Wednesday, 21 March 2018

COG does Point Hutt to Pine Island

17 members and guests gathered at the Point Hutt picnic area for a walk to Pine Island and back.  Possibly the miserable look of the day turned a few members off, but the wind wasn't too bad and it didn't rain.  A few folk removed a layer or two as the walk progressed but it certainly wasn't hot.
The wisdom of doing the walk in that direction was indicated by piles of automotive glass at Pine Island.  A look at the fittings in the WC at Point Hutt 
 ... suggests that either this area is not immune to vandalism or funding was very short when the dunny was created.

An Australian Wood Duck posed nicely on a sand bar as we started off.  It was about the last bird to pose nicely.

The other poser was this Australian Raven.  I identified it by call but the obvious hackles on the throat confirm this species rather than Little Raven (of which we saw a fair sized flock ~26 birds - in a cultivated paddock).  The white eye suggests an adult bird.
 When suggesting this outing I had wondered if we might see the start of honeyeater migration and it is possible that we did with 12 Red Wattlebirds (one group of 6) being seen moving down the Murrimbidgee.  5 Yellow-faced Honeyeaters were seen but they did not seem to be moving on, while the 6 White-eared Honeyeaters  may have moved out of the ranges.  No Noisy Friarbirds were recorded.


8 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes were recorded: 2 groups of 3 birds and one of two birds.  Raptors were reasonably well represented with 3 Nankeen Kestrels (2 of which were males and had a right hard aerial battle) - thank you Matthew Larkin for the images:

 2 Brown Falcons (no photos) and 2 Wedge tailed Eagles. I was able to snap one ...
... while Matthew got them both.
Bird of the day appeared when we were almost back at the Point Hutt picnic area, with an Azure Kingfisher seen flitting amongst the bushes just out from the shore line.
In total we recorded 45 species for the day.
The general look of the habitat was dry with exposed rocks and sand in the river line.  Despite the good representation of Acacia dealbata (Silver Wattle) no Yellow Thornbills were around.
 While blackberries were present even the unsprayed ones looked pretty sad.
 The locals appeared to be less unhappy with the African Lovegrass than many others.
 About the only 'native' flowers was this lonely Grevillea juniperana.  I used the quotes as I am unsure if this is naturally occurring or an urban escape.
All up a pretty good day.

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