Sun 20 January 2019 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. 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

Post event report

The 2019 field trip programme began with the customary outing to Uriarra, led so ably by Bruce Lindenmayer.  We began at the big dam at Uriarra Homestead and everyone had a spring in their step in the very pleasant 18°C after surviving the very hot week before.  A steady stream of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flew past in both directions, mostly in silence. Two Great Egrets were perched in a tall tree above the dam; one was very black-billed, while the other’s bill was a duller black and then only on the tip end.  The dam contained five duck species, including a pair of Australasian Shovelers, and at least 27 Hoary-headed Grebes, many with a cinnamon tinge to the sides of the breast.  A Brown Quail was flushed from the roadside grass as we walked to view the dam from a different angle.  The only waders seen were a single Latham’s Snipe and 3 Black-fronted Dotterel.  We recorded 35 species in and around the dam.

Our next stop was at Uriarra West and the temperature had risen noticeably by 10.00 am. While bird numbers were low, we did have wonderful views of a White-throated Treecreeper feeding on the ground, as well as Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated Gerygone and a striking male Mistletoebird. We recorded 26 species here.

The final survey was done at Uriarra East and it was very noticeable that the number of parrots in particular was greatly reduced.  In previous years, Red-rumped Parrots have been common but none were recorded; nor were there any rosellas and even Galah numbers were low.  Bruce surmised that the resident Collared Sparrowhawks may be the culprits. A pair of Dollarbirds, which had a recently fledged young on the ground, put on some impressive aerial displays.  Just as we were about to settle in the shade of the Casuarinas to eat lunch, one eagle-eyed participant spotted a pair of Tawny Frogmouths above us – a lovely way to end the outing.

The combined total for the 3 sites was 54 species.

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