We caught up with a Blue-winged Kookaburra in the Lockyer Valley the other
day. There has been a family of Blue-winged Kookas around for many years,
but they've become harder to find over the last couple of years, and we were
delighted to see one brightly coloured bird surveying a farm paddock from
electricity wires not far from the Lester Road area where they seem to have
been based for some time.
I was travelling round with a couple of keen English birders, Eddie and
Barbara Seal from Liverpool, and we managed to clock up 165 species in the
four days we spent together - despite both Ravensbourne and the Bunya
Mountains National Parks both being so dry as to be barely recognisable as
rain-forests as we know them - with very few birds about at either location.
However, we picked plenty of raptors and parrots around the valley, as well
as a lot of good water birds, including 15 Red-necked Avocets at Seven-Mile
Lagoon, and some Banded Lapwings which are regular over the house and garden
here, but which we managed to locate on a neighbour's lucerne patch.
There were some postings recently about Plumed Whistling Ducks in the area.
We met them in flocks of many hundreds at many locations, as well as
hundreds of Pink-eared Ducks, and thousands of Magpie Geese. Roy Sonnenburg
mentioned the surprising absence of Magpie Geese from one of their favourite
locations - I've found that they wander between several lakes in the valley
and if they're not at their home base in the afternoon, they may well turn
up there before lights out. Certainly, they're never far away.
Our list also included a Bush Stone-curlew which seems to think it's a
Masked Lapwing - it's spent several months now in the same part of Toowoomba
keeping close company with the lapwings; Shovelers and Chestnut Teal at more
than one location; Dusky Woodswallows in some eucalypt woodland; Rose
Robins, Red-capped Robins; both harriers; and Bluebonnets just this side
(east) of Dalby.
I've seen more button-quail this year than in the past. The other day, a
Painted Button-quail shimmied its way across a dirt road just in front of
the car, and just wouldn't go until it was good and ready. We got so close
that my passenger had to get out of the car in order to see the bird on the
ground. I managed to get some photos (of the bird, not the passenger) which
I've posted on the Abberton website. We don't get really good looks at any
of the button-quail all that often and I hope it might be a useful image for
some to assist in the sorting out of the scant views we do get. Just follow
the very first link to "View latest photographs". Note the red eye!
Lockyer Valley, Queensland.
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