Some NW Queensland Birding Observations

To: "Messages Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Some NW Queensland Birding Observations
From: "Bob Forsyth" <>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 18:29:10 +1000
G'day all,

NW Qld Birding Observations

Birding pretty quiet around here at the moment.Perhaps a lot of insects did not survive the drought which in turn has reduced the number of insectivorous birds.In some area even the spinifex looks tired.

A few weeks ago I spent 2 full days 200km north of Camooweal ( 12km east of the NT border) checking out Royal Geographic Society of Qld 1995 sighting locations of the Carpentarian Grasswren. All these areas had been burnt out by a huge fire. There were small patches of old growth spinifex but alas, I could locate no CGws. I hope they found alternate lodgings.
But, I did get a 1/2 second (thru the binocs) close-up view of the head of a female Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, somewhat north of its known territory. 
Earlier in the day I flushed from the ground a Barn Owl. It landed on a branch &  turned around to check me out. But the sun was behind me, so it shielded its eyes from the sun with a wing. It then swivelled its head around the other way and shielded its eyes with the other wing. It apparently did not like what it saw & flew away.
At the Carpentarian Grasswren site 60km NW of Mount Isa along McNamara's Rd (often wrongly called Lady Lorretta Rd) the spinifex has been partly burnt out. But the CGws are still being recorded even though some birdwatchers have taken 2 days to do so. The last sighting was next to a creek 1 km north of the Cairn.
2 weeks ago about 20km of Cloncurry I had a Black-breasted Buzzard having a real good look at me ... but I was not to its taste & off it went.
Nearer home yesterday, on the western shores of Lake Moondarra,  with Bill & Del Saunders of Port Macquarie, we watched a pair of Black Falcons for 1/2 hour.As we got to about 80m they would glide away and land again on the grass. But the scope confirmed the species. This was my first sighting of this species near Mount Isa,.
At another bay also on the western side we saw 4 Black-necked Storks walking slowly along with 5m between each bird. All were in adult plumage and Bill pointed out only one had the yellow eye of a female. I learn something every day !
On the way home we saw a single bird flying from tree to tree. Although it proved to be Golden-headed Cisticola for a while we considered a lost out of territory Zitting Cisticola. What we kept seeing was prominent barring under the tail. Not something I have seen illustrated in the texts, (The same under tail barring applies to Spinifexbirds)
Bob Forsyth, Mount Isa, NW Qld.
- Gazetteer section includes Birding locations for NW Qld
- Quick Indexes for the Australian Field Guides
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