From Mallee to Rainforest - Part 2

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: From Mallee to Rainforest - Part 2
From: "Stuart Cooney" <>
Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 13:52:03 +1000

So off we headed for Lamington N.P. in Queensland, passing through the towns of Burra (really liked it), Peterborough (didn’t much like it) and getting a tick at Olary; Little Crow (which was a lovely, tiny town consisting of a friendly publican and galahs).  A couple of days later we stopped at Gibralter Range N.P. and had our first Rainforest experience.  I got four new birds (Brown Gerygone, Logrunner, Yellow-throated Scrubwren (later to become chooks) and, most impressively Wompoo Fruit-dove).  We had stopped the previous day at the more famous Warrumbungles and were thoroughly underwhelmed by it, but just loved Gibralter and pencilled it in for a later and longer visit.  By the time we had crossed NSW and landed in the grottiest cabin in NSW in Ballina we had seen 148 birds and got eight ticks.


Next day we drove up to Lamington immediately ticking Regent Bowerbird and Australian Brush Turkey even before checking in to O’Reilly’s.  We loved O’Reilly’s, the service was great, the accommodation beautiful and the food good.  Over the next couple of days we went on lots of walks, ticking Green Catbird, Brown Cuckoo-dove, Albert’s Lyrebird and Pale Yellow Robin.  Tim O’Reilly is the activities coordinator (or something) and aside from being really nice bloke was a great help, putting up with lots of questions from me about where I could tick some more birds and so it was, armed with three pages of mud maps, that we headed off the mountain, down Duck Creek Road, on the 14th of August to Beaudesert.


Just a quick aside as to why we went to Beaudesert.  When we checked out our money situation for this very indulgent part of the trip in Ballina, we had more than enough to cover the cost, however when we double checked in Beaudesert the funds were gone!  Now, as we had spent lots leading up to trip, we accepted this as true and hastily organised to borrow the funds to cover the cost, which was very embarrassing, however on our return from holidays we found that the Commonwealth Bank had made a mistake and the money was there again with nary a word from these fine people.  Suffice to say we have ceased all banking with the incompetents at the Commonwealth Bank as this is the straw that broke the camel’s back (and are faced with such encouraging alternatives!).


With that off my chest back to the birds.  The 14th was a twitching day like no other.  It started with a pair of Glossy Black Cockys, White-chinned Honeyeaters and Pale-headed Rosellas as we made our way down the mountain.  At the bottom of the mountain we got a Pheasant Coucal flying out of the grass and I ticked off Torresian Crow although dipped on Red-backed Fairy-wren and Bar-shouldered Dove.  In Beaudesert I got Chestnut-breasted Mannikin and Brown Honeyeater in a creek bed and as I turned to leave a Double-barred Finch flew into a nearby tree.  We then headed to a Jabiru nest and saw one on the nest and another walking around in the paddock beyond.  We then got Figbird and Comb-crested Jacana and I saw my first male Scarlet Honeyeater (having seen a female at Fairy Dell in Victoria earlier this year).  So far I had only dipped on Bar-shouldered Dove, Plumed Whistling-duck and Red-backed Fairy-wren, but then as we returned the way we came, at precisely the spot that Tim had said they would be I got RBFW’s.  11 ticks for the day, including some good ones, I was thrilled. 


All too soon we had to leave O’Reilly’s, although I still didn’t have Paradise Riflebird despite them being seen 4 times by Andy Rhodes an English birder on his honeymoon.  I spent a lot of time in the area that they had been seen and managed to turn up 3 White-headed Pigeons to add to my list, but no Riflebirds.  I also dipped on Topknot Pigeons that had been seen flying past our room on a couple of occasions, and no one was seeing Pittas.  In fact the only Pittas that were being seen were dead, apparently from the extraordinary dry that they are experiencing.  It is the driest period in 60 years at Lamington, when records started to be taken and many of the epiphytic ferns were showing the strain.


We then returned fairly directly to sign papers relating to the sale of our house, adding Spangled Drongo and the fantastic Brahminy Kite as we went.  We saw 184 species on the trip, 78 year ticks and I got 29 ticks.  Best bird for me would be the Glossy Blacks, the Brahminy Kites, the Spotted Nightjar and the Regent Bowerbirds (although feelings are a bit mixed about the nature of the twitch).  Most disappointing dip was clearly the Malleefowl, because I went expecting to see one and didn’t, I’ll get the Riflebird on another trip and didn’t expect to see one.  We had a great trip, even if it didn’t go as planned and Georgie was great in the car, however we will try the camping thing again when she is a bit older.


I am happy to provide a complete bird list and details of where I saw them on request.




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