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
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.
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