Wednesday, 17 February 2016

COG does a lap of Lake Tuggers

26 Members and guests, including 2 visitors from Cambridge UK gathered at 8:30 on the Eastern shores of Lake Tuggeranong.   In the early stages of the walk we had frequent reminders that it was a shared path.
In contrast to the lycra-clad Visigoths who frequent the track along the Northern side of Lake Burley Griffin the riders here were pretty considerate and frequently used their warning devices to alert us to their presence.  Also, it is good as a point of policy to see quite a few folk riding to work.

The lake generally looked in reasonable order although I was intrigued to see a sign near the dam wall saying the Lake was closed.
None of the other signs said this so I presume it was just that the TAMS EL1 responsible for maintaining this sign was at a workshop and it was awaiting their return for removal.

Closed or not a bunch of researchers were hard at it in a tinny.
Assuming they were associated with a ute mit boat trailer at the ramp off Mortimer Lewis Drive they were something to do with UC Ecology.  Some doubts were expressed about the edibility of anything that lived in the Lake.

Before moving off there was already badinage regarding the number of Little Corellas ..
.. visible and audible on the far bank.  By the end of the walk one member had counted 61 and this was agreed to be the exact number.  They were engaged in obvious breeding behaviour

In the main flock feeding on the ground there were some interactions amongst members of the flock.

We were unsure whether this was making love or  - IMHO more likely at  this time of year - war.

The other breeding activity seen was by Magpie-larks.  It was thought there were two chicks in this nest.  The postures of the female parent seem worthy of a caption contest!

In the intervening water quite a lot of Eurasian Coots were visible.  Due to their high level of activity – and the distance covered in the walk - it wasn’t realistic to come up with  precise count and 100 was taken as a realistic estimate.  Fair numbers were seen of the other two common ‘hens’ Australian Swamphen and Dusky Moorhens.  

We also observed reasonable numbers of the commoner species of Duck and the three common Cormorants.  First Great Cormorants on the buoy line at the dam ...
.. then a very shiny looking Little Black Cormorant
.. and a female Darter.
The number of Great Cormorants was possibly better than reasonable, triggering a “large number filter” in my logging application.  The proof of a large number of Cormorants in the area is given by the guano ridden state of the foliage on this tree.
The Black Swans in the area appear to have learnt that they can bum food from humans.  When first seen this family were exploring a fence, through which we suspect they were fed.  They then moved swiftly towards us.
Indeed they moved so swiftly that my camera caught two images of the cygnets' necks when compensating for backlighting.  They were too young for the alternate explanation of the image (repeated low flight past Lucas Heights) to apply. 

The Casuarina cunninghamiana on the Western shore was in flower 
.. and had attracted a good number of small bush birds including Yellow-rumped, Brown, Striated and Yellow Thornbills.  The last-named species were originally identified by call but were difficult to get in the glass.  It is hoped most members of the group ended up with a tickable view.

We ended with 48 species.  There were a few surprising omissions (including Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Noisy Friarbird, Red-browed Finch and Common Blackbird).

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