Thursday, 19 June 2014

COG does the Phoggy Northside

The skies were very clear as I left Carwoola in the morning.  This gave a nice backdrop to part of the very vocal flock of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos which have taken up residence in the area.  Until looking at the image I didn't realise that each pair appeared to be allo-preening.
Descending to the phlatlands of the ACT I phound phog was happening.  Indeed so it was all the way to the meeting point at North Lyneham.  We had a very good turn-out of 32 members, most of whom had displayed independence in transport to the site.  Fortunately there was plenty of space without unduly annoying the residents.
A member, who knows the area well, mentioned that some male cattle were grazing in the area but that they were quite docile.  Indeed, so they were found to be, although I believe people wearing red were encouraged to be at the front of the group.
The fog was still evident well into the walk but periodic regrouping ensured we all stayed together.
 This did mean that photography of small birds in the canopy was not an option for me.  Another sign of the season was the flowering of Acacia genistifolia in the shrub layer.
In the early part of the walk many of the trees were planted Eucalyptus viminalis (apparently intended to be a firewood plantation) but in the Northern area some remnants of the original trees were found including E. mannifera; E. meliodora, E. macrorhynca and E. bridgesiana.  The hoped for mixed feeding flocks were not in this area, possibly deterred from activity by the fog.
Towards the end of the walk the fog was beginning to lift allowing photographs of a Crested Pigeon ...
 .. and a male Australian King Parrot.
This flock of road workers were neither feeding not mixed but seemed to be showing traditional levels of activity vis-a-vis the handles of their shovels.  We had some time to study them while held up by the lollipop man.
Walking along Ginninderra Creek gave good views of the resident Eastern Great Egret.
On arriving at our second destination of McKellar Pond we found that a member of COG was well esconced in the reeds on the far side of the pond scrutinising a bird in the vegetation.  A water jump was readily negotiated - I'm not aware of anyone taking a dive - and the group was soon in position.
The target was an Australian Little Bittern which posed well on top of the reeds ...
 ... before dropping down and walking along the base of them  before flying across the pond and repeating the exercise.   I could not coordinate pointing my camera with the very clear views obtained of the bird so that is the best I could do.

A Darter posed nicely to show the pattern on the neck and head ...
..... and then turned to catch the sunlight through its wings.
It is interesting how pretty these birds turn out to be when looked at on the ground, in contrast to the bland black shape seen flying.

Overall, I wrote down 45 species for the morning.

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