COG looks for fast flying birds at London Bridge

Do not panic: this post will get to some birding stuff eventually.

That blog title was adopted before the walk, as a consequence of the forecast strong winds.
In fact the BoM Extreme weather warning indicated the Canberra area was going to miss the worst of the winds (average 60-70 kph, gusting to 90kph).
However it still seemed likely that any birds coming from the Burra direction would be going at a fair clip.  Rain was forecast for the early morning and it was, like the trains on the Rock Island Island Line "right on time" such as 0430.
Hopefully it will be done and dusted by the time we start walking.

Of course the weather was the second "adventure" in getting this outing on the track.  The first was an article in the Canberra Times by Bryan Pratt saying that the London Bridge entrance to Googong was to be closed at the gate, thus saving the cost of opening and locking the gate each night.  However that turns out to just have been a brain explosion by someone in the ACT Government and the idea had been abandoned.  I initially thought that using an outmoded idea was nominative determinism, but that relates to jobs fitting names (eg if Mr Baker makes bread) and it is simply an aptronym.

This blog exists purely to expand your vocabulary!

In fact there were two gates to navigate: the first more or less a stock container ...
 .. whereas the second was definitely a bogan excluder.  I understand this will eventually be set to open and close automatically.
Note the blue sky!  After a couple of messages from me commenting on the weather - plus evidence from looking out the window that it was in fact pretty ordinary - I wasn't surprised that there were only 2 cars evident when I arrived.  3 other brave souls were in them.  We agreed that it was a good idea to visit the homestead as planned  and headed off.  (The fifth brave soul had been held by traffic in Civic and pursued us in that direction.)

So it must be noted that Margaret Robertson still holds the WW record of 4 people on a walk.  To the Pryor Arboretum, and I think they actually got some snow!
The very ordinary weather  had some impact on the avifauna with very few smaller birds seen on the walk to the homestead.  Good numbers of Australian Magpies, Eastern Rosellas and particularly Crimson Rosellas were evident at this stage.  3 Grey Currawongs were a less common species observed.
On arrival at the Homestead area 4 Flame Robins (2 of each sex) were flying around from perch to perch (and thus impossible to photograph.  The birds were also a lot quieter than those of this species I have been seeing and hearing around Whiskers Creek recently with only one burst of territorial heard.

At least 6 Southern Whiteface were observed feeding on the ground before flying off downwind at fair speed.  The classic descending call of a Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo alerted us to the presence of this species and 2 birds were observed together 
with one fluttering its wings in an obvious display activity.  Thanks for the photograph Lindell!

A female Hooded Robin then appeared with a male of that species seen soon after.  They were observed over quite some time but again the wind kept them moving.  I failed to get a photograph but here is another small black and white bird.  

We followed the creek back down .. the Bridge itself.

..  where a large(ish) flock of 26 European Goldfinches were seen.  The final excitement was a flock of hirundines flying low over an open area.  It was concluded that most (15) of these birds  were Tree Martins - migrants are returning.
In total we recorded 31 species plus a  distant accipiter and we couldn't decide whether it was a Collared Sparrowhawk or Brown Goshawk.

In the mammal department it is always good to see a Red-necked Wallaby (in fact two were seen).
 .. as well as quite a lot of Eastern Grey Kangaroos
A very enjoyable stroll and the weather was not as bad as feared.  


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