Owen (Jolly) came up from Brisbane to visit for a couple of days, and joined
an English visitor and myself yesterday for a day's birding out towards
The geology, the soil, the flora and of course the fauna all differ
significantly from our alleuvial situation here in the Lockyer Valley, so
it's always an interesting trip for us to visit an area on the edge of
Queensland's granite belt, only about an hour and a half from here, just far
enough beyond the Great Dividing Range to get into the more inland avifauna.
Referring primarily to the birds that we don't expect to see closer to home;
we met numerous parties of Bluebonnets at various locations - what a
well-chosen binomial is haematogaster - blood belly! And in the same areas
as the Bluebonnets we usually found White-winged Fairywrens, in their bright
blue form. This is the region where Pale-headed and Eastern Rosellas
overlap - lots of both, and also where Red-winged Parrots begin to kick-in.
My bird of the day was a striking Red-winged Parrot with the sun full on
him, showing not just the beautiful scarlet colour in the wing, but the
gleaming, flashing blue that accompanies it. By no means a rare, or even an
unexpected bird - but in a day of strong competition just outshining
everything else - and that includes several luminous Yellow-tufted
Honeyeaters, even a resplendent male Red-capped Robin.
The Brown Treecreeper replaces our White-throated in that region -
incongruous to us to see a treecreeper spending so much time on the ground.
Fuscous and White-plumed Honeyeaters vie to be the most common, with
Yellow-tufted and White-eared next in line. We met quite a lot of
Plum-headed Finches (a bird that is plentiful in the Lockyer at present),
often seen with Diamond Firetails (which don't occur here).
Plenty of raptors, and a really good variety of ducks (including Pink-eared
and Shoveler) and other water birds at Lake Coolmunda, but in both cases
nothing that doesn't occur hereabouts. A party of 8 to 10 Common Bronzewings
was unusual for us, they do occur in the Lockyer, but more sparsely. On
previous trips, I've found Squatter Pigeons in the same area (photo on the
website) - but none this time.
As a footnote, and back in the Lockyer Valley, this morning we came across
Plumheaded Finches in three different locations on a local drive-around. A
flock of around 60 flew up into a dead roadside shrub, simply covering its
otherwise forlorn twigs with these beautiful stripy, delicate little birds
many of them sporting glorious plum-coloured crowns, all gleaming in the
sun, and all immediately alongside the car. And the camera was in the repair
shop for a clean and service!
Lockyer Valley, Queensland.
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