Mulanggari Grasslands Nature Reserve

Sun 30 May 2021 09:00am

Bill Graham

Description: The reserve is 160 hectares and includes native and exotic pasture and endangered Temperate Grassland.  There is Yellow Box – Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy woodland on the north and west ridges. Highlights have included Superb Parrot, Stubble Quail, Brown Songlark, Australasian Pipit and Eurasian Skylark.


eBird hotspots:  Mulanggari Grasslands Nature Reserve.


Meeting time and place: Meet at 9.00am at the Newsome Street entry in Franklin via Well Station Drive off Gungahlin Drive or Flemington Road, then Hoskins St through to Gwen Meredith Loop. Sturdy boots and gaiters are recommended due to long grass, grass seeds and thistles.


Walking distance: 5 km, a medium to hard walk.


Time ending: 12.30 pm.


What to bring: water, morning tea and something waterproof to sit on.


Participants must register with the leader, providing their name and mobile number, and the name and number of an emergency contact.

Numbers limited: yes, maximum of 20.

Leader and contact details: Bill Graham Participants must register with the leader, providing their name and mobile number, and the name and number of an emergency contact.

Post event report

A small group of 8 COG members led by Bill Graham spent a productive morning learning about the grasslands in the north-west of the ACT.  Stepping off at 0900 in 2ºC temperatures, the group entered the grassland reserve via the stile on Newsom Street in Franklin and headed west through the grass to the small dam in the south-west corner of the reserve.  Here we came across a large flock of around 40+ Red-rumped Parrots feeding in the short grasses near the water’s edge.


Our group then headed north through one of the east/west fence lines toward a larger, more natural dam in the north-west corner of the reserve.  As we approached, we could hear numerous frogs croaking among the rushes along the boggy edges and lilies growing in deeper water.  We saw a pair each of Grey Teals and Pacific Black Ducks but the expected grebes were not present.  Bill gave us some insights on what to expect here in spring and summer when migrating birds return to the ACT.


It was now time to head west along the northern boundary of the reserve where we observed Welcome Swallows, Common Mynas, Noisy Miners, Australian Ravens, Australian Magpies (including a White-backed variety) and Striated Pardalotes. Bill also pointed out the trees where Tree Martins bred and the adjacent rapid expansion of Gungahlin medium density housing along Anthony Rolfe Avenue.


At the western end of the grassland, we observed the well-overgrown adjacent offset reserve.  Here we observed a large number of Welcome Swallows swooping low over the grass and dam beyond.  There were also a number of Eastern Rosellas in the trees and feeding on the ground.  Bill informed us that in spring and summer, the offset reserve is a place to observe Little Grassbirds, Golden-headed Cisticolas and Australasian Reed Warblers amongst the bullrushes in the dam while songlarks and Eurasian Skylarks are seen in the surrounding grasses.


Half-way down this western boundary, we stopped for morning tea and were welcomed by a small flock of 11 Yellow-rumped Thornbills and a single male Nankeen Kestrel surveying the grass for its late morning snack.


With morning tea consumed, we headed further south to the quartz ridge at the south-west corner.  This is where Australasian Pipits can usually be found.  Unfortunately there were none today but we did come face-to-face with a fox instead.


At the end of the walk we had a count of 24 species, not unexpected for this time of year but we all have a much better appreciation of what we should expect in spring.  We also have a much better appreciation of the significance of grasslands in the life cycle of birds and it was wonderful to see the extent of regrowth of the Eucalyptus and Acacia tress in the reserve.

Peter Higgins

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