Sun 18 January 2015 08:30am

Bruce Lindenmayer

The meeting point for COG’s annual outing will again be next to Uriarra Homestead big dam, close to the T- intersection of Uriarra & Brindabella Roads. We will spend some time looking at birds on and around the dam, then come back to around Uriarra Crossing and then Uriarra East for lunch. We are likely to see quite a few unusual birds and migrants including Nankeen Night-Heron, woodswallows, Dollarbird and Rainbow Beeeater. There are good picnic & toilet facilities at both Uriarra Crossing venues. Please bring lunch and water.
Getting there is now a bit more complicated, following rapid urban development in Molonglo. OLD STREET DIRECTORIES ARE LIKELY TO BE
Starting at the newly refurbished intersection of Cotter Road and Streeton Drive, travelling out of Canberra, Cotter Road becomes John Gorton Drive. Follow John Gorton Drive. YOU NOW HAVE TWO POSSIBLE ROUTES.
ROUTE 1. Travelling along John Gorton Drive you will (again) come to an intersection with Cotter Road. Turn left & follow this for about 15km past Mt Stromlo, the Cotter Reserve to the T-intersection with Uriarra Road.  Turn right and the big dam is on your right.

ROUTE 2. In John Gorton Drive go on until you come to
Opperman Avenue. Turn left & follow on straight to the
roundabout near the Stromlo Forest Park, where you turn right
to Uriarra Road. Follow Uriarra Road over the Uriarra Crossing,
up the hill to the left until you come to the big dam on your
right. Slightly shorter than ROUTE 1. If coming from Belconnen
over Coppins Crossing, take a right turn from John Gorton
Drive into Opperman Avenue.

Post event report

Despite being the 12th anniversary of The Great Fire of Canberra, our day out was fine, still and cool with some spectacular cloud formations. We broke three records for our largest number of birds species at the Uriarra Homestead Dam (42), the largest number overall (65) and, dare I say, the largest number of birders (24) including a few on their first ever COG outing.


Uriarra Dam area highlights were Latham’s Snipe, Nankeen Night-Heron, Yellow-tailed Black- and Gang-gang Cockatoo flocks overhead, Whistling Kite, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, Golden-headed Cisticola, Restless Flycatcher and both Hoary-headed Grebe and Eurasian Coot with dependent young.


At Uriarra Crossing West we recorded five raptor species (Black-shouldered and Whistling Kite, Collared Sparrowhawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Nankeen Kestrel), a flock of 11 Australian Pelican overhead, Galah and Willie Wagtail dependent young. We were entertained by a juvenile Rufous Whistler calling and both male and female Leaden Flycatcher.  Sue spotted a pair of Yellow Thornbill, an uncommon species, but which in previous years  has been seen in a clump of wattles and casuarinas just downstream from the crossing.


Perhaps the outstanding tick for the day was the Collared Sparrowhawk family of an adult and two juveniles at Uriarra East Picnic Area. They were quite mobile, calling and the adult was observed dismembering a small but unidentified prey. Last year on this outing we saw a single sparrowhawk in juvenile plumage in the same area. It’s notable that for the first time ever at this site Dusky Woodswallows and Red-rumped Parrots were missing.  Perhaps sparrowhawk Amelia has the answer!  Other highlights were an overhead flock of 15 Straw-necked Ibis and Buff-rumped Thornbill making a total all 5 local thornbill species recorded during the day.


Bruce Lindenmayer

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