Mackay, Eungella and the Eungella Honeyeater

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Subject: Mackay, Eungella and the Eungella Honeyeater
From: Graeme Stevens <>
Date: Sat, 4 Sep 2010 21:20:36 +1000

Back from a week in Mackay and firstly, many thanks to those who provided 
valuable advice; Tony Ashton, Nicole Spillane, Carl Billingham and Tess 
Brickhill in Mackay. What a great resource this group is! Thanks folks

Up at Eungella there was success on the first morning despite severe cyclone 
damage to the rainforest in some exposed areas on the eastern slopes and high 
ground. I did not check all areas on Chris Sanderson's excellent "mud map" but 
two out of two wasn't bad!
Chelmans Road delivered the goods right at the end at the "double gate". I had 
three to five birds ( L. hindwoodi) very vocal and active on the edge of the 
forest between 7am and 8.30am, then they went quiet as the bright clear day 
warmed up.
They were feeding (gleaning insects I imagine) from cream palm inflorescences 
which were well past flowering and bearing small developing fruit - and they 
seemed to favour that food source, coming back time after time. They were also 
seen to frequently visit the new pink leaf clusters on the pandanus or rattan? 
vine perhaps for a water source as there were no flowers evident.

I also searched a km or two down the track past the gate after 9 am and while 
there were some good birds, I did not see or hear another Eungella.

I also found a pair on Diggings Road the following day about half way up the 
hill before the abrupt left turn - but that was one pair in about 4 hours 
searching. However I found Diggings a great birding spot despite the cyclone 
damage with good views of Wompoo, Brown and Topknot Pigeons, Pittas etc and 
much activity in general.

I found no Eungella Honeyeaters around Broken River where I stayed for three 
nights though there was excellent birding in general (White-eared and 
Spectacled Monarchs, Cicada bird etc).

I had all seasons in three days from bright, clear and warm to heavy fog and 
rain, so it's hard to generalise, but the two days I saw the Honeyeaters they 
seemed vocal between say 7 and 9 am (Tess Brickhill from Mackay BOCA said "they 
are not early risers" ie they dont start carrying on like the Yellow Robin half 
an hour before dawn). They did seem to like the early rays of sun at Chelmans.

On a very foggy wednesday I went west to dry eucalypt country at Eungella Dam 
where 7 Squatter Pigeons were probably the highlight.

Back in Mackay the Botanical Gardens were a real gem and the Sandfly Creek walk 
along the Pioneer River was also well worthwhile.

Atlas now has all records but I would be very pleased to provide more detail - 
perhaps offline - to anyone heading to Eungella.

Object achieved and Keith Hindwood would be delighted with "his honeyeater" I 

Graeme Stevens

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