Sun 17 January 2016 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 and Brindabella Roads at 8.30 am. We will spend some time looking at birds on and around the dam, then come back to 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 Bee-eater. There are good picnic and toilet facilities at both Uriarra Crossing venues. Please bring lunch and water.

Getting there is a bit complicated, following rapid urban development in Molonglo. OLD STREET DIRECTORIES ARE LIKELY TO BE UNHELPFUL! Starting at the 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 and follow this for about 15km past Mt Stromlo and 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 and follow on straight to the roundabout near Stromlo Forest Park, where you turn right to Uriarra Road. Follow Uriarra Road over the Uriarra Crossing, turn left up the hill until you come to the big dam on your right. It is 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

The Uriarra Homestead Dam was again the starting point for our annual excursion (the 26th I believe, since 1990) and this year with 25 attendees, spectacularly fine weather and the generosity of the leaseholders who allowed us onto the property, we again set a new species record of 44 for the location. Notables included Latham’s Snipe, Nankeen Night-Heron, Black-fronted Dotterel, Restless Flycatcher, 8 species of cockatoos and parrots, and Hoary-headed Grebe, Eurasian Coot and Willie Wagtail all with dependent young.


At Uriarra Crossing West and along Fairlight Road we recorded 32 species, including Collared Sparrowhawk, a Wedge-tailed Eagle pair, Leaden Flycatcher, Rufous Whistler, and Willie Wagtail with 3 dependent young.  Missing, unfortunately this year, from the feathery-leaved wattles on the Murrumbidgee banks along Fairlight were Yellow Thornbills.


Our third stop for the day was at Uriarra East but, apart from a pair of noisy Collared Sparrowhawks, one with prey in its talons, the birds were very quiet and some of the expected species were nowhere to be seen.  It was, after all, close to midday and rather warm.  More than 30 Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were sitting silently in the shady Casuarinas and two Mistletoebirds called softly, but there was no sign of Dollarbirds or even Red-rumped Parrots.  A raptor seen in a distant tree from our previous stop, and not positively identified, obligingly flew low over the paddocks with the deep rowing action of a Brown Falcon before climbing high and soaring above our heads.  We recorded 21 species before enjoying lunch in the shade.

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