Birding on the way south of Canberra

2007 Australian Capital Territory trip report # 15

On our final morning in Canberra, we packed the car and left earlier than we normally do. We had a long day of travelling ahead of us. I had planned for us to travel due south from Canberra, through Cooma, Cann River, Orbost, Bairnsdale, Sale and Traralgon heading towards Melbourne.

We like stopping frequently along the way to look for birds and native wildflowers. Unfortunately we were not able to do this today because we needed to get as close to Melbourne as possible. This was because we needed extra time on the following day for the activities I’d planned for that day. More about that in a future post. In all we covered 560 kilometres which is quite enough for one day.

We left Canberra in fine but cloudy conditions. As we motored south the weather deteriorated rapidly. Heavy clouds threatened poor conditions ahead. Snow was forecast for the highlands and the biting wind indicated that this was indeed happening.

The road south was unexciting from a bird watching point of view. Australian Magpies were seen frequently in the farming country we were passing through. Less common were the Australian Ravens and Galahs. We saw the occasional small flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos feeding in the paddocks. Wherever there was a dam or creek we would see the occasional small flock of Australian Wood Ducks.

Australian Wood Duck (male)

Australian Wood Duck (male)

We made a short stop at the small village of Nimitabel for a cuppa and morning tea. We stopped at the picnic ground by an artificial lake on the southern edge of town. We set up at a picnic table but soon retired back into the car. The wind – sorry, gale – was bitterly cold. Highlight of this delightful but cold spot was a pair of Blue-billed Ducks.

As we drove further south I was able to add Dusky Woodswallow to the trip list and I saw a Richard’s Pipit for only the second time during this holiday. We continued to travel through Cooma and on south towards the south coast. At one point we crossed the Great Dividing Range at 1100 metres. No wonder it was cold. Fortunately we only had a few showers along the way so driving was easy.

Dusky Woodswallow

Dusky Woodswallow



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