Kingfisher Park, Julatten

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Kingfisher Park, Julatten
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: 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 Victoria's Riflebird.

"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 you are".

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 the course.

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 ...

Regards, Laurie.


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