Stubble Quail, Little Corella, Myall Lakes and bushfires

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Subject: Stubble Quail, Little Corella, Myall Lakes and bushfires
From: "J & C Krohn" <>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 23:13:02 +1100

Couple of recent sightings that might be of interest.  On my way home from
work this afternoon I found, crouching on the naturestrip against a
power-pole, a male Stubble Quail - somewhat unusual in suburban Glen
Waverley.  I was about fifteen metres past by the time I stopped the bike,
and walked slowly back to confirm the ID (obvious bright ochre throat), but
the bird was wary and abruptly sprinted off on foot along the footpath and
around the corner.  Can't rule out an aviary escapee, but it certainly
didn't want to be approached too closely.  No remnant bushland within a
couple of kilometres, but not much further than that from the parklands and
wetlands along the Dandenong Creek valley.

Yesterday morning while playing (very poor) golf at Montuna, Upper
Beaconsfield, saw and heard a Little Corella fly over.  Also saw a pair of
unidentified Corellas near the future Hallam Bypass/ Monash Freeway
interchange last week - this is close to Lyndhurst where Corellas are
sometimes reported.

My apologies for not yet having posted a detailed report on our family
camping trip through southern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales,
for which a number of list members provided valuable and generous responses
to my RFIs.  I have been flat out since we got home with work, cricket,
family and other commitments, and still haven't got all my lists and notes
written up.  However, briefly, almost everywhere we stayed came up to
expectations.  We greatly enjoyed "Bowra", out of Cunnamulla, where we were
very well looked after by Julie and Ian McLaren.  Charleville was friendly
and full of interest, if a bit drizzly, and I found one great birding spot
next to the Adavale Road.  Carnarvon Gorge was superb, and the pair of
Pacific Bazas a bonus.  Tannum Sands was fine (except for the no see ums),
and the Tondoon Botanic Gardens just south of Gladstone were excellent, with
scads of great birds.  Hervey Bay was delightful, including a half day with
the Humpbacks and a day tour of Fraser Island (however, on such tours you do
see more tourists than birds).  The best birding locations I found were Eli
Creek (not the one on Fraser Island, the one at the western end of Hervey
Bay, south-west of Point Vernon), where I saw Brown Quail (at about three
metres), Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Tawny Grassbird and Mangrove and Scarlet
Honeyeaters among many other species, and the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens
where in a misty dawn I heard and saw Plumed Frogmouth (one in the Gardens
and two others heard only, calling from some distance away in different
directions), and then got a bonus Channel-billed Cuckoo, another life tick,
being harassed by Noisy Miners out of the tree next to which I'd parked the
car.  Our stay at Bribie Island included visits to Buckley's Hole (Spotless
Crakes), Montville (Superb Fruit-dove and Cicadabird) and the Pumicestone
Passage (nesting Black-necked Storks).  Binna Burra was magic - Catbirds,
Brush Turkeys and two species of Pademelons, and a day visit to O'Reillys,
which as well as the ouiseaux de maison (Regent Bowerbirds) also produced
Noisy Pitta, Yellow-throated Scrub-wrens and Topknot Pigeons.  Woody Head,
Bundjalung National Park, was a beautiful place to camp beside the sea, and
Iluka Rainforest had Rose-crowned Fruit-doves, Emerald Doves and Varied
Trillers.  Myall Lakes were scenic and had lots of birds, including my first
White-headed Pigeon.

However, we were most disappointed in the Myall Shores Ecotourism Resort,
and I'm happy to explain why in detail if anyone is interested.  I did write
to the Manager as soon as practicable after we got home to explain our
concerns, but more than two months later have not received the courtesy of a
reply.  Of all the places we stayed, it's the only one I would not return
to.  We did enjoy a very pleasant lunch stop at James Estate Winery in the
Upper Hunter Valley, backing spectacularly onto the northern fringe of
Wollemi National Park, and we had a great day at the Dubbo Zoo.  Finally,
having had a good long look at The Dish, we had a late lunch in the Gum
Swamp Bird Hide (for which you can pick up a brochure at the Forbes Tourist
Information Centre), a last overnight stop at Narrandera, and came home via
Corowa, Wangaratta, Benalla and Yea.

It's been saddening to read and see reports of the devastating, and
apparently in some cases maliciously lit, bushfires in NSW.  I know fire is
part of the ecology but that can't be much consolation for the animals which
are killed by radiant heat or loss of habitat, and changes in fire frequency
and intensity are unlikely to do the ecology much good long-term.  And of
course the human property damage has been severe, and who knows the
emotional price.  I hope the firefighters are able to gain effective control
in the brief window before the next forecast wave of heat and wind.  I hope,
too, that the tragedy doesn't lead to a kneejerk reaction in terms of
bushland and National Park fire management in future.  Having now seen some
of the affected country brings it all a bit closer.  I heard on the radio
that some 10,000 ha of Bundjalung NP had been burnt, less than a year after
the enormous floods that went through that same area in February.  As others
on birding-aus have already said, my sympathy is with those already affected
or under threat.

Regards to all,

    Jack Krohn

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