Little Bronze-cuckoo, woodswallows, plumheads and bikers

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Little Bronze-cuckoo, woodswallows, plumheads and bikers
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 08:03:14 +1000
Such a great day's birding today! Sunday October 7th.

Having collected some visitors from Brisbane airport, I detoured to J C
Slaughter Falls on the way through to Abberton. As we pulled into the
approach road at Mt Coot-tha and my passengers from Montana asked what the
Ulysses sign meant, I joked (ludicrously as I thought) that it was probably
a motor-cycle club. A few minutes later the bikers started arriving, in
chapter group after chapter group. The entrance to Slaughter Falls was
guarded by a couple of ladies who were collecting $10 from everyone who
entered and as we paused to take the scene in, we heard them ask a motorist
if he was 'the drummer'!  And he was!

It proved to be a fund-raising get-together, and the 200 or so iron steeds
that roared past us were all impressively groomed, as were their riders, and
all in support of a good cause as we discovered. But not at all compatible
with a quiet morning's birding in the forest - so we headed for home, which
proved to be a good move.

One of our first birds back at Abberton was a Spotted Harrier, literally
only a few metres over our heads, lazily presenting classic views of its
underwing and undertail patterns, its rufous body, and its grey wings with
big black primaries.

Only minutes later, a Little Bronze-cuckoo appeared in a tree adjacent to
the verandah, pausing quietly on an assortment of low branches, showing now
his underparts, now his back, and most of the time his distinctive big red
eye, in our full view at all times for the best part of an hour. We've heard
him calling for a few days.

Later again, small parties of Plumheaded Finches began to gather at their
recently discovered roost site just across the creek, so we headed closer
with a scope, and managed great close-up views as they dropped in to spend
the night in a growing, chattering group of maybe 200 or more.

But, after only a few minutes, we were to be torn away from even the
Plumheads as waves of White-browed Woodswallows passed overhead, with
smaller numbers of White-breasted Woodswallows mixed in, all heading west.

Now it's Monday morning, before breakfast. The Plumheads have dispersed in
groups of thirty or forty at a time, an Eastern Whipbird has completed its
morning wash in the bird bath, a family group of five Speckled Warblers is
feeding along with Superb and Variegated Fairy-wrens, and the Little Bronze
Cuckoo is back in the same tree.
I'll head out later to see if the Painted Snipe are still in numbers at
Seven Mile Lagoon.
Bill Jolly

Lockyer Valley, Queensland.

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