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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Queensland, Autralia: June- July 2002,
From June 22 to July 20 I did a solo birding trip in Queensland, Australia as part of a 3-month trip to the region (Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and New Zealand). This is not the best time to visit, as some birds are away for the winter, most notably Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, and shorebird numbers are low. Nonetheless I managed to see most of the other localized endemics. The rainy season had been much drier than usual, which affected some of the birds, as it had been dry for many months. The benefit of this was that I had good weather, and was never rained out the whole time.
Lonely Planet Australia - accommodation, meals, etc. Note there is a separate guide just for Queensland, hopefully with more detail than the Australia guide.
Where to Watch Birds in Australasia & Oceania - Nigel Wheatley
Websites, including Birdwatching Australia: www.ausbird.com
The Complete guideto Finding the Birds of Australia - Thomas & Thomas
Jo Weineke - Where to Find Birds in North Queensland - Unfortunately I didn't buy this useful book, but I borrowed a copy at Kingfisher Lodge and copied info. I later met Jo in Townsville, and she was very helpful and knowledgeable.
The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia - Pizzey & Knight
The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds - Slater, Slater, & Slater
The Slater guide is a smaller practical field guide with good illustrations, while Pizzey and Knight has more information about the various species and families
CARS - I rented from both Budget and Hertz, arranged in the USA before departure.
Gas is more expensive than the USA; I believe it averaged over $1 Aust per liter, being higher in remote areas such as Georgetown. NOTE - If you go to Darwin, there are no unlimited miles, and the mileage allowance is quite low, especially considering the distances you would probably travel as a birder. This in effect makes the rentals very expensive, which is why I opted not to go there.
AIR - Internal flight prices vary a lot, but can be reasonable. I only took one flight, from Townsville to Brisbane, for $143 through the Qantas website. When I phoned Qantas they almost insisted I check their website, and the website prices were substantially cheaper than those quoted on phone. You will need an Australian address or at least a phone number when you book through the website. For those visiting several places, there is an Australian airpass of sorts whose price depends on your itinerary. I arrived on a frequent flyer ticket from New York on American & Qantas.
The unit of currency is the Australian dollar. I received about $1.75 to the US dollar. I brought traveler's checks, American Express, US dollars, and some cash. Most places accepted credit cards, although several would not take American Express. Prices in the trip report are in Australian dollars.
ACCOMMODATIONS & FOOD
There are a wide variety of accommodations, ranging from Backpacker's to expensive hotels. I usually opted for mid-range motels, averaging $30 - $70, most with a fridge and a hot water kettle with tea and coffee. I bought cereal and usually had breakfast in my room, and always ate dinner out.
TELEPHONE / COMMUNICATIONS
You can buy telephone cards in local shops, which can be very useful for arranging accommodation. Many towns had Internet cafes with reasonable rates - I think about $2 per 30 minutes. My MCI international calling card worked fine for calling the USA.
I saw 303 species, with 221 lifers, and heard another 3. Biggest misses were the Blue-Faced Parrot-Finch, Squatter Pigeon, Great-billed Heron, White-eared Monarch, and owls. Inquiries about specific species will gladly be answered at: firstname.lastname@example.org
May 31 and June 1 - Cassowary Lodge and vicinity
I went on a 3-week tour with the Australian company Birding Worldwide, using Phil Gregory as a guide. I arrived 2 days early and stayed at Phil's place, Cassowary Lodge, for about $90 a night, I believe. Cassowary Lodge is in Kuranda, about 30 minutes from Cairns. Food was excellent and the birds at Phil's feeder and immediate area include Spotted Catbird, Victoria's Riflebird, Red-necked Crake, Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Cassowaries, among others. Phil picked me up at the airport and detoured to a local pond, where I saw some waterfowl. I had never birded Australia before, and had 45 lifers in my 3 hours birding that afternoon. There is good forest around Cassowary Lodge, and up the road, and I birded there the next day. I saw a Fernbird by the stream, an unusual bird for here, as well as Eastern Whipbird. I went to Papua New Guinea from June 2 through June 22, seeing some Australian migrants there that I would later see on my return trip to Australia
June 22, Saturday - Drive from Cairns through Port Douglas to Daintree
We returned from PNG around 11 AM. I picked up a rental car and drove north towards Port Douglas and Daintree, my first time driving on the left. I had visited Port Douglas in the seventies, when there was just a pub and a few shops. It is now a big tourist area, but there can be shorebirds on the mudflats past the town park. I saw Far Eastern Curlew and a couple of gulls, then drove north to Daintree. Night at Red Mill House, $60 with breakfast. Nice place, nice, bird-knowledgeable owners.
June 23, Sunday - Daintree boat cruise and drive to Kingfisher Park
Unfortunately it was a rainy morning, but that didn't deter Chris Dahlberg, who runs birding boat cruises. The trip is about 2 hours, and the first hour was miserable in an open boat in the rain. The main bird of note was a pair of Papuan Frogmouths. Big misses were Great Billed Heron and Little Kingfisher. Fortunately Little Kingfisher was on the grounds of Red Mill House. Just next to Red Mill is Stewart Creek Road, which passes through some good forest for half a kilometer or so. I lucked out when a Black Bittern walked across the road, and I managed to lure out a pair of Lovely Fairywrens with the assistance of a tape. For the next few days Neil of California, who I met at Red Mill and was without a car, joined me. We drove up to Cape Tribulation, which is a very nice drive, but we didn't really have time to bird it thoroughly, other than one nature walk. I drove south and then east to Kingfisher Lodge, stopping in Mossman to buy groceries for our stay at the lodge. We stayed in a fairly large and luxurious self-contained apartment with separate rooms for $112 for the next 5 days. There is a cheaper option of a bunkhouse with separate facilities in a different building. Resident at Kingfisher are an English couple, Andrew and Carol Isles, who were very helpful and knowledgeable about the local birds, and work as guides. The dry year meant some regular birds, such as Noisy Pitta were not around.
June 24, Monday - Kingfisher Lodge and vicinity
We decided to do the introductory bird walk with Andrew on the grounds of the Lodge for $20 each. The 2-hour walk turned into 3 hours, and we saw over 70 species, including Buff-banded Rail, Pale-headed Rosella, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Olive-backed oriole, and Pied Monarch, among others. Later in the morning Neil and I went out to East Mary Road, off the Mt. Carbine Road, per Andrew and Carol's directions, and saw Australian Bustards, Red-winged Parrots and a few raptors. We returned for lunch, and visited Abbatoir Swamp in the late afternoon, seeing Black-fronted Dotterel and Wandering Whistling Ducks. In the evening we did the night walk with Andrew and Carol for about $30 each, and had an excellent look at Lesser Sooty Owl, Barn Owl, Bush Stone Curlew, and mammals - Long-nosed Bandicoot, Spectacled Flying Fox, and Spotted Possum.
June 25, Tuesday - Mt. Carbine Road, Lake Mitchell, Mt. Molloy
The morning was spent birding along the Mt. Carbine road, and the lake itself, with another stop at East Mary Road. A flock of finches along the main road contained Double-barred Finches and Chestnut-breasted Mannikins, and Red-backed Kingfisher was seen en route. In the afternoon Neil and I went into the town of Mt. Molloy, where we saw Great Bowerbird by the school on Baker Road. Lake Mitchell had Red-kneed and Black-fronted Dotterels, Aust. Wood Duck, Royal Spoonbill, and other waterbirds.
June 26, Wednesday - Mt. Lewis & Kingfisher Lodge
Peter Coburn from the PNG tour had arrived the day before, and all three of us went on a morning tour of Mt. Lewis with Carol Isles that actually lasted until 2 PM. I think the cost was about $70 per person. Carol knew the local calls, and we stopped for Bower's Shrike-Thrush on the way up, and Wompoo Fruit-Dove. Superb Fruit-Dove was heard but not seen, as well as Double-eyed Fig-Parrots. At about 13 km there is an overgrown clearing with paths to both the left and right. This is a spot for Blue-faced Parrot-Finch, but they had become scarce in the last 2 weeks, possibly due to the drought, and we neither saw nor heard any. However Atherton Scrubwren and Mountain Thornbill were here. We took the path to the left, which goes to a small pond. A bit before the pond is a known Golden Bowerbird bower. We saw the bower and a female / young male en route, but no adult male. At the pond I got a quick look at a Platypus, and a Red-bellied Black Snake was on the far shore. Victoria's Riflebird was heard and briefly glimpsed, Satin Bowerbird was heard, and Spotted Catbird, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, White-throated Treecreeper, Chowchilla, Eastern Whipbird, Bridled and White-cheeked Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebill, and Yellow-breasted Boatbill were seen in the area, as well as Fernbird by Neil, and other birds. In the afternoon I birded the grounds of Kingfisher Lodge, watching the feeders with the various Honeyeaters, Buff-banded Rail, Red-browed Finches, and others, while Neil did a tour with Carol.
June 27, Thursday - Mt. Lewis and Abbatoir Swamp
I decided to return solo to Mt.Lewis, while Neil birded the grounds and Peter went on a tour with Carol for the morning. I saw most of the previous day's birds, excepting Bower's Shrike-Thrush. Notable additions were female Satin Bowerbirds, Tooth-billed Bowerbird about halfway up the mountain, Fernbird in the forest along the pond trail, and most notably, excellent looks at the Platypus again, which swam within a few feet of where I was standing (very still!), even though it was about 10 AM. In the late afternoon I returned to Abbatoir Swamp, about ten minutes drive from the lodge towards Mt. Molloy, where I saw the same birds and a lazy wallaby. The next day I set out alone, and Neil and Peter continued with their respective journeys.
June 28, Friday - Kingfisher Lodge, Mt. Molloy, Lake Mitchell, Little Mitchell Creek, and drive to Cairns
I briefly birded the Lodge at 7 AM, getting a Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo to come into the tape, then spent about 30 minutes on Baker Road, by the school in Mt. Molloy, seeing Great Bowerbird and Noisy Friarbird. I next visited Lake Mitchell, which had both Green and Cotton Pygmy-Geese, and a good variety of waterfowl. A flock of Apostlebirds was along the road before the lake. Next stop was Little Mitchell Creek, as described in Thomas & Thomas, where I walked up the dried creekbed a few minutes to where the vegetation became thicker. I played the White-browed Robin tape, and one immediately came in, allowing a long, close look. Striated "black headed" Pardalote was in the trees by the roadside. I missed the sign for Pickford Road, and could not find Tinaroo Creek Road, as described in Thomas, so drove to Cairns where I stayed the next 2 nights with Jim and Maria Hackett, who I had met on the PNG trip.
June 29, Saturday - Cairns Esplanade, Redden Island, and drive to Hartley Creek
Jim loaned me a scope and joined me for an hour's birding on the Esplanade, where we had Black-necked Stork, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, FE Curlew, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Gray-tailed Tattler, and Great Knot. Jim left and I drove to Redden Island in an unsuccessful attempt for Superb Fruit-Dove, which is supposed to be found there. Arriving at 11:15 on a hot sunny day didn't improve my chances. Nonetheless at the small sandspit just north of the river mouth I had 1 Terek Sandpiper, Red-capped Plover, Red-necked Stint, Pacific Golden Plover, and a dark phase Pacific / Eastern Reef Egret. I drove about 45 minutes north to Hartley Creek in an attempt to find Beach Stone Curlew. There were no birds here, and I returned for an hour's walk around the Cairns Botanical Gardens, where I had Magpie Goose and some other waterfowl.
June 30, Sunday - Esplanade and drive to Atherton Tablelands
I returned for a brief early morning visit to the Esplanade hoping to see the Beach Stone-Curlew that is sometimes there, but found nothing new. I took the Gordonvale route through the tablelands, stopping at the Cathedral Fig, Lake Barrine car park, and Lake Eacham, where I walked the 3 km trail around the lake, seeing little except for a male Victoria's Riflebird and Spotted Catbird. Next was the Crater, or Mt. Hypipamee National Park, which is a nice walk in its own right. I saw a Bower's Shrike-Thrush here, and some other birds seen previously. I stopped briefly at Bromfield Swamp, where you need a scope to see the distant cranes, but I did identify some Brolga. I arrived at Hasties Swamp, not far from Atherton, where there was a large assortment of waterfowl - Plumed Whistling Ducks, Magpie-Geese, and most notably a few Pink-eared Ducks. Near the observation platform was a female Red-backed Fairy-Wren, and a Restless Flycatcher, unusual at this season. Night spent at Woodlands Caravan Park for $50 in a small caravan. Unfortunately that night it was very cold, and the caravan was freezing. The park itself is good for birds, with a nice variety of honeyeaters at the various flowering trees. Yellow-faced was new for me.
July 1, Monday - Kaban loop road, Innot Hot Springs and drive to Georgetown
I birded the caravan park briefly, then set out for the Kaban loop, Flaggy Creek Road, as described in Jo Weineke's book. This is a dirt road, but passable in a regular car. At one of the towns en route were a flock of Noisy Miners. Along Flaggy Creek Road in the forest was a flock that contained Varied Sitella and Spotted Pardalote. Further along by woods at the edge of fields was a flock of parrots containing Little Lorikeets, along with Rainbows and Scaly-breasted, and Fuscous Honeyeater. A worthwhile stop is the caravan park at Innot Hot Springs, where they have bird feeders that had Gray Butcherbird, Red-Winged Parrots, and Pale-headed Rosellas. The drive to Georgetown is mostly on a one-lane paved highway, and you have to pull onto the dirt and gravel with at least one set of wheels when other cars or road trains approach. Somewhere along this highway I got a cracked windshield, for which Hertz charged me about $150. Besides other raptors, I saw several Wedge-tailed Eagles along the highway, feeding on roadkill with the Kites. At Georgetown, I birded the road past the cemetery, just west of the bridge into town. There was a large flock of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and some wallabies. I drove out to Cumberland dam, about 20 km west of Georgetown, where there was still a sizeable amount of water, contrary to the misinformation given me by Ron, the owner of Kingfisher Lodge, who had told me it was dry. There was a Brolga next to a Sarus Crane, giving a nice comparison, and a good assortment of waterfowl and shorebirds, including a few Pink-eared Ducks. A good place to look for finches is at the small pools at the south end of the dam, past an overflow area and streambed. I had Zebra Finch, Black-throated Finch, Red-browed Firetail, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, and Rufous-throated Honeyeater. A few people were camping in the area. In the trees beyond the pools were Black-faced and White-browed Woodswallows, and a small group of Budgerigars flew in briefly. Night at Midway Caravan Park for $33 with shared facilities and AC.
July 2, Tuesday - Georgetown area and Ungarra Lava tubes
I set out in the morning for Durham dam, which is a little trickier to find - you have to open a gate to the left just after a streambed. The caravan park people know where it is, and, contrary to what I had read, permission is not required to enter, as this is council land. There was a small deep canal nearby, but the main dam is back east about a kilometer, where the waterfowl was similar to Cumberland. I did have Variegated Fairy-Wren in the scrub around the canal. Afterwards I returned to Cumberland dam for the rest of the morning, seeing a few Cockatiels en route. Yellow-billed Spoonbill was new, and Diamond Dove. I walked into the forest southwest of the pools and found Masked Finch, Gray-crowned Babbler, and Brown Treecreeper. I returned to Georgetown to check my e mail in the public library, then drove back east to the Undarra Lava Tubes, which is an interesting site, although I didn't see any new birds here. I took the afternoon tour and decided to stay in the converted railway cars for $75, with shared facilities.
July 3, Wednesday - Undarra to Mission Beach
This was the first day without lifers. I left Undarra at dawn, stopping at Innot Hot Springs again, then to the Golden Bowerbird site near the Crater in the tablelands. I did see a female Bowerbird and a Crimson Rosella, but nothing else of note. I arrived at the Mission Beach Licuala track at 2:30, and spent 2 hours there not seeing much. I went back at night with a tape to try for Rufous Owl with no response. Night at Scotty's Backpackers for $49 with AC and private bath.
July 4, Thursday - Mission Beach to Townsville
At dawn I checked out the Mission Beach boat jetty, finding Roseate and Great Crested Terns. I returned to the Licuala track, seeing Wompoo Fruit Doves in the trees at the car park, and I lucked out with a pair of Cassowaries that walked by quite close at the car park. Across the street on the Licuala track, I found my target bird, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, as well as Superb Fruit-Dove. I finally got a Noisy Pitta to respond to a tape, and I saw another quite well later without a tape. Around noon I drove south and detoured on the very winding road to Paluma. I visited the tea garden, having Victoria's Riflebird eating the cream left over from my Devonshire tea, as well as other birds. Rooms here were full, so I continued to Townsville, staying at the Summit Hotel for $74 for the next 3 nights - nice room and people. Earlier I had called John Young of Trebonne from Ingham, but unfortunately he was leaving the next day for a few weeks in the desert with a TV crew. John is an expert with nightbirds, and charges $150 per person. His number is 07-4777-1271. He gets up to 6 owls a night on some trips. John had recommended that I call Jo Weineke about Rufous Owl in the Townsville area. I called Jo, and although she did not have recent info on the owl, invited me to her house in the morning for specifics on other birds
July 5, Friday - Townsville, Cromarty Landing, Woodstock area
I met Jo at her house, and she showed me locations for several of my target birds. White-gaped Honeyeater was at her house. I left rather late at 9 AM for Townsville Commons, finding the white morph of the Gray Goshawk and a good assortment of waterfowl, but nothing new. Prior to the commons I spent an hour at Cape Pallarenda to look for Tawny Frogmouth without success. Since it was hot, I broke for lunch, and in the afternoon drove south to the mangroves at Cungulla, then Cromarty Landing to look for Crimson Finch and others. The only new bird was Rufous Songlark in a field. I then made the mistake of driving towards Woodstock, which in the late afternoon is straight into the sun on a dusty road. I had a great look at a perched Spotted Harrier, but this was a complete waste of time - go in the morning. In the evening I tried the caravan park for Barking Owl, with no luck, although a flying shadow may have been the owl.
July 6, Saturday - Townsville area
A second try for the Frogmouth was successful at Cape Pallarenda. It was perched about 10 feet up in a small tree near the turnaround by the admin buildings. I hit the Common again, with the same birds, including the Goshawk. Next I went back north to Ingham to try for Crimson Finch at Tyto Wetlands. This spot is about ˝ km before Ingham; there is a turnoff to the left opposite the Ingham Motel - Cooper Street. No finches here either, so I tried the road to Trebonne and found a flock of finches next to sugar cane, finally getting a couple of Crimson Finches with the Double-barred and RB Firetails. In the afternoon I went back to the mangroves at Cungulla, seeing a White-bellied Sea-Eagle but no mangrove specialties. I met a local birder, Ian, who I would meet again on the field trip the next day. Weather was sunny, as it had been for the last few days.
July 7, Sunday - Serpentine lagoon and fly to Brisbane
I went out with Jo Weineke and the Bird Australia group to a private area near Woodstock. There was a good variety of land and water birds, and I saw my only Dingo of the trip. I returned to the Townsville airport for the flight to Brisbane, purchased through the Qantas website for $143. I drove to Tom and Marie Tarrant's place northwest of Brisbane, arriving after night. Tom was very helpful with showing me local birding spots, but was not available to go birding either the next day or the weekend.
July 8, Monday - west of Brisbane - Mt Glorious, Lake Sutherland
Tom had drawn maps with local birding spots, including a few near his house by Dayboro. It was a cold morning, and bird activity was nil at the first 3 stops (one was for White-eared Monarch, one of my misses), so I headed towards Mt Nebo for the Bell Miner colony, then towards Mt. Glorious. En route I saw Wonga Pigeon and numerous White-throated Scrubwrens, Brown Thornbill, and honeyeaters. In Mt. Glorious was a New Holland Honeyeater on the wires. I took a short walk into the forest on a trail off to the left on the outskirts of town. Whipbirds were nearby, and I had Green Catbird, but I moved on as I had an ambitious day with lots of ground to cover. I descended from Mt. Glorious to Lake Sutherland and Atkinson Dam. In the fields before Atkinson Dam I saw a few Banded Lapwing, and at Lake Sutherland were many Red-necked Avocets, and a Little Grassbird in the tall weeds near the lake. I drove out and up to Gympie for the night, staying at Gympie Budget Motel for $46. They delivered meals to the room.
July 9, Tuesday - Inskip Point, Cooloola National Park
I arrived at Inskip Point around 8:30 AM to look for Black-breasted Buttonquail, per Tom Tarrant's advice. I was fortunate to see a pair feeding and spinning in the dirt after an hour, not far from the footpath to the point. At the point was a pair of Beach Stone Curlews, and Little Wattlebirds were common in the scrub and trees. Next stop was Cooloola Park, also known by another name, Great Sandy Park, I believe. This is a spot for Ground Parrot, Southern Emu-Wren, and with luck, Grass Owl at dusk. I trudged through the grassy scrub seeing little of note besides a Pheasant Coucal. After 2 hours I returned to Inskip Point for shorebirds, seeing Pied Oystercatchers and a few others, although the Stone-Curlews were gone. I went back to Cooloola at 4 PM and stayed till dusk, not seeing the parrots, Emu-Wrens, or Grass Owl. I went to Hervey Bay and stayed with friends for the next 3 nights, doing little serious birding.
July 10, Wednesday - Hervey Bay
I spent the day with my friends Pat and Mary, going on a casual birding outing with a local group of part time birders. The only bird of note was Tawny Frogmouth, and a Square-Tailed Kite that flew over the town
July 11, Thursday - Hervey Bay
A serious birder from the club took us out to local farms where he had permission to bird. Australian Shoveler and Chestnut Teal were new for me, and I found Mangrove Honeyeater in a beach lined with mangroves. Afternoon was spent relaxing
July 12, Friday - Drive to Brisbane
I left Pat and Mary in the morning and drove south, stopping at Caloundia shore, a spot that can be good for shorebirds, but not today. Next was the Rothwell / Redcliffe aerodrome, where I lured out a Mangrove Gerygone with a tape before being politely asked to leave the area. Slaughter Falls Park in Brisbane is a spot where Rufous Owl can be seen roosting at times, but not by me during my visit. I went to nearby Bowman Park to look for the Swift Parrots that had been seen there recently. No Swifts, but Musk Lorikeet was a lifer. Next 2 nights with Greg Anderson and family, who I had contacted through the ABA.
July 13, Saturday - Bowman Park, Marburg, Lake Dyer, Sutherland, & Atkinson Dam
Greg spent the day birding with me. Bowman Park was the first stop, and we found the Swift Parrots. A short visit to Slaughter Falls Park was unproductive, so we headed west to some of the same areas I had visited on Monday, as well as some new ones. On the outskirts of Brisbane we had Long-billed Corellas along the road, apparently an introduced population that is now established. Greg showed me a dirt road near Marburg where we saw Brown Quail and Superb Fairy-Wren. Lake Dyer gave me Speckled Warbler and Brown Honeyeater. At Lake Sutherland we found the Banded Stilt that had been reported, and in the weeds were Plum-headed Finch, Red-capped Robin (female), and Brown Songlark. Night at Greg's.
July 14, Sunday - Spicer's Gap, Lake Moogerah, drive to Gold Coast
Tom Tarrant had arranged for me to go birding with Paul Walbridge, who also runs pelagic trips out of Brisbane. I picked Paul up at his house and we went to Spicer's Gap near Main Range National Park, southwest of Brisbane. We had a pair of flyby Glossy Black Cockatoos, Red-browed Treecreeper, and Striated Thornbill in the forest. We visited Lake Moogerah, where the water levels were very low, and I drove Paul back to his house. I went to Gold Coast and stayed with an old friend for the night
July 15, Monday - Lamington National Park
I set out in the early morning for O'Reilly's in Lamington, seeing a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring over the forest and fields on the way up. Before O'Reilly's I took the right turn onto Duck Creek Road. After a lookout the road could be quite difficult in the wet, especially where it descends, but I managed in my regular car, taking the turns in the gravel slowly. Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos were in the forest below the highest point, and there was one flock of flyby White-headed Pigeons. A male Rose Robin was a nice treat. I checked into O'Reilly's before noon. Regent Bowerbirds visit the feeders next to the reception, and near the cafeteria are feeders with King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas, and one Wonga Pigeon. A tour leader informed me that an Albert's Lyrebird was just seen on the Border Track opposite the entrance. I walked up a couple of hundred meters and had an excellent look at a male feeding and kicking up the dirt looking for insects. In the afternoon I tried the Python Rock Trail, seeing Logrunner and Bassian Thrush. Satin Bowerbirds were also common in many areas at Lamington. I stayed in the older part of the complex for $125 with shared facilities in a small room - very overpriced for what I got. It might be worth upgrading a bit for a nicer room, or camping. Meals are excellent and portions are generous - no dieting here. At night I walked the trail to Mick's Tower with the Marbled Frogmouth tape, but no response. Tim O'Reilly graciously lent me a tape of Lamington birds that had Marbled Frogmouth.
July 16, Tuesday - Lamington
I birded Duck Creek Road from 7 - 10, lucking out with Painted Button-Quail by the side of the road. Just as I focused on them the only vehicle of the day drove by and scared them off, but after waiting a while I relocated 3 birds down the hillside. They were in a semi-open area before some abandoned stables. In the same area I finally found a flock, with Buff-rumped Thornbill; a lone Crested Shrike-Tit was separate in the same general area. The Moran Falls trail was birded from 10:30 to 12:30, where I again saw Logrunners and a Russet-tailed Thrush, with a brief look at Albert's Lyrebird. After dinner I found a Southern Boobook perched on the railing of the walkway to the newer buildings near Mick's Tower trail. Tim O'Reilly told me another birder had seen a Frogmouth from the top of the tower at night. I climbed the tower around 9:30 and had a bird that sporadically responded to the second call on the tape, but with a sound like the first call on the tape. I finally lucked out when a second bird called quite close, and it was in the open on a vine / branch just below the tower's summit. I watched it for about 10 minutes, off and on. A trip highlight
July 17, Wednesday - Lamington and Giraween Park
I walked the Python Rock Trail in a last attempt for Paradise Riflebird, and also to see Albert's Lyrebird in display. I was extremely fortunate to see the Lyrebird in display, a truly amazing sight, and afterwards a short but excellent look at a male Paradise Riflebird. I drove out down the Duck Creek Road, seeing Rose Robin in the fields at the bottom. It took several hours through Beaudesert and Stanthorpe to get to Giraween National Park, arriving in mid-afternoon. A few kilometers before the park is a small shop, Wisteria Cottage, that also rents rooms, with bird feeders. Eastern Rosellas were in the surrounding trees, and Yellow-rumped Thornbill was with a flock in the fields to the right. In Giraween I took the trail off to the left, near the park headquarters. It was fairly quiet, but I did see Red Wattlebird, and Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. I returned to Stanthorpe, staying at the Granite Creek Hotel for $55.
July 18, Thursday - Giraween and area, drive to Gold Coast
This was my last real day of birding. I set out before dawn in the frost for Wisteria Cottage, seeing Common Bronzewing, both Rosellas and King Parrots. I tried another trail that went to a lookout (Castle Rock?). I heard a Superb Lyrebird calling off to my right in the foothills, but my attempt at seeing it was probably thwarted by the dry noisy scrub as I bushwhacked. New were Southern Whiteface, White-plumed Honeyeater, and a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren in a scrubby open field about 1 km from the trailhead. I drove around some of the surrounding roads in an unsuccessful attempt to locate Turquoise Parrots, even though it was the wrong season. I did get my last lifer of the trip, White-eared Honeyeater. I then drove back to my friend's at Gold Coast.
July 19, Friday - No real birding
My friend Cobb and I walked in a swampy area by his house, but I didn't see any new birds. The afternoon was spent in the towns by Surfer's Paradise
July 20, Saturday - No birding
Hanging out with Cobb, then drive to Brisbane airport for my flight to New Caledonia
I do not have an electronic trip list. I have mentioned the key species in the main text. If there are any questions on specific species, I will gladly answer them at: email@example.com