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18 Jan 2020 – good weather for ducks (and pygmy-geese, it turns out)

Rain! 102mm of it in the past 24 hours at Tingalpa Reservoir, and the water level in the reservoir has risen to 57.4%. I awoke at 0350 with the alarm to hear the sound of continual heavy rain, which had been falling for most of the night. A lie in was in order, so I eventually surfaced about 0415, and even then sat in the car for a bit in the pouring rain after arriving at the car park. Eventually I summoned up the courage to step out, electing to leave my camera in the car – any record shots would have to be via phone-binning or phone-scoping. I splashed through the woodland, where essentially nothing was calling, and eventually emerged onto the Forest Peninsula. First good bird of the morning was a Yellow-billed Spoonbill, foraging together with a Royal Spoonbill – I managed an extremely poor phone-binned pic while also holding my umbrella – not an easy feat I can assure you!

Getting increasingly sodden, I reached the end of the peninsula, and to my dismay essentially all of the recent wader habitat has been submerged! Only one Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was hanging on, and I eventually noticed not one, but TWO stints with it. I grilled them both very carefully, but was straining at the limit of 50x magnification through my telescope. After prolonged observation, I was satisfied they were both Red-necked Stints, having initially hoped that one might prove to be a Long-toed. In the distance, a Little Friarbird called, my first at the patch this year.

Suddenly, a pair of small “ducks” flew by – initially thinking they were teal I raised by bins and was delighted to see a pair of Cotton Pygmy-Geese! They seemed to disappear right into the SW arm of the reservoir, but as I rounded the peninsula I relocated them in the open water, preening and feeding happily in the rain. Good weather for ducks indeed. Another record shot, this time a phone-scoped effort – terrible stuff! Cotton Pygmy-Goose is quite a rare species in Brisbane, with most records coming from Dowse Lagoon and nearby sites on the north side. It is also primarily a winter visitor, so I was doubly surprised to see them in January.

Eventually the rain eased off, but no more birds of note showed up. With the addition of Little Friarbird and Cotton Pygmy-Goose, my patch year list rose to 123 species.

eBird lists:

JC Trotter0.89 km11 min4
Forest Peninsula3.31 km167 min65
Desert1.78 km37 min38
JC Trotter1.63 km40 min33
TOTAL7.61 km4 h 15 min75

Pair of Cotton Pygmy-Geese.