A Tail of Two Alberts
Laurie Knight <>
Mon, 4 May 2020 15:53:12 +1000
The social distancing restrictions in Queensland were relaxed to the point that
people can legally travel 50 km for recreational purposes, so it was time to
pop out for some quality rainforest time.
Mt Tambourine is within 50 km from home and easy to get to by 7:30 am [before
the hordes arrive]. Witches Falls is one of the best places in Australia to
have a close encounter with the Alberts Lyrebirds (the population there was
closely studied by Syd Curtus during the last century.)
This morning I had the joy of close views of not one but two dancing males.
Both were in the breaking wave posture and the second was strutting his stuff
in the clear less than 10 metres from the track. That was within comfortable
range for the phone camera and you could see the central tail feathers that
break ranks and stand up straight while the others cascade over the performer’s
There were no gronking calls in the birds’ dance routine. The dominant calls
were drawn from bowerbirds, rosellas and catbirds. Interestingly, there was an
unusual element in both routines - protracted passages that sounded like a
cross between popping bubble wrap and a crackling fire. Perhaps that sound was
based on the frog calls at a nearby intermittent wetland or it may have been a
piece of local culture handed down over the generations.
I’m sure Syd would have loved it.
PS, there were four Glossy Blacks feeding close to the lookout at the Knoll
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