Wednesday, 15 January 2014

It weren't 'arf 'ot COG

14 members and guests assembled at the Southern end of the Urriara East recreation area at 8:30 and about 28 degrees.   The river looked cool and the far side decidedly stony.
While signing on happened we were entertained by the calls and flights of up to 5 Dollarbirds.

A flight of White-winged Choughs passed by, possibly heading to a nest site further down the car park. 

Large numbers of small bush birds were moving along in the vegetation, making accurate counting very difficult.  It was easier to count the birds in or above the Murrumbidgee.  These included a Collared Sparrowhawk carrying prey (and being encouraged to leave the premises by a Willie wagtail); 2 White-faced Herons; 6 Australian Wood Ducks and 5 Black-fronted Dotterels.
 Once in the vicinity of the Casuarinas Mistletoebirds were common.  2 Rainbow Bee-eaters posed nicely, albeit one in silhouette, concealing its magnificent colours.
The other was seemingly stuck in position while it sorted out how to handle a large insect.
The insect was possibly a grasshopper of which there were many around today.
On the topic of insects, throughout the walk the group was shadowed by a cloud of small flying insects.   In the UK I'd call them midges, in Canada they would be Noseeums.  However they didn't seem to bite anyone: just be present.  I presume we earned some karma points by tolerating them.

Counting problems again reared their head when a very large flock of Little Ravens went overhead: estimates ranged from 75 to 'a bit over 100'.  This image shows only part of the flock: they were moving briskly!
A Kookaburra then appeared and decided to pose sufficiently close and still to give, for once, a reasonable image.
 After about 90 minutes ambling the temperature was rising and the birds appeared to have gone siesta, so we returned arriving back at the cars by 10:45.  The external thermometer in my car was reading 34 degrees so defnitely time to head for air conditioning.

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