Casual birding on the way home, Atherton Tableland style

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Casual birding on the way home, Atherton Tableland style
From: "Alan Gillanders" <>
Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2003 15:00:32 +1000
Last week I visited that part of the Barron River that is usually under water in front of Lavender Hill B&B.
Driving there I passed a dozen bustards along Forsythe Road where the Sarus Cranes were feeding in corn stubble and pasture. Nankeen Kestrel, Whistling Kite, Black Kite, and Black-shouldered Kite were all seen before dropping down into the river channel.
There among the weeds were at least 12 male White-winged Trillers and 30 females/juveniles. While a common enough bird on the coast they are not so often seen up here.
Other raptors to show themselves were Swamp Harrier, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and Wedgetailed Eagle.
On the water were  White Pigmy-Goose, Hardhead, Grey Teal, P. Black Duck with Wood Duck and some ferals on the bank.
In the shallows at the 'mouth' of the river were A. Pelican, all three Egrets, Little Black Cormorants, Black-necked Stork and a strange looking wader. With a lot of black on the back (tertials),white rump, back and tail and very orange legs, it caused me much excitement. A further visit with scope and 'Shorebirds,' Hayman et al, sorted it out as a Common Greenshank. I have never seen them catching fish before or looking so orange in the legs.
Above me flew Swallows, Tree and Fairy Martins. Double-eyed Fig parrots along with Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets came screaming along in separate flocks as did some early Metallic Starlings. Bridled, Dusky and Lewins Honeyeaters  were feeding on insects. Figbirds, Silvereye, Australian Magpie, Indian Myna, Mud lark, Purple Swamphen, Coot, Darter,  Willie Wagtail, Golden-headed Cisticola, White-bellied Woodswallow and Masked Lapwing  rounded out the list.
Heading back up out of the river, I saw a dark phase Little Eagle. Most of the birds in this area are light coloured. Some quail, possibly Stubble, crossed in front of the car.
A Square-tailed Kite was cruising the tree line and Brown Falcons were on power poles above the river. Now where was that Black Falcon I had seen the week before and had heard reports of; no where to be seen but I suppose you can't have them all! However I did see a Spotted Harrier before I got back to the main road. Also seen on the way out were White-headed Pigeon, Brown Honeyeater, Richards Pipit and Torrisian Crow.
I may have missed recording some of the birds in the rainforest across the river but who cares? When you are only spending an hour and a half and most of that time is taken up with one bird, the wader, you don't want to spend the whole time writing!!!
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