Wednesday, 18 July 2018

COG goes low on Mount Ainslie

18 Members and guests gathered at the end of Phillip Avenue in quite mild weather with nice clear skies
.
We walked up to the major powerlines and followed them for a while before dropping down through the woodland.
Shortly after starting an alert member of the group spotted a Brush-tailed Possum's patootie in a hollow.
 I was incited by the group to go and do an impression of a climbing goanna. Which got a reaction from the possum.
The answer to Lindell's question is "No, I scratched!"   By the time I had ceased scratching and got my camera out the marsupial was again stacking zeds.

We were hoping to meet a mixed feeding flock. Unfortunately the closest we got to a mixed flock was when we tried a small side trip towards the summit of Mt Ainslie.  Approximately 6 Weebills were feeding, in traditional helicopter flight mode, low down in a eucalypt while we were surprised to see 4 Superb Fairywrens on top of the canopy.  A Scarlet Robin was also at the base of this tree and some Striated Pardalotes were nearby.  It was hypothesised that the large number of Noisy Miners were one cause of the low diversity of smaller bush birds seen. The current drought would be another factor.

Along the powerlines were good numbers of terrestrial marsupials including one Swampie ...
... and several Eastern Grey Kanagaroos.
 Also the first of several bunnies.
There were many parrots and relatives seen.  The first sighted was a female Australian King Parrot  trying, with some success to hide within a clump of mistletoe.
There was small discussion as to whether a flight of 6 Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos contained or were additional to the group of 4 seen earlier.  Conservatism ruled.  The most interesting observations were of the other  parrot/cockatoo species interacting with nest hollows.  Galahs and a Hybrid Crimson x Eastern Rosella ...
seemed to be investigating real estate.. Here is a wider shot showing the hybrid and its possible partner.  (Thanks to Matthew Larkin for these photos.)
I recall Dick Schodde mentioning in a COG tour of the wildlife collection that he had recorded the hybrids breeding - which went against conventional wisdom that the hybrid would be sterile.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were deep within a nest hollow (below this sentry bird) ..
.. and this author is still embarrassed at trampling another member of the group after trying to take a photo into the hollow and scoring  a face-full of cockie.

A Crimson Rosella was also deep within the nest hollow being inspected by this one.
Both these last two cases were rated as occupying a nest rather than visiting possible nest site.

Other breeding activity was a Weebill carrying nesting material and an Australian Magpie was seen building a nest within a clump of Ameyema sp (aka mistletoe).

In total we recorded 24 species (plus the hybrid): this is about the lowest diversity ever recorded on a Wednesday Walk.

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