Sunday, 20 March 2016

Birding Kelly Rd

I wasn't planning to go out on Saturday but it appeared that to hedge against traffic chaos it would be better to drop Frances off at her art class and pick her up.

As an aside, a Canadian colleague once opined that "The trouble with making things idiot-proof is that they keep inventing bigger idiots."  I am sure that the ACT administration is their final test ground.  Why else would you close the main traffic artery through a city for 9 hours because of a fireworks display?

So I got to Kelly Road - a small dirt road that runs, for about 3km, along parallel to the Monaro Highway some 30km South of Canberra.  A few years back it was one of the fashionable places to go birding in this area with a lot of the local specials.  Astonishingly there were only 2 eBird checklists for the site, totaling up to 36 species.

This first image shows the background scenery looking towards Burra.  The old ruined cottage seems fairly typical of the area.
 The local ovines came to check us out.  Their overall stance reminded me a bit of Westerns with the Sioux about to swoop down on a wagon train
 This is looking back up the early part of the road.  It wasn't very exciting!
 After walking about 1km it got more exciting, as a group of 3 Diamond Firetails attests.
The reason for the improvement was clearly the woodland alongside the road.  A pleasant mixture of Ecualyptus meliodora (Yellow Box) and E. bridgesiana (Apple Box).
This stretch gave me most of the interesting birds including Fuscous Honeyeater, Dusky Woodswallows and a Fan-tailed Cuckoo.  Although the weather finally seems to have moved into Autumn there was no apparent movement of migrants: those present seemed to be just hanging about.

A couple of specimens of the big Apple Box.
Coming back I walked for a bit on the disused railway line.  Nice easy walking for me, but as the road-bed was lumpy rocks it was rather unpleasant for Tammy so we shifted back to the road.
We drove down the road past where I had turned back and did another short walk, getting a few of the commoner birds missed earlier such as Red Wattlebird, Noisy Friarbird and Black-faced Cuckooshrike.  I totalled 36 species, adding 12 to the site list

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