In March we continued to get some welcome rain 79 species of birds were recorded in the catchment area of the Gazette. Thanks to several observers in: Hoskinstown; the Molonglo Valley, Widgiewa Road, The list includes 1 new species for the project: Fork-tailed Swift at Hoskinstown. The other species of swift possible in the area (White-throated Needletail) was reported several times. The migrations associated with cooler weather have started with some honeyeaters moving through; many insectivorous species not observed ; and Scarlet Robins and Golden Whistlers moving down from the mountains.
Migrants are shown in italics below and the species for which breeding has been observed this month (only White-browed Scrubwren) is underlined.
1 Waterbirds: Australian Wood Duck; Grey Teal; Pacific Black Duck; Australasian Grebe; Little Pied Cormorant; White-faced Heron; Australian White Ibis; Purple Swamphen; Eurasian Coot;Masked Lapwing
2 Birds of Prey: Brown Goshawk; Wedge-tailed Eagle; Nankeen Kestrel; Brown Falcon.
3 Parrots and Relatives: Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo; Gang-gang Cockatoo; Galah; Sulphur‑crested Cockatoo; Crimson Rosella; Eastern Rosella;
4 Kingfishers and other non-songbirds: Rock Dove; Spotted Dove; Common Bronzewing; Crested Pigeon; Tawny Frogmouth; White-throated Needletail; Fork‑tailed Swift; Barn Owl; Laughing Kookaburra; Sacred Kingfisher;
5 Honeyeaters: Eastern Spinebill; Yellow-faced Honeyeater; White-eared Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Red Wattlebird; New Holland Honeyeater; Brown‑headed Honeyeater; White-naped Honeyeater; Noisy Friarbird
6 Flycatchers and similar species: Golden Whistler; Rufous Whistler; Grey Shrike-thrush; Grey Fantail; Willie Wagtail; Leaden Flycatcher; Magpie-lark; Scarlet Robin; Welcome Swallow;
7 Thornbills, Finches and similar species: Superb Fairy-wren; White-browed Scrubwren; Weebill; Western Gerygone; White-throated Gerygone; Striated Thornbill; Yellow-rumped Thornbill; Buff‑rumped Thornbill; Brown Thornbill; Spotted Pardalote; Striated Pardalote; Silvereye; Double-barred Finch; Red-browed Finch; Diamond Firetail; House Sparrow; European Goldfinch
8 Other, smaller birds: White-throated Treecreeper; Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike; Dusky Woodswallow; Common Blackbird; Common Starling; Mistletoebird; Australasian Pipit;
9 Other, larger birds: Satin Bowerbird; Grey Butcherbird; Australian Magpie; Pied Currawong; Grey Currawong; Australian Raven; Little Raven; White-winged Chough
This month’s location is Plains Road which runs from Briars-Sharrow Road to Hoskinstown. It is about 7km long and more or less parallels the Molonglo River.
Much of the area is frosty and thus grassland rather than wooded country. As a result it is not surprising to find grassland specialists are commonly seen and heard here. This area is one of the best I know in the region to hear the song of the Eurasian Skylark as it it ascends well out of sight, especially in Spring. The similar looking but more terrestrial Australasian Pipit is commonly seen in the paddocks and sitting on fences beside the road. The Rufous and Brown Songlarks can also be seen in this area.
When there is heavier rain, filling the dams and watercourses beside the road, this can be a good site to find many of the local waterbirds including Australian Shelduck grazing in the paddocks and Black-fronted Dotterel fossicking in the ditches and dams.
The hawthorns along the road are popular food, roost and nest resources for many species including Gang-gang Cockatoos, Common Starlings and Rosellas.