(apologies if this is the second posting - I haven't seen the first one
Headed up to Lamington National Park, SE Qld last Friday. On the way
stopped off at Eagleby wetlands to look for Jabiru and Plumed Whistling
Ducks as I had been told they were there recently.
A WHISTLING KITE flew over the road as I approached and (all nos approx)
hundreds of COOTS, 50 BLACK DUCK, 20 AUST GREBES, 40 BLACK-WINGED STILTS,
20 BLACK SWANS, 20 WOOD DUCK, 6 GREY TEAL, 1 PELICAN, 2 WHITE-FACED
HERONS, 6 HARDHEAD, 4 MOORHENS, 4 MASKED LAPWING and 1 lone male SHOVELER
swam gaily around. A single SEA EAGLE and a single GLOSSY IBIS, 1 REED
WARBLER, STRIATED PARDALOTES, 2 BEE EATERS and 2 WHITE-BREASTED WOOD
SWALLOWS just about completed the picture. No Jabiru or Whistling Ducks.
I?m pretty sure I have seen both these species many, many years ago, but
am keen to confirm those sightings. I have looked in various locations
for both during the past 2 years and, although not rare or even uncommon,
have had no luck. Friday was to be another ?pass?. mmmmmm, starting to
think I?ll never see them!!
Anyway ? proceeded on to Lamington arriving uneventfully about midday. I
set up camp at a secluded spot and sat down to a cup of coffee. I was
soon joined by 3 BRUSH TURKEYS. several WHITE-BROWED SCRUB WRENS and,
when a LEWIN?S HONEYEATER landed on my table to share in the butter, I
knew I?d picked the right camp site! A WHIPBIRD wandered out of the bush
a few feet away and YELLOW ROBINS perched on my guy ropes ? ahhh heaven!
Later in the afternoon took a walk down to Moran?s Falls, a fairly easy
stroll of about 5Kms return. Most of the ?track? is bitumen reflecting
it?s popularity, but the falls themselves were running well and quite
spectacular. At the top in the drier eucalypt I had GOLDEN WHISTLERS,
YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATERS, YELLOW THORNBILLS and WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATERS.
Returned to camp via the connection onto Red Road.
Before I had left home I had prepared and frozen a couple of meals and
had decided on a rice, vegie and salmon mixture for dinner. (Some of my
make up meals are a little strange, but they do work, sort of!) I had
left this out on my table to defrost while away. As I walked back into
camp I saw a plastic container on the ground that I didn?t remember
seeing before? What?s that??.. yes, the Turkeys had found and devoured
the rice, vegies and salmon! They were still walking around the site ?
just like nothing had happened! Judging by the rumbling and jerky
movements the food hadn?t exactly agreed with them ? serves them right! I
told them I hoped they?d get diarrhoea; then considered barbequed turkey
to replace my dinner ? after all they were already stuffed with rice etc
weren?t they? I figured a quick throw of the peg hammer and I?d be fed,
but decided against it due to the fact I?d forgotten to pack my basting
(I?m thinking of writing to National parks to advise them to update their
signs ? they presently read ?Please Don?t Feed the Animals?. They should
read ?Please don?t BOTHER to feed the animals ? THEY?LL BLOODY HELP
I had also brought pre cooked chicken wings so placed these to defrost in
my metal billie, put on the lid and LOCKED IT IN THE CAR. Let?s see you
get AT THAT!!
Anyway ? back to the actual birding?I had arranged to meet Nevil Amos of
Melbourne and sure enough he turned up right on cue and after meeting and
greeting we headed out to search for Frogmouths and Owls. We went into
the forest to one of the locations I had received advice about and set up
the portable CD player with Dave Stewart (the elder)?s CD and a couple of
little speakers I had acquired, and began to play the Marbled Frogmouth
and Sooty Owl calls. The playback had sounded a lot louder at home, out
here in the bush it seemed to be a very tiny voice in the wilderness!
However, within a couple of minutes a Frogmouth answered and within 10
minutes of on again, off again, playing we had excellent views of an
individual MARBLED FROGMOUTH sitting and calling about 20 (?) meters
away. Excellent!! Another was calling a little further distant but we
couldn?t spot it.
Despite trying for the Owl there and at another spot we didn?t have any
luck. (I tried again on Saturday night at 2 different locations but,
again, no response. It was very windy on Saturday night so the calls
sounded even smaller in the darkness!) Just to reassure ? I didn?t
overplay or push the playback more than about 10 minutes at each location
and, once the frogmouths were close, ceased and desisted while they
continued to call to each other. No-one looked uncomfortable or freaked
out in any way ? apart from Nevil, that is??. (only joking)
It rained all Friday night and my one man tent developed a slight ooze
denying a full night?s sleep ? you know how it is, once it starts you
have to check it every half an hour!
Up at 5.30 and off at 6.30 to walk the Border track and try for that
elusive of all species the Rufous Scrub Bird. Along the way two ALBERT?S
LYREBIRDS gave us brief glimpses while SCRUB ROBINS,
THORNBILLS,GERYGONES,CATBIRDS, YELLOW ROBINS and WHISTLERS attracted
attention. WONGA and WHITE HEADED PIGEONS called but were not seen. There
was very little activity along the escarpment between Bithongabel and
Wanungara, certainly no sight or sound of the scrub bird. We returned via
the Toolana Creek Circuit at a fairly rapid clip ? Nevil had a date with
a plane at 18.30 so speed was of the essence.
Following a quick shower and cuppa he departed for the two and a half
hour drive. We had discussed the location, and possibility of reaching,
the Nudgee Rd end of Boondall wetlands close to the airport ? Nevil
wanted to try for Mangrove Honeyeater and Gerygone. he had just left when
I realised he?d left his borrowed Referdex street directory on my table.
A fast, headlight-flashing, drive later through the trees and oncoming
traffic and I caught him on the road. I think the little Asian gentleman
I (almost) forced off the road will recover given time???..
Saturday night, no rain, but wind? Holy Moly, I was sure at any time I
would be blown off the mountain and land in Beaudesert! I wasn?t in a big
rush to get up on Sunday morning, the temperature dropped overnight, but
when I did I decided I would try the Cainable part of the mountain for
Spotted Quail-thrush. I wandered around in the bush for a while seeing
only a pair of LOGRUNNERS and a couple of GOLDEN WHISTLERS.
Packing up I headed for Duck Creek Road to find it ??. closed ?due to
weather conditions? ?? I assume there has been some water damage from the
rain? I was bitterly disappointed. This had been a main part of my plan
for the weekend, I had wanted to try for Glossy Black Cockatoos and
whatever else this road had to offer. I had to settle for stopping off at
a couple of spots on the main road down the mountain. No sign of Quail
thrush or Bristlebird (I hadn?t really expected to see either!) but some
good prospecting for the future.
Reached the Wonglepong area and did a U-turn to have a look at a
lake/wetland area I have passed on a number of occasions. It is on
private land but readily visible from the road. As I did a second U-turn
to gain position I noticed the name of the property opposite ? Jabiru ?
and wondered if it was an omen. It certainly was!! Because there, 300m
away on the other side of the lake, pacing sedately along like a minister
returning from church (it was Sunday after all) with his prayer book
under his arm, was ... YAHOO...JABIRU.!! Lady luck was really on my
side as, after a couple of minutes, he (?) broke into a shambling run and
rose gracefully into the sky to disappear into the setting sun...(well.
not quite, it was midday, but you know what I mean!)
At last, the curse broken, the boogie picked, the tick ticked, ect I
drove on towards Eagleby thinking I'll probably see them everywhere now - as
you do! Surprise, surprise ? at Eagleby another Jabiru at about 150m
standing quietly, contemplating life or breakfast.
None for 2 years, then 2 in an hour, typical isn't it?
So many birds, so little time......
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