Walk to West Belconnen Pond

Wed 17 May 2017 09:00am

Martin Butterfield

Meet on Percy Begg Circuit.

The core plan is a for a lap (about 2km) of the main pond. There are other sites nearby which could be included if time permits and the weather is better than last time we went here (not a hard act on which to to improve).

Post event report

A very pleasant morning greeted 28 members and guests in Dunlop. The core element of the outing was a counter-clockwise walk around the pond.

Waterbirds were evident from the start including a (family?) group of 5 ducks with a significant Mallard element in their ancestry. We decided to rate them as Mallard (domestic type) rather than Mallard x Pacific Black Duck hybrid. At some stage a field seminar on these various terms and why none of the local Mallards are genetically pure is desirable.

Early sightings also including both small local grebes, Black Swans, Hardhead, Australian Wood Duck and Pacific Black Duck. Shortly after starting our walk a few Australasian Shovelers were seen and two Grey Teal completed the set of Anseriformes.

Eurasian Coot, Australasian Swamphen and Morrhen were also seen, with three independent juveniles of the last species investigating a large drainpipe. The array of waterbirds (loosely defined) was finished with a flying White-faced Heron and one each of Straw-necked and Australian White Ibis.

A fair collection of common urban land birds were seen – mainly in low numbers.

A Nankeen Kestrel was judged to be sitting on a wire just on the ACT side of the impenetrable barrier of the ACT/NSW border. Certainly it was doing a good job of predating ACT biota.

Other notable landbird sightings were 15 Red-rumped Parrots, 6 Red Wattlebirds in a single party (but not appearing to be hurrying to foreign parts) and 12 Double Barred Finches. The passerine highlight occurred after most people had left when a Restless Flycatcher was seen near the remaining parked cars. It was still around and photographed on our return from the grassland. As this bird is unusual, here are a couple of images I have been sent by Lindell …
and Duncan

We decided to explore the Dunlop Grassland as it was nearby. It was well grazed and as a result few birds were seen. We added Flame Robin (2 brown birds) and Brown Falcon to our day list.

In total we recorded 40 species, with checklists at West Belconnen Pond and Dunlop Grassland

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