Thursday, November 30, 2006

More pics from up north

Squatter Pigeon

Peter, the praying mantis, resdident in our motel in Marreba

Blue triangle butterfly

smart little damselfly, i.d anyone?

Cool lizard dragon thing ,again, anyone have an i.d?

Goulds Monitor lizard (sand goanna)

Buff breasted Paradise Kingfisher, one with a shorter tail

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

North Queensland

Phew! 10 days and 4500km later and we're back in brisbane after a monster trip around Queensland. The trip was absoultely superb with 37 lifers for me, plus loads more good birds.
heres a brief listing of what happened

20th Nov

Spent alll day travelling from Brisbane to Rockhampton, no sign of Yellow Chats at Port Alma, saw sod all

21st Nov

Travelled from Rocky to Bowen, A quick stop at Eungella NP failed to produce Eungella Honeyeater but an Oriental Cuckoo was an unexpected lifer for me and Duncan, also it's possible that the birda in OZ are actually Horsfields Cuckoos, this bird certainly seemd to be more liek one, i'll leave it to the DNA people to sort out in due time though. Superb fruit dove was also a lifer for me.

22nd Nov

This was far and away the best day of the trip. After leavign the absoulte shithole that is Bowen, we drove up to Townsville common, which despite being very dry produced Yellow Bellied Sunbird, Austrlian Bustard (a houbabra like thing), Australian and Oriental Pratincole and Brown backed honeyeater, along with Goulds monitor lizard and a snake seen briefly in the grass that looked disturbingly like a taipan, the most venomous in the world.

After townsville we headed up to the high misty Paluma range where we stayed the night at Forestmist B&B. The palce was superb, by far the best accomodation i've stayed in all trip, and incredible value for money to boot. This may seem liek a terrible blatant piece fo advertising but if your plannign on staying in Paluma, and you really should if your in aus contact them at or give them a ring on (07)47708578

The birdign here was excellent ,within minutes of arriving the expletives were flying through the mist as we saw such goodies as tooth billed catbird, victorias riflebird, spotted catbird, grey headed robin, bowers shriek thrush, mcleays honeyeater, bridled honeyeater, shning bronze cuckoo and Noisy pitta i nquick succession.

23rd Nov

The morning was spent doing more birding at Paluma. Chowchila, grey whistler and yellow spotted honeyeater were all around the cottage. The hosts of the B&B told us of a good site for Golden Bowerbird where we heaed off to and had brilliant views of a fabulous male attending heis bower, an awesoem bird for my 400th aus bird.
After tearign ourselves away from paluma we drove up to mission beach where we had good views of a young cassowary(like a fat ostrich)but no sign of any adults which was lucky, them things are huge and probably wouldnt have been to impressed to see me stalking their babby trying to photograph it. The drive up to cairns and a quick bit of birsding in the evening produced Metallic Starling, Varied and Yellow Honeyaters and White rumped swiftlet.

24th Nov

A quick look around cairns botanical gardens fianlly added silver crowned friarbird and black butcherbird which had proved elusive so far, and Double eyed fig parrot (mcleayana race).
A quick stop at Newell beach, just north of mossman and we found 2 Barn Swallows with the local Welcome Swallows.
Kingfisher park, near Julatten seemd rather dead considering its reputation but i got brief views of Buff breasted paradise kingfisher, a wonderful little bird with long white tail streamers that were as long as its body. Graceful honeyeater was a much less exciting lifer.

25th Nov

Another excellent day based in Mareeba on the edge of the Atherton Tablelands. A quick drive down Tinaroo creek road at dawn was well worth the early start with c20 Squatter pigeon around the paddocks about 5km down the road and a male Spotted Harrier (the best harrier in the world?) quartered the fields alongside the road. we then headed up to Mount lewis, north of julatten where we had a Glossy swiftlet with the white rupmed swiftlets at the bottom of the mountain, and a pied monarch about halfway up. Frustratingly Duncan had very brief views of what may have been a red goshawk over the canopy whilr i was having a slash around the corner. Much better views of Buff breasted Paradise kingfisher were had at the bottom of the mountain near the creek. Sides Road, south of Jualtten was an excellent little spot, with a nice Noisy Pitta and then one of the birds of the trip, a stunning male Yellow Breasted Boatbill, also one of the more boring birds of the trip Atherton Scrubwren.

26th Nov

Hasties Swamp, near atherton held 13 Sarus Cranes and plenty of other waterbird but not much interesting stuff despite looking promising.
Mount Hypipamee added Montain Thornbill, horribly dull things and a male golden bowerbird flew over the road about 1km north of the Crater NPcar park. Later that afternoon Townsville common was even dryer than before and had lost a few birds but White browed crake was a nice lifer.

27th Nov

Driving south to Rocky all day, saw nothing

28th Nov

Again driving all daybu we had a quick look at Port Alma for the Yellow Chats, again no joy. We stopped at a promising looking pool along the Port Alma road where i found a Wood Sandpiper while Duncan was throwing up in the car park, old people just cant handle their booze these days!

29th Nov

We arrived in Tin Can Bay (wasnt he a Viet Cong general?) with jsut enough light left for a quick look at Cooloola Way which was a great patch of heathland, walking along the pylon track we saw at leat 10 Ground Parrots, (like big green budgies) and Satin Flycatcher was also a new bird for me. Southern Emu wren, spotted harrier and brush bronzewing were also nice.

Townsville Common Pics

Red necked Stint

Rainbow Bee eater

Tree Martin

Australian Bustard

Paluma Pics

Spotted Catbird

grey headed Robin

Mcleays Honeyeater

Noisy Pitta

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Southport Pelagic and More

had the final pelagic of the trip off Southport (near brisbane) yesterday. The trip started off well with a near adult Maked Booby, only the 2nd recorded on these trips, which was an excellent unexpected lifer, the rest of the trip was pretty dull with waves up to 5m making birding difficult and the only other good bird was a pom skua that came in close on the slick. Other birds seen were Fleshy footed, Short tailed, Huttons and Wedge Tailed Shearwaters and a few wilsons petrels. Also seen were a few small pods of Offshore Bottlenose Doplhins (as opposed to Onshore Bottlenose Dolphins?) Pantropical Spotted Dolphins which were a nice cetacean tick There was no more excitement until the boat nearedland on the steam back and we caught the side of a huge wave that came pant soilingly close to tipping the boat wave.
The days before the trip were spent on Bribie Island which produced some nice waders in Greater and Lesser Sand Plover, Terek Sandpiper and Beach Stone Curlew, and Wandering Tattler and Sooty Oystercatcher just up the coast at Caloundra.
I'm heading off tomorrow on a 10 day trip to North Queensland with Duncan and Mish which should produce some good birding, then after that its down to South Australia and Victoria for the rest of the year.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Queensland birding.

the last week has been spent birdign in inland queensland, starting near Samsonvale where i fianlly got to grips with Spotted Quail Thrush, having excellent views of this truly superb bird, near Dayboro. Then i joined Duncan and Mish Walbridge for a trip down to the National parks near the NSW border. Girraween NP produced Yellow Tufted Hoenyeater ,Little Eagle and Little Woodswallow but no lifers. The next day at Sundown NP was truly superb with White Browed Wooslswallow, Turquoise Parrot and Diamond Firetail being excellent new birds, the Collmunda Lake added Musk and Pink Eared Ducks, along with stackloads of Whiskered Tern, Black Winged Stilt, Glossy Ibis and a White WInged fary wren. The area around Dalby the next day produced my first Cockatiel and Inland Thronbill but sod all else thanks to the majot dorught that left all the lakes empty and no tress in flower.


The results of a nightime spotlighting session, no birds tho

Purple Tree frog

Green Tree frog


Inland Queensland

Duncan gets friendly with the locals

Lake Broadwater: empty

Spotlighting after getting back from the pub

White browed woodswallow, cracking birds

Bush Stone Curlew

To Mr Menzie, re. your comments about the "approachability" of australian birds

Friday, November 03, 2006

More brisbane stuff

city birding rocks! Over the last few days in brisbane i've picked up another 10 lifers, mainly in little parks surrounded by orrible urban stuff.
highlight were a pair of plum headed finches in sherwood aboretum, a pair of very confiding bush stone curlews in mowbray park, cicadabird and nesting square tailed kite at daisy hill, and lathams snipe and red kneed dotterel at oxley creek common and loads of waders like marsh sand, sharp tailed sand, great knot, red headed (or is it red knecked, i forget) avocet, red necked stint and grey tailed tattler at brisbane port and manly beach.