Nutmeg Mannikin, once common in South-East Queensland but now scarce and localised, was surprisingly numerous. Dusky Honeyeater was also exceptionally plentiful.
We moved on to the Town of 1770 for two nights. I picked up a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds in a garden adjoining Joseph Banks Conservation Park; this area is the southern limit of range for this species. Plenty of Fairy Gerygones were about. Brown Booby and Australasian Gannet were common offshore but a Brown Booby was unusually approachable as it frequented the town's marina, some distance upstream.
|Town of 1770|
|Barking Owl (male)|
|Barking Owl (female with prey)|
Our next stop was the hamlet of Marmor, famed as a hotspot for the rare Capricorn race of Yellow Chat, for an overnight stay at the Alkoomi Advanture Campground (warning – it's handy but don't stay there!). I spent an afternoon and morning at the site. A pair of chats flew overhead and off into the distance, sadly not offering a photographic opportunity.
We moved on to the nearby township of Bajool, from where the road to
Pt Alma is another Yellow Chat hotspot. Camping opposite the
friendly pub here was more congenial that the Alkoomi experience. No
luck with chats (there seem to be no winter records for this site)
though I found and photographed a Zitting Cisticola that was
conveniently calling.The image is poor but the clearly defined pale tail tips can be seen - possibly the only defining feature of use to separate this species from Golden-headed Cisticola in non-breeding plumage.
A Black Falcon showed nicely at the lagoon a short distance from
Bajool on the Port Alma Road. A pair of Brolga were among waterbirds
on the lagoon, while a Blue-winged Kookaburra and several Black-faced
Woodswallows were up the road nearby.
Mangrove Honeyeater was common in dry scrub all over the place and
many kilometres from the nearest mangroves, Lots of Striped
Honeyeater and Little Friarbird were about.
We next had three nights in Rockhampton, camped by the Fitzroy River.
Murray Lagoon at the Botanic Gardens had good numbers of waterfowl
including about 40 Freckled Duck, a few Pink-eared Duck and 80
Nearby, at Yeppen Yeppen Lagoon, I found a Bar-breasted Honeyeater
(here at the southern end of the range of this species) in flowering
Melaleuca and a pair of Black-necked Storks.
Pacific Baza was frequenting our caravan park.
We headed inland for an overnight stay in the quaint town of
Goovigen. The surrounding brigalow was full of interesting baobab
trees and loads of macropods, including Whiptail Wallabies. Some drier country birds started showing, such as Yellow-throated Miner and Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo.
We had two nights camping at the beautiful Isla Gorge National Park,
at the eastern fringe of a huge area of sandstone escarpment, the
best known part of which is Canarvan Gorge. The highlight here was a
pair of vocal Spotted Quail-thrush, with a third bird heard.
White-eared Honeyeater was common in the park. Buff-rumped Thornbill
was around the camping ground, while Yellow Thornbill was in remnant
brigalow nearby, as was Spotted Bowerbird and Singing Honeyeater.
Our next stop for an overnight stay was the town of Wandoan. A pair
of Australian Bustards were in grassland outside the town. We then
had a night in Chinchilla, where Red-winged Parrots and Red-rumped
Parrots added splashes of colour and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill was
close to the eastern end of its range here .
After that it was an overnight stay at the Bowenville Reserve near
Dalby. The roads in this area have been good for birds in the past
but less so this time. Very large flocks of Cockatiel and Little
Corella were impressive. Nankeen Kestrel was surprisingly common. A
couple of White-winged Fairy-wrens, here at the eastern extremity of
their range, were seen.
The reserve itself was productive. A Western Gergyone was singing by
our camp, where a pair of Tawny Frogmouths were in residence. Good
numbers of Plum-headed Finches mixed with Double-barred Finches in
creekside vegetation. A female Red-capped Robin, unusual so far east,
was also here.
Our final stay was in Toowoomba, mostly non-birding, but I looked
unsuccessfully for Swift Parrots in Glen Lomond Park, where I saw
them in 1998 and where they've been seen occasionally since. No luck
there but plenty of Musk Lorikeets about.
|Yellow Chat site at Marmor|
|Brolga and friends|
|Striped Honeyeater & LIttle Friarbird|
|Australasian Shoveler, Grey Teal & Pink-eared Duck|
|Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo|
|Spotted Quail-thrush female|
|Spotted Quail-thrush male|
|Camping at Bowenville|