Thursday, 14 May 2015

A tour of Kelly's Swamp

Having a little time on hand today, and fairly desperately needing a "Bird of the Day" (BoD) I took myself to Kelly's Swamp in Jerrabomberra Wetlands to see what was around.

The first point of interest was that the long grass that was growing all over the place has disappeared.  I am not sure if this is because the Rangers have wielded a lawn mower in the area - I'd have paid money to watch that, especially getting the Victa over the channels - or grazing pressure.
I have been  advised:
 ... also did the shingle island last week – combination of hand pulling and brushcutter and taking material off by boat. We have a Green Army team (joint with Mulligans) – great help for these types of jobs – more hands means less time doing the jobs out in Kellys and therefore less disturbance time.
Well done that team: it made the birds easier to see, especially the 25 Purple Swamphens feeding in the area.

A Pink-eared Duck was sheltering in the reeds on the far side of the denuded area.
The main area of the swamp was rather light on birds.  A couple more Pink-eared Ducks and about 8 Australasian Shovelers were the notable observations.

So I moved on to the loop through the old school grounds, meeting and having a good conversation with another birder there who demonstrated what good eyesight was like,  As a result of his bare-eyed spotting things I could barely pick up with binoculars I ended with a good crop of raptors: Brown Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Black-shouldered Kite, Whistling Kite and Little Eagle (2).  The final species there became BoD, narrowly beating off Golden-headed Cisticola.

Moving on to the bank around the Silt Tarp I noticed the pleasant 'aniseed' smell of fennel.  Many other weeds seem to have been removed but this one is still going strong.
 A lone Straw-necked Ibis was walking along the levee.
 Tis is the nice new boardwalk through the reedbeds.  OK, there are no boards, but as it performs the function of a boardwalk I am not going to quibble
 Getting round to Fulica Hide a White-faced heron flew in to see what it could find.
 I was intrigued about the white on its bill.  It isn't a normal feature!  Is this a sign of damage to the skewering device or has it just been probing something white?  Suggestions welcome.
 I finished off my walk going past the new hide being constructed.
Theer has been a lot of chat on the Chatline about what it might be called with suggestions coming under three headings:
  • A genus name (matches the other hides);
  • A common name (makes things simple for non-birders);
  • A name honouring an eminent birder with links to the Swamp.
This chaos has led one member to suggest calling it the "Hide with no Name" which appeals to me but is unlikely to be received well by the very serious, and humourless, people wearing suits who will make the decision.

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