Collector-Goulburn-Crookwell loop

Sun 15 October 2017 08:00am

Bill Graham

Bill Graham will lead this trip to lesser known spots north of Canberra. Target species include Pied Butcherbird, Latham’s Snipe, Diamond Firetail, Whistling Kite, Glossy Ibis and Southern Whiteface. Meet at 8.00 am in the carpark opposite the Sutton Bakery for carpooling.  Suggested contribution to driver from each passenger: $10. Bring morning tea, lunch and drinks.

Registration for this trip is essential: please phone Bill Graham on 0466 874 723 or email

Post event report

On a day of perfect blue-skied conditions, Bill Graham led a group of 14 to some of his favourite spots. First was the TSR at Berrabangalo about 28 km past Gundaroo where 38 species were seen. This gently undulating patch of open woodland was well grassed, without an understorey, so the group could spread out a little to catch the sounds of Rufous Whistlers, White-throated Gerygone, Mistletoebird and many Striated Pardalotes, as well as good sightings of Australian Hobby, Brown Goshawk, Whistling Kite and Little Eagle.

Two of the party were interested in the vegetation and eagerly pointed out flourishing sundews, though the birdwatchers were keener on the mistletoe in the largely yellow-box eucalypts, hoping to catch sight of some of the smaller birds. It was good that some had their eyes on the ground as the call came, “Brown snake here – just slithered into a hole”. Some seemed disappointed not to have seen it, but keener eyes suddenly saw two entwined Brown Snakes clearly visible in the short grass and stony ground not 2 metres away from where the main group was standing.  No-one was a herpetologist, so the question was whether this was a contest of strength between two competing males, or a pair intent on making more little snakes. It certainly was a rare sighting and rather too close for comfort.

After a great 90 minutes in this pleasant and rewarding area, the group went on to Gunning for morning tea in Barbour Park near Meadow Creek. A short stroll along the Bruce Bray Riparian Walk brought 3 Rainbow Bee-eaters, and several Australian Reed-Warblers. The name of Gunning is derived from an Aboriginal word Goonong meaning a place of many waterholes. The area brought 20 species.

At Wet Lagoon not far past the small town of Breadalbane, the group was pleased to see Black Swans with cygnets, Royal and Yellow-billed Spoonbills as well as a Swamp Harrier. The water had receded so viewing of this vast area is difficult as the road verge is not elevated. Nevertheless, 22 species could be recorded and it was a satisfying stop. The photographers also did well capturing pictures of the inquisitive hares which popped up in the tiny woodland on the farm side of the road.

With the day warming, and tummies rumbling, the group still didn’t mind stopping along the road to Collector to see a pair of White-fronted Chats. At the entrance to Collector Reserve, some large fallen branches were the perfect spot for a late picnic lunch (and sightings of a Cunningham’s Skink) before heading off along the north-western track beside open paddocks. Here the group first heard, then saw White-browed Woodswallow and 2 Masked Wood Swallows. Excitedly, the total count was around 30 individuals. Another sighting of note was a male White-winged Triller. Over the rise, the group came into the Collector TSR with its tree plantings now about 3 metres tall. Near the pine windbreak at the gate, a scurrying lizard may have been a small Bearded Dragon. 25 bird species were recorded at this stop.

Tired, but happy, most decided to go back to Canberra via the Federal Highway, but those who had car-pooled detoured to the Sutton café for a welcome coffee before the day finished about 3 pm. An overall total of 75 species was noted which included some seen while travelling (Australasian Pipit, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo and Hardhead). A wonderful excursion. Many thanks to Bill.

Janette Lenz

Back to Past Events