Western Palerang

Sun 12 August 2018 08:00am

David McDonald & Martin Butterfield

On this field trip we will visit various TSRs, nature reserves and other delights in western Palerang, i.e. the Wamboin, Bywong, Bungendore, and nearby areas. This will be a morning outing, but you may care to bring your lunch and remain in the area, independently, in the afternoon, or lunch at any of Bungendore’s fine eateries.

Meet in the Spotlight (Queanbeyan) carpark at 8.00 am for carpooling, or in the carpark of the Mick Sherd Oval in Bungendore’s Gibraltar Street opposite the Post Office at 8.40 am. Suggested contribution to drivers from each passenger: $10.

Registration for this trip is not required. It will be co-led by David McDonald and Martin Butterfield. For information please contact David on 0416 231 890 or email palerang18@canberrabirds.org.au .

Post event report

After an initial gathering at Spotlight we traveled to Mick Sherd Oval in Bungendore to meet the rest of the group, forming a band of 21 members and guests. It was very pleasing to see a good representation of younger folk.

As David McDonald explained, our itinerary had evolved somewhat as the dam on Lake Rd was dry and a TSR had been leased out and was no longer available for birding. We began with a walk to Bungendore Common, with a permanent water feature, but little known to people who don’t live in Bungendore. Only three species of duck (Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck and Chestnut Teal) were sighted but the three common members of the rail family were evident in fair numbers. Australian Swamphens are not common in the area, but are regularly seen here, The least frequently record bush bird was a Grey Currawoong. Two breeding records were logged with Australian Magpie and Crested Pigeon both building nests. We recorded 29 species here.

After consolidating cars because of limited parking at the next two sites we drove to the Bungendore Sewage Treatment Works. Despite the dearth of open water around the area there were very few waterfowl on the Eastern pond. A single Australian Shelduck was the most unusual sighting here. We then walked along the ditch to the two Western Ponds. The highlight here was 34 Pink-eared Ducks loafing on the central bank or swimming in the “water”. Hardhead and Australasian Shoveler were also notable. We recorded 15 species here.

The next stop was the main dam on Trucking Yard Lane. We were able to park without disturbing the ducks! As is now expected there were 27 Plumed Whistling Ducks on the bank and 56 Australian Shelduck (including one with very strange plumage) were grazing on the paddock. At least 8 Chestnut Teal were also present and 5 Straw-necked Ibis grazed near Hoskinstown Rd, 17 species in total.

As time was moving on we decided to proceed directly to Cuumbeun Nature Reserve on Captains Flat Rd, A Wedge-tailed Eagle was seen soaring over the Reserve as we arrived. The hope for this walk was a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, but unfortunately that species was not evident. Indeed, very few birds were evident until we got close to the Queanbeyan River Fire Trail. A mixed bathing flock there delivered Scarlet Robin, Brown Thornbill, and Striated Thornbill with a female Golden Whistler overhead. 14 species were seen here.

In total we recorded 50 species for the day, which we regarded as a pretty good outcome for a chilly day in a dry season.

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