived.   At times there were 6 of t…

Doin's in the garden

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As we are just about recovered from the colds we acquired on holiday we have started doing a bit of stuff around the garden.  Much of this involved removal of tatty growth from plants around the place that have finished flowering or fruiting.  

Where these are woody stems that take a long while to break down (dahlias and asparagus have been the main contributors in this regard) they go into the great big compost heap.
This basically sits there for years, getting turned occasionally as it fills up.   I estimate that the volume of material decreases by about 75% as it composts.  When turning the good friable stuff can be removed and used on the garden. 

The softer material that can be composted - most weeds, kitchen refuse etc - goes into a multi-stage head system.  It is supplemented by horse poop to get the carbon:nitrogen balance closer to the ideal and turned about every 2 months.
 The area on the RHS is the first receptacle and when that is full it gets turned, with the more rotted…

Swift moths in Carwoola

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As Denis has noted in his post the Swift Moths were out and about in Carwoola as well as Robertson.  In a straight line Google Earth reckons these metropoli are 145km apart (another comment about distances is at the end of this post).

We became aware of this phenomenon about 8:30 when the rustling of them crawling on the window and the tapping as they hit hard slightly disturbed our watching of a DVD movie.  The disturbance was brief as the movie (Collateral) was rather gripping at that point.  Once the film had finished I went out to take some photographs (efforts to take shots from inside failed miserably).

 The first two images show a mass of the moths on the decking at the base of the windows.  We have got a row of pelargoniums and a few other plants in pots there.

 This is not the greatest bit of photo-composition ever produced but does show the chestnut abdomen.
 A couple more close shots.

Since they all appeared reasonably consistent in wing pattern I conclude that these were O…

ANPS eventually gets to a Uriarra Reserve

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I shall return to the use of the word "eventually" at the conclusion of this post.  I have called the area we visited  'a Uriarra Reserve' since I don't know what it is actually called.  It is also known as "the area spared from motorbikes" since at one stage the motorcross fraternity wanted to use this nice area of woodland for their noisy exploitation.  This must have been before self-Government since the request was rejected.  However the area has not been made a formal Reserve (which doesn't really matter since Reserves can be unmade)!

The basic plan of this post is to start at the top of the taxonomic tree  and work down.

That being the case I will begin with a note about the birds.  I have no bird photos because they were few and far between and generally dodging around low in scrub keeping out of the wind.  16 species were definitely identified with the highlights all being on Uriarra Rd.  Double-barred finches were heard calling before we st…