Forde Creek and Ponds

Sat 17 February 2018 07:30am

John Harris

This has been a good spot for rails and crakes in previous years but if hot weather continues the creek will dry up. Depending on the amount of action in Forde Creek, we will investigate other nearby urban wetlands.


Directions: Turn off Horse Park Road into Mulligan’s Flat Road between Forde and Bonner. (Ignore any signs saying Mulligans Flat. Go into the actual, new Mulligans Flat Road).

Turn right into Handbury Way. Immediately to your right is the smallish Linear Park. We will meet there at 7.30am. Park in a street there somewhere.


Post event report

Nine enthusiastic people were willing to get up and get to Forde by 7.30 am for a walk led by John Harris. They were well rewarded.


The first part of the walk was along Forde Creek itself, a small reed-filled creek which rises in Mulligans Flat and flows down the western edge of Forde. Rough concrete barrages slow the creek at intervals and these create small pools, ideal for the elusive, smaller waterbirds to ‘skulk’ in the reeds and come out warily to feed in and around the ponds. The group walked from Linear Park to the Jesse Street underpass and back. There were two excellent and sustained views of Spotted Crakes while another highlight was a pair of Black-fronted Dotterels with two dependant young. Other notable observations were a Pink-eared Duck, five Superb Parrots and three pairs of Australasian Swamphens with a total of six dependant young. Moorhens were also breeding.   A total of 42 species was recorded.


The second part of the walk was along the ponds in the Lyell Gillespie Corridor which divides the eastern section of Forde. Australian Reed Warblers, although not warbling, were very evident here, as they had also been in Forde Creek. The group encountered at least four pairs breeding, readily identified by the begging hatchlings. One adult was seen carrying a caterpillar into the reeds where the nest was located. The highlight of this section of the walk was a flyover of 18 Superb Parrots (now a feature of Gungahlin!). At the lower end of the corridor is a stand of old growth forest with many nesting hollows. It was disappointing to see so many hollows occupied by Common Mynas and Starlings (although cockatoos and parrots had bred there earlier in the season). There were, however, large numbers of Striated Pardalotes in the remnant forest which are able to utilise much smaller nesting holes. It was disappointing to see so many Rock Doves in Forde, relatively recent arrivals in Gungahlin. All told a total of 32 species was noted on this section of the walk.


It was a very pleasant early morning walk. In 4 years of walks, Forde Creek has not yet failed to produce crakes and/or rails early in the year and must be regarded as one of the prime sites readily accessible in the ACT.


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