Monday, 18 January 2016

A geriatrics fun day out!

The source of the title will be revealed at an appropriate point in the post.  (My first draft title was The Ascent of (an elderly) Man.)  The ascent in question was up Mt Taylor, which looms over the Woden Valley while the Jetta was getting serviced.

It is always nice to see Australian King-Parrots when in Canberra.
 The COG Garden Bird Survey shows them to be very common in the urban area, but they are quite uncommon in Carwoola.  Perhaps we don't have enough exotic trees out here?

There were quite a few Sulphur-crested Cockatoos around, finding things to eat in the grass,
 Galahs were also around on the hillside.
 Who's a pretty boy then?  I'd much rather see an Eastern Rosella on a power line than in a small cage.
The big attraction for parrots is the huge old eucalypts on the slopes of the hill, which must provide lovely nest hollows.   But don't tell the ACT Government or they'll chop them down as being dangerous to bushwalkers!
On top of the Mountain there were lots of small birds.  You can probably work out why this one is called the Yellow-rumped Thornbill (although I must admit the thorn-like nature of the bill isn't obvious in this shot).
 Hmmm - seems to be an epidemic of rumps.  The bars on this Double-barred Finch are also invisible ...
 ... until it turns around.  The mask-like facial pattern suggest a rationale for the alternate vernacular name of "Owl Finch".
 Before actually getting on to the Mountain some very large (planted) gums were heavily in blossom but it didn't seem to be attracting many insects  - nor many honeyeaters, which is probably not a coincidence
I think this is Acacia falciformis: the leaves look sickle-shaped and I think A falcata is only found at higher elevations.
Continuing the theme of few insects, Bursaria spinosa is usually covered in beetles, but this quite spectacular bush was completely untroubled by arthropods.  I suspect this is weather (in Spring)  related.
The common name for the family Dodonaea is Hop-bush.  The shape and form of these seed pods explains why.
These kangaroos were quietly grazing on the summit, giving lots of "never mind" to the many dogs being walked up there.
 A Cunninghams Skink had found a nice place to bask until an old fool pointed a camera at it ...
 .. when it slud away to hide.  But it got curious again and I got a nice portrait.
 This is about as good as I have ever seen Tuggeranong Town Centre look.
 There are a couple of possible explanations for this:
  • its a fair way away; and 
  • the view is rather dominated by Mount Tennant.
On the theme of the works of Man, I suspect this is the works of Boy.  But as it was in the urban area and it looks as though they have only used stuff blown down by the wind I am unfussed by this unapproved structure.

 At the end of my stroll I found this bunch awaiting me.
I enquired what was going on (more out of thoughts about it being an interesting group to join than any negative vibrations).  And was told it was a bunch who get together each Monday for a 2-3 hour off road ride.  Another rider then piped up with the suggestion that it was "A geriatrics fun day out."


Rob said...

The King Parrot situation is interesting. They were a daily visitor at the Embassy, but I think I have only seen one since moving down the hill to the swamp. It isn't very far away and I imagine the exotic species being grown are similar - proximity to nesting sites on Oakey Hill perhaps?

Flabmeister said...

Indeed interesting. I shall have to explore the data I have to see if anything can be explained. Your thoughts about Oakey Hill are certainly a possible explanation. Watch for a later post.


Rob said...

I have now consulted with the leading birder in the house and she has 2 comments (very restrained)
1. King Parrots seem to really go for the pin oaks, which are present in both upper & lower Weston - support for your theory.
2. There is quite a bit of competition in lower Weston from Sulphur Crested Cockies. They were only occasional visitors at the embassy, but are regulars down the hill. There is a dufus on Heysen street that puts old bread out for them and we get massive flocks intimidating everything (including somewhat nervous dogs)

Flabmeister said...

Very useful comments thanks. The correlation between cockies and AKPs under various measures will be looked at ASAIGATI (as soon as I get around to it).