Wednesday, 20 March 2013

COG ventures to West Belconnen Pond.

After a couple of longish trip (according to the protocols of the mid-month Walks) today was deliberately closer in to the urban area.  27 members and guests met at West Belconnen Ponds ...
...  at 8:30: it was not as hot as as it might have been but equally, not cold (which it also might have been).

The birds were most obliging with some interesting sightings before we had finished greeting one another!  I rather liked the Great Egret and Australian White ibis imitating a Pushmepullyou.
 For a grassy area in Belconnen there were few Red-rumped parrots observed on the day.  
 I believe the sign used to say "no swimming" ...
 .. but it appears cormorants can't read.  There were at least 100 cormorants (mainly Little Black, but also a few Little Pied and Great mixed in) in this flock which moved up and down the pond while we were there.  They were actively and successfully fishing for much of the time.  To support such a flock there must be a large biomass of fish in the pond.
After an illegal swim what can you do but sit on a rock and paint it white?
 At least 5 Freckled ducks were seen in the course of the walk.  While I couldn't pick up any of the red colouring this bird shows the bill rather nicely and the freckles.
This image shows 8 of the 10 Grat Egrets in the the NE part of the pond. A Cattle Egret was also evident.
The only raptor seen was this Black-shouldered Kite which caused a little debate as to whether it was in the ACT or NSW as one of the supports for the powerline was in NSW and the other in the ACT.  The bird clarified the rules by flying into the ACT.
 This is clearly a mallard. In view of its colours and the curly tail feathers it seems to be almost a pure bred bird (or perhaps a throwback?).  Some other birds with the curly tail-feathers were more muted in colour.
 Not only were the cormorants catching fish but this Eurasian Coot also got lucky.  Even luckier it was able to keep its catch away from some very inquisitive, and potentially acquisitive, Pacific Black Ducks and Grey Teal.  The group expressed some surprise at this sight, expecting Coots to be herbivores.   HANZAB opines that this is a common view, but notes that some authorities have reported Coots consuming molluscs and aquatic insects.  There is no mention of them eating fish, which may explain why this bird was making such a fist of consuming its catch.
Overall we recorded 41 species of birds, which I see as a rather good haul for a small area subject to a fairly high level of recreational use.  The site needs to get some attention to ensure its role as a waterbird site is maintained.  A full listing of thebirds seen will be incorporated on the COG website (under trips) in due course.

No comments: