Not a Red Commodore

Read on to explain that!  A happier blog today!

There was fog in Canberra early today ...
and a strange effect of the shadow of Mount Ainslie as the sun rose.
However when 17 COG members and guests gathered in the car park at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Visitors Centre there were clear and pleasantly cool (~3oC) conditions. 

A range of the usual suspects were seen before we moved off towards the Time Trail in search of Robins. 
As usual a number of folk were caught out by the beeps emanating from the Ranging device.  
This is a Doppler Acoustic Sounder.  Thanks to my friend Sandra I now know that
A Doppler Acoustic Sounder is an instrument for measuring wind speed. The one at Tidbinbilla is a multi-axis system, with the three antennae pointing in different directions (one vertical, two at angles), and each serves to transmit and receive the sound signals, giving very precise wind speed measurements.
It sounded very like a Grey Butcherbird!  Moving on from that, the expected Flame Robins appeared.  As they were actively feeding counting was a little challenging but 10 was recorded as the total, evenly split between males 
and females.  A male Scarlet Robin was also seen at this time, and another pair of the species close to the end of the outing. 

An Emu was grazing in the paddock and added to the checklist. 

Passing through some denser vegetation added 3 Eastern Yellow Robins to our tally of members of the family Petroicidae.  The hoped-for 4th species (Hooded Robin) did not manifest itself.  Several other species, including a Speckled Warbler were recorded here.  The leader took folk on a scenic route with lotsa rox!
Fortunately we got back to the proper walking track and thence to the dirt road back towards the Visitors Centre.

As we headed back across the paddocks, getting a close look at a/the Emu
.... our first (and only) raptor for the day appeared, coming up from a low level and soaring in the middle distance.  With longs wings held level in flight and a uniform brown colour it was identified as a Black Falcon (and thus the opposite of the official WW joke about not a Grey Falcon, but a Silver Commodaore): a lifer for some of the group and an addition to others’ ACT life lists.  Here is my photo ...
 ,, one by Matthew
 .. and one of several by Ryu.
Getting close to the VC a pair of Scarlet Robins and several (~22) Yellow-rumped thornbills were spotted.
All up we recorded 32 species, with a full list at


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