Craning Storking and Stirring around Cairns.

To: <>
Subject: Craning Storking and Stirring around Cairns.
From: "michael hunter" <>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 17:26:17 +1100
Hi All,
         The Cairns district is a good place to see all our cranes and
storks, all three.

          Sarus Cranes were our target a fortnight ago. At Hasties Swamp
just south of Atherton town, a small group flew in after dark, barely
identifiable in the scope.
           Shortly after dawn the next day, (Queensland time) we were on the
observation platform at Bromfield Swamp, a crater with sloping walls and a
swamp at the bottom, a few km. from Malanda, and witnessed a happening that
all birders in the area should try to see.
         Two hundred Sarus Cranes and about thirty Brolgas were in the
swamp, randomly mixed. In singles, pairs and small groups, some had started
walking slowly up the slopes below the lookout,occassionally stopping,
stretching their wings or prancing, gathering and warming just below the top
in the rising sun, then languidly flying off to their feeding grounds,
trumpeting as they flew, avoiding the  aerial climb from the bottom. Brolgas
and Saras stood side by side in places for comparison, the rednecked
whiteeared Sarus Cranes and slightly smaller Brolgas with their double chins
unmistakenly different.
          After a while the slopes were dotted with the the tall stalking
figures, birds in the swamp were moving, displaying, flying short distances,
some taking off and circling up over the crater rim before heading off to
the south and west.Their calls were audible several km. away.
          We left after an hour or so,very happy to have seen a wonderful
and unexpected event.

         Australia only has one Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus, and
"Jabiru" its common name. About twenty years ago, a group of alien
ornithologists tried to inflict "Black-necked Stork" upon us just in case we
confused the bird
with the South American Jabiru, but many Australians, including the people
of the Kennedy electorate,(Bob Katter country) have Independent views, and
"Jabiru" has iconic status up there. You won't see many "Black-necked Stork
Motel"s about. Morecombe's field guide refers to it as Jabiru.
         Jabirus are common in the region, often as single birds, starting
with the mudflats off Cairns Esplanade at low tide, and in wetlands large
and small on the tablelands, on the Daintree River. They are an impressive
bird and
deserve better than "Black-necked Stork".

                                                   Michael and Penny Hunter

Michael Hunter
Mulgoa Valley
50km west of Sydney Harbour Bridge

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