Moving on from our nice encounter with Painted Honeyeater east of Nindigully, we headed east towards Coolmunda Lake and Durikai State Forest on the final leg of our 12-day western Queensland sojourn. At a roadside birding stop west of Goondiwindi, I stumbled upon a Little Eagle and an Australian Raven entangled together on the ground in brigalow scrub. It was clear that the raven was an intended prey item as it was firmly in the grip of the eagle's talons. Upon my unintended disturbance, the two birds separated and a bloodied raven flew to its freedom.
The seemingly exhausted eagle sat close by while I photographed it.
We moved on to Lake Coolmunda, where we camped lakeside for two nights. After the fabulous encounter with Freckled Duck and other waterbirds at Currawinya National Park, the waterbirds here were disappointing, but birds in the surrounding woodlands were interesting.
Little Thornbill was plentiful in the dry scrub behind the lake.
Plenty of macropods were about Coolmunda Lake - Swamp Wallaby (photographed through a fence above), Black-striped Wallaby, Red-necked Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo.
Moving on to Durikai, we found the famed waterhole with some effort. It is 45 kilometres west of Warwick and 5 kilometres east of the village of Karara. We camped by the waterhole, but the traffic noise is a problem: better to stay at the small motel in Karara with the benefit of hindsight.
This is a sensational birding spot. All day, a constant procession of birds flew in to drink at close quarters, the most numerous being Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. I encountered a staggering 15 honeyeater species around Durakai: Noisy and Little Friarbirds; Noisy Miner; Blue-faced, White-naped, White-throated, Black-chinned, Brown-headed, Brown, Striped, Yellow-tufted, Fuscous, White-eared, White-plumed and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters.
White-eared was one of the scarcer honeyeaters.
Among the honeyeaters were four species of the Melithreptus genus. I had commented in an earlier blog post about finding three species of honeyeater from this genus in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Here, a fourth was added to those three: Brown-headed (above). I saw and heard just one White-throated Honeyeater.
Black-chinned Honeyeaters were quite plentiful. This bird can be hard to find in southern Queensland and I've not seen them in such numbers previously.
White-naped was the most numerous of the Melithreptus species and the second commonest honeyeater after Yellow-tufted.
Plenty of Fuscous Honeyeaters were about. A few other birds seen around the water hole included:
Another nice surprise was a party of White-browed Babblers in the same patch of scrub as a group of Grey-crowned Babblers. This brought to four the number of babbler species seen on the trip - the others being Chesnut-crowned and Hall's further west.
It was nice two see Buff-rumped Thornbill showing well.
A pair of Crested Shrike-Tits was pleasant.
Not so nice was this road-killed Koala.
Our camp behind the waterhole.