Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Another excellent day on the Plain

This morning I went with my friend Garry for a patrol of a couple of places on the edge of the Hoskinstown Plain.

The first place was on the eastern edge of the Plain, with the possibility of bumping into some woodland in the foothills of Tallaganda.  As it was bloody hot, we decided not to wander that far through paddocks full of grass seeds.  The best birds were about a dozen White-browed Woodswallows including this pair who perched side by each and generally made nice.
 As usual the alpacas looked sneeringly at such displays of affection.
 Other less common birds seen were at least 2 Rufous Songlarks, a Great Cormorant (unusual in this area which has very few large water bodies) a White-necked Heron and a White-plumed Honeyeater (again not common in this area.  We totaled up to  18 species here.

We then drove up Hoskinstown Rd to Briars -Sharrow Rd and started again at a spot Garry described as very species rich   This is an innocent little driveway lined with eucalypts and lived up to its reputation.  Diamond Firetail, Rufous Songlark (several) White-winged Triller, Australian Pipit , Dusky Woodswallow all seen in a short while.

It is possible this Pipit was broadcasting the latest policy decisions from the Council (or about to decorate the sign with an opinion on the still-decrepit state of The Flat bridge).
 As we moved up the drive we were surprised to see this Black-fronted Dotterel in the middle of the drive.  You might notice the feathers fluffed out in front of its wings.
The bird then flew past us and proceeded to chuck a full-on broken wing distraction display.  Unfortunately this was a tad far off for me to get an image.  We wondered what it was going on about, so far from water.

As we continued to climb we passed through a zone of Snow Gums (Euc. pauciflora) that were still in good blossom and well endowed with beetles- Nectar Scarabs on the left and Plague Soldier Beetles on the right
We spent an enjoyable time wandering in the woodland behind the homestead even though we didn't find the hoped for Brown Treecreeper - but the habitat looks brilliant.  To quote Douglas MacArthur "We shall return".  (When we do I shall take a photo of the Shanahan family grave looking out over the Plain.

As we descended we saw a fox run away and then a second scooted out of an earth.  I was intrigued that the earth was surrounded by active bunny holes.  Like a fat kid living in a lolly factory.

Getting back to the romestead area we came across this very young Grey Butcherbird hanging on to a fence.  My guess is that fell out of the nest this morning.
 Then we looked back and saw its nest-mate sitting on the ground.  The parents came in to look after them so we left.
 A White-winged Triller posed long enough for me t get a fairly ordinary photo, which sort of shows the colour patterns.
Then a Diamond Firetail reappeared and posed for a snap.  There can never be too many Diamond Firetails in your life!
About this point the Dotterel started behaving daftly again.  Eventually it squatted for  while and then took off.  Noting where it had squatted and using full zoom from several metres away revealed this.
Right beside the road: a very risky location.  The owners will be advised of the location so they can avoid creating an omelet.

For this site we recorded 28 species of which 6 were breeding records!  Consolidating over the two sites we had 37 species for the morning.

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