Red-necked Phalarope - Mt Isa (QLD)

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Red-necked Phalarope - Mt Isa (QLD)
From: "Marc & Vikki Gardner" <>
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2003 20:14:58 +1000
Hi all,
Today started off with a 600k round trip to Mt Isa to catch up with Bob Forsyth to go to Lake Moondarra and to try and see the Red-necked Phalarope seen there a few days ago.  The trip didn't start off well after accidentally running over a Crested Pigeon before leaving Julia Creek and then running over a Diamond Dove in the middle of Cloncurry - my windscreen must be a magnet for pigeons and doves.  There were plenty of Singing Bushlarks, large flocks of Budgerigars, Zebra Finches and Australian Bustards on the road to Cloncurry.  In Cloncurry we briefly stopped for breakfast and noted a flock of 8 Varied Lorikeets flying through town.  Varied lorikeets are fairly common in towns and gardens in this part of Queensland.
Took a bit of time to find the Red-necked Phalarope at Lake Moondarra getting excellent views, this is the first time I'd ever seen one ..... and what a busy and energetic little bird they are, never stopping, it followed other waders around including Common Greenshanks and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, picking up 'presumably' critters from the water surface about 1 to 2 metres from the shore as they were disturbed by the waders.  Other goodies included a flock of about 60 Oriental Plovers, Wood and Marsh Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwits, Green Pygmy-geese, literally millions (seemed like it) of Australian Pratincoles including an individual who we must have disturbed from a nest because it tried the broken wing trick on us to follow it, Crimson Chats, Grey-fronted and Rufous-throated Honeyeaters, Grey-crowned Babblers, a White-bellied Sea-eagle and Horsefield's Bronze-cuckoos amongst others.  It was also a day for red-necks as we saw the Red-necked Phalarope, Red-necked Stints and Red-necked Avocets all within a few metres of each other.
Birdwatching was stopped for a while as we headed back to Mt Isa in a thunder storm and as soon as it finished we were rushed by no more than about 50 Fork-tailed Swifts following the storm clouds.  I'd also seen Fork-tailed swifts in front of a storm about 3 weeks previously in Julia Creek too.
Other birds including two Sanderlings (rare inland) that were at the Julia Creek Sewerage Treatment pond for the last few weeks have now gone.  A Pacific Golden Plover has also turned up at the pond recently too.
Happy birding!
Marc Gardner
Julia Creek
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