New Years Day at Mount Isa

To: "Messages Birding-aus" <>
Subject: New Years Day at Mount Isa
From: "Bob Forsyth" <>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 10:56:02 +1000
G'day All
& Happy New Year
As a result of a strong tip off New Years eve, from a non birdo, but a very observant friend who told me he saw a pair of birds on an eastern bay of Lake Moondarra that were
- size of plover (lapwing ?)
- upturned beak
- red legs
- black stripe on side of body
That had me absolutely stumped ! But no birds at all were in that area at all early (7.00am) New Years Day so I will never ever know.
But I travelled anti-clockwise over a rough track around the northern end of the lake to Wide Bay on the western shores of the Lake. We have had a bit of rain that has lifted the Lake Moondarra water level a little and no doubt altered the feeding habitat for the waders. All but one of the Sharp-tailed S/p (100s), Marsh S/p (20-30), Red-necked Avocets(12), Black-tailed Godwits (9) have left since my previous visit. The Black Swans, Coots, Hardheads (100s of each) Pacific Black-Duck, Crested Grebes remain. However 2 dozen Wandering Whistling-ducks first sighted two months ago were again located
But hiding amongst the 100s of Hardheads were about Freckled Ducks including a Male in breeding plumage .. very rare for here. They were totaIly unexpected & I almost overlooked them. They did not appear to have the normal prominent high crown. Even the male faced away from me hiding his (dark) red lores at first.
Another turnup were 5 Pacific Golden Plover. Photographs I took, were identified by Justin Jansen of the Netherlands as probable first year winter plumage.
To the north on the way to Spear Creek Bay I stopped to identify Yellow-rumped Thornbills - an infrequent visitor. Almost immediately I heard the distant call off a Cuckoo. I eventually got an excellent view of a Brush Cuckoo which I believe is the first record for the Isa area.
Total for the 11-1/2 hours was 67 species which was acceptable as I did not target the Crake/Rail, Parrot, Finch/Mannikin etc habitats.
Bob Forsyth, Mount Isa, NW Qld.
1 The more you watch the more you see !
2 A list of Mount Isa birding locations are included on Web Page
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