Sunday 16 September
I resumed my policy of atlassing gaps on Andrew Silcock?s maps by doing
a number of surveys along Sedan Dip Road between Burke and Wills Roads.
The first site was another rock wallaby stack [and the last interesting
bit of topography for a while]. It was pretty quite birdwise, with the
main interest being a grey headed honeyeater and a few spinifex pigeons.
Further along the road, I observed a covey of quail from my mobile bird
hide. I was hopeful of seeing something new, being a long way from my
normal range, but once again they were the common old brown quail.
[Only 6 spp at that 2 ha site].
There were more birds along the Cloncurry River bed 10 km up the road,
with 22 spp in a 500 metre radius ? the feature species being a jabiru,
little and black faced woodswallows and white winged trillers.
Location Five [20 09E 140 40] was the banks of the Corella River, near
Clonaugh. It had the compulsory spotted bowerbird, which happened to be
sharing a tree with some varied lorikeets, budgies and a rufous throated
honeyeater. The main point of interest from my perspective was the
black breasted buzzard that was floating about 20 metres up ? it was a
most impressive raptor [particularly so since it was one of my target
species]. The locals were moving their stock along the road the old
fashioned way, and one of the nice lasses who was closing the gate was
surprised to learn I was doing a bird survey [it never hurts to tell
people what you are doing] and was interesting to learn she had a
buzzard in her back paddock [better than a dodgy campervan I guess].
I had lunch on the banks of the Cloncurry River at Sedan Dip [on the
Wills Road]. There were a group of bustards by the side road, and one
had its neck feathers all nicely ruffed up. As a point of interest,
there were a couple of black-faced woodswallows having a feed from the
butter coloured mistletoe-shaped flowers on a rough barked tree with few
leaves ? first time I?ve seen woodswallows feeding on flowers.
The drive down to Julia Creek and along to Richmond was pretty boring ?
nothing but buffle grass and mimosa ? so I drove on to Hughendon for the
Monday 17 September
The good thing about Hughendon is the topography to its north, and I
paid a flying visit to Porcupine Gorge to its north [next time I?m
passing through I?ll have to climb down into the gorge]. From an avian
perspective, there was a bustard and a flock of red tailed black cockies
at the Eaglehawk Lkt.
I atlassed the Flinders River where the back road crossed it on the way
to Prairie, had a quick look at the view from the lookout on the crest
of the Great Dividing Range one the way to Charters Towers, and then
hung a right and followed the Gregory Rd south past the odd mine or two.
You start to see the odd farm dam when you get this far east, and
sometimes there is the odd interesting species. For example, there was
a flock of cotton pygmy geese on a dam about 30 km north of Belyando
The Suttor River channels, about 20 km out from Belyando Crossing [21
32E 147 03S] were location six, and the main bird of interest to me
there was another buzzard.
I spent the night in one of the units at Belyando Crossing ? I think the
old Penne Gwenne would enjoy spending a night there, as a spotted
bowerbird was the general manager, a group of apostlebirds were the
groundstaff [very cute having one of them walking in through the door to
check I was settled in comfortably] and an owl manning the night desk
[it was about the size of a boobook].
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