Walk to Mulligans Flat and nearby areas

Wed 19 October 2016 09:00am

Martin Butterfield

The Wednesday walk for October will be to Mulligan’s Flat, with an initial focus on the Big Dam. Meeting at 09:00 we will park as shown in the following image, saving a fair step to get to the Dam.

We will be joined on this outing by members of Bird Life Southern Highlands. I expect the visit to Mulligans Flat to finish about noon, and further entertainments will be on offer afterwards. This will include a crake-hunt on the Forde ponds and a trip to Shepherds Lookout after lunch. The originally proposed visit to Yerrabi pond has been given away as it appears to have few/no waterbirds at present.

We may visit a venue in Gungahlin for our guests to acquire lunch (rolls, pies etc not a sit down down job) at some point in the process. Canberra attendees who wish to extend might want to brown bag instead.

Post event report

Allowing for 2 members who were a little delayed, 20 members of COG and 9 guests from the Bird Life Southern Highlands gathered at Mulligans Flat for an exploration of the area around the Big Dam. Using the entrance off Eric Wright Street saved us quite a step, although it did give an early experience of the dampness of the area.

We recorded quite a number of bush birds as we moved towards the big dam, with the highlight being 2 Speckled Warblers foraging in company. This was considered to meet the eBird breeding category “Probable – Pair in suitable habitat” as did a male and female Scarlet Robin moving in concert. Several migrants were heard and/or seen as moved on including White-throated and Western Gerygones; up to 3 Sacred Kingfishers: Leaden Flycatcher and Olive-backed Oriole.

The big dam was replete with water: indeed it was as full as I have seen it for many years. In common with many other water bodies in the area it was less than replete with water birds. We observed a family of Pacific Black Ducks, including 7 very young ducklings, 2 Australian Wood Duck and singles of Pink-eared Duck and Musk Duck. A few Eurasian Coots and Little Pied Cormorants and a White-faced Heron completed the set.

We picked our way through the puddles to the small dam nearby where the only Australasian Grebes of the day were seen. On the walk back the highlight was two Sacred Kingfishers and two Tawny Frogmouths.

As well as the activities reported above other breeding records were Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Red-rumped Parrot (both Probable–Visiting Probable Nest site); Noisy Miner (Confirmed — feeding Young); Australian Magpie (Confirmed – Nest with Young); Australian Raven (Confirmed—Nest Building); White-winged Chough (Confirmed –Occupied Nest); Common Blackbird and Common Starling (both Confirmed–Carrying Food).

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