We will meet at the Old Service Station at Williamsdale for sign-on and any other admin stuff. Be very careful when turning on the highway as it is a busy road with a 100kph speed limit. We will then drive about 1km back towards Canberra to the Telstra shed to start the walk along management tracks going down to the Murrumbidgee. The walk is out and back, totaling 4km with a fairly steep descent to the River.
The main objective of the outing is honeyeaters, both seeing the migration and finding the Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters which appear to be resident at the River.
30 members and guests gathered at the old servo at Williamsdale for an outing to Gigerline Nature Reserve on a brilliant Autumn day. Pleasantly warm, no wind and bright sunshine. Just what the migrating honeyeater required.
And they didn’t disappoint. Throughout the walk flocks of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters with a few White-naped Honeyeaters mixed in were overflying us, heading more or less for the Tinderries. It would be impossible to get a precise count but the group agreed that estimates of 2,000 Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and 50 White-naped Honeyeaters were conservative.
As we descended to the Murrumbidgee a group of 5 Red Wattlebirds appeared to be joining in the rush. One White-eared Honeyeater seen early in proceedings also appeared to be caught up in the excitement, while a couple more were calling during the walk. When we arrived at the River a single Yellow-tufted Honeyeater was seen briefly browsing in the canopy. It dived lower and was not relocated.
A mixed flock including Buff-rumped and Yellow-rumped Thornbills, 2 Scarlet Robins and a Grey Shrike hinted at the shape of things to come as the weather cools down. In much the same area a flock of 12 Varied Sittellas were feeding in the canopy.
Overhead, three young Wedge-tailed Eagles were seen at one time soaring over the woodland and another much darker bird was seen shortly afterwards soaring towards the River. They were the only raptors seen on the outing.
The total species count for the day was 38. A full species list is in this eBird checklist. This is well down on our Summer counts of over 50 species but the decrease was almost entirely due to the absence of migratory species.