Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A TOP day at the bottom of the COG AOI

Sorry about the acronyms.  Here are the expansions:

  • TOP- Turned Out Perfect
  • COG- Canberra Ornithologists Group
  • AOI- Area of Interest (the area for which COG is responsible, as agreed by birding groups not constrained by arbitrary political boundaries).
We traveled down the Monaro to a couple of sites we visited last Spring.  Both of these are part of the K2C project.  The following images give a bit of an idea of the layout of the sites.

Illilanga: Tis is about 9km down the Monaro Highway from Michelago.
The yellow patch is not a magnificent crop of Canola but merely Photoshopping to show that
  1. I can do this; and
  2. it is another property, which we didn't visit.
Strike a Light TSR: about 8km from Bredbo towards Jerangle.  We lunched where the road crosses the Creek.  Before that we had walked along the track SW beside Strike-a-Light Creek.  After lunch we followed the track on the Northern side of the road to the gate into private property.
I had decided to use the Birdata facility from Birdlife Australia to get a list of the species seen in the area.  This produced 276 species, and I realised that the 1 degree square covers some 75% of the COG AOI.  So I got a couple of other lists from the COG Atlas facility giving (a still respectable) 107 species, of which we scored over half.

20 members and guests (including Howard and Mary from the East Cascades Audubon Society) gathered at the first site some 9km South of Michelago at about 9am with the fog lifting off the hills.
 We were greeted by Sandra, an owner of the property, and strolled off to the Northern side of the property before heading back to the Creek and the the house,

We totalled 41 species here and the highlights were Horsfields Bronze-Cuckoos, Diamond Firetaiuls, Speckled Warblers, Brown Treecreeper and - right at the end - a Restless Flycatcher.  Breeding records were nest building by Buff-rumped and Yellow-rumped Thornbills and Display by Ausralasian Grebes on a nearby dam.

Dusky Woodswallows were common
and Welcome Swallows stretched out on the powerline.
After the excellent Anzac biscuits we moved on to Strike-a-Light TSR a few kilometres from Bredbo up the Jerangle road.

A total of 43 species were seen along the Creek
and in the TSR.  To some extent highlights here were similar to those at Illilanga with great views of 4 Diamond Firetails and 2 Speckled Warbleres.  A good crop of Fuscous Honeyeaters (note 'black-eye')

appeared together with at least 2 White-plumed Honeyeaters.
Crossing the road we found some Brown Quail and a Brown Treecreeper disappeared into a hollow in a stump earning itself a rating of Breeding record.  I got fair images of a Grey Fantail
and a Common Bronzewing (a sought after 'lifer" for Howard and Mary, as were a few other species).
Overall we recorded 57 species.

Apart from the birds and company it is always nice to see the plants at Illilanga.  This is Swainsona sericiea.  The genus name honours Isaac Swainson, possibly a precursor to "Lily the Pink"
Somewhat larger, and easier to spot, were bushes of Cryptandra amara - some of which featured a bonus ant.

1 comment:

Denis Wilson said...

The lovely Lydia's Quaker ancestors might have been troubled by the drink's popularity being very likely attributable to its "readily available 40-proof alcoholic drink".
Fascinating read, Martin.
Thanks for those links.
Denis