Date: Thursday, October 19, 2017

Project: Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey

The clouds were banking up to the west when we left Griffith at sunrise. Low cloud makes surveying impossible and so we left early, leaving a rainbow behind. We flew along Band 3 east, to just south of Sydney.

Rain and clouds building up in the west at Griffith

On the way we surveyed a couple of rice growing paddocks. These occasionally have a few ducks on them.

Surveying a rice paddock at sunrise

Soon after we left Griffith, we then surveyed the Ramsar-listed Fivebough Swamp, near Leeton. This very shallow wetland usually has thousands of waterbirds but I was surprised that it had less than a thousand, given the dry conditions everywhere else. Most of the waterbirds were grey teal and black duck.

Surveying Fivebough Swamp near Leeton

We then ‘dam-hopped’ our way to the southern Tablelands, flying reasonably low but just surveying the farm dams along the way. The ‘fullness’ of the farm dams reflects how dry the country is, with many of them less than half full. 

A windfarm near Crookwell on the southern Tablelands

Between Crookwell and Goulburn, we surveyed Pejar Dam which had more coot than we usually see here. The coot seem to find these dams during the dry times. 

Surveying Pejar Dam

We were soon back in Sydney by about 10 am, given our early start. And we were well done before the wet weather came in. Next Tuesday we head south to do Bands 1 and 2, going as far south as Phillip Island, south of Melbourne.