Saturday, 16 April 2016

A circuit of the Plain

Life is starting to get a bit tricky WRT BirdaDay.  The usual strategy to overcome this is to take a trip somewhere where the birds are different.  For example:
  • a contestant from Queensland spent a few weeks cruising the Mediterranean (~14,000 km from home);
  • a player from Noo Joisey has a couple of weeks in Trinidad and Tobago (~3,600 kms away).

My own effort on 14 April was a little more modest, being a tour of the Hoskinstown Plain (5kms - plus 20km for the Grand Tour).  It was thus possible to do this on a bike.  Unfortunately some bogan had lobbed a beer bottle on the road so I got a flat tyre en route, and then couldn't get my spare tyre to inflate - possibly because the tyre was so old it had fused the sides together,  So after a call to Frances to come and collect me, and returning what had become a unicycle to home, the tour was done in the Pajero.

I have several hotspots on the Plain so the mobile got a workout changing sites.

The first spot along the start of Plains Rd was pretty quiet, with the most interesting sighting being 16 Australian Magpies (this will be my last species to be used) picking over a cow paddock.

About 5km down Plains Road I stopped to check whether the Fairy Martins had left and found they had.  However I soon heard the distinctive calls of Double-barred Finches (used already, but very cute little birds) and Diamond Firetails (ditto  oops: looking at my database another way shows that Diamonds are still live see below!).  A juvenile Black-faced Cuckooshrike - black patch going past the eye - was a good sighting and a contender for BaD.  However the best sighting here was another egg layer:
Echidnas are not unusual out here, but this was the first time I had seen one in a ploughed field.  (I have seen them transform a garden bed into a ploughed field when burying themselves to escape a perceived predator.)

Moving on I swung round the bend into Hoskinstown Rd.  The hawthorns here were looking pretty sorry for themselves (Oh dear, what a pity ...) but they were providing cover for some European Goldfinches.  They were one of my target species for the outing and have been appointed as Bird of the Day.

A little down the road I came to the Banded Lapwing site.  The pasture here had grown quite lush in early Summer, driving the Lapwings away.  That is no longer the case ....
... but the Lapwings have not (yet) returned.  The barrenness of the paddocks makes me start wondering when the first Gibberbird is going to turn up!

As I completed the circuit a couple of flocks of 30+ Australian Wood Ducks were noted lurking around dams.  The Hawthorns along the last half of the route were all looking very poorly in the matter of foliage, although quite a load of berries still evident.  Despite this no Gang-gangs were seen and there was no evidence of Honeyeater migration along Briars-Sharrow Road

Part 2

Having acquired and fitted a new tyre (note - not a tire) and tube I fired up the MTB on the 17th and took myself back to the Plain.  Diamond Firetails were found, pretty much in the same spot as before, becoming Bird of the Day for that date.

The ploughed field was still popular with the macro-fauna.


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