highlights, SEQ, 500m

Subject: highlights, SEQ, 500m
From: Judith Lukin-Amundsen <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 13:33:32 +1000
27 -> 28 June 2004 - cold & dry
Mt Mee

Life has been v.busy on the mountain just lately, so not a lot of birdwatching. However, I did spend a couple of days further up along the range, north of the actual 'township' of Mt Mee, where a few exciting sightings came my way. We were staying in an isolated house out on an exposed spur. The building itself is further exposed by having had all bushland cleared to a radius of about 100 yards downhill around it. A fence puts the house in a 'lawned' home-paddock of about an acre, and on the south-west side of the house is a garden shrubbery. Outside the fence are cattle, and a dam. The whole setting is generally drier, windier, and colder than we are accustomed to. The birding pleasures here were different from those we're used to, even just fifteen minutes away along the range. Four main observations were:- - The birds visiting the open lawned area between the house and the fence were almost all 'black and white' birds. - The local pair of Torresian Crows were seen to land on the backs of the cattle. Though the poddies were largely spared attention by the birds, the big, slow-moving cows with, presumably, a pelt full of ticks, etc., seemed to tolerate the crows for a minute or two before swinging around irritably. The crows did not persevere. - Striated Pardalotes were nesting in banks at two sites on the property. About 150 yards separated the two nest areas seen. The most closely observed bank proved to have two holes in it, several inches apart. One had a largish opening and funnelled quickly to a dead-end. The other had such a tiny opening as to be almost-missable! The tunnel led out of sight, and the floor of it was sparsely but evenly scattered with grass 'clippings'. It seemed to be this tunnel that the birds were flying down to, from a nearby eucalypt, the lowest facing branch of which appeared to be the regular staging post used by the birds when approaching the nest. The pair was hard at work flying to and fro, and quite vocal, once the sun came onto their patch. (Once I thought I saw three birds leave the tunnel opening...but only once.)...Given how v.cold the nights here were, it was all quite a surprise to us. - Not long before our stay ended, I had a first: a Shining Bronze Cuckoo. Though my books often declare cuckoos to be difficult to identify, this one certainly appeared to be a 'Golden', race plagosus. I was more confused by the variation in migration info given by each of the books...The bird itself cared nothing for all this. It was keeping its activities mostly private within the foliage of a large bush /small tree, but each time I crunched my feet on the rocks/gravel, it appeared on one emergent branch or another and seemed to check me out. What a splendid, glistening little creature! Quite silent. Lots of other birds away down in the gullies...But still, home is better!

Judith L-A
S-E Qld
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