Trip Report - atlassing beyond the red stump [part 4]

Subject: Trip Report - atlassing beyond the red stump [part 4]
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Date: Mon, 01 Oct 2001 18:17:29 +1000
Friday 14 September

The road between Dajerra and Duchess is good value for birdwatching.  In
particular, there are a couple of black footed rock wallaby stacks about
halfway between the two towns [21 32 S  139 39 E] that is well worth a
look and was the basis for location 3.  Bob Forsyth gave me the
directions for it, but finding it required the use of a GPS as my car?s
odometer had just given up the ghost [for a second time ? only got
140,000 km out of that one].

There were plenty of birds around Gum Ck ? cloncurry ringnecks, varied
lorikeets, little corellas, red backed kingfishers, jacky winters, grey
crowned babblers, black tailed treecreepers and grey headed
honeyeaters.  There were a pair of spinifexbirds near the saddle between
the stacks and about a dozen rock wallabies, including joeys keeping an
eye on me.  The view from the top of the larger stack was quite nice and
I found one of my target species [rufous crowned emu wrens] on the road
side of the stack.

I think I saw a pair of black breasted buzzards flying off into the
distance when I pulled up to look at a raptor near the Wills River ? it
was like looking at a pair of giant dollarbirds, with bulls eyes
apparent on the upper and lower surfaces of the wings.

I atlassed another rock stack further on ? it was the lookout for a
couple of brown falcons, and I had a nice close look at an immature one
while I was sitting on the summit.  It also had families of grey crowned
babblers and sittellas.

>From there I drove on to Mt Isa and caught up with Bob after lunch to
have a look at waders round Lake Moondarra.  The good thing about
birdwatching about lakes is that the tides move rather slowly [perhaps
on average one high tide per year], so they aren?t such an issue.  There
were plenty of waders and waterfowl about, with one of the species of
interest being orange chats [only place I saw them on the trip].  Bob is
very knowledgeable about his neck of the woods and has an extensive
reference collection, so if you have any queries on the area, he is the
guru [thanks Bob].

Saturday morning, I spent a couple of hours poking round the
carpentarian grass wren site without success and then drove off to Lake
Corella [60 km E Cloncurry] for lunch.  Lake Corella is a good spot to
do an area search and was location 4.  There were a couple of brolgas
feeding round the edges and a night heron that transmorgified itself
into a rock as I wandered around.  There were lots of waterbirds,
including a great crested grebe, marsh sandpiper and wiskered tern. 
There was also a family of grey crowned babblers on one of the
ridgelines with the rock wallabies.

Here I discovered the inadequacies of the field guides I had with me
[Slaters, Pizzey & Knight] in that neither mentioned that immature GC
babblers have pale eyes, like Halls Babblers.  Simpson and Day do, so
that is a tick for them.

I spent the night in Cloncurry and watched Port blow their home ground
advantage, with the Hawks sneaking in at the close of the game.
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