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.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Queensland Road Trip 15: Eungella & Mackay

Eungella Honeyeater

Following our visit to Paluma (see following post), we had a two-day stay at Townsville's Rowes Bay which was pretty well birding-free, although I saw a pair of Black Falcons hunting in the distance on the Town Common.

Eungella Range
We continued south to Eungulla, the isolated plateau of highland rainforest and dairy farms west of Mackay. We had booked online for a two-night stay in the Eungulla National Park's Broken River camping ground, but it was crowded out with freeloaders and day-trippers, so we squeezed our camper trailer into a tent site at the nearby Fern Flat camping ground.  
 The performance of Queensland national parks authorities in managing camping areas is woeful.

Diggings Road, Eungella
Eungella has two claims to fame. It is probably the easiest site in Australia to see Platypus, and we found them quickly in the Broken River day use area.

It is also the only site frequented by the Eungella Honeyeater. This is a fairy scarce bird that can be difficult. I tracked one down along Diggings Road but it proved difficult to photograph in the gloomy light conditions.

Eungella Honeyeater
I trawled without success for Sooty Owls in the early morning; they are reported from Eungella but the subspecies is uncertain. The weather was lousy during our stay.

Topknot Pigeons
A flock of Topknot Pigeons made the most of a rare glimmer of sunshine. Russet-tailed Thrush was calling commonly. A list of birds seen at Eungella can be found here.

Sandfly Creek, Mackay
We headed eastwards to Mackay for a two-night stay at Blacks Beach in the city's northern suburbs, camping in the local caravan park. Mackay is where north meets south. Orange-footed Scrubfowl are about the park, close to the southern extremity of their range, while in mangroves nearby, Mangrove Honeyeater replaces its close northern relative, the Varied Honeyeater.
Mangrove Robin
I checked out the mangroves in Sandfly Creek Reserve at the mouth of the Pioneer River. Here I found a pair of Mangrove Robins, also near the southern end of their range. I heard a third robin.

Broad-billed Flycatcher male
I also found 3 Broad-billed Flycatchers in the mangroves. 

Broad-billed Flycatcher female
Like Mangrove Golden Whistler and Yellow White-eye, this species has a strange distribution, occurring in parts of central Queensland but not the north-east coast, while they are widespread across the rest of northern Australia. A list of species seen at Sandfly Creek can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Greg, the Sooties in Eungella are Greater Sooty Owl :-) I think Mangrove Robin is pretty regular around Mackay also but BB Flycatcher is a great sighting :)

    Sounds like a fun trip!