Wednesday, 18 February 2015

COG does Forde (and I do some other stuff)

28 of us met in Forde to inspect the creek line from which many interesting reports of Crakes and Rails have come in recent months.  Thanks are due to Bill Graham for leading the expedition.

The area is also, recently, a centre for sightings of Superb Parrots.  We started seeing some in the grass.  This one is a juvenile with an interesting blue tinge to the wings!
 Here are a few more in the trees.
 Bill explained about the management of water levels in the ponds.  Reducing water levels appears to be assisted by the activities of an Eastern Grey Kangaroo.
We were not disappointed in the Rallidae department.  This is a mature Australian Spotted Crake.
 An immature was also seen, but not photogaphed by me.

Moving on down the bike path we soon spotted a Buff-banded Rail.  After bolting into some veg it emerged and waded up and down in front of us.
 Occasionally it got a tad excited and waved its wings about.
 Then a friend appeared (its easier to start with the reflections) and they paraded in front of the crud washed down the creek.
That was about the end of the formal walk so myself and a UK friend headed for the big dam at Mulligans Flat.  We didn't make it as entry to the Sanctuary was prohibited as rabbits were being shot inside the the fence.  It was good that they had signs announcing this on the gates, rather than us just finding out by loud bangs in our vicinity (as has happened in the past in this area).

Bugger! On to Yerrabi Pond  where we eventually saw the expected Musk Duck and - very surprisingly - a pair of Blue-billed Ducks, which in the past have only been common at Fyshwick Sewage Works.  Fortunately they were close enough for a snap.
 Our next stop was Campbell Park where we hoped to find Australian Owlet Nightjar.  Instead we found a holiday camp for dudes - and as it turned out dudesses - from ADFA.
 The only issue with this is that they had set up camp in part of Canberra Nature Park.  What the heck were the ACT Government doing to permit this?  They would go beserk if an environmental group requested permission to camp there for 3 days.

We searched for the target birds, but they had decided to go somewhere else.  A squad of sweaty squaddies  -  with camo face paint - appeared an trotted past, giving us many cheerful smiles and greetings as the passed.  Very good civilian relations!
 On to Kelly's Swamp where there was little of interest other than this excellently posed Australasian Shoveler.  Goodness, those orange feet are a good field mark!
 The long neck is a good field mark on a tortoise!
Having had a few failures - how unusual for a birding expedition - we headed for the North Canberra Bowlimg Club to check out the Powerful Owl situation.  Initially it looked like another fritz.  Then a couple of young guys turned up asking about the Owl.  Almost immediately one of them looked up and said "Wow that's huge."  He had got on to the Owl instantly, even though it was in a pine tree tree next to the usual roost oak.

 What a great end to the day.

I will end the blog with three snaps of art -  of varying degrees of formality - at Forde/Bonner.

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