Yank birder's QLD RFI

To: Gary Bletsch <>,
Subject: Yank birder's QLD RFI
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 15:24:20 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Gary,

If you follow the IOC (Gill & Wright) and the current Australian list 
(Christidis & Boles) then your backyard Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica would be 
a first for the ABA! However, if you follow Clements then both would be Tyto 
alba. There is even rumor that American Barn Owl is separate: Tyto furcata.

Yes, a trip out to Michaelmas Cay/Hastings Reef will provide some tropical 
seabirds. I have had Brown and Red-footed Booby, Great Frigate, 7 tern 
species... and many interesting fish: a dozen species of Butterflyfish, a 
of Angelfish, several species of Anemone Fish...



Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

----- Original Message ----
From: Gary Bletsch <>
Sent: Wed, July 14, 2010 2:57:03 AM
Subject: Yank birder's QLD RFI

Dear Birding Australia,

I'm not sure if my first query to Birding-Aus went through. Here goes.

I have 2 weeks for my 1st trip to your marvellous land. I arrive 27th July, and 
bird until 9th August. I will have a hire car from Brisbane Airport. I'll bird 
my way north to Cairns, then fly down to Brisbane to catch my flight home on 
10th August.

I have not really planned on engaging any guides, although perhaps on an 
impromptu basis I might do so here or there. 

>From perusal of Morcombe's and Simpson-and-Day's field guides, I reckon there 
>are upwards of 400 species to be found along this route; about 80 percent of 
>them would be lifers for me. Thus, I want to cover as many different habitat 
>types as possible. It's been suggested that I might find as many as 250 

Kind suggestions from Hugh Dingle and Dr. Graham Etherington have helped me set 
up the skeleton of a plan. 

Now to sharpen up the details, here are some questions I'd love someone to 

1. Should I just race over to Lamington NP as soon as leaving the airport at 
Brisbane? Or, would it be wise to do a bit of shorebirding (wader-watching?) 
along the seacoast near Brisbane first? Or mightn't I just find good 
shorebirding on my drive northwards afterwards?

2. O'Reilly's gets many recommendations, but seem rather expensive. I see the 
Binna Burra offes some quasi-camping arrangements, safari tents and such, at 
much lower cost. Would I miss many birds by staying there, rather than at 
O'Reilly's, which sounds more like a birding paradise? Might there be some 
fine but inexpensive birding accomodation around Lamington NP? I don't normally 
stay in expensive places, since it's just a place to collapse after nightfall 
and depart from before dawn.

3. I rarely stray from birding while on such trips. I skipped the ruins of Troy 
to seek the Sombre Tit! I ignored the Valley of the Kings to look at Cisticolas 
along the Nile! I birded the gardens of Versailles while my wife looked at the 
hall of mirrors! Even so, it does seem silly to ignore the Great Barrier Reef 
while I am in Cairns. Would one see many seabirds on a snorkeling trip out 
there? I'd especially like to see some boobies (other than Brown), as well as 
noddies and Sooty Tern and so forth. Would such a trip be a good "bang for the 
birder's buck," along with of course nice fish-watching?

4. How monstrously hard is it to find and view owls, owlet-nightjars, and 
nightjars this time of year? I especially want to see some of the Tyto 
species--not including the Barn Owls that nest in my barn here at home!

Thanks very much for your kind interest in my humble questions. If you ever 
questions about how to find Sooty Grouse, Black Turnstone, or Hammond's 
Flycatcher in "WA" (Washington, not Western Australia), let me know!

Yours respectfully,

Gary Bletsch     

Near Lyman, Washington (Skagit County), USA           

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