Birdwatching in Wagga Wagga

Report: Wilks Park, North Wagga – September 15, 2009.
October 4, 2009, 3:20 pm
Filed under: Reports | Tags: ,


An approximate map of the path taken (S = Start; F = Finish)

1. Laughing Kookaburra
2. Western Gerygone
3. Black-Faced Cuckoo-Shrike
4. Weebill
5. Australian Wood Duck
6. Pacific Black Duck
7. Superb Fairy-Wren
8. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo
9. Galah
10. Australian Magpie
11. White-Plumed Honeyeater
12. Magpie-lark
13. Blue-Faced Honeyeater
14. White-Winged Chough
15. Australian Raven
16. Welcome Swallow
17. Common Blackbird
18. Crested (Eastern) Shrike-Tit
19. Red-Browed Finch
20. Eastern Yellow Robin
21. Yellow Rosella
22. Grey Fantail
23. Rufous Whistler
24. Tree Martin
25. Yellow Thornbill
26. Striated Pardalote
27. Willie Wagtail
28. Australian Reed-Warbler

The map above gives a rough idea of the area described in this report. I began the walk directly opposite Wagga Beach and, following a somewhat circuitous path, ended near the entrance to Wilks Park. In total, I recorded 28 species of bird in the area. The most interesting sightings are detailed below.

The first species to be recorded were the Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae; see image) and the Western Gerygone (Gerygone fusca). Two waterbirds – the Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) and the Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) – were sighted in the shallower waters at the edge of the Murrumbidgee River.

The area marked (1.) on the map is a dense patch of greenery, consisting largely of eucalypts and casuarinas. The groundcover, however, is almost entirely composed of invasive exotic species, most obviously bedstraw (Galium sp.; see image). In spite of this, a rich and varied birdlife was present. Superb Fairy-Wrens (Malurus cyaneus) were present in numbers; Red-Browed Finches (Neochmia temporalis; see image) were gathering material for nest-building; a single Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis) was sighted; and, most interestingly of all, at least one Crested Shrike-Tit (Falcunculus frontatus) was present. Though probably not especially rare, the Crested Shrike-Tit is a shy, inconspicuous bird, spending much of its time feeding quietly in the canopy. Sighting one, therefore, is a special pleasure. Another surprise was the sighting of a pair of Swamp Wallabies (Wallabia bicolor) in this area; two more were sighted in Wilks Park itself.

Nearer Hampden Avenue, three Rufous Whistlers (Pachycephala rufiventris), including two adult males, were seen feeding in a eucalypt. On the opposite side of the road, in area (2.), Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita) were seen (and heard) in large numbers. Another familiar flock-forming bird, the White-Winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos; see image), was also seen in this area. Welcome Swallows (Hirundo neoxena) were seen flying overhead, together with the odd Tree Martin (Petrochelidon nigricans).

Area (3.) was dominated by small, insectivorous woodland species: Grey Fantails (Rhipidura albiscapa), Yellow Thornbills (Acanthiza nana), Striated Pardalotes (Pardalotus striatus) and Western Gerygones were all sighted in this area.

Area (4.) is notable largely for the presence of a substantial reed-bed, which contained many Australian Reed-Warblers (Acrocephalus australis). As is usual for this species, they were heard more often than seen.

Four species of butterfly – Meadow Argus (Junonia villida), Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Common Grass-Blue (Zizina labradus) and Cabbage White (*Pieris rapae) – and two species of dragonfly – Blue Skimmer (Orthetrum caledonicum) and Wandering Percher (Diplacodes bipunctata) – were also recorded.


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