Wednesday, 15 March 2017

COG does a Campbell Scramble

19 Members and guests gathered at the appointed time and place and, after marvelling at the high proportion of the car park that was filled by 8:30,  headed off along the Eastern boundary of the reserve.  This map shows the route with spots numbered as links to the text below.
The birding was rather famine or feast, with periods with few birds followed by several species in a mixed flock.

One exception to that rule was Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike with an eventual estimate of 9 birds being recorded.  Rather than the pre-migration gatherings for which this species is known that represents several pairs or single birds. A second exception was Common Bronzewing with a 7 birds recorded: one group of three and 4 singles.  They were flying from the paddocks into the woodland: possibly they were gleaning seeds in the dense crop of St Johns Wort?
Large flocks included 18 White-winged Choughs and 16 Crimson Rosellas. Needless to say Noisy Miners were in small numbers everywhere.
In at least a couple of cases these birds seemed to be doing a good impression of Treecreepers.  Perhaps trying to change their image?

The first mixed flock (1) had Spotted and Striated Pardalotes (the latter including a flock of 20 birds), Buff-rumped and Brown Thornbill and Western Gerygone.

After a (largely bird-free) bush-bash up to the middle track a Painted Button-quail was flushed (2).  A couple of platelets were found but the bird landed in an dense expanse of Chrysocephalum semipapposum and could not be re-located.

We were impressed, as always, with the size and vigour of some of the big old trees in the area.
In some cases they were graced with good crops of mistletoe (Amyema sp).  We gave them a thorough look but were not able to spot any of the species which specialise in feeding on/in these parasitic plants.
As we descended back towards the horse style we struck a second mixed group (3).  This included Rufous and Golden Whistler, Speckled Warbler, at least 6 Grey Fantails, female Leaden Flycatcher, 2 White-eared Honeyeater and White-throated Gerygone.  A Wedge-tailed Eagle patrolled by overhead and then 6 White-throated Needletails zoomed past.

Breeding activity observed was limited to a very fluffy Willie Wagtail (clearly recently fledged, but no food transfer seen) and 2 Australian Ravens making sufficiently nice to be regarded as Courtship behaviour.
As well as the birds this fungus was interesting..
 ... as was this Jewel Spider.  As I was leading at this stage I had a number of close personal encounters with the species!
 Looking down I was surprised to find this cow skull.  How many years since the area was grazed?
The final list totaled 40 species.

No comments: