Sometimes virtue is more than its own reward.
Yesterday I drove down to Tamrookum [about halfway between Beaudesert
and Rathdowney] and did a number of 2 ha and 500 m atlas sheets.
The first site included a large farm dam and a stretch of the Logan
River ~ 400 down the road [rather different birds at the two spots].
Just as I was about to leave, I rechecked the dam to see what had
changed while I was down at the river - and discovered that there was a
red-kneed dotterel in amongst the black-fronted dotterels along the edge
of the dam. That was one for my books as I'd never seen a RKD before,
but I didn't get to do a full diagnostic as a scungy peewee sent it
One of the highlights of the day was seeing a quartet of striated
pardalotes squaring off in a hankerchief sized area of branch - one of
them was spreading its wings robin like to emphasise its point. There
didn't seem to be any lawyers there, so I guess they sorted the dispute
At another spot, I stopped to atlas a brown falcon perched on a power
line and so did a 2 ha site, beside an abandoned corn field [lots of
cobs left to rot on the husk]. Along with the cistacolas and Su Fairy
Wrens, the field also had a large flock [more like a seething mass] of
One of the depressing constants of the exercise was the large number of
straw necked ibis covering the paddocks - almost as many ibis as crows.
[I've got to say that there are very few sites that I atlas these days
where I don't see or hear a crow].
For a change from the farm scenery, I drove up to the headwaters of
Tamrookum Creek - a narrow valley below ex-forestry hills. It was a
proper woodland/forest site, with no species from the front side of the
atlas sheet. However, it did have an abundance of rose robins and 4
species of thornbills/warblers [those are the species you are least
likely to see in a highly disturbed environment].
Today Leanne and I motored down to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary -
they do have an interesting range of birds there [I managed to get the
chiming wedgebills going] and had nice views of the black-breasted
button-quail, stubble quail, superb and rose-crowned fruit doves, inland
dotterels, barn, grass and barking owls, partridge pigeons, flock
bronzewings, square-tailed kites, metallic starlings and blue-faced
finches etc. They also had a pair of jabiru loafing by a fence.
Anyhow, I digress, after wandering the grounds, we had a look at the
beach. You don't expect to see too many interesting feathered birds
when you are at the Gold Coast. However, while we are sitting looking
out at the big blue, a large brown bird flew down the beach, about 10
metres off shore and less than a metre above the water. Initially I
thought it was a cormorant, but then cormorants don't look like smallish
albatross, so I thought it might be a brown booby. It flew along the
beach three times [looked to be twice the mass of a silver gull].
However, in the end I figured it was more likely to be a young gannet,
given that it had a whitish rump [ala swamp harrier], and its underbody
plumage seemed to be more consistent with a gannet than a booby.
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