The Flinders Highway / Queensland

To: "Messages Birding Aus" <>
Subject: The Flinders Highway / Queensland
From: "Bob Forsyth" <>
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 12:29:05 +1000
G'day all,
My best wishes to you all for the New Year .. epecially to those who have thanked me for my contributions to his list.
Follows are some birding notes for the area between Julia Creek to Charters Towers
I travelled across to Townsville to join the local branch of Boca do a News Years day species count at the Toonpan area of the Ross River dam water storage.
Going across on 31/12/2002 I was counting 36 Flock Bronzewings at the Julia Ck cattle yards at 7.00am when another 3 dozen flew in to drink. Returning on the 4/1/2003 (also at 7.00am) I saw 3 FB feeding away from the water when another 35 flew in to settle in the grassed area.
Midway between Julia Creek and Richmond I stopped on the bridge at Chatfield Creek to see with the waterfowl a single Freckled Duck. I parked the vehicle and checked out the 2 water courses which are fed by artesian fed bore drains. I quickly recorded over 40 species including -
- White-winged Fairy-wren (outside its territory ?)
- 60 Australian Bustard
- Black-tailed Native-hen
- White-browed Woodswallow
- Masked Woodswallow
At Pentland I stopped for a quick look at the town dam.
A Spotted Harrier was taking a slow afternoon stroll adjacent to the houses near the dam
It was just light enough when I got to the Burdekin River bridge to identify 8 Cotton Pygmy-goose
Returning on 3/1/2003 at a Windmill 33km East of Richmond I observed
- Plum-headed Finch +40 (outside its territory ?)
- White-winged Fairy-wren (outside its territory ?)
- Black-tailed Native-hen
I saw 100s of Australian Pratincoles on the road from 100km East of Julia Creek to the Gilliat Channels, but the most common bird was the 1000s of Singing Bushlarks taking off and fluttering back into the grasses.  Australian Bustards were seen frequently and the occasional Emu was observed stopped at a fence.
But at Townsville the Boca folk took me under their wing for a pleasant morning's birding. We noted + 40 Golden Plover (presumably Pacific) at the limit of our scopes and a couple of dozen Oriental Plover grazing several 100m from the water. At the Palmetum Botanical Garden they also found for me Oriental Cuckoos (a lifer for me)
I then spent 2 full days getting a number of lifers in the Paluma Rain Forest. I stayed 20km west of Paluma at Hidden Valley Cabins where the owners both know the local birds.
I now think many rain forest birds are harder than Waders ? I could hear them but not see them ! And the overcast skies often only provided an outline of the body shape.
Bob Forsyth, Mount Isa, NW Queensland.
(Seek and ye shall find)
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