Ground Cuckooshrike, Square-tailed Kite, Pictorella Mannikin, Black-thr

Subject: Ground Cuckooshrike, Square-tailed Kite, Pictorella Mannikin, Black-throated and Plum-headed Finch in the Townsville area
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2008 08:52:36 +0200 (SAST)
Dear all,

Over the past 3 weekends I have had some very productive birding on day
and morning outings out of Townsville.

27 July: Fanning River: Leoni Mynott and I took the A6 to Charters Towers
from Townsville and turned off in a northerly direction in Mingela to a
road that ultimately joins the Herveys Range Developmental Road. The
highlight was certainly 3 Ground Cuckooshrikes on a ridge a few kilometers
after crossing the Fanning River. A walk along the river itself produced
Jabiru, a group of Apostlebirds and White-winged Chough. Grey Butcherbirds
were very common in this area.

3 August: Alex Anderson, Toby Elmhirst and I set off at 6am for the Paluma
range. A stop at the main viewpoint produced exquisite views of
Chowchilla. We continued along the road to the Hidden Valley and within 3
to 5km of the top of the pass, in wet Sclerophyll woodland there is a
track on the right with an obvious cleared area for parking. We walked
down this track and had Squaretailed Kite, a group of Crested Shrike Tits,
Satin Bowerbird, Bower?s Shrike Thrush and plenty a White-throated
Honeyeater among the more regular forest birds. A group of Varied Sitella
were the main highlights in the drier country further down. Breakfast at
the newish restaurant in Paluma (I think called the Paluma inn), produced
magnificent views of Victoria?s Riflebird.

10 August: Piero Visconti and I drove out on the A6 to Charters Towers for
around 35 to 45km. There is a sign indicating the Townsville Motorcycle
club and the name of the road that heads to the right into the grassland
and savanna is called Gunnado road. Our first stop was about 100m from the
A6 and here we had a group of 20 to 30 Plum-headed Finches. In the mix as
well was a group of 5 to 10 Pictorella Mannikins as well as Zebra Finch.
Redwinged Parrot and Noisy Miner were at the stream about 1km or 2 down.
Turning right at the t-junction with the old flinders highway produced
Red-backed Kingfisher and 3 Brown Songlarks within 500m of the t-junction.
We turned around and headed left (west) down the old flinders highway till
we reached the Townsville Motorcycle club on the left. We parked at the
grounds entrance and in the bushes and trees between the T-junction with
the old Flinders highway and the entrance to the motorcycle club we had a
small group of Black-throated Finches among 30 to 50 Plumheaded Finches
and lots of Chestnut-breasted Mannikins. Also in the area were Brolga and
Australian Bustard.

Yours in birding.


Duan Biggs
Specialist Bird & Eco-guiding
Africa, Asia & Australasia
Tel/Fax: +61 (0)7 47814442
Mobile: +61 (0) 406047539
Skype: duanbiggs
alt e-mail: 


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