Diana Beal and I have just returned from 36 hours at Sundown National
Park (28o 55?S 151o 34?W, between Stanthorpe and Texas in southern
inland Qld). The park is very dry, having missed out on even the light
showers elsewhere. However, it is still open, unlike Girraween and the
national parks in northern NSW.
The Severn River is all but dry. There is a small pool downstream from
the Ranger?s house and a large one upstream at the junction of Ooline
Ranger Peter Haselgrove told us we would see plenty of ?Turks? and
indeed we did. These highly coloured Turquoise Parrots were seen in
several places, feeding on the ground and flying up into the trees to
rest and preen. Sundown is also known for its White-browed Babblers (of
which we saw two parties), Diamond Firetail (we saw one at the small
pool), Brown Treecreeper (we saw a few), and Southern Whitefaces ? none
seen and Peter said they have been absent for six months.
Diana kept saying that the campground should be called Yellow Robin
Campground for the large numbers of these birds rather than Broadwater
Campground, for the non-existent water, broad or otherwise.
The best site for finding birds seemed to be the open, dry, treeless
areas where all sorts of unusual birds ?appeared? as one scanned the dry
stubble. White-plumed and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters searched, presumably
for insects. The Spiny had to fly to a tree to bash its catch and
eventually parked something in the bark. I managed to retrieve what it
had parked and found it was a piece of leaf curled as if an insect had
been inside it.
Both Golden and Rufous Whistlers hung around our site, as did an Inland
Thornbill or two, with Speckled Warblers and Jacky Winters in good
numbers, but probably the ?best birds? of the 52 species observed ? of
course, apart from the ?Turks? and the Firetail ? was a pair of Crested
Shrike-tits searching noisily, industriously and successfully for
insects in the large trees in the dry river bed.
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