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

To: martin cachard <>
Subject: Birding with a bubs in FNQ. Leaden Flycathcr at Redden Is, not a Broad-billed.
From: Patrick Scully <>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2011 16:20:08 +1000
Hi Martin,
Thanks for the very informative and articulate email. It's difficult with ID
sometimes when you rely on field guides alone. My old Simpson and Day had an
orange circle near Cairns for the Broad -billed Flycatcher, so I wondered if
they might sometimes be in the Cairns area. You mentioned in a post to Peter
that you are very familiar with the BBFC. If so, where did you have the good
fortune to become acquainted?
Did Deb and I meet you on the foreshore at Cairns? I remember meeting a
Paul, Tony, a man with an English accent that I thought might have been
called Frank? (but this might have been you) with his partner, and 2 Johns.
The other birders tended to defer to Frank?
If it was you, Redden Island was an enjoyable spot that you suggested I
might have some luck finding Rose-crowned Fruit Dove or Superb FD. At every
turn I came accross Rainbow Bee-eaters and Spangled Drongo, that seemed
curious to check me out. The "mad cow," that Paul mentioned certainly gave
me the jitters and when I exited the reserve, I saw what looked like a
fairly placid cow along the fenceline. But then who can tell with madness?
I'm also interested in finding out if the treecreeper at Mareeba Wetands is
the Brown or a sub-species of it, or the Black. Do you know?
Happy birding,


On Sat, Jul 9, 2011 at 6:22 PM, martin cachard <> wrote:

>  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...
> Cheers
> Martin Cachard
> Cairns
> 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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