Townsville and Paluma trip report

Subject: Townsville and Paluma trip report
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 10:00:47 +1000
G'day all

Just back from a week in Townsville (northern coastal Queensland).  There
for a conference but tacked on a few days birding at the end.

First bird seen from the plane at the airport was a magpie.  Second was a
strutting male Bustard!

Lots of nice birds along The Strand and around the marina areas: Figbirds,
Blue-faced and White-gaped Honeyeaters, Brahminy Kites, Striated Herons,
Reef Egrets, Great Bowerbirds (3 bowers found), Bush Stone-Curlews (calling
near my motel each evening), Peaceful Doves and White-breasted

After the conference I met up with Jo Wieneke on Friday for a morning
around Cromarty and Giru (south of Townsville with canefields, remnant bush
and wetlands).  No Zitting Cisticola or White-browed Robin but lots of good
birds: Black-necked Stork, Cotton Pygmy-Goose (about 100 on one swamp!),
Green Pygmy-Goose, Brolgas, Blue-winged Kookaburras, Jacanas, Australian
Pratincoles, Bee-eaters, assorted honeyeaters, Black-faced Woodswallows and
Chestnut-breasted Mannikins.

Ian Montgomery took me to the Northern Beaches (north of Townsville) and up
to Paluma on Saturday.  In and near mangroves we found Leaden Flycatcher,
Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo, Spangled Drongo, Ospreys on a nest, Sunbirds etc.
On mudflats were a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits and a small number of
Eastern Curlews.  At Ian's new house at Bluewater I saw Pale-headed
Rosella, White-rumped Swiftlet, Double-barred Finch and a Sea-Eagle.  Up at
Paluma we found a Little Kingfisher in a small creek and saw lots of
Chowchillas (both ticks for me).  The Ivy Cottage tea-rooms were alive with
Riflebirds (about 10 males were present), White-cheeked and Macleay's
Honeyeaters.  A couple of Satin Bowerbirds were lurking in the shrubbery as
well.  Other highlights were a pair of Yellow-throated Scrubwrens building
a nest over a rainforest stream, a male Golden Bowerbird near his bower,
Bridled Honeyeaters and the spectacular Eucalyptus grandis forest.

On Sunday I rented a car and went back up to Paluma, stopping at Big
Crystal Creek on the way.  At the picnic/camping ground were Northern
Fantail, Yellow and White-throated Honeyeaters, Forest Kingfisher and
Red-browed Finch.  A female Riflebirds was the highlight of a short stop at
Little Crystal Creek.  Once back at Paluma I did a few of the rainforest
walking tracks and found Spectacled Monarchs, Yellow-spotted and Lewin's
Honeyeaters, Bassian/Russet-tailed Thrush (not sure which), Eastern
Whipbirds, Yellow-breasted Boatbill (tick), Lovely Fairy-wrens, Spotted
Catbirds and Large-billed Scrubwrens.

All up I saw about 140-150 species for the trip with three new birds and a
few I had only seen once or twice before.  I can thoroughly recommend this
part of the world and also suggest you buy a copy of Jo Wieneke's book
"Where to find birds in NE Queensland" - $20 from the Townsville museum

Some of you will notice I didn't mention the famous Townsville Common.  I
didn't go there because the locals said it was very dry and I'd seen most
of the birds I was likely to get there.  The Paluma area was my choice.
I'll save the Common for another time.

Many thanks to Jo and Ian for their time and knowledge.


Steve Clark
Hamilton, Victoria

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