Sunday, 17 August 2014

Birds of Bungendore

Catalysed by a need to make room for storing a friend's kit, but also because we had some junk to chuck, I took myself to the Bungendore Cultural Centre on Saturday.  On the way I checked out a few birding spots.

My first stop was the Bungendore Meadow Dam where several Australian Shelduck were grazing amongst the cattle.  Perhaps, when I have won my battle to get members of the family Fabaceae called 'beans' rather than 'peas', I shall start a campaign that should be called "Cattle Duck"s rather than "Mountain Duck".

On the subject of names, I call this site "Bungendore Meadow Dam" as it is across the road from a totally tasteless development known as Bungendore Meadow.  (Given the way the houses are jammed in it could be called 'Son of Soweto'.)  The most fascinating thing about the name is that the first thing the developers did was to bung up a wall between the houses and the meadow, so that the latter cannot be seen from the former.  This isn't all bad since it does mean most of the former cannot be seen from the latter!

The dam needed a name so as to distinguish it from the nearby Trucking Yard Lane dam, famed as a haunt - seasonally, a little later in the year -  of Plumed Whistling Ducks.  It also features huge flocks of cockatoos (Sulphur-crested Cockies, Galahs and Little Corellas) feeding on the surplus cattle feed. This dam is also known by long term residents of the area as Darmody's Dam after the owner of the land.  Today the only birds present in non-trivial numbers (95) were Pacific Black Ducks.
As a contrast there were a few Grey Teal scattered among them.
Also a very few Chestnut Teal.
The bird on the left is a male, just coming into breeding plumage.  I have received the following authoritative comments on the state of its plumage(reproduced in full as I think they are interesting:
I think (it) is in eclipse plumage rather than coming into breeding plumage. Drake Chestnut Teal often remain in full breeding plumage indefinitely once they acquire it. Only successful breeding drakes seem to adopt the eclipse plumage later in a breeding season and they can remain in this condition for some months.
My identification of the bird on the right as a female Chestnut Teal rather than a Grey Teal is mainly based on the company it is keeping!

The Cultural Centre was still in operation, although it did look as though the buildings for the Transfer Station are beginning to resemble a Transfer Station (or possibly what's behind the wall at Bungendore Meadow) so the days of going to the tip are numbered.  The amount of time taken to construct the Transfer Station, and the opulence of the buildings therein suggests that it will take a very long time for the fees to cover the cost of construction - but presumably it has provided employment for many residents of Bungendore Meadow.

At the tip proceedings were supervised by an Australian White Ibis.
Less welcome that this, was a sighting of about 6 Common Mynahs.  This has a number of alternate vernacular names listed in "Australian Bird Names" including my favourite 'Rat with wings' although that could be considered a little harsh on rodents.

I also called in at two sites to the North of the village but birds were sparse at both sites.  At the poo-pits few birds were evident, with 3 Pink-eared ducks the only notable specimens.  The Big Dam off Lake Road could now more properly be called the Modest Puddle off Lake Road and the only significant birds there were 2 Black-fronted Dotterels.  Spotting a Cattle Egret in a nearby paddock on the way back to the village was a bonus.

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