Wednesday, 19 April 2017

COG Gigerline 2017

The COG Wednesday Walk for April 2017 was to Gigerline Nature Reserve at Williamsdale.  30 members and guests gathered on a brilliant Autumn day. Pleasantly warm, no wind and bright sunshine. 

We started from the highway, recently a site of sadness as a competitor in a bike race from Perth to Sydney died near our meeting point.  The circumstances around the death are still subject to investigation, but it was notable that a few days later the Australian commentators on the Tour of Flanders were advocating for rules to ensure people in such events got at least some sleep.  There is a small roadside memorial.

We meet at the site of a former service station (a 'servo' in Strine) where a solar farm has been constructed in the 2 years since we were last there.
 We moved about 1km up the highway and queued politely to cross a fence or two.  I have done a little obfuscation to prevent face recognition (although I don't think anyone present was wagging work).
Throughout the walk flocks of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters with a few White-naped Honeyeaters mixed in were overflying us, heading more or less for the Tinderries. It would be impossible to get a precise count but the group agreed that estimates of 2,000 Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and 50 White-naped Honeyeaters were conservative.

A side trip to a small dam produced a single Grey Teal  Somewhat easier to photograph than a flock of migrating Honeyeaters.
 As we descended to the Murrumbidgee a group of 5 Red Wattlebirds appeared to be joining in the rush. One White-eared Honeyeater seen early in proceedings also appeared to be caught up in the excitement, while a couple more were calling during the walk. When we arrived at the River ...
.. a single Yellow-tufted Honeyeater was seen briefly browsing in the canopy. It dived lower and was not relocated.
A mixed flock including Buff-rumped and Yellow-rumped Thornbills, 2 Scarlet Robins and a Grey Shrike hinted at the shape of things to come as the weather cools down. In much the same area a flock of 12 Varied Sittellas were feeding in the canopy.
Overhead, three young Wedge-tailed Eagles were seen at one time soaring over the woodland and another much darker bird was seen shortly afterwards soaring towards the River. They were the only raptors seen on the outing.
I hope no-one was really expecting the Yellow-plumed Honeyeater I burbled about on the website!  The total species count for the day was 38. A full species list is in this eBird checklist. This is well down on our Summer counts of over 50 species but the decrease was almost entirely due to the absence of migratory species.

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