Tuesday, 12 May 2015

A swamp gets damp again

I have posted a couple of times in the past about the wonderful (for this area) bird life in an ephemeral swamp on the Hoskinstown Plain.  My friend whose property abuts the swamp told me recently that it had got some water in it again after a rather soggy April.  As he is currently overseas I dropped down to see what was occurring.

Before getting there I called in at another damp area, where I have seen Nankeen Night-Herons in the past.  My thinking was that, if the Herons had been daft enough to stay in this area with its current unpleasant weather, they would be easier to see in the decidulated willows.
Unfortunately the condition in that statement was not satisfied.  However, it did confirm that, had they been there, they would have been easy to spot!  I had hoped that as this billabong was sheltered from the tempest there might have been a few other fowl around.  Nope: I didn't see or hear a single bird on my stroll here,

On getting to the Plain the first birds I noticed was a small flock of Flame Robins (all brown birds and thus either immature males or females) fluttering along the fence line in front of the Pajero.  I eventually found a couple of adult males, but none of them obliged with a pose.

Some large lumps in a lucerne paddock resolved to a flock of Australian Shelduck.  Careful counting got the flock up to 54 birds
As I walked across a paddock in a Northerly direction I noticed a fox proceeding westwards.
I am surprised that:

  • the Magpie just stood there looking at the fox; and
  • the fox passed on the chance for a serve of  Cassican flûteur au naturel.
On getting to be able to look at the swamp I found that there were a couple of pools of water (plus a few Shorthorns).

Initially the pools appeared empty but this was just because the ducks - about 100, of three species that I could identify - were hiding from aforementioned tempest.
The main part of the swamp is about 5Ha in extent (based on some estimates from Google Earth) and I would be surprised if the pools covered 10% of that at present.  However as I walked out I became aware of squelching noises from the direction of my feet and concluded that at least half the area needed very little more precipitation to become part of the pools.

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