Lewins Rail, Bell Miners & Good Intentions

Subject: Lewins Rail, Bell Miners & Good Intentions
From: Alexandra Appleman <>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 09:12:39 +1000
We spent Christmas with relatives at Maleny in the Sunshine Coast
hinterland. Many thanks to Russ Lamb and Andrew Taylor for the lists of
places to go birding - I managed to sneak in Booloumba Creek, Gardiner
Falls and Mary Cairncross Park, as well as birds around the garden in Witta.

The most notable species was a Lewins Rail (which I dipped out on but the
two brothers saw), scooting across the 15th fairway to a patch of reeds at
Beerwah Golf Course, around 2.30 pm on Boxing Day. I had given it away at
the 14th, retreating to the Club house for a cold drink and the cricket,
and questioned whether such as elusive critter would make a break in the
open in the heat of the day, suggesting it may have a Buff Banded Rail
instead; but both Barry (a closet birder who plays off '8') and Norm were
adamant that it was a Lewins. Would someone in SEQ like to comment?   

In years gone by dipping out on one of the most sought-after species on my
target list (and being gripped off by golfers to boot) would have caused me
some angst; but I was more interested in the Bell Miner colonies around
Boolumba Creek. Southern birders may take their ringing tones for granted,
and the field guides say 'resident in wet gullies from Melbourne through to
SE Qld' - an oversimplification if ever there was one.  As a geographer I
was fascinated to note that bell miners in SEQ may favour southerly /
south-westerly faces on the western slopes of the Divide as my records are
Cunnnigham Gap (1995); Maiala NP (Mt Glorious - 1996); Booloumba CK (1997 &
2000); Peach Trees nr Jimna (1999). I also vaguely recall hearing bell
birds in a rainforest patch on Fraser Island many years ago. I would
interested if someone can confirm that, or if anyone has done any work on
Bell bird colonies.

Finally, my good intentions for 2001 (other than finishing off everything I
failed to finish in 2000) is to improve my note taking. Witness this gem
from my 1996 note book:

        Spin Pig. 4/4/96 Dugold R.

It took a couple of minutes to recognise 'Spin Pig' as Spinifex Pigeon and
I had no idea where Dugold River was. Other entries indicated that I was in
Weipa on 1/4/96 and at Winton/Lark Quarry on 6/4/96 so Dugold R had to be
somewhere in between. A search of the map of the Southern Gulf Plains shows
that the Dugold River crosses under the Landsborough Highway south of the
Burke and Wills Roadhouse (the turnoff for Lawn Hill and Burketown) and
north of the Quarmby Pub (some way north of Cloncurry). Having locked that
into the 'brain' the memories came flooding back.

Good birding everybody.

Alex Appleman

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