Wednesday, 17 June 2015

COG goes silhouette at ANBG

Silhouette is a French term which sounds somewhat appropriately like "silly or wet".  "Silly and wet" would be even more appropriate on this day.  

The weather forecast had been very variable both between and within forecasting sites.  On the weekend one site had shown heavy overnight rain but with a fairly dry morning; the BoM rain forecast had been about 2-5mm for the day.  When I looked at the radar at 6am it suggested rain for the next hour and then isolated showers.  Now - 1 pm - the BoM forecast for the day is 15-40mm and my weather station has just ticked over 31mm since midnight.

It was drizzling to murky when I got the Gardens at about 8:45.
9 intrepid members gathered under the shelter of the Visitors Centre for a visit to the Australian National Botanic Gardens.  This was sheltered, and chosen  to avoid the sign-on sheet dissolving as it did at Gigerline start-debacle.  The weather was very promising for drought stricken farmers, and I hope they have got a serve out of this.  It was less positive for birders with the rain varying between steady and heavy the whole time.  As a result it was the shortest Wednesday outing I can recall.

Few photos were taken to avoid my camera proving that it was not waterproof (as an earlier one did at the London Bridge finish-debacle about 4 years ago).  

We walked up the Western side of the Rainforest Gully, noting a tall eucalypt which had fallen across the gully.  
Superb Fairy-wren, White-browed Scrubwren and Brown Thornbill were the only birds seen or heard.  Emerging on to the main track we followed it up to the top of the gardens.  and down to the CSIRO fence.  2 Eastern Yellow Robins were seen perched on a fence near the Red Centre Garden
and various small, silent and generally unidentifiable silhouettes were seen in the canopy.​  Quite a few plants were in flower, and a Eucalyptus mannifera (Brittle Gum) had interesting rain streaks.
Once down at the lower levels, where many Banksias were flowering, there were good numbers of New Holland Honeyeaters and a couple of Red Wattlebirds.  We had also recorded White-eared Honeyeater and Eastern Spinebills in a few spots.

Walking back past the original Powl site in the Gardens there was a bit of runoff evident.
All up, we recorded 13 species in 83 minutes.  
  Laughing Kookaburra 
  Superb Fairy-wren 
  Eastern Spinebill 
  White-eared Honeyeater 
  Red Wattlebird 
  New Holland Honeyeater 
  White-browed Scrubwren 
  Brown Thornbill 
  Australian Magpie 
  Pied Currawong 
  Golden Whistler 
  Australian Raven 
  Eastern Yellow Robin 
There were a number of surprising missing birds: the absence of Crimson Rosella, Galah, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, ​and ​Gang-gang were commented on.  There weren't even any White-winged Choughs hanging out at the cafe (nor were there any punters supping coffee therein).

On getting home the BoM radar suggested dryness was not going to be immediately available:
The state of our lawn, and a couple of the local 'roos, suggested it had been as wet here as at ANBG.
Unfortunately the adult roo decided it didn't like the scent of the fork and departed, rather than digging a few metres of garden!

The ford over Whiskers Creek was running rather well:
A large flock (about 50 birds) of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos screeched across our block, with a few of them stopping for some plumage maintenance en route.

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