Summer Wildlife Conservation

September 27, 2012 — November 8, 2012

We've fought the bushfire & won, and the rain is coming, after an absence of months...

 Spring 2012 at Gibraltar Reserve

A recent forest walk turned up a small Dog skull, not a fully grown animal, with a wide jaw, suggesting a hybrid Wild Dog. There has been very little dog activity recently, resulting in plenty of Long-nosed Bandicoots making sneezing noises after dark. Red-necked Wallabies with pouched young are feeding on the freshly cleared trails and fire-breaks, and Northern Brown Bandicoots are regular evening visitors. Platypus appears to be fequenting the main dam during the breeding season again, probably with a burrow nearby. There's been few daytime sightings along with the occasional Little Black Cormorant & White-necked  Heron.

Bushfire management with NSW National Parks is being undertaken, as part of Bell Miner Associated Dieback program. This is a longer term project, ultimately resulting a healthy native understory to the forest in areas currently infested with Lantana. Helicopters have been managing a fire just over 1km away, along with remote area firefighters on foot. These ladies & gentlemen cover very remote and rugged terrain, using hand-tools to contain fires. It's a dry start to spring, and the NSW RFS are getting on top of unmanaged burns.

Springtime bird migration is underway, with Straw-necked Ibis forming larger flocks, soaring on thermals at hundreds of meters altitude or more. Scarlet Honeyeaters are in full song. Brown Cuckoo-dove and Pheasant Coucal are hanging around their breeding haunts, and Leaden Flycather has gone into full song, having wintered here. Occasional Glossy Black-Cockatoos are moving around & Rainbow Bee-eaters have put in their first appearance of the season. The usual King Quail,  Lewin's Rail & Masked Owl are heard daily. Along with regular Brown & Grey Goshawks, including one of the latter chasing Fairy-Wrens and perching with it's talons over the edge of the roof, a meter away.

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 The Curious Cormorant

Sometimes in spring, uncommon birds turn up, but today it was a common bird doing something uncommon; This morning a Pied Cormorant appeared on the grass, walked towards the back door, past the hen house and stood in front of the deck for a few minutes. It watched us watching it, 2 metres away, before flying to the dam, to swim and eat fish like it’s supposed to.

We’re hardly Pied Cormorant habitat, they’re mainly coastal, about 100km away, and our wetland is not really big enough for them. I’ve only seen one here before, so this sighting was unusual enough without the pet duck-like behaviour!

It seemed healthy enough, but we’ll keep an eye on it to see if it starts talking or something.

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 Summer Migrants

Rufous Fantail, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Leaden Flycatcher and Spectacled Monarch have been seen in the past week. A pair of Black-shouldered Kites are frequenting the fields and a Firefly was seen 21st Sept.

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