Wednesday, 17 May 2017

COG puts on a couple of Dunlops

This is not a reference to new tyres , nor FAQ tennis shoes, but a Wednesday walk to two adjacent sites in the ACT (just) suburb of Dunlop.  I hope you aren't Weary yet!

A very pleasant morning greeted 28 members and guests in Dunlop. 
I was a tad alarmed that people were watching birds and ignoring the facilitator who'd had to park several metres up the road.  Eventually I gave up and joined them.
The core element of the outing was a counter-clockwise walk around the pond.
Waterbirds were evident from the start including a (family?) group of 5 ducks with a significant Mallard element in their ancestry. We decided to rate them as Mallard (domestic type) rather than Mallard x Pacific Black Duck hybrid. 
At some stage a field seminar on these various terms and why none of the local Mallards are genetically pure is desirable.
Early sightings also including both small local grebes, Black Swans, Hardhead (including this one doing something very strange with its wing...
 .. and a more conventional specimen) ...
Australian Wood Duck and Pacific Black Duck. Shortly after starting our walk a few Australasian Shovelers were seen and two Grey Teal completed the set of Anseriformes.
Eurasian Coot, 
Australasian Swamphen 
(after some discussion about whether NZ Pukeko were a different species I focused on the 'asian' component of the name  which assured that they were both the same) and Dusky Moorhen were also seen, with three independent juveniles of the last species investigating a large drainpipe. The array of waterbirds (loosely defined) was finished with a flying White-faced Heron and one each of Straw-necked and Australian White Ibis.
A fair collection of common urban land birds were seen – mainly in low numbers.  Welcome Swallows 
 were a bit more numerous, and very tricky to count.


A Nankeen Kestrel was judged to be sitting on a wire just on the ACT side of the impenetrable barrier of the ACT/NSW border. Certainly it was doing a good job of predating ACT biota.
Other notable landbird sightings were 15 Red-rumped Parrots, 6 Red Wattlebirds in a single party (but not appearing to be hurrying to foreign parts) and 12 Double Barred Finches. The passerine highlight occurred after most people had left when a Restless Flycatcher was seen near the remaining parked cars. It was still around, hovering and doing the scissor-grinder call,  and photographed on our return from the grassland.  This is my better snap
but the offerings by Lindell 
 and Duncan
are far better!
We decided to explore the Dunlop Grassland as it was nearby. It was well grazed 
(don't worry about closing the gate, how do you open it when its locked!) and as a result few birds were seen. We added Flame Robin (2 brown birds) and Brown Falcon to our day list.
In total we recorded 40 species, with checklists at West Belconnen Pond and Dunlop Grassland

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