Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Queensland Road Trip 14: Tully to Townsville

White-browed Robins

Following our visit to Etty Bay (see following post) we headed further south to Tully for an overnight stay with friends Jason Grotherr and Debbie Grant. Then onwards to Ingham for a brief visit to Tyto Wetlands.

Tyto Wetlands
Like Catanna near Cairns, this is another artificially created wetland on former sugar cane land, and an example of the potential for developing the Yandina Creek Wetland on the Sunshine Coast as a first-class wetland and waterbird habitat.

Crimson Finch
A male Crimson Finch emerged from the vegetation at the start of the Tyto trailhead.
Then I found a pair of White-browed Robins in a shady glade; this species had unexpectedly eluded me until now on this trip.

White-gaped Honeyeater was common here.

White-gaped Honeyeater
We drove further south to the Paluma Range National Park for a two-night stay in the Big Crystal Creek camping ground. This is the first national park camping we've had on the trip. It is extraordinary that in the whole of the wet tropics from Cooktown to Townsville, there are almost no government camping grounds in state national parks and reserves.

Big Crystal Creek
We drove up the mountain early in the morning for a day in the highland rainforests around Paluma on Mt Spec, walking the village roads and trails including the H2 circuit, McClellands Lookout and Cloudy Creek.

It was good to reconnect with wet tropics rainforest birds at the southern extremity of their range and finally to snare some reasonable snaps of the elusive Fernwren; 5 were seen and others heard.

I also photographed a Chowchilla, though the images are not first-rate. These birds typically keep to the dark forest floor. It was interesting to see Bower Shrike-thrushes hopping about the lawns of Paluma.
Macleay's Honeyeater
We had lunch at the delightful Ivy Cottage, where birds visit a feeder next to the dining tables.  Mcleay's Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater and White-cheeked Honeyeater were the commonest visitors.

Victoria's Riflebird male

Victoria's Riflebird female
Victoria's Riflebird, male and female, were the star attractions.

Spotted Catbird
Spotted Catbirds put in appearances.

Satin Bowerbird
As did the small northern race of Satin Bowerbird. For reasons that escape me, I failed to see a single Tooth-billed Bowerbird on this trip although I heard a couple today. The list of birds seen at Paluma is here.
Crimson Rosella
The northern race of Crimson Rosella was feeding on a lawn nearby. The weather is improving with the rain, unexpectedly warm weather and abundance of biting midges hopefully behind us.

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher
Birds about the Big Crystal Creek camping ground included Fairy Gerygone, Brown-backed Honeyeater and the first Lemon-bellied Flycatcher of the trip.

Rockslides, Big Crystal Creek
While walking the 2km to the Rockslides from the camping ground I saw several more of the hitherto elusive White-browed Robins. And a Little Kingfisher – my fifth encounter with this normally difficult species on the trip. We moved on to Townsville for a 2-night stay at the Rowes Bay Caravan Park.

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