Monday, May 08, 2006

Gould's Lagoon

I visited Gould's Lagoon at Granton this morning. With a strong wind blowing and the lagoon pretty full, the numbers of wildfowl were reduced. Small numbers of Chestnut Teal and Black Duck were present, as were about 10 Blue-winged Shoveller. As I watched a group of Shoveller, I realised there was a single male Whiteyed Duck, or perhaps I should more correctly call it a Hardhead, among them. I managed a quick "shot" of it, before they all headed away from the public hide. Because of the high levels present I noticed that the Shoveller were using a different feeding technique. While they mainly swam with their bills in the water filter feeding, some of them were diving, sometimes for more than 10 seconds at a time. While I have often watched "dabbling" ducks dive at the sight of predators (hawks), I think this is the first time I had seen Shovellers diving to feed (perhaps the Hardhead was giving lessons!). Other species present included
Little Pied and Great Cormorants, Swamphens, Native Hen, Kelp Gulls, Coot and Little Grassbirds. There appears to be good numbers of Shoveller about at the moment, with at least 80 at Granton Reserve and 40 at the Orielton settling ponds.


Felix Wilson said...

Nice shots Alan, this weather we've been having makes it difficult for photography

I'll have to keep my eyes out for hardhead at Goulds lagoon, I have never seen one there before, interesting.
It is a surprising place though, in the middle of the suburbs and with a road and railway line cutting it in half, but still a good spot to see crakes, little grassbirds and other often hard to see species for Tasmania

BirdingTas said...

Thanks Felix. Photography at Gould's is often difficult because the hide faces the sun for much of the day and therefore birds are in shadow to the observer. This is particularly difficult for dark birds--cormorants and coot etc..I suppose I should be grateful there is a hide there, because without it, it would be even more difficult.I've never tried photography in the late afternoon, but I imagine it could be the best time. I wouldn't hold your breath to see Hardhead there. This one looked "lost".

Felix Wilson said...

Yes, I think the hardhead has moved on to greener pastures , so to speak. I visited Goulds Lagoon early this morning (11-5-06) and while there were quite a lot of ducks around, no hardheads were visible. About a dozen hoary headed grebes in a "raft" out on the derwent were the highlight for me. The hide a t Goulds lagoon is not designed with photography n mind unfortunately, its quite badly placed. As you say though, without the hide it would be much more difficult. As a side note, do you know the origin of the name hardhead, white eyed duck seems more appropriate (except for the female, with a darker eye)?