Birding with a bubs in FNQ. Leaden Flycathcr at Redden Is, not a Broad-b

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Subject: Birding with a bubs in FNQ. Leaden Flycathcr at Redden Is, not a Broad-billed.
From: martin cachard <>
Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 18:52:34 +1030
Hi Patrick
It looks like you had a nice time up here & saw lots of new stuff for yourself 
& your family ...
I'm sorry to make this correction, but the bird you took to be a probable 
Broad-billed Flycatcher at Redden Is would have been an immature or adult 
female Leaden (ie 'female-plumaged). Broad-billeds don't occur near Cairns.
White in the outer tail is not uncommon in 'female-plumaged' Leadens. This is 
certainly not a feature to look for in Broad-bills, as many Leadens also show 
this same feature.
For a Broad-billed you need to check for significant graduations of the tail 
tips on the underside, among a few other features, but I have found that this 
single feature is the best way to quickly know you are looking at a definite 
Broad-billed, & not a Leaden.
Disappointingly though, none of the current field guides mention this 
diagnostic feature, despite new editions being published of most them since 
this feature had been learned about.
Personally, I think that the Morcombe guide is the worst of them, especially 
the paintings - there are so many errors throughout this guide that I'm very 
surprised haven't been corrected. I do think however, that the voice 
descriptions are pretty good in this guide.
Glad you enjoyed the far north...
Martin Cachard
0428 782 808

> Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 17:47:19 +1000
> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Birding with a bubs in FNQ. Highlights unexpected 
> Red-necked Crake, Helmeted Guinea Fowl and Southern Cassowary
> Hello fellow birders,
> I was lucky to have a great birding trip to Far North Queensland from 30th
> of May to June 17th, with my wife Deb and 9 month old bubs. The trip almost
> didn't happen as bubs got sick the night before we set out, but thankfully
> we got to Cairns intack and after a week bubs was back to her healthy self.
> Arriving at Cairns and checking into our room opposite the esplanade, I
> noticed some waders out on the mudflats so I set off with my scope to check
> it out and found a very laid back group of local biders sitting quietly with
> scopes at the ready at the foreshore. When I asked if there was anything
> interesting, I was told that there was a Red-necked Crake hanging out in the
> shrubs behind them. How could this be true? Well Paul and Tony gave me a
> hand to have a look and eventually we had great close up views. Deb missed
> out but the next afternoon while I was out chasing a White-browed Crake, at
> Cattana Wetlands, Tony kindly helped Deb to see it.
> Our next birding was staying at Chambers at Lake Eacham. Right from the
> driveway into Chambers, we started to see new birds. The ever curious
> Grey-headed Robin and then again outside our bungalow the Pale-yellow Robin,
> and the Victoria's Riflebird, of which we were to see a lot of.
> The next day was my long awaited treat of several hours with guide Alan
> Gillanders. I figured that with bubs, birding might be hit and miss and so
> it made sense to go out and get to see some birds with a local expert. We
> had a great day out seeing Blue-faced Parrot-Finch and Yellow-breasted
> Boatbill were two highlights. The Yellow of the Yellow-breasted Boatbill is
> a great rich clour. The foreshore birders at Cairns assued me that I
> wouldn't find a Cotton Pygmy -Goose, but Alan showed me a lake with around
> 24 Cotton Pygmy -Goose. It was a place of stunning natural beauty.
> The mornings birding ritual at our bungalow was quite fun. We put out some
> banana in a piece of hanging netting on the veranda (which our neighbours in
> the next bungalow gave us the lowdown on the process and a couple of
> bananas). The first birds to come were the female Victoria's Riflebird, with
> sometimes 2 of them, to a tree right in front of our veranda. Then 2
> Spotted Catbirds would come to an overhanging branch and wait. Next a
> Lewin's Honeyeater would appear and wait a little distance from the fruit.
> The female VR would then busily attack the friut. At some stage the male
> Victoria's Riflebird would swoop in like a filmstar and take over the top
> spot. Otherwise he would entice the female away with a display and then
> sometimes chase one of them. Meanwhile with the slightest chance up would
> pop the Lewin's HE. Deb got some great photos. The main lawn at Chambers was
> an interesting spot to observe Shrike-thrushes, both the Little and Bower's.
> I got a bit confused trying to ID then until Alan Gillanders mentioned that
> both were at Chambers.
> on June the 5th, Deb and I had planned to go to Lake Barrine (a 10 minute
> drive) hoping to see either a Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove or Superb FD (both of
> which Deb has wanted to see for years) and Alan mentioned that if we got
> there early we would have our best chance. We didn't see either of them but
> right by our car we got very close views of the Bridled Honeyeater and in
> the morning light the white part of the bridle near the ear was like a
> crystallized snow flake, just lovely. We poped up to the large palm trres in
> the top carpark and spotted a Wompoo Fruit-Dove. And what a great view we
> had. Eventually it flew to a large tree where we still had great views. It
> was our best sighting after hearing on a few occassions and then seeing one
> briefly at Red Mill house in 2009.
> We set of for Port Douglas on the 6th of June and Alan Gillnders had
> mentioned that a good spot for the Pale-headed Rosella was at Granite Gorge
> and to turn off at Walkerman. While driving along the road I suddenly
> spotted what I thought might have been Squatter Pigeons, so stopped the car
> for a look. They turned out to be HELMETED GUINEA FOWL. Deb thought they
> were a new bird for us but some reason I thought we had seen them before.
> About a kilometer further down the road we came accross some more and got
> some all the features in the guide book. And close by was a Pheasant Coucal
> which I thought an odd place util the field guide mentioned that they can be
> seen at cane fields. At Granite Gorge we had no luck with Pale -headed
> Rosella but Deb spotted a male Leaden Flycatcher, which she said was the
> exact colour of a lead pencil, which was a new bird or us. When I had a
> moment at the car I looked up the field guide and realised that we hadn't
> seen a Helemted Guinea Fowl and birding euphoria started to spread through
> my system. More so when with bated breath I phoned Alan Gillnaders while we
> were having a coffee at Mareeba and he confirmed that they were on the
> Australian list and that the ones we saw had been feral for around 20 years.
> It was my greatest birding high of the trip.
> On the 9th of June, we dove up to Cape Tribulation for the day, hoping,
> wishing and praying fervently to see a Southern Cassowary. I missed the turn
> off to where we had met some non-birders who had seen one on the Jinalba
> Boardwalk and we were just past Noah Creek, and Deb kept making comments
> about the number of signeage about Cassowary Crossing somewhat despondently
> (I think she was thinking about how dissappointed I might be if we didn't
> see one, while I was shoring myself up with the knowledge that people had
> seen them, Roy Sonnenburg's group that we had met up with at Red Mill House
> had seen one on the road, Alan Gillanders the same, so it was possible.
> Suddeny Deb said, "Cassowary," and there was one right by the side of the
> road. Was I excited? Apparently, I kept saying, "It's a Cassowary, it's a
> Cassowary over and over. On the way back back to Port Douglas, at the first
> place where the road touches the sea, near Mossman, we stopped to feed bubs,
> and I wondered onto the beach. A short distance away was a Beach Stone
> -curlew. I was able to get very close and ID every feature and poped back so
> Deb could get a look. We had seen one for the first time in Cairns in 2009
> but not this close.
> We managed to see 18 new birds (we saw 48 in 2009 with Cape York as well).
> One I'm not completely sure about is I may have seen a Broad-billed
> Flycatcher at Redden Island near Cairns. I saw the white border or strip on
> the tail that in Michael Morcombe's Field Guide makes it a BBFC, very
> clearly as it contrasted with the grey in the rest of the tail.
> Happy birding and thanks to all the poeople that made it a great trip,
> Patrick scully
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