Narrabundah Hill

Sun 21 June 2020 08:30am

Jack Holland

The outing to the Narrabundah Hill reserve set for the Easter weekend and timed for the honeyeater migration season had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  While the migration season is now over, it is proposed we will again walk the northern and western boundaries of the reserve and, depending on conditions and the species seen, possibly along most of the western one, and either return by the same or a different path.  This will be around 4 km on relatively flat ground.  We will look for altitudinal migrants and other winter birds such as the Scarlet Robin and hopefully encounter a late mixed feeding flock to enliven proceedings.


As at the time of writing the current COVID-19 restrictions limit outdoor groups to 20 people you will need to register for this outing through Jack Holland (6288 7840 or  Social distancing will also need to be observed; the relatively wide track should help with this.


The walk will start at 8:30 am.  Meet at the parking area and stile at the NE end of the reserve, at the corner of Warragamba Avenue and Eucumbene Drive, Duffy.  Please note that the entry to this parking area is a little tricky, and is in fact about 25 metres past (on the Mount Stromlo side) the T-junction with Warragamba Avenue, and for those driving along Eucumbene Drive from Duffy involves a quite tricky 180 degrees turn, so please take care.  Please take water morning tea to have on the track.



Post event report

Twenty five members and guests joined Sue Lashko and me on this outing, the first weekend COG field trip since the easing of the COVID-19 restrictions.  The weather at the start was cloudy though fine and the sun came out for much of the walk, a stark contrast to the more than 30 mm of rain overnight.  In fact none of the registered participants had been put off, the further relaxation of numbers a couple of days earlier allowing slightly more than the 20 maximum advertised.  As the road around the reserve is wide and facilitates social distancing, we were able to stay in a loose single group, walking for about 1.5 km along the northern and about one third of the western boundaries, and returning by the same route.

The highlight of the morning’s birding was 2, possibly 3, pairs of Speckled Warblers, with the last pair on the way back seen exchanging food.  While not always particularly co-operative, the 3 different sightings did allow all members to get decent looks.  They were among some loose mixed feeding flocks which contained other acanthizids, in particular good numbers of the Yellow- and Buff-rumped Thornbills, as well as Weebills.  Again, while these were quite active, sufficient birds were seen to allow most participants good views.  The number and variety of smaller birds was a feature of the morning; in fact around one third of the species were smaller than the White-eared Honeyeater seen.  These also included a single Eastern Spinebill, Grey Fantail and Golden Whistler, the last-named unfortunately seen by only a few.

In total 35 different species were observed, a pretty good number for the winter solstice morning.  Interestingly, however, no pardalotes were observed.  Other sightings of note included several flocks of Red-rumped Parrots, and a group of 10 Australian King-Parrots in a tree above us.  However, the real value of the morning was the possibility for participants to enjoy one of the first opportunities to socialise with fellow birders for over 3 months.

The weather had become relatively balmy while we were having morning tea in the sun on the banks of a local dam.  Unfortunately, just as we were returning to the cars we got caught in the edge of a shower, with some light hail, which had crept up behind us, thus curtailing activities a little earlier than expected.  My thanks once again to Sue Lashko for her help in leading the group, and to Lia Battisson for keeping the bird list and entering these into eBird.

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