Easter at Mission Beach

Subject: Easter at Mission Beach
From: Ian Cowan <>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 18:35:58 +1000
I spent Easter at Mission Beach. We were a little unsure if we should go or not, we did not want to to be seen to be getting in the way if the cleanup was still in progress, but the letting agent assured us that all was okay except for some vegetation damage and all the locals we spoke to while we were there were pleased to see the tourists starting to trickle back in, giving the local businesses a bit of a help along the comeback path after the cyclone. The vegetation damage was astonishing, far worse than I had imagined, and where it once was thick and green everywhere it was now very sparse and very brown. All the walking tracks etc are still closed, but walking along the beach is possible. But the birds are obviously suffering - and it gives for some surprising birding. Soon after I arrived on Friday I walked down through the thin strip of vegetation between the unit and the beach, now leafless and broken like everywhere else, and a flash of green went past my eyes, which I followed and was surprised to find a spotted catbird. I soon found out they were quite common in the beachside "vegetation" as were also wompoo pigeons and yellow eyed cuckoo shrikes, all exposing themselves in the quest for food. I managed to capture 4 catbirds feeding on a lawn in one frame with my camera. Red tailed Black Cockatoos also fed along this strip of vegetation. My biggest surprise was a toothbilled bowerbird feeding on the lawn 7 metres from where I was sitting in front of the unit. And we were also fortunate to see a Cassowary crossing the South Mission to Tully road.

Ian Cowan
Clifton Beach

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