ANBG beginners

Sat 01 August 2020 09:15am

Anthony Overs

This morning walk will be the first for 2020 aimed specifically to help beginners and new members identify birds and to learn about their behaviour and calls. The Botanic Gardens are especially suitable for such an outing, as they allow the opportunity to observe a range of local bush birds in a variety of habitats. Due to the available food supply they are also a relative haven for birds during late autumn/winter. Anthony Overs will lead this outing, which will consist of a stroll through this lovely part of Canberra for a couple of hours. Meet at 9.15am at the ANBG bus shelter. Registration is essential. Please book your place with Anthony, giving your name and phone number (at 0419202155, or, and he will be happy to discuss whether this outing is suitable for you. Please make sure to bring your binoculars and field guide. If you do not have binoculars, please let me know as COG can supply you with a pair to use on the day.

Post event report

This outing, attended by 15 beginners or recent arrivals in Canberra, replaced the usual May outing which was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions at the time.  It was a cold and foggy morning, with the sun not appearing until well after 10am and seemingly keeping all but a very few Superb Fairy-wrens and White-browed Scrubwrens tucked away out of sight.  However, Eastern Spinebills, New Holland Honeyeaters and Red Wattlebirds gave brilliant views, often so close that binoculars were not needed.  Thornbills, of course, were the most challenging, with Brown Thornbills very vocal and visible but softly calling Striated Thornbills proving elusive when binoculars were pointed in their direction.  A highlight of the morning was watching a male Satin Bowerbird constructing his bower, seemingly unperturbed by a large group of observers. Gang-gang Cockatoos gave their creaky gate call as they flew over but didn’t stop to allow closer views.

The leader, Anthony Overs, called on his many years of birding to explain, firstly, how to find a bird with binoculars – Australian Wood Ducks in the carpark made good targets to practise on.  As we moved around the gardens, he discussed plumage colours and age in Satin Bowerbirds and Crimson Rosellas, how to tell male and female Australian Magpies and Magpie-larks apart, how to recognise an Eastern Spinebill in flight, and many other useful snippets of information.  By the end, most participants should have been quite familiar with the calls of Brown Thornbills and Spotted Pardalotes at least. Anthony finished up with advice on what binoculars to buy.

Many thanks to Anthony for sharing his passion for birds with beginners, something he has been doing for COG for many years.

Sue Lashko

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