Thursday, 22 January 2015

COG goes for a Wark at Walks Rd

The original plan for this walk was to meet at 8am to get into the high forest before it got too hot.  The meeting time happened well, but the weather forecast had changed over a week from 34o C to 27o C  with a chance of showers and storms.  So the early start was still good as it meant we might miss the downpours if we went straight to Warks Rd.  (Getting the weather out of the way it was a great day, warm but not hot and no rain or strong wind.)

24 members and guests assembled at Stromlo Forest Park to car pool for the drive to Warks rd in the Brindabellas.  As the weather forecast was still a tad iffy it was decided to go directly to high areas and if time and energy permitted stop off at Uriarra Dam on the way back.. 

Our first two stops were on Blundell's creek Rd where Rufous Fantails were seen.  A Brush Cuckoo and a Superb Lyrebird were heard and on driving off, some people saw a Satin Bower Bird cross in front of the cars.

We stopped at the junction of Blundells Creek and Warks Rds and - in a break with tradition - headed downstream for a while.   The Creek was flowing well.
As usual at this time of year honeyeaters, including Yellow-faced, White-naped and White-eared, were active in the canopy.  Some interesting plants were seen.

Bursar1a spinosa (aka Blackthorn, as will be appreciated by anyone who has tried to penetrate a thicket thereof.)
The only orchid we saw all day: Dipodium roseum (aka Hyancinth orchid for those familiaer with European bulbs).
This flower caused several members to seek my opinion (they must have been desperate) about its identity.  Applying the birding word 'jizz' to this starts thoughts of 'orchid' which is a trap for young players - I think I realised this in my 65th year!  It is Lobelia dentata - not even a monocotyledonous plant!
Returning to the junction we headed uphill into the tall trees (eg Eucalyptus viminalis or Ribbon Gum) of the wet gully.
We were soon getting interesting breeding records .  Possibly the highlight of the day was a male Rose Robin flying into a nest decorated with lichen and three hungry mouths.  This is the best snap I got.
On looking at that blurry image I was most surprised to see I got 2 hungry mouths.  Fortunately Lindell has sent me some excellent photos.  Here is the male incoming with some food ...
 .. and here is a close up of three wide open mouths.
An Eastern Yellow Robin was seen in the gully feeding its young.  A Satin Flycatcher was seen on its nest and some members spotted two small heads therein.  The last of the 'specials' of the area was two Crested Shrike-tits (not Eastern Shrike-tits - no idea where I pulled that one from).

Much debate occurred with respect to an obviously young, and heavily striated  bird ​begging on a branch.  
It was being fed and the feeder eventually revealed itself as a female Rufous Whistler.  The default position was very recently fledged Rufous Whistler: some photos were taken and research has confirmed that. 

We then moved up the road towards Bendora Dam Rd stopping at the first intersection for a foray in this drier woodland.  We had good views of a Sacred Kingfisher and a Flame Robin was seen feeding young.  Of course they were photogenic, and also photophobic so I am afraid I have nothing personal to offer you, but Lindell has again worked wonders.  Male (with food) first.

Our final stop was at the Uriarra Homestead Dam.  The dam was not as well plastered with birds as usual the highlight being Tree Martins hawking over the water.  As the weather finally seemed to have got rainy we didn't stay long

49 species were recorded on the day.

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