Wednesday, 16 May 2012

COG Shepherds a lookout

The regular mid-month mid-week walk was to Shepherds Lookout in the suburb of Holt.  As mentioned on the Visitcanberra webpage it is 3km from the edge of the urban area but still 'formally' within that suburb

That webpage is  amusing for saying people should look for some powerlines marking the edge of the ACT.  The lines are not visible in this image, taken pretty much straight into the sun, but it does show the picturesque valley of the Murrumbidgee.

Presumably TAMS would rather people look for the edge of NSW than swivel through about 135 degrees clockwise to the South and look at the Sewage works - oops, sorry, naughty boy, I mean Water Quality Treatment Works.
While giving TAMS a serve - always a pleasure - I would comment that it is surprising that there is no map for Woodstock Nature Reserve in their collection of maps of Canberra Nature Park.  I wonder why it is so?  Perhaps as it can't be seen from the built up area it doesn't count?

Anyhow we came to check out the birds rather than the administrative systems of the ACT.

Although still quite cool (about 5C) the day  soon heated up ornithologically with Steve pointing out a Speckled Warblers nest the development of which he had followed and reported on the chatline.  The entrance to the (now unused) nest is in the bottom left of the image.
Moving out to the Lookout platform we observed at least two pairs each of White-plumed Honeyeaters and Scarlet Robins.  The latter were using the dried Verbascum stalks as perches for surveying the surrounding territory.  At least 4 Speckled Warblers were feeding on the ground near the Lookout and a range of bush birds were seen in the surrounding scrub.

The load capacity of the lookout was tested (thanks for the image Steve):
We then moved through an unlocked gate into another part of Woodstock wher Lindell showed us the roost hollow of an Australian Owlet Nighjtar.
It was tough to get a photograph due to the position of the sun relative to the nest  - garbage: it is a roost not a nest -  but hopefully the next, crummy, image shows the bird snoozing happily.
We then moved back towards the gate adding a few more species (including 2 Black-shouldered Kites, 2 Red-browed Finches and 4 Double-barred Finches).  By the end of the walk we had recorded 32 species - not bad for a cool Autumn day.  While chatting in the parking area a Wedge-tailed Eagle flew overhead and 4 Galahs passed by, making the total count 34!

As usual, a full species list will appear on the Trips element of the COG website in due course.

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