On Saturday 19 Feb there was a Pelagic out of Southport Qld and this
seemed an excellent opportunity to do what all good Victorians do ? go
to Queensland for the weekend! Three of us grabbed a handful of frequent
flyer points and paid for one cheap seat on Magda?s bus of the air and
on Friday night headed north for a long weekend of furious birding.
First stop was dinner with Barb?s daughter and her family at Burleigh
Head. We arrived at their holiday house before they did so we wandered
of into the bush. Scrub-turkeys wandered around everywhere and little
brown things went flash in the bushes.
After about half an hour our weekend list was well under way, Barb?s
daughter had arrived from Brisbane and we were sitting around discussing
dinner options. Lorikeets were streaming over the house and we were told
that they roosted in the trees down by the beach and we should go and
"Oh, yeah", I thought, I?ve heard a few birds in trees before, but off
we went. What we found was an experience well worth the effort and far
above expectation. Literally thousands of Lorikeets, Rainbow and
Scaly-breasted, making a cacophony of screaming not heard since the
Harpies last flew out across the skies of Crete.
Saturday night was spent in a caravan park across from the Southport
Marina where the Pelagic left from and in the wee small hours of the
morning we boarded. Birds were few and far between but for southerners
the quality was excellent and the ticks came fast. Even the dozens of
dolphins put on a display of wave riding that held us spellbound.
Next on the list was Wandering Tattlers at Caloundra. So, off the boat
at about 4:00 and into the car for the drive north.
At Caloundra we couldn?t find anywhere to stay and ended up, at about
7:00 PM, booking into a luxury 3 bedroom apartment on Wickham Pt. Next
morning we found how perfect this was as we bird watched from the
balcony while waiting for the low tide and arrival of the Tattlers.
We wandered around the point for some time and finally Joy, our resident
photographer, gave up looking for the Tattlers, which were nowhere in
sight, and decided a couple of snaps of a Cormorant would be nice. She
set up her scope, aimed in the direction of the Cormorant, which she
missed and focused on three grey lumps on the grey rocks ? Wandering
Many photos later and we were off for Samford, where there are meant to
be King Quail. A beautiful but disappointing walk through grasslands
with only a few unidentified quail that buzzed off into the distance and
dropped into eye-high grass. All except one which Joy drop-kicked off
the path; well, that is, as she lifted her foot to take a step it
exploded up, hit her on the shin and then disappeared into the eye-high
Next stop O?Reilley?s and our first up-market meal and the pleasure of
waking next morning to Bowerbirds, Pigeons and all the other wonders of
the place. We only had one night and half a day, which is not enough,
but it was certainly worth it, especially after we had finally found
both Riflebird and Russet-tailed Thrush.
Late Monday afternoon we flew back to Melbourne. Three and a half days
is definitely enough for a mini-break away from Melbourne?s on again off
again weather. I highly recommend it to any one with a pocket of
frequent flyer points and a couple of mad keen birder friends to go
My bird count for the trip was 100. The others got about 119 but they
count "heards". Best birds for me? Tahiti Petrel, Kermadec Petrel,
Wandering Tattler, a group of Logrunners in full song, Rose-crowned
Fruit-Dove in full sunlight, Paradise Riflebird and Russet-tailed
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