Easter birding, Bowra, Cunumulla,SW Qld

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Easter birding, Bowra, Cunumulla,SW Qld
From: "Dam Lamb" <>
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 12:16:15 +1000
Along with 40+ other enthusiastic birders, we attended the Birds Qld Easter 
Campout at Bowra near Cunumulla, the new icon of SW Qld birdwatching run by Ian 
& Julie McLaren.Although a long trip for coast-based folk, it proved highly 
succesfull birding, both for those new to the area (one participant racked-up 
22 new birds in 5 days) and for older hands.The weather even provided some 
excitment with over an inch of rain falling on the Thurs morning, just before 
the arrival of most people who then had heaps of fun traversing the 6km of mud 
road to the homestead/camping area.That night produced a thunderstorm with 
spectacular skies, wind and rain which had more than a few campers anxiously 
watching the small lagoon creep slowly towards them. We wern't able to drive 
the next day and the "dry creek" marked on Ian's aptly-named mud map had 
clearly had a change of identity.

 The lagoon proved a boon for the photographers and video buffs with a Spotted 
Crake showing itself effortlessly each day, along with Black-fronted and 
Red-kneed Dotterel,White-faced Heron,White-breasted and White-browed 
Woodswallow. Around the campground were heaps of Red-capped Robin, 
Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Southern Whiteface, Variegated Fairy-wren (in 
eclipse), some Hooded Robin ,White-plumed Honeyeater and Red-winged Parrot. The 
lagoon area also produced two of the specials, with a Grey Falcon sighted 
overhead on the Thurs. and a couple of pairs of Bourke's Parrots doing a 
fly-through.Black-eared Cuckoo was also seen, and a pair of Hoary-headed Grebe 
patrolled the artesian dam, with Grey Teal further up the channel.A flock of 
40+ Little Crow put on a display in a thermal, calling their monotonous call.

Most parts of Bowra were covered over the 5 days , with Ian ensuring we 
ended-up at the right spots.Hall's Babblers were found in a few locations, 
providing a tick for most.Chestnut-breasted Quail-Thrush were seen on the 
stoney ridges, one group seeing 9 in all, 5 in one party.Despite extensive 
searching every day, Redthroat (a female) was seen only once by a couple of 
folk.Juvenile Orange Chat were found, then later a fully coloured male.Crimson 
Chats were easily seen, one flock of around 50.A pair of Brolga patrolled the 
newly-wet creek, but there we few ducks or waterbirds to be found.Ten raptors 
were seen, including Grey, Brown,and Black Falcons, Square-tailed Kite, Brown 
Goshawk and of course Wedgie.A few lucky folk picked-up Banded Lapwing, most 
saw Major Mitchell's, Ringneck,Blue Bonnet ,Mulga, but Budgies eluded all but a 
few.No kingfishers were seen, plenty of Brown Treecreeper, and when you got the 
right habitat,White-browed Treecreepers came relatively easily. Thornbills  
provided the usual challenge, plenty of Chestnut-runped, and plenty of earnest 
discussion about the presence, or otherwise,of Slaty-backed .The conclusion was 
that they were present, along with Yellow, Yellow-rumped and Buff-rumped.

Ten Honeyeaters  were seen, incl Grey-headed and Striped.Try as we did, we 
couldn't manage the Babbler quartet, with White-browed eluding us, despite 
Ian's assurances.
All-up, the group managed 110+ species for the campout.A straw poll at the 
final bird-call had Hall's Babbler and Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush tied for 
"bird of the campout", with Bourke's Parrot a close third (Grey Falcon just 
didn't make it, too common out here). I managed a total of 86,but got my 
solitary target species, Bourke's Parrot, which I had missed on two previous 
trips out this way, and had also missed in the Centre last year.We had seven 
fly-by at eye-level, perch in a cypress for 10 mins only 20m away, and then 
 The campout was compently and calmly lead by Graham Palmer with much attention 
to detail and individual need, and Ian and Julie are wonderful hosts.Get out 
there if you can.

Russ Lamb, Maleny, SEQ

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