Thursday, 17 September 2015

COG returns to Gigerline

18 members and guests gathered at Williamsdale in far more propitious weather than our previous visit to this site.
Thanks to ACT Parks and Conservation and the Land Development Agency for their support in accessing the site, much of which is land licenced for  grazing.

We followed pretty much the same route as in March with a first pause soon after crossing the small creek.
The finches seen in this part of the site on our previous visit were absent but a group 3 Varied Sitellas feeding down and up in a large eucalypt made up for this.

As we moved off a little further an alert member recognised the ping calls of a Brown Treecreeper emanating from a grove of eucalypt saplings. The bird wasn't sighted but the call was repeated several times enabling it to be ticked.  As we searched for it 2 Nankeen Kestrels were seen perched on trees and man-made structures.

 Sticking with the less common species, and jumping forward a mile or so horizontally, and several 10s of metres downwards, descending to the Murrumbidgee ....
...  where it was pleasing to see yellow wattles rather than St. John's Wort , the group was able to observe at least 3 Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters feeding in eucalypts on the banks of the River.  Other Honeyeaters recorded on the outing included Brown-headed, Yellow-faced, White-eared and Brown-headed Honeyeaters, Noisy Miners, Red Wattlebirds and Noisy Friarbirds.

Many other returning migrants were recorded including Olive-backed Oriole, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Dusky Woodswallow and White-throated Gerygone and Fan-tailed and Shining bronze Cuckoos .

As well as returning migrants we recorded breeding: Australian Raven (NY) Yellow-rumped Thornbill (NB) and Welcome Swallow (NB).  In this image the nestling Raven is poking its beak out of the nest: the thornbill's nest is built into this one.
Overall we recorded 57 species​, equaling last visit's score​ which I believe to be the best score on a one-day COG outing.

Since returning I have looked at my records for both trips.  In total we have written down 72 species, of which 42 were common to both lists, 15 only recorded on one trip (but, obviously, a different 15 species on each trip).

Of the birds seen only in March two were migrant species which may not have returned to the area yet (Rainbow Bee-eater and Sacred Kingfisher) and four were finch-type birds (European Goldfinch; House Sparrow; Diamond Firetail and Double-barred Finch).  The additions in September included raptors (Brown Goshawk; Nankeen Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon) and one migrant which might have left by mid March, Olive-backed Oriole.

The other single-month species were pretty much a random mixture.  For the March trip some of them were quite common birds, which I am surprised we didn't see in both months.  These MIAs for March include Red Wattlebird, Grey Butcherbird and Grey Shrikethrush.   Of the birds I didn't write down in September the only common ones were Striated Thornbill (and my recollection is that there was discussion of this species but no definite sighting) and Silvereye.

But wait!  There's more!  Not a set of 8 steak-knives but the extra species logged on eBird.  These take the total for the area to 87 species and include some good woodland birds such as Crested Shrike-tit, Speckled Warbler and Brush Cuckoo.  Rufous Songlark was recorded in January 2015, but they have not yet returned to the Tablelands.  An Eastern Whipbird is included, presumably from the Kunzea ericoides down in the Murrumbidgee Valley.  See also comment below.

Overall, a most excellent area.  One hopes that the entire site both grazed area and Reserve continue to be preserved.

1 comment:

Flabmeister said...

Received by email.
I did go there on 6 September{2015}. My list was much shorter than yours, but did include BS kite (1), several Striated TBs, and at least 1 Fuscous HE. It is indeed a wonderful site.