North West Queensland

To: Birding-Aus <>
Subject: North West Queensland
From: Marc Gardner <>
Date: Mon, 01 Sep 2003 09:49:15 +1000
Bob Forsyth and I spent the day birding North of Mt Isa (Queensland) around
Lake Moondarra on Saturday.  We started out about 11:00am and visited some
small waterholes adjacent to the Moondarra Caravan Park (the best birding
Caravan Park in the North West!) on the Leichardt River (West branch).  Over
45 species seen within 25 minutes including 2 Wood Sandpipers, Black Necked
Stork, Black Chinned Honeyeater (Golden backed form), Spotted Bowerbird,
Great, Intermediate and Little Egrets, White-necked Herons, Varied
Lorikeets, and nesting White-breasted Woodswallows.

We travelled along the road to Lake Moondarra and stopped adjacent to a
water pumping station where we saw Spiney Cheeked, Rufous Throated, Grey
Fronted, Grey Headed and Brown Honeyeaters, Little and Silver-crowned
Friarbirds, Double Barred Finches, Spotted Bowerbirds, Mistletoe Bird and
Spinifex Pigeon amongst others.

We then went to a section of Lake Moondarra near Clearwater Lagoon where we
saw a Glossy Ibis.  On the edge of Clearwater lagoon (access is restricted
to this lagoon but you can bird near it outside a fenced area) we came
across a vast reedbed and a small exosed part of the lagoon where we stopped
because a few 'brown' things flew up into a tree.  The 'brown' things ended
up being Long-tailed Grassfinches and within 2 minutes there were Zebra
Finches, Double-barred Finches and Chestnut Breasted Mannikins, Little
Grassbirds, Grey-headed and Grey-fronted Honeyeaters coming down for a drink
with the Longtails (by this stage it's 1:00pm in the afternoon and over 30
degrees c.).  Within another 2 minutes a male Painted Finch showed up along
with Diamond and Peaceful Doves.  Bob mentioned that all we need is a
Pictorella Mannikin at this site, but while he was saying that, I had just
picked up a pair of them in my binos in the reed bed nearby.  The
Pictorellas came over to have a drink too...within 10 minutes we had six
species of finch all together.

Further around Clearwater Lagoon we picked Paperbark Flycatchers, mating
White-breasted Woodswallows, more Longtailed Grassfinches, Nankeen Night
Herons, Great Cormorants, heaps of Comb-crested Jacanas, Wandering Whistling
Ducks and an unidentified crake amongst other ubiquities like Whistling
Kites, Yellow Throated Miners, Dusky Moorhens and Purple Swamphens.  There
was also plenty of Green Pygmy-geese along with a lonely pair of Cotton
Pygmy-geese (this pair of cotton pygmy geese are about 500k's West of their
normal distribution) at the lagoon, plus lots of freshwater crocodiles - you
could see their little beady eyes and snouts above the water.

Overall a fantastic few hours birding in the middle of the day!

Marc Gardner

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