Kingfisher Park, Julatten
Birding Aus <>
Kingfisher Park, Julatten
L&L Knight <>
Tue, 13 Nov 2007 21:09:44 +1000
There was a group of South Australians camping at Kingfisher Park the
other week. They were heading home from Cape York and had been
searching for the Red-necked Crake that lived in the area. While I was
chatting to one of them over breakfast I learned he had yet to see a
"Visit the Paluma Teahouse - they come into the feeder" I said [unaware
that the teahouse has closed down]. "Nah, it wouldn't be right to tick
a bird on a bird feeder" he replied. Later he mentioned that they had
been close to seeing the RNC the previous night - "It responded when we
played the tape" he said. "What's the difference between using a tape
and seeing a bird on a feeder?" I asked. "It depends on how desperate
Late the following afternoon I was sitting beside the "crake pond"
waiting the see if the scarlet pimpernel would put on an appearance. I
had dipped the previous day and the bird hadn't been seen for a few
days by all accounts.
I decided to sit back from the edge of the pond near an orange tape in
the rainforest so I had a good view of what I thought was the crake's
likely approach and wasn't looking into the setting sun.
Half an hour after settling down I was checking out a Spectacled
Monarch a few metres to my left when I became aware of a comparatively
small rail moving through the rainforest behind me. There was no need
to use the nockers to see that it was indeed a RNC. It was a rather
nervous bird, and while it didn't seem to be aware of me, it retreated
back to the depths of the forest when it saw someone walking through
the orchard 50 metres away.
The crake made a couple of sallies towards the pond over the next hour,
and finally made it's way to the pond close to dusk. I doubt I would
have seen the bird if I'd been sitting in the conventional viewing spot
on the park bench.
Kingfisher Park is a great place for birdwatchers to stay while they a
birding round Mt Lewis or twitching crakes. The bunkhouses are not too
expensive, there are Emerald Ground-Doves, Orange-footed Scrubfowl and
Noisy pittas hanging around the buildings, and Keith and Lindsay Fisher
run spotlighting walks @ $10 a head round their neighbourhood. They
turned up a Masked Owl perched in its hollow as well as a Striped
Possum on the edge of their orchard.
I turned arrived with a wish-list of 20 odd species that have been seen
in the area [courtesy of the optimistic side of my brain]. Keith
quickly pointed out that quite a few migrants had yet to arrive in
numbers that some of the others had already buggered off. After a
couple of days, I had picked up three species - which is about par for
Alan Gillanders' post this morning notes that the Blue-faced
Parrot-finches [a dip on Mt Lewis] are currently to be seen near
Malanda, proving that it pays to ask around and to have a Plan B before
leaving home. Anyhow, the Parrot-finches will be a target for my next
visit to the wet tropics - I think there will be a conference in Cairns
in July 2009 ...
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