Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A visit to Lake George

A birding friend commented about seeing several interesting species from the rest areas on the Federal Highway where it runs along Lake George.  That seemed like a good idea for an explore.

I began by going to Bungendore and heading along Lake Road  (approximated by the green line in the Google Earth snip).
 The first stop was at what is known as the Big Dam (pretty much where the green line starts).  This is an ephemeral water body which in a wet year (such as this) covers at least 2 hectares.  Like everywhere else in SE Australia it was reasonably devoid of waterfowl.  The few birds which were there seemed fairly fecund.  Two Hoary-headed Grebes were sitting n nests ....
 .. and the Australian Shelduck had three advanced ducklings on the dam.
The Cattle Egret (one of three in the grass beside the dam) was in breeding plumage, but didn't seem to be getting any takers.

I drove down to the end of the green line  where tracks go out on to the lake bed.  I'm not sure the sign is needed now with the water only 100m or thereabouts from the road.   At other stages of the water cycle the edge of the visible water can be 2km away: the problem in that situation is that about 500m before you get to the water the soil is basically saturated and a car will sink very quickly!
Notice also the Paterson's Curse.  It is very evident all along the road.

There were very few waterbirds on the Lake.  1 family each of Pacific Black Ducks and Grey Teal.  I did like this image of the fence running out into the Lake.  It also shows rather well how shallow the water is.
I then went back to the main road and up to Federal Highway.  Looking down from Weeweera Lookout (the closest to Canberra of the red mark) I could see about 27 Australian Shelduck quite clearly.  There were also some fowl shaped blobs further up the Lake so I went to the rest area marked by the furthest red mark.  The blobs were now to the South so I drove back to the middle red mark and stopped on the hard shoulder.

Not a pleasant place to stop with traffic zooming by (I wasn't game to get out of the car) but the blobs resolved to more Australian Shelduck: 170 of them!

I didn't spot any of the uncommon species which motivated me to go the area, but the breeding records and Shelduck made it a worthwhile outing.

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