Spotting the Quail Thrush at Spicers Gap

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Spotting the Quail Thrush at Spicers Gap
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 14:13:48 +1000
The glorious SEQ autumn weather has arrived, and Leanne and I went for a
stroll around the Mt Matheson Circuit yesterday.  The MMC is a fairly
easy 8 km track that involves a bit of a road walk along the historic
Spicers Gap road [main thoroughfare across the Great Divide before the
current road through Cunninghams Gap was built].

We left our trusty steed at Governor?s Chair and wandered down the road
towards the camping ground. The YTB cockatoos were calling as we left
the carpark and we had lovely close up views of a bellbird [could see
the orange of its eye patch without the nocs] as we passed the Spicers
Gap miner push, and then of a whipbird when we stopped to look at Moss?s
well [pretty much filled up with silt].

We saw a FT cuckoo near the campground stopped for morning tea at the
picnic area [lots of RB firetails, VF wrens and WT treecreepers] and
then set off along a foot track to the "summit" of Mt Matheson [really a
bump on a spur of the range].  We had lunch at a suitable rock that
afforded good views of range to the north, and also happened to be a
birding hotspot ? a wedgie gliding over the ridge to Mt Mitchell, a
family of sitellas cleaning the tree trunks, assisted by the odd
treecreeper, a few G whistlers, Sp pardalotes and G fantails, the usual
tribes of Br warblers and YF honeyeaters, a G catbird calling from a
nearby patch of rainforest, and a lone G goshawk ghosting through the
forest.  We could also hear the Cunninghams Gap miner push ringing in
the distance.

The track then lead up to a rocky lookout, though a nice patch of
rainforest and into a nice montane woodland, complete with HB cuckoos, E
spinebills, WN honeyeaters and more of those firetails.

The siting of the day came as we were driving down the road, about a km
from the bitumen.  We flushed a couple of birds, and I stopped thinking
they might be GC babblers [not particularly common within the Scenic
Rim].  The birds proved hard to pick up [as Tony will verify, babblers
are normally easy to detect] till I heard a quail-like whirring of wings
and the diagnostic high-pitched whistle.  They were of course a pair of
spotted QT, and I was privileged to have good views of the male standing
on a log [SQTs tend to be somewhat elusive].

The interesting thing was that the thrush were within hopping distance
of a cleared paddock near the base of the range, with barely a rock in
site.  Not what I would expect the usual SQT habitat to be.

Regards, Laurie.

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