Saturday, 10 September 2016

September mid week walk

The first mid-week walk will be held at Point Cartwright at 14th September, 8am for a walk around this headland.
The Exact meeting place can be seen on the map below- look for the icon – signifying a carpark opposite 4 / 5 Harbour Parade.
The headland boasts a small remnant forest with an interesting range of species; most notably Fairy Gerygone. This species is difficult to see however as it stays high in the canopy. The rocks surrounding the headland occasionally host such species as Sooty Oystercatcher, Eastern Reef Egret and the migrant Wandering Tattler. Look skyward for Osprey, Kites and the occasional White-breasted Sea-Eagle. Look seawards for Pied Cormorant and perhaps some late Gannets. Leader – John Kooistra.

 
meet at the icon

Friday, 2 September 2016

September Bird Walk

Icon showing approximate beginning to Noosa Trail 7 and proximity to Noosa Botanical Gardens
A small select band of birders ignored the threat of rain and gathered for a walk at the nearby Noosa Trail 7 [see map above]. The threat was never realised and we all enjoyed a nice work through some pretty birdy bush. Special thanks to Russ LAmb for leading the walk.

The first bird seen was a stand out - Regent Bowerbird; first one male and then another and, with some examination, some three females also in attendance.

Other highlights included Yellow throated Scrubwren - one of the very few low land sites this species has been recorded at.
Pitta calling!
Good views of honeyeaters hawking for insects; Brown, Yellow-faced, Dusky, White throated, Lewins.

Noosa Trail 7, Queensland, AU
Sep 3, 2016 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 kilometer(s)
55 species

Australian Wood Duck  2
Cattle Egret  8
Brahminy Kite  1
Spotted Dove  2
Brown Cuckoo-Dove (Australian)  2
Pacific Emerald Dove  1
One of the two Regent Bowerbird males seen
Peaceful Dove  3
Bar-shouldered Dove  6
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo  2
Fan-tailed Cuckoo  4
Laughing Kookaburra  2
Forest Kingfisher  6

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo  6
Australian King-Parrot  2
Rainbow Lorikeet  4
Noisy Pitta  2
Regent Bowerbird  5
White-throated Treecreeper  4
Variegated Fairywren  2
Red-backed Fairywren  6
Lewin's Honeyeater  8
Yellow-faced Honeyeater  6
Little Wattlebird  2
Dusky Honeyeater  3
Scarlet Honeyeater  10
Brown Honeyeater  2
White-throated Honeyeater  6
Spotted Pardalote  4
Striated Pardalote  6
White-browed Scrubwren  4

Poor pic of a Rufous Fantail
Large-billed Scrubwren  12
Striated Thornbill  4
Brown Gerygone  10
Eastern Whipbird  4
Pied Butcherbird  2
Australian Magpie  2
Pied Currawong  2
Black-faced Cuckooshrike  1
Varied Triller  2
Little Shrikethrush  2
Grey Shrikethrush  4
Golden Whistler  12
Rufous Whistler  2
Willie Wagtail  2
Rufous Fantail  2
Grey Fantail  11
Spectacled Monarch  2
Magpie-lark  2
Torresian Crow  4
Eastern Yellow Robin  10
Welcome Swallow  1
Tawny Grassbird  3
Golden-headed Cisticola  4
Silvereye  6
Red-browed Finch  4


Upcoming Pelagic opportunities on the Sunshine Coast

Hi everyone

Following discussions with Paddy, the skipper for our Mooloolaba pelagics, we are going to try to schedule regular trips instead of the ad hoc arrangements we have had in the past.

As a general rule we will try for the first Saturday of every second month, with some variation to deal with public holidays and the like.

In return for this arrangement, Paddy has given a general undertaking that he will ensure we have an adequate supply of shark liver-berley. 

We will trial an initial six-month period to see how we go, so the next Sunshine Coast pelagics are scheduled for Saturday:

November 5, 2016
January 9, 2017
March 5, 2017
May 7, 2017

If weather necessitates cancellation, we try for the next day (Sunday).

So let me know if you are up for the November 5 trip and I'll put you down. Cost as usual $120pp (the same as what the Southport trips will cost next year.)

Greg Roberts

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Along the “Bird Trails of Cooloola” With COOLOOLA NATURE

Along the “Bird Trails of Cooloola”
With COOLOOLA NATURE


“COOLOOLA NATURE is a “Not for Profit” Entity operating in the Field of Environmental Education”

Excursion 8/10/16 – A Full Day Tag-along Excursion along a Selection of “Bird Trail” Sites through the Mary Valley as a Component of MRCCC’s Celebration of “Mary River Month”.

Departing 7.00am from  the lakeside Car Park adjacent to the Gympie Gold Mining & Historical Museum, (Brisbane Road entrance), returning to Gympie by 4.30pm. (Refer Link Below).

Morning and Afternoon Tea will be provided, (please advise of dietary requirements), while we ask of Participants to provide their own Lunch and Liquid Refreshments.

*Please Register by Email by the 23/9/16 to  cooloolanature@spiderweb.com.au or via our Website www.birdingcooloola.org.au

*Numbers by necessity are limited to 20 Participants.

*All Roads 2wd.

*Walking Conditions Easy to Moderate.


As a “Not for Profit” Entity, a Pricing Structure for our Activities is Not Applicable; Donations to COOLOOLA NATURE, (at the Discretion of Participants), would be Much Appreciated, so assisting us in the Continuation of our Educational Activities.

Appropriate footwear, clothing, Sunscreen and Insect Repellant are recommended for  all “Bird Trail” excursions, as are the further necessities and precautionary measures outlined in “Your Health and Safety while Birdwatching”, linked below.

Please Refer to the Web Page “Your Health and Safety while Birdwatching” –
 






  


Please Refer to the Web Page “The Ethics of Birdwatching and Other Factors” –
 





Hoping that you all may Enjoy the “Birding” Experience we offer, Kelvin & Amelia Nielsen. COOLOOLA NATURE www.birdingcooloola.org.au




Friday, 26 August 2016

September and October Outings

First apologies to all those who missed the weekend away to Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach last weekend. It was a very good trip and thanks again to Lionel and Jeanette Muir from Gympie Field Naturalists who hosted us and showed us many great new sites. A trip report can be seen at http://scbab.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/tin-can-bay-rainbow-beach-weekend-20-21.html

The first outing for September will take place on the 3 September to a new site. However we will meet at an old site at 7am; the Noosa  Botanical Gardens carpark on Lake MacDonald Drive. From here we will carpool to some excellent lowland rainforest habitat we can expect to see many species of pigeons and dove (11 are possible!), honeyeaters, monarchs, Tawny Grassbird and Golden-headed Cisticolas (in adjacent paddocks), both fantails, kingfishers, and scrubwrens . Other rainforest specialties are also possible. The walk will be led by Ken Cross and Tewantin local Russ Lamb. Please note toilet facilities etc are only available at the Botanical Gardens and we will return to there for the morning tea and bird call.


The first mid-week walk will be held at Point Cartwright at 8am, September 14.  The Exact meeting place can be seen on the map below- look for the icon – signifying a carpark opposite 4 / 5 Harbour Parade. The headland boasts a small remnant forest with an interesting range of species; most notably Fairy Gerygone. This species is difficult to see however as it stays high in the canopy. The rocks surrounding the headland occasionally host such species as Sooty Oystercatcher, Eastern Reef Egret and the migrant Wandering Tattler. Look skyward for Osprey, Kites and the occasional White-breasted Sea-Eagle. Look seawards for Pied Cormorant and perhaps some late Gannets. Leader – John Kooistra.


For our first weekend outing in October 1 we will persist and have a full day of birding – a twitch or mini twist. I’m calling for volunteers to host a team. Your responsibility will be to decide on a birding route and to lead a small group. [Basically the idea is that you strive to include time in as many habitats as possible throughout the day and to maximise your bird sightings.] Birds can be recorded by sight or sound. It is encouraged that members make a donation [suggested $20] to be given to Birdlife for conservation and / or science work. We will meet in Nambour Petrie Park at 7am and finish at 6pm at the Royal George Hotel in Nambour. Those that attended last year’s outing had a great day.


Finally the mid week October 19 Outing - Meet at the Maroochy Wetland Sanctuary at 8am for a walk through the forest and mangroves. The sanctuary hosts a good variety of species including specialities such as Mangrove Gerygone and perhaps the highly sought after Lewin’s Rail. Leader – John Malings.




Ken Cross | Local Branch Convenor                       
Sunshine Coast Branch
BirdLife Southern Queensland
PO Box 375                                       
Annerley QLD 4103                 
southernqld@birdlife.org.au |birdlife.org.au                   
ABN 75 149 124 774                           
birds are in our nature
Tel: 0754457881


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Jan England - A TRIP TO NORTH QUEENSLAND AND NORTHERN TERRITORY JUNE-JULY 2016

A TRIP TO NORTH QUEENSLAND AND NORTHERN TERRITORY

JUNE-JULY 2016

In an effort to avoid the chill of winter, I decided to spend two months travelling across the top of North Queensland and the Northern Territory.  Heading up the coast I spent the first night with Harry Zawacki and his wife Eleanor at Woodgate.  Harry was a previous member of QOSI (now Birds Qld) and was on my twitchathon team during the early 1990’s.  We birded Burrum Coast National Park where we saw a new bird for his list for that area an Eastern Spinebill.  Black-breasted Button-quail have been recorded there but we didn’t see any that day.

Then on to Calliope Crossing where we had about two inches of rain overnight and I woke up to water flowing through the campsite.  Almost the first bird I heard next morning was a Black-chinned Honeyeater calling loudly throughout the camping area.  Then onto St Lawrence Wetlands, one of my favourite camping spots.  If you haven’t visited this site then put it on your list for your next journey northward as it has wonderful wetlands with a viewing platform over some lagoons as well as mangroves along the road offering a wide variety of birds as well as  a free campsite with hot showers and flushing toilets.

I called into Cape Hillsborough National Park but there were very few waders and being winter time the birds were not so numerous.  I then went on to Townsville where my sister lives and where I would meet up with another sister who lives in Canada but was holidaying in Australia for a few months.  We then headed north together stopping at Tyto Wetlands near Ingham and then Murray Falls.

As she had never been to Paronella Park, we had a night there. This is a very interesting place which was started in 1937 and which I had visited on my honeymoon in 1961.  But it had become derelict over a number of years before a couple from WA purchased it and it is now slowly being restored and has lighting tours at night which are quite spectacular.

We then toured Cairns as my sister wanted to do the Kuranda Rail trip and the Skyrail and of course it was raining so very little birding that day.  Then on up the coast to Mossman and Cooktown as we were doing the tourist trail.  As my sister wanted to get back to Townsville, we only stayed in Cooktown one night and then headed for the Tablelands.  It had started to rain making walking and birding difficult as we walked through Wongabel State Forest.  After visiting this area, I wanted to continue west while my sister headed back to Townsville and it was good to get back to some serious birding.

I met up with some friends John and Marian Clarkson (nee Buchanan) who live amongst rainforest at Topaz near Malanda.  Marian also used to belong to QOSI when she lived in Ipswich.  It was lovely to stay with them and to catch up on some rainforest birds such as Topknot Pigeons, Victoria’s Riflebird, Grey-headed and Pale-yellow Robins, Macleays and Graceful Honeyeaters with both Chowchilla and Red-necked Crake calling.  Then on to Hasties Swamp which had thousands of Plumed Whistling Ducks and a few Magpie Geese but not the great assortment of birds that can be found there in summer.

Herberton Historical Village is a must see and you need at least half a day to do it justice.  Whilst having a damper and stew lunch, I received a call from Keith and Lindsay Fisher who used to own Kingfisher Park Lodge in Julatten.  They were heading to Herberton on their way back from out west after having completed the Grasswren surveys around the Mt Isa area.  It was lovely to catch up with them as I would have missed seeing them.  It’s amazing how birders can meet up in unexpected ways.

They gave me directions about where to find the Herberton Honeyeater a proposed split by Lloyd Neilsen.  This bird was previously regarded as the Yellow-tinted Honeyeater and more recently as the northern race of Fuscous Honeyeater.  As I drove past the road they mentioned, it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  It was fairly straight forward to find the site only about two kilometres off the main road.  As I got out of the car I heard the very familiar call of the Fuscous Honeyeater only much louder and then one flew into a tall tree near where I was standing.  It appeared much bigger but it was too high to note the difference in the shape of its plume. This is the bird mentioned in Lloyd Neilsen’s new book.

Then on to Ravenshoe Caravan Park beside the old Railway station where I got the last site available.  Next morning I walked the main street and saw the memorial erected in memory of those killed in the gas bottle explosion last year.  The site of the cafĂ© has been cleaned up and you wouldn’t know anything had happened there.

Time to turn west towards Georgetown stopping at the Forty Mile Scrub for lunch.  Of course you can’t drive west without stopping at Cumberland Dam where many species of finches have been seen over the years.  What a surprise to see a new viewing platform with a telescope and a new toilet block which had only opened 3 weeks previously.  I saw a very extensive list of species around the dam over the two days I was there.  While I was at the dam, Phil and Patricia Maher turned up with a group of birders on tour to western Queensland.  Phil is the expert guide for Plains Wanderers. However the finches were very limited although I did find Black-throated and Masked Finches at a small waterhole down behind the dam on the last morning.

On towards Croydon where I saw a pair of Black-breasted Buzzards circling over the highway.  This was to be the first of many sightings of these birds during my travels.   I also saw a White-breasted Sea-eagle feeding beside the road and he tried to take off with his carrion but was eventually forced to drop it. Of course with the narrow one lane bitumen and gravel shoulders, the inevitable happened and a large rock broke my windscreen, luckily on the passenger side.  Next morning it developed into a 30cm crack but thankfully it stayed this way until the morning before I got home 6 weeks later.

25 kms south-east of Normanton is the most wonderful campsite I had during my trip i.e. Leichhardt’s Lagoon with lots of shady level sites right beside the lagoon and hundred of birds out in front, hot showers and flushing toilets for $8 per night and a 3 course dinner on Saturday nights for $6 per head.  Unfortunately I arrived on a Friday and the dinner was all booked out.  There is also a BBQ night on Tuesday and a talent quest on Thursday making it a very entertaining place to stay as well as wonderful birding.  Here I saw the only Sarus Cranes of my trip with two birds right out in front - and the sunsets were breathtaking.

On towards Karumba where I had hoped to go on a half-day fishing trip but it was cheaper to do both the birdwatching and sunset cruise with the Ferryman who has been operating bird tours out of Karumba for about 13 years.  Unfortunately a very strong wind came up overnight so the trip was postponed until the next day.  The boat crew feed a pair of Black-necked Storks named Mr and Mrs Red Legs and it was interesting to the see the rivalry between two males when one tried to come into the other’s territory. Of course one would be disappointed if you didn’t see some White-breasted Whistlers and the crew know the exact spot where to find them.  Unfortunately we didn’t see any Mangrove Golden Whistlers. The waterfront along the river has been done up recently with a new boat ramp and walkway along the foreshore of the Norman River.

A Red-headed male Honeyeater landed on the anchor on the front of the boat giving everyone wonderful photo opportunities and a Great-billed Heron flew along the river.   A large flock of hundreds of Royal Spoonbills were standing near the mouth of the river and we saw a pod of Irrawaddy Dolphins.  Great Bowerbirds are very numerous around the northern towns as are White-gaped Honeyeaters and Whistling Kites which were nesting in quite a few places around Karumba.  A Channel-billed Cuckoo was heard on both days which is unexpected at that time of the year.

I stopped at the lagoon near the entrance to the town to look for Star Finches and was lucky enough to see them.  As I was about to leave the town, I saw four trucks with double decks of cattle ready to be leave so I headed south swiftly rather than have to travel behind them.  The first one stayed on my tail for the 200 kilometres to Burke and Wills Roadhouse where I stayed the night proving they do more than the 70kph they maintain.  There were two more White-breasted Eagles feeding on dead kangaroos beside the highway making them a target for these trucks as the eagles are hampered trying to take off with their carrion.  This was the third sighting of a sea-eagle feeding beside the road, something I had never seen before.  Was it because there was a shortage of fish in the Gulf this year due to lack of monsoonal rains?

An interesting phenomonen was seeing lots of termites mounds dressed up with Tshirts and a collection of clothes.  This extended right across the Barkley Highway and up the length of the Stuart Highway with  hundreds altogether and included whole families of Mum, Dad and two children.  The occasional one was dressed complete with a hat, beads, handbag and Ug boots. Some had obviously been there a while as the Tshirts were starting to disintegrate and were stained red from the colour of the termite mounds.  Most were in the middle of nowhere and some extended 50m into the bush.  You couldn’t help but smile at the creativity shown by some of the costumes.

On towards Mt Isa next morning to stay at the McNamara Rd site for the Carpentarian Grasswren.  This road no longer has the McNamara sign on it but is approximately 65 kms north-west of Mt Isa and has a big copper mine sign near the beginning of the road.  The road has been widened and sealed with a well developed turn off at the Grasswren site where the cairn is found 8kms from the highway.   During the time I was there, six other birders had scoured the hillsides without any luck.  On the last morning, I flushed a bird which quickly disappeared into the bottom of a bush never to be seen again.  As I had seen these grasswrens before and it was typical grasswren behaviour, I felt justified that I had seen it again.  Other birds here were Black-tailed Treecreeper, Grey-fronted Honey-eater with (one building a nest beside the track), Grey-headed Honeyeater, Spinifex Pigeon and both Crested Bellbird and a Red-browed Pardalote heard.

A very strong wind had come up while I was there which prevented me from cooking my leg of lamb in the campoven (after working in spinifex country at Newhaven I know what fire can do) so I moved on towards Camooweal where I always enjoy staying along the Georgina River.  I was desperate to cook my lamb so I dug a deep hole and surrounded it with large rocks to get the oven down below the wind.  It was cooked in about 45 minutes and was wonderful.  There was not a lot of water in the lagoons so birdlife was restricted although the brolgas were doing their regular dancing act.

Then onto the Barkly Highway for the long trip to the Stuart Highway.  About 150 kms along the highway, I hit a small bird and decided I should go back to see what is was and found a Little Button-quail.  I felt bad but what can you do and it was good to be able to have such a close view of one, with its white flanks which is the diagnostic feature to look for when they fly away from you.  Along the highway I also saw two more Black-breasted Buzzards circling overhead with their large prominent bullseyes in the wings as well as Spotted Harrier, Black Falcon, Horsfield Bushlark and Splendid Fairy-wren.  Diesel at the Barkly Roadhouse was $1.79/l and $1.68 at the Three Ways where the Barkly joins the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory.

Keith and Lindsay Fisher had told me of a good spot on Newcastle Creek off the highway on the northern edge of Elliott.  It was over 12 kms of corrugated sandy road in to the site but miles of room along the edge of the water for camping.  There were not a lot of species like at Leichhardt Lagoon but there were hundreds of Pelicans and Little Black Cormorants who fished as a group each morning.  It was a spectacular site to see.  Darters were spread out along the shore in numbers drying their wings.  About 30 Caspian Terns flew up and down over the water at intervals and rested on the opposite shore along with two Bustards amongst them.  Budgies were numerous with a Paperbark Flycatcher flitting in the trees along with Rufous-throated Honeyeaters and a Black-chinned Honeyeater visited each morning.  Whilst Black Kites are numerous virtually all over most of Queensland and the Northern Territory, they were conspicuous by their absence on this waterway where the Whistling Kites dominated with up to three nests in many trees.

After two days it was time to move on.    As I drove through Dunmarra, a water buffalo was grazing beside the highway and I saw another Black-breasted Buzzard.  I continued onto Bitter Springs just north of Mataranka where I had seen nesting Red Goshawk in previous years.  But all the raptors had disappeared except the ubiquitous Black Kites.  The owner said they had disappeared along with the excessive heat and drought of the last few years when it had reached up to 50-52 degrees during the last summer. A visit to the thermal pools found a Shining Flycatcher enjoying the beautiful surrounds.  Then on to Adelaide River where I started to see Red-collared Lorikeets, Orange-footed Scrubfowl and Lemon-bellied Flycatchers which were everywhere from here on northwards.

As I entered Darwin I called into Charles Darwin NP but the midges drove me out swiftly and then Tiger Brennan Drive where I had seen Chestnut Rail previously.  This roadway is being upgraded but you can still pull off to the side to search the mangrove areas.  But it is very noisy and close to the busy road and best done in the early morning.  Down to Causarina Coastal Reserve and Lee Point but it was midday and the tide was way out so on to Buffalo Ck. Two Beach Stone-curlews were on the sandbank and Rufous-banded Honeyeaters were in the mangroves.

I stayed at Lee Point Caravan Park but at $55/night it was a short visit.  Next day I did Charles Darwin University where I saw Red-headed and White-gaped Honeyeaters and Helmeted Friarbird.  Then to the Botanical Gardens to look for Rufous Owl but unfortunately I could not find it.   Sadly we can’t be everywhere at the right time of the day or year and it was lunchtime when I got to Howard Springs.  This is a lovely area to walk around but I missed the Rainbow Pitta which is usually seen here but I did see Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Large-billed Gerygone and Shining Flycatcher.

On to Fogg Dam but it was almost dry with very little water in front of the birdhide and only two small pools along the causeway.  There were two Radjah Shelducks with some very small babies who were trying to stay cool in their parents’ shadow beside the muddy pond and I wondered if they would survive as it was 34 degrees.  It was here I saw my first Pied Heron of the trip.  Then to Window on the Wetlands but there were virtually no wetlands to see.  Again it was the middle of the day and quite hot.  I was feeling quite disillusioned about the heat and the dry so continued on to Bark Hut Inn for the night where I had a buffalo pie and a shandy for tea.

Into Kakadu National Park and Mamakula Wetlands but with little water there were only about 100 Wandering Whistling-ducks and a few Magpie Geese as well as the bush birds.  On to Merl Campground at the north-eastern end of Kakadu NP.  This is a lovely campground with showers and flushing toilets and large campsites for $15 /n.    I walked down to Cahills Crossing over the East Alligator River which is the entrance to Arnhem Land.  Here I watched four big crocodiles as they waited to cross over the road at the crossing.  I’m not sure if they were waiting for fish flushed by the cars as they crossed or for people who were silly enough to walk down to the water’s edge or stand there fishing.

Some of the first birds I saw at the campground were a pair of Partridge Pigeons, a Northern Fantail and a pair of Crows trying to catch a tree snake but they eventually gave up defeated.  During the early morning I heard a Barn Owl flying around the camping area and dingoes calling down by the river as well as Bush Stone-curlews in the distance.  On a walk down to the boat ramp, I saw a Rainbow Pitta hiding under the bushes.

Then on to Malabnjbanjdju campground south of Jabiru.  This has only basic facilities and is $6 per night.  This was close to Nourlangie Rock where I wanted to go to look for Banded Fruit-dove which I had seen here in 2000.  But again it was hot and dry and very little flowering with no fruiting figtrees but I did see Northern Rosella and Helmeted (Sndstone) Friarbird. Unfortunately I did not see a Sandstone Shrike-thrush although I heard it calling high up on the escarpment.  On to Anbangbang Lagoon where there were a number of waterbirds and a Pacific Baza.

As I wanted to do the Yellow Waters wetland cruise next morning, I stayed at Mardugal campground which is closeby.  I was looking forward to a cold shower but the toilet block was closed for urgent repairs.  Luckily it opened again late that afternoon.  The cruise was $100 for 2 hours and included a hot buffet breakfast back at Cooinda Lodge.  It was a beautiful morning and we had wonderful sightings of Azure Kingfisher (but no Little Kingfisher), Green Pygmy Geese, Jacanas, Nankeen Night-herons, Pied Herons, both Whistling Ducks, a Broad-billed Flycatcher and a few Black-necked Storks and of course no cruise would be complete (for some people) without a few crocodile sightings.

As storms were predicted further north for this evening, I decided it was time to head south and see if I could stay ahead of them as they were going to get up to 50mm of rain.  It was still very hot and had been 34 degrees in Darwin and 32 all through Kakadu.  I went as far as Pine Creek where I had a lovely swim in the pool at Lazy Lizard Caravan Park.  That afternoon I went for a walk to the Miner’s Rest area and found Bar-breasted and Banded Honeyeaters as well as a Common Bronzewing, the first one of my trip.  Next morning I went there again and found a pair of Hooded Parrots before walking back to the other end of town to the Water Gardens where there was a flock of about twelve Hooded Parrots.  Some rain had fallen through the night although not a lot but it was very overcast.

Heading south again, I drove into Edith Falls but it was overrun with caravans and it was difficult to even find a place to park.  Then south to Katherine for some shopping and email.  Diesel here was $122.7c/l.
A strong headwind had come up so I only went as far as Mataranka CP.  It was too late to go for a thermal dip when I got there and too cool next morning.  It was still overcast and they had had 50 mm of rain the previous night.  I continued on to the Three Ways with lots of water all the way south beside the highway.  They had a maximum of 11 degrees the day before with 50mm during the day and everyone was complaining about the cold weather.

The weather was not conducive to birding with light rain and strong winds as I headed across the Barkly Highway towards Queensland so I just kept driving and did it in one day.  Into Camooweal and then to Mt Isa where I usually stay at Lake Moondarra CP.  It has now changed its name with new owners and the nice grassy sites along the front overlooking the creek no longer exist with permanent dongas installed in those sites.  They now cater for miner and itinerant workers so it is not the same place although I did get the Varied Lorikeets as always in the park.    I drove out to Lake Moondarra stopping at Clearwater Lagoon but it had few birds except one Glossy Ibis (a first for the trip) and virtually nothing at the lake.  I did go down to Pamela St in Mt Isa where Kalkadoon Grasswrens used to be seen but again it was the middle of the day.  Apparently they have not been seen here very regularly in the last couple of years.

Continuing east from Mt Isa, I stopped at the old townsite of Mary Kathleen where the mining company allows people to free camp.  It is a great spot with lots of concrete slabs from the house sites but no buildings.  They were well spaced out and it was great to have your own concrete slab.  No fires are allowed here.  I went for a walk around the townsite and found some Yellow-rumped Thornbills, a Singing Honeyeater and Painted Finches were seen by some other people.  It still hadn’t rained but was very overcast and windy.

I had planned to go to Clem Walton Park near Corella Dam but with the weather still unstable, I went into the Oasis Caravan Park in Cloncurry where they had had 50 mm in the past few days so the campsites were quite muddy.  This was the first caravan park which had a TV room and a very nice camp kitchen which meant you got to meet people and share stories of your journey.  I was very disappointed with the standard of caravan parks all along the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory. It was lovely to be able to sit down in comfort out of the wind and rain to chat to people.  Here I met an elderly couple in their 80’s who had been held up on the Georgina River for four days after the rain as no one could drive on the tracks out to the highway.

On to McKinley with lots of water along the road but it was then very dry between McKinley and Kynuna before turning green again all the way to Winton.  It’s hard to believe how one area could miss out on rain when it had been so widespread.  Kynuna had the usual three brolgas in the main street where I had lunch.  It had been raining from Tennant Creek north to Darwin and then east right through to the Queensland coast during the last few days.  On to Winton with water everywhere and very wet around the town.  Of course the road to Bladensburg National Park was closed as were all the other dirt roads in the area.  A tour group had even been offering mud tours around the town but after 45 mm more the night I was there everything was cancelled.

As you couldn’t move off the bitumen, there was no where to go so I just kept heading east.  Little did I know that the highway would be closed to Ilfracombe that afternoon and no one could get out of Winton for three days.  I stayed at Ilfracombe Caravan Park that evening which is famous for its nightly Happy Hour.  They have a big room set up so everyone is out of the cold, the wind or the heat.  One place worth seeing in Ilfracombe is Langenbaker House which the family brought to Ifracombe in the 1890’s from Barcaldine on their horse drawn wagon. It was lived in until 1991 by a son of the original owner, changing very little over the years increasing its heritage value.  Eleven children were brought up in the house which would have been very modern in the early 1900’s.  It is very unusual in that the verandahs are enclosed by strapping used on wool bales and woven together to give a latticework effect similar to what we see today.

I left next morning and on towards Springsure where I stayed at Virgin Rock campsite overlooking the escarpments which are light up at night showing the virgin in a grotto.  It’s quite amazing.  Here I found out that people had been locked in at Carnarvon for nine days as the roads were impassable and during that time they had used all their fuel trying to keep generators going.  Of course everyone wanted a hot shower and comfort so Springsure had run out of accommodation as well as fuel..

I had planned to stay another night here but it was drizzling with rain next morning so I continued onto Biloela.  Of course it was sunny when I got there and for the whole three days until I left to come home.  I had done 3000 kms in seven days trying to stay ahead of the rain so I missed lots of opportunities to bird along the way as I had planned.  But the farmers were ecstatic that they had such good unexpected and unseasonal rain.

A few interesting summaries re birds on the trip.  I did not see ONE emu in either NT or Qld, brolgas were very numerous, the only Sarus Cranes were at Leichhardt Lagoon, I saw five Black-breasted Buzzards over the highways, three White-bellied Sea-eagles were seen on carrion beside the highways and the sight of hundreds of Pelicans and Little Black Cormorants fishing together at Lake Woods was a memorable event.  But unfortunately I missed a lot of the Northern Territory endemics because of the drought and the heat.



Jan England

Tin Can Bay / Rainbow Beach Weekend 20 / 21 August

View of Double Island from Carlos Blow, Rainbow Beach
      BirdLife Sunshine Coast – Tin Can Bay / Rainbow Beach Weekend 19/20/ 21 August 2016

Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach were the main destinations for a weekend away and despite the fact that a couple of the ‘specials’ remained unseen, an excellent weekend was enjoyed by all.
Tin Can Bay Woodland

A full complement of 17 people squeezed into our Budget rent a bus and departed not long after 5pm from Nambour and had a quick trip to The Sleepy Lagoon Motel at Tin Can Bay. This is a nice clean place at a more than reasonable price. And as it is right next door to a pub a perfect place for a group of birders to stay!

The trip really began on Saturday when we met our hosts, Lionel Muir and his wife Jeanette, keen members of the Gympie Field Naturalists, at 7am at our hotel.
Little Black Cormorant

Dolphins ready for feeding

Australian Humpback Dolphin

First stop was to observe first the feeding of the [Australian] Humpback Dolphins nearby. This has become an institution at Tin Can Bay and is by far the easiest way to see this rare species. Many enjoyed a quick coffee and breakfast and our first birds; Brown, Mangrove, White throated, Blue-faced and White Cheeked Honeyeaters plus both friarbirds, nesting Whistling Kites, Pelicans and Cormorants, who were keen to spoil the dolphin’s feasting.
male Fairy Gerygone [S. Popple]

Next stop was Inskipp Point where the search for the elusive Black-breasted Button-quails began in earnest. The quail’s scratchings were frustratingly evident however the birds remained unseen. The scrub at Inskipp was noisily birdy – many honeyeaters, drongos, Eastern Yellow Robin, Whistlers, Variegated Fairy Wren, and, for me best of all, Fairy Gerygones – their rapid cyclic calls giving them away. Also of note were excellent views of a pair of Beach Stone Curlews which people viewed in between getting bombed by over-zealous Masked Lapwings.  Australian Pipit parading on the beach was, perhaps, an interesting record also.
Beach Stone Curlews

Carlos Point proved to be an excellent spot for an early lunch. An abundance of Honeyeaters in the flowering gums and melaleucas, including a single Striped Honeyeater, made it difficult to concentrate on the food. A determined nesting Lapwing remained stationary throughout our time there despite a few photos. Tree Martins and Welcome Swallows drank and collected nesting mud while a steady stream of other birds sailed through.
Tree Martin
Welcome Swallows

Next on the agenda was the short bush walk to the famous Carlos Sand Blow. Carlo Sand Blow was named by Captain Cook after one of his deck crew named Carlo. The unique "moonscape" sand mass covers over 15 hectares and overlooks the towering coloured sands. From the Rainbow Beach water tower at the top of Cooloola Drive. 
the whole gang...

A quick walk in the shade of the rainforest of Bymien Picnic Area prevented us from getting to the exposed plain at Cooloola too early…. A few good birds were there but most remained unseen. Wompoos, Pittas remained invisible however Pale Yellow Robins, Green Catbirds, Brown Gerygones and White-browed Scrubwrens were easily seen.
Cooloola Plains - Ground Parrot habitat
Some took time to meditate

But soon we negotiated our way onto the Cooloola Plains and its heath habitats that were home to Ground Parrots. Only two of our group managed to lay eyes on the birds and for them they proved to be lifers. The rest of the group contented themselves with hearing the ringing calls of the birds as the sun set.  Before then we scored some good raptors; Swamp Harrier, Brown Falcon and a hite-breasted Sea Eagle. As night fell we made our way back to Tin Can Bay and its hotel where the waitress had forgotten our booking [for 19 people] and we had to sit at make shift tables in front of the live music act. It could have been worse…


Sunday started like Saturday – coffee near the dolphins and adjacent species. Next - Twitching the Bush Stone Curlews at the Golf Course before a nice walk down to Snapper Creek.  A visit to a wader roost on the estuary and a sewerage works rounded out our morning. After lunch we headed for home with just a brief stop off at a country billabong to jag a few more species for our weekend away.
Bush Stone Curlews
Juvy Blue-faced Honeyeater
SC Cockatoo

Young Mangroves

A Hobby!
The Hobby 


Robyn, Jan and Ken


Lesley, John, Jan, Megan And Jeanette



Vince, Glenis, Tom, Robyn and Jan.
Megan smiling..




  1. Australian Brush Turkey
  2. Brown Quail  - h
  3. Magpie Goose - enroute
  4. Black Swan
  5. Australian Wood Duck
  6. Grey Teal
  7. Chestnut Teal
  8. Pacific Black Duck
  9. Hardhead
  10. Australasian Grebe
  11. Rock Dove - enroute
  12. Spotted Dove
  13. Crested Pigeon
  14. Peaceful Dove
  15. Bar-shouldered Dove
  16. Wompoo Fruit-Dove - h
  17. Topknot Pigeon
  18. Australasian Darter
  19. Little Pied Cormorant
  20. Great Cormorant
  21. Little Black Cormorant
  22. Pied Cormorant
  23. Australian Pelican
  24. White-necked Heron
  25. Eastern Great Egret
  26. Intermediate Egret
  27. Cattle Egret
  28. White-faced Heron
  29. Little Egret
  30. Australian White Ibis
  31. Straw-necked Ibis
  32. Royal Spoonbill
  33. Eastern Osprey
  34. Black-shouldered Kite - enroute
  35. White-bellied Sea-Eagle
  36. Whistling Kite
  37. Brahminy Kite
  38. Spotted Harrier
  39. Swamp Harrier
  40. Wedge-tailed Eagle - enroute
  41. Australian Hobby
  42. Brown Falcon
  43. Purple Swamphen
  44. Dusky Moorhen
  45. Eurasian Coot
  46. Bush Stone-curlew
  47. Beach Stone-curlew
  48. Australian Pied Oystercatcher
  49. Black-winged Stilt
  50. Red-capped Plover
  51. Black-fronted Dotterel
  52. Masked Lapwing
  53. Comb-crested Jacana
  54. Whimbrel
  55. Eastern Curlew
  56. Gull-billed Tern
  57. Crested Tern
  58. Silver Gull
  59. Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
  60. Galah
  61. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  62. Rainbow Lorikeet
  63. Ground Parrot
  64. Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
  65. Fan-tailed Cuckoo
  66. Laughing Kookaburra
  67. Forest Kingfisher
  68. Sacred Kingfisher
  69. Collared Kingfisher
  70. Rainbow Bee-eater
  71. Noisy Pitta - h
  72. Green Catbird
  73. Red-backed Fairy-wren
  74. Variegated Fairy-wren
  75. White-browed Scrubwren
  76. Large-billed Scrubwren
  77. Brown Gerygone
  78. Fairy Gerygone
  79. White-throated Gerygone
  80. Brown Thornbill
  81. Striated Pardalote
  82. Lewin's Honeyeater
  83. Yellow-faced Honeyeater
  84. Mangrove Honeyeater
  85. Noisy Miner
  86. Little Wattlebird
  87. Scarlet Honeyeater - h
  88. Brown Honeyeater
  89. White-cheeked Honeyeater
  90. White-throated Honeyeater
  91. Blue-faced Honeyeater
  92. Noisy Friarbird
  93. Little Friarbird
  94. Striped Honeyeater
  95. Eastern Whipbird
  96. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  97. Varied Triller
  98. Golden Whistler
  99. Rufous Whistler
  100. Little Shrike-thrush
  101. Grey Shrike-thrush
  102. Australasian Figbird
  103. Olive-backed Oriole
  104. White-breasted Woodswallow
  105. Grey Butcherbird
  106. Pied Butcherbird
  107. Australian Magpie
  108. Pied Currawong
  109. Spangled Drongo
  110. Grey Fantail
  111. Willie Wagtail
  112. Torresian Crow
  113. Leaden Flycatcher
  114. Restless Flycatcher
  115. Magpie-Lark
  116. Rose Robin
  117. Pale Yellow Robin
  118. Eastern Yellow Robin
  119. Golden-headed Cisticola
  120. Tawny Grassbird
  121. Silvereye
  122. Welcome Swallow
  123. Fairy Martin
  124. Tree Martin
  125. Common Myna
  126. Mistletoebird
  127. Red-browed Finch
  128. Australasian Pipit


Total Bird Spp – 128

Mammals – Australian Humpback Dolphin
Reptiles – Lace Monitor

Frogs – Litoria fallax [heard]