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Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Birds of Wee Jasper - end of 2013

Wee Jasper is a small community about 50 kms from Yass and about 70 kms from Canberra. We are lucky enough to be able to go there each year and have a lovely family holiday which is spent doing the simple things - swimming in a fresh water river (Goodradigbee), yabbying, walking, fishing and generally getting away from the digital world (no mobile phone coverage at the cabin or TV). Each year I am reminded of holidays when I was a lot younger, where a patch of grass could be a cricket pitch, badminton court or this year, tennis court. I hope our kids always have fond memories and view these holidays as special, and remember Wee Jasper as it is today.

Of course, the other main activity apart from sitting around reading books, is the bird watching. Each year we seem to be fortunate to see the fledging of some Willie Wagtails, white-throated Treecreepers scare you by landing in a nearby tree and piping loudly, various parrots and cockatoos screech across the sky, and there are always one or two exciting finds for the year.

For some reason, the younger generation of males decided it would be good to join in the bird count in 2014. this meant January 1st was full of bird-watching and counting. There is a line in "The Big Year" movie where some English gent states that "only Americans could turn bird-watching into a sport". I think the Waring-Farthing-Shanleys may want to disagree as none of us are Americans but the competitiveness is certainly alive.

And so to the photos and the different stories of our 10 days at Wee Jasper.

Sitting on the banks of the Goodradigbee, with pine trees and poplars overhanging the water (as well as lying in the water after the floods in the last year), I was surprised by this male Leaden Flycatcher, who had been busy in some nearby trees and then propped on a branch of a small shrub about 5 metres in front of me. The colours are spectacular as they have that sheen like a corvid that changes depending on how the light is catching it. A lovely little bird and experience.

Leaden Flycatcher

The Galahs weren't as prevalent as they can be, but I enjoyed this flyby

Morning light on the Goodradigbee River

The Superb Fairy-wrens have always been a presence at the Cabin, and this year there were a number of "family" shots taken, here are a couple

Unusually, the White-faced herons seemed to enjoy roosting on top of one of the dead trees on the other side of the river. This year there were groups of up to 7 on some of the dams in the Wee Jasper Valley

This was one of the parents of the Willie Wagtails we saw fledge. Their nest was on a brach on a tree overhanging the river

The Yellow-rumped Thornbills are very chirpy and have some great characteristics including this one pointing which way it was for me to return to the Cabin.

An early morning walk up one of the hills was enjoyed and delivered some nice bird-watching opportunities, mainly in one of the gullies.
Crimson Rosella

I was watching this Eastern Yellow Robin flit around the lower branches of trees for a little while, and then he popped up obligingly onto this dead branch nearby.

Wee Jasper had been the only place I had managed to get photos of Gang Gang cockatoos before our recent trip to The Grampians (see that post here), and once again we were fortunate to see (and hear) the Gang Gangs at Wee Jasper.

Satin Bowerbird in a gully

We had a little bit of car trouble (slipping clutch) which had to be fixed in Canberra. We were lucky to get someone to be able to do this between Christmas and New Year. On the return trip after the car had been fixed, Pete and I saw this beautiful Spotted Harrier sitting on a fence post. Alas by the time I had stopped the car and grabbed the camera it had flown off into the nearby paddock, but still managed a few shots.

On the same drive from Canberra, we came across a small flock of White-browed Woodswallows.

With encounters like those above, the birding was promising an exciting start to the New Year, but that is for another post.

Hope you have enjoyed these photos, and I encourage anyone who is near Wee Jasper who enjoys birding etc to spend a little bit of time in this lovely part of Australia.

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