DATES: 6->11 Jan 05,
6->12 Feb 05
SITES: Sunshine Beach & Noosa River; 'Fraser Coast',
south inland via Wide Bay/Burnett;
O'Reilly's (Lamington Plateau).
visit so many different habitats in such a condensed period is
educational. Though some birds appeared in different settings, some
others were seen only once. These included the Grey-crowned Babbler,
Olive-backed Oriole, Noisy Pitta, & Paradise Riflebird. Fairy-wren
varieties differed from place to place, as did the pigeons/doves.
Mistletoebirds were wonderfully visible, and I've highlighted some of
the birds in the sightings lists that follow which were especially
enjoyable. Other special moments have been:--
puzzle of looking at Silvereyes - there seemed to be both
familiaris and lateralis along the coast, but it's the
wrong time of year for the Tasmanian form, so I guess there's quite a
bit of variety, especially with the juveniles/immatures
Osprey nests seen in a couple of places along the coast, one on a
Rainbow Bee-eater mass roosting: This might have been my
most fortuitous birding moment of the summer. Almost dusk, and I was
crouched in the mangroves of a small town along the Hervey Bay coast,
looking alternately across the dimming water, and above me at the
imponderable behaviour of a group of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos
who seemed to have the surrounding scrub under their collective thumb,
and one of whom I'd observed carry something over the water and drop
was crouched there as the tide rose close to high, when several small
delicate birds flew overhead, burring as they went,
petal-shaped wings looking so ill-suited to a water-crossing that I
wondered how they'd make it to the other side. In the burring
and translucent delicacy of the birds I understood them to be Rainbow
Bee-eaters, and could not comprehend why they'd be flying out across
the Strait like this. Soon after the birds appeared to fade into the
dusk, I realised I was still hearing the burring call -- that
in fact it seemed to be growing. Thought I was having some kind of
aural disfunction! I swept the binoculars across the water in front of
me, and as the view passed over some mangrove 'islands' outcropping
the tide, I saw -- the sudden Vs of birds shooting out of and back in
to the foliage there! Swung back the binoculars quickly and -- sure
enough -- I was not imagining the burring: this was a build-up
of roosting birds. Only minutes were left until the light was too
dusky to gather across that distance, and I kept watching as a few
last stragglers arrived into the almost-seething mangrove.
until I got back here and checked with the books and Birding-aus, I
just could not believe my eyes.
elation of driving for miles with WTNs soaring and diving over
Goonaneman SF / Woowonga: Somewhere on the road south,
travelling Gin Gin-Biggenden-Gympie (incredibly, I can't find this
place on the map now!), a very old sign points the way to this site.
Driving in, you're on dirt road for ?several kilometres. Finally,
you'll roll up at a cattle-fenced picnic site, small but complete with
water tank and shelter. It looks to be privately maintained (?).
Within minutes of approaching the tank, I saw most of the birds
in the list which follows. The kookaburra was especially good to
watch, as it was feeding young in a tree hollow.
little way along a cattle track, you come to a fenced entrance to the
State Forest. This upward climbing track then enters ?rainforest -- I
did not go in, as the path was festooned with cobwebs and
overhung with growth, so that the feeling was that the inexperienced
could get lost here and no one'd know! Tantalising, because I could
hear forest/fruit birds calling in the green darkness there...
way, the point here is that this feels like one of those
special birding places -- So if anyone else can have a longer
look, it'd be worth hearing what it's like in there.
Moving on to Lamington Plateau... Finally seeing just how much
more long-legged the Yellow-throated Scrubwren is than the
White-browed... Those long pink legs make to bird appear skinny. And
then there was the really beautiful warbling among the family groups
(a sound the White-browed never comes close to).
scurry of the Noisy Pitta - the mind doesn't have time to
process what brilliance the eyes are seeing before the bird has shot
away. Later in my stay at O'Reilly's I read that this bird has been
called the 'Jewel Thrush' - so right. And I've since seen it noted as
the Dragoon Bird and the Anvil Bird.
way the Eastern Yellow Robins were everywhere in the
forest after rain.
hypnotic gorgeousness of the Wonga Pigeon foraging up
unbelievable quality of the male Regent Bowerbird - Doesn't
matter how often you see this bird, even looking at it,
especially its head, it's inconceivable.
The bowerbirds at the feeder outside O'Reilly's dining-room
window, one of which looked v.strange to me, though the locals said it
was simply moulting... Something I've surprisingly never seen --
perhaps this is what our bowerbirds at home are doing when they
disappear for 4-6 weeks in mid-summer.
Ground-Thrushes. Days of puzzling over them. Re-reading the books.
Finally, the one that forages directly outside O'Reilly's dining-room
window showed a good long streak of white at the edge of the tail! -
the Russet-tailed, then: 'more common by far', says Lloyd Nielsen; a
seasonal habitat migrant, he thinks, and this was mid-summer, so -
yes... And the ones in the forest? - just as Lloyd Nielsen says of the
Bassian, these were 'often seen on a pathway', 'along the main Border
Track' not far into the forest, where they 'will run ahead of an
observer', in the middle-distance... I still wonder, though, have I
really seen both?
Driving away from O'Reilly's thinking that I'd not seen a
Lyrebird this time... just as the car in front of me bowled a
round brown Albert's clean off the road.
unidentified small bird still haunts me - rufous-vented, at
mid-storey, in a garden right between rainforest and farmland up at
the Kamarun Lookout (on the way to O'Reilly's).
the birds with question marks (in the Lists which follow) - if ONLY I
could better identify them!
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