At Acland Coal Mine Museum 19/5/99 (35 km NW of Toowoomba, Qld) there was a
small bird which I could not identify. I was the only one who saw it. Its
field marks were: striated breast (but not belly), dark eye, greyish-brown
non-de-script generally, folded wings outlined with palish grey (edges of
primaries probably), white spot just above bill with some sort of pinkish
wash close to the bill. It
was much smaller than a rufous whistler. It was on the ground, hopping
around, 2 to 3 metres from me. It did not fly.
There were big shady trees around, and some young saplings, and long dry
grass. The bird hopped on the ground, onto low twigs and into a little
in the long grass near ground level, and repeated this several times. It
looked at me often, during the perhaps 4 minutes, as I kept still trying to
work out what it
could be. Robin? It's wings weren't drooped, nor were there arrow marks.
Perhaps robin-sized otherwise.
A friend suggested a juvenile, but I haven't been able to find a juvenile
that fits. I checked several times while I was watching, on the striated
breast, the white dot above the bill, the edges of the wing feathers, so
they are definites, and I remember the dark eye as it looked at me. The
size was difficult to estimate, but we had been looking earlier at several
rufous whistlers females and immatures, and this mystery bird was much
smaller. Someone else has suggested a thornbill. I think this bird was a
bit larger than a thornbill.
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