A few old trees make all the difference when you’re doing a bird survey.  The bare, newly planted paddocks on Carkella and Adnamira were limited to a few species, mainly parrots (galahs,red-rumps, rosellas) and a small family of magpies.

Red-rumped parrot photo by Leo from

Red-rumped parrot photo by Leo from

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I was quite cautious when the idea of a “Green Army” was proposed.  It seemed like a political stunt.  And the cost of the payslips was going to be subtracted from Landcare, a community organization I admire a great deal.

Who was this Army going to attack?  The trees?  Us?

Who was going to join up?  Willing people? Or grumpy teenagers who’d rather be playing video games, only moving when they were driven along with pitchforks?

rocksAnd how would they feel about planting in rocks?

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A big attraction of setting up the “small bird stepping stone” plantations on Esdale this year (five 20m x 20m areas that link the Mullion Creek vegetation to the Murrumbidgee) was the promised monitoring of the plants and animals.  I’m really interested to see what the changes will be as the trees and shrubs grow.

It’s great to have an outsider do the official counts because I’m a lousy birdwatcher.  I let myself be discouraged at an early age because I was short-sighted and found it hard to pick out a swan at twenty paces.  Craig is better, especially with raptors and parrots, but we’re both unreliable with calls and identifying the little brown birds that all look so alike to the ignorant.

Somehow, they can tell themselves apart. Continue reading


Cockatoo_Gang-gang (Peter Fullagar)

Male Gang-Gang photographed by Peter Fullagar

Have you seen this bird?

It turns out that nobody knows much about Gang-Gangs, even though they’re an iconic bird for this region.

It’s not really clear what they feed on, or where they nest, if their numbers are declining or if they’ve moved out of town.

Most of the recent sightings have been in introduced pistachio trees, which surely can’t be their only food.

Even worse, the area with the least information about them is exactly where I live, along the Murrumbidgee north of Canberra.  I think because there are so few people here watching for birds, there are very few reports.  So we need to get some.

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