Saturday, 3 November 2012

COG (finally) does Yanununbeyan

As foreshadowed in an earlier post COG took a trip to Yanununbeyan SCA and NP this morning.  We didn't have to cancel because of weather nor for any other reason.  So, after carpooling 8 other members joined me on the Hoskinstown Plain about 8:20 and we were at the first site about 30 minutes later.

The first site was a partial ascent of Corner Hill.  This begins as grassland and then enters some woodland
before dropping a little to a dam in another frost hollow.  A  good collection of bush birds were heard or seen as we moved up the slope.

At one point I moved off the decrepid trail and flushed a small brown bird with a very bright chestnut rump.  It immediately dived into cover with occasional fleeting reappearances.  None of us got a brilliant look, but thoughts of Chestnut-rumped Heathwren came to my mind.  Unfortunately it didn't have the pale breast shown in the image in my field guide (and the Morcombe app).  So we thought about White-browed Scrubwren  (no white brow) and Pilotbird (wrong habitat by far - see above) and gave up for a while.

After recording a Nankeen Kestrel in the frost hollow we returned to the scene of the crime where a member with keen ears heard baby-bird noises coming from the place that the mystery bird had disappeared.  The bird re-emerged an on getting a better look it was very like a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren but much browner on the breast.  Cutting to the chase, on getting home I consulted HANZAB to find that this is typical of the female Heathwren: for some reason all field-guide illustrations are of male birds.  So we have a breeding record of this species:  Woo-hoo!!

On moving to the second site I relocated the tape I had put out to mark the track and we wandered to a point overlooking a bend in the Queanbeyan River.
We were more or less at canopy height and obtained some good sightings of various honeyeaters including Yellow-faced, White-eared and White-naped before a Yellow-tufted Honeyeater appeared fossicking around in a Eucalyptus viminalis.  It was, to say the least, uncooperative but eventually half the group obtained reasonable views.  (This sighting was within 200m of an observation of the species on an ANPS outing some 2 months ago, and quite close - as the honeyeater flies - to a property at Urila where they are often seen.)

A Fan-tailed Cuckoo perched obligingly in full view, and good sightings were made of Rufous Whistler
(several of both sexes) and a female Golden Whistler.

We then adjourned for lunch at a spot a little further along the road - at a rather rocky creek crossing - where 3 White-eared Honeyeaters were playing chasey and Brown-headed Honeyeaters were calling.

A couple more sites were investigated but they were very thin on birds: no more species were added to the list.  A Noisy Friarbird did pose nicely.
However, including those seen in transit between formal sites, we ended with a total of 44 species for the day which is not too bad.

Now moving on to the items of broader interest for the day.  The display of flowers was rather magnificent.  I will start with the huge plots of Tetratheca sp (at least two spps but I can't key them out).
On the orchid front Diuris sulphurea were everywhere and in good numbers.
From time to time we came across large groups of Stegostyla cuccullata (I think - others, old enough to remember the '60s, couldn't smell the hippie shop pong of S moshcata)
A single Glossodia major was close to its use-by date.
Back to the dicotyledon department, some Acacias were close to African standard prickliness ...
... while Comesperma sp was attractive as always.
Invertebrates were not unduly evident, but an Australian Painted Lady was nice to see ...
 .. and after testing the patience of the group I got a semi-reasonable snap of a spider.
The impact of human was never far away.  At the site at the end of Woolcara Lane we were joined by this example of Man's BFF ..
 ., which more enjoyable than the rubbish dump in that vicinity or this very old wreck near the second site.


Denis Wilson said...

Nice find of the Heathwren, and especially the "baby-bird noises".
Nice work.
PS I enjoyed your Moruya report too.
The demands of robot-proofing have forced me to double up my comments here.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Denis. It was a bit of a challenge with the Heathwren, which made the resolution that much more satisfying.

The robot-proofing of Blogger is a major pain: I put a question about this on the 'forum' and the reply was from one o the gurus saying in effect it was a cramp and didn't solve the problem. I am very surprised that they haven't done something to fix it.