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Old Tuesday 1st March 2005, 21:23   #1
Edward
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Queensland - October/November 2004

Australia: 20 October - 8 November 2004

How to see 250 species on a family holiday and still stay in the good books
In October-November this year I visited Australia with my wife and parents-in-law to attend a family wedding in Brisbane. We stayed roughly two weeks in Brisbane and the last week in Far North Queensland (Port Douglas and Cairns). It was not a birding trip as the other members of the party are non-birders. However, as the birding aspect was pretty important to me I managed three whole days in the field and also did at least three hours birding locally every day at dawn, just walking around to see what I could find. In total I managed to see 249 species, far more than I expected and testimony to what an outstanding place Australia is for the visiting birder. Because of my limited time for birding I hired the services of local guide Del Richards for a day at Mt Lewis/Julatten and Del’s superb knowledge of the area and his great ear for forest birds ensured that the day in search of bowerbirds and Chowchillas in the rainforest was one of the best days birding I’ve ever had. In Brisbane I went for a day with local guide Ian Venables who was an excellent birding companion. In Samsonvale Tom Tarrant very kindly got up at an ungodly hour on two occasions to show me the local birds, helping me see far more than I could have on my own and providing me with tips on other places. A very big thanks to Tom.

Useful websites:
http://www.ausbird.com/ - a very useful directory
http://www.aviceda.org/ - Tom Tarrant’s website for SE Queensland
http://www.finefeathertours.com.au/ - Del Richards’ website
http://www.birdtours.co.uk/ -good source of trip reports
http://www.fatbirder.com/ - another good source of trip reports and more

Field Guides
Field Guide to the Birds of Australia – Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight. Easily my favourite Australian field guide but it’s too big to fit in a pocket. Plenty of advanced homework required to familiarize yourself.

Weather
It’s spring in October and getting warm in Brisbane. It was in fact rather cool on the first two days, around 20°C but then was around 30°C the rest of the time, rising to 37°C one day. In FNQ it was hot and humid, ranging from 28-35°C and the sea was 28°C at Port Douglas (!).

Birds
The superb thing about Australia for the first time visitor is that birds are both abundant and unfamiliar. Not only are the vast majority of species new, so are many families. In the Brisbane area conspicuous and virtually unmissable species included the following: Australian White Ibis, Masked Lapwing, Australian Wood Duck, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike, Torresian Crow, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Willie Wagtail, Noisy Miner, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Pied Butcherbird, Grey Butcherbird, Sacred Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Crested Pigeon, Galah, Figbird. A trip into any wooded area would invariably yield for example Silvereye, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Shrike-thrush, and any expanse of water would hold Dusky Moorhen and Pacific Black Duck. Other attractive birds such as Dollarbird and Rainbow Bee-eater were seen daily, and Australian Koels were very effective alarm clocks at 4 a.m. every morning in Brisbane.
In Port Douglas birds seen daily and which were not seen in SE Queensland included Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Helmeted Friarbird, Black Butcherbird, Metallic Starling. Other common birds included White-breasted Woodswallow, Yellow-bellied Sunbird and Mistletoebird.

Places visited:
Brisbane area 20 October – 2 November
Samford – This small town just west of Brisbane was my base for the first two weeks as it is where my brother lives. It provided a perfect introduction to Australian birds with numerous lifers in my brother’s garden within minutes of arriving, such as Eastern Whipbird, Olive-backed Oriole. Approximately 50 species seen on the first day just walking off the jet-lag for a couple of hours.

Mt Glorious/Mt Nebo/Maiala National Park – only 20 minutes west of Samford and a superb area of subtropical rainforest. Far more productive in my experience than the famed Lamington, although lacking Albert’s Lyrebird, and no crowds whatsoever.
Key birds: Logrunner, Russet-tailed Thrush, Satin Bowerbird, Wonga Pigeon, Large-billed Scrubwren, White-throated Treecreeper, Wompoo Fruit-dove, Green Catbird, Australian Hobby, Bell Miner

Samsonvale – a rural area just north of Samford which I had been introduced to via Tom Tarrant’s Birding South-east Queensland website. A brilliant area for birding with a range of habitats; farmland, lakes, eucalypt forest, and best of all Samsonvale cemetery, where I saw new species on each of my four or five visits.
Key birds: Pallid Cuckoo, Speckled Warbler, Striped Honeyeater, White-throated Gerygone, Tawny Frogmouth, Nankeen Night Heron, Tawny Grassbird, Golden-headed Cisticola, Mistletoebird, Spotted Harrier, Topknot Pigeon, Rose-crowned Fruit-dove, Brown Quail, King Quail, Grey Goshawk, White-winged Triller, Pheasant Coucal, White-bellied Sea-eagle.

Bullocky Rest: area at the eastern end of Lake Samsonvale which includes small wetland
Key birds: Baillon’s Crake, Spotless Crake, Black-backed Bittern, Australian Reed Warbler

Lamington/O’Reilly’s – a beautiful area with some fantastic birds although on my day trip I found the forests much quieter in terms of birds than Maiala. Wall-to-wall tourism at O’Reilly’s itself. Start early and get out into the forest to avoid the crowds. Regent Bowerbirds look far more spectacular in the dim understorey of the forest than sitting on some tourist’s head. I didn’t try to see the notoriously skulking endemic Rufous Scrub-bird due to time constraints.
Key birds: Albert’s Lyrebird, Logrunner, Paradise Riflebird, Regent Bowerbird, Satin Bowerbird, Green Catbird, Bassian Thrush, Striated Thornbill, White-throated Treecreeper

Manly – seaside suburb of Brisbane, good for waders if you catch the tides right.
Key birds: Mangrove Gerygone, Collared Kingfisher.

Brisbane CBD – the botanical gardens aren’t spectacular but I saw my first Tree Martins, Spangled Drongo there, and my first Caspian Tern whilst I was sipping a Crown Lager by the Brisbane River.

Noosa – beautiful seaside resort two hours north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast. There is a very attractive headland but this fills up with walkers very early in the morning. Little Wattlebird was extremely common at the end of the headland.
Key birds: Little Wattlebird, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Eastern Reef Egret, Spangled Drongo


Far North Queensland – 2-8 November
Port Douglas – A beautiful seaside resort and a superb place to stay if you are with non-birders. Also close to the famed Julatten/Mt Lewis areas.
Key birds: Lovely Fairy-wren, Varied Triller, White-rumped Swiftlet, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Brown-backed Honeyeater

Mossman River – went on a very enjoyable river cruise with local birder Peter Cooper here.
Key birds: Shining Flycatcher, Large-billed Gerygone, Yellow Oriole, Papuan Frogmouth

Mt Lewis/Julatten/Mt Carbine – everything from highland rainforest to searing outback in a small area. So much has been written about this area that I won’t repeat it here, suffice to say that it’s unmissable.
Key birds Mt Lewis/Julatten: Chowchilla, Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Golden Bowerbird, Spotted Catbird, Grey-headed Robin, Fernwren, Mountain Thornbill, Atherton Scrubwren, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Bower’s Shrike-thrush, Red-winged Parrot, several honeyeater sp.
Key birds Mt Carbine: Northern Fantail, Banded Honeyeater, Fairy Gerygone, Gould’s Bronze-cuckoo, Australian Bustard, Australian Pipit, Red-kneed Dotterel, Grey-crowned Babbler, Apostlebird, Great Bowerbird, Squatter Pigeon, Blue-winged Kookaburra

Cairns Esplanade – The Cairns Esplanade is surely one of the world’s great urban birding sites. Lots of waders extremely close, telescopes not really necessary. If waders aren’t your thing then there are Varied Honeyeaters and Double-Eyed Fig-Parrots too.
Key birds: Superb views of numerous wader species, Varied Honeyeater, Double-eyed Fig-parrot

Cairns Centenary Lakes – a park in Cairns which I briefly visited and enjoyed a lot. Make a very early start to beat the joggers.
Key birds: Lovely Fairy-wren, Black Bittern, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot

Cairns Mangrove Boardwalk – didn’t see a single bird here, literally.

In a trip of so many superb birds it’s hard to pick out a highlight but here’s my personal and very subjective top ten anyway
1. Logrunner – my all time favourite bird, seen first at Maiala and then at Lamington
2. Chowchilla – my second favourite bird, seen at Mt Lewis
3. Channel-billed Cuckoo – seen briefly at Samsonvale, heard frequently but it wasn’t until Julatten that I got satisfactory views of this giant, the world’s largest parasitic bird.
4. Albert’s Lyrebird – a single bird seen near the guesthouse at O’Reilly’s after we had given up hope of finding one deep in the forest.
5. Grey-crowned Babbler – I’d searched without success near Brisbane for this but Del found a family party at Mt Carbine.
6. Lovely Fairy-wren – all fairy-wrens are magical but for the sake of argument let’s take this one, the hardest of the four I saw to catch up with, and a magnificent little thing.
7. Russet-tailed Thrush – seeing this endemic Zoothera feeding on a path a few feet away from me at Maiala was simply superb. Saw the closely related Bassian Thrush often at Lamington but the first sighting of its relative just tops it.
8. Regent Bowerbird – the first time I saw this was sitting on someone’s head at O’Reilly’s where it was so misty that I could only see the golden bits. It’s far better to see it in the rainforest where the golden colours are fabulously vivid in the dense understorey.
9. Tooth-billed Bowerbird – certainly not the most vivid of the bowerbirds but hearing it deliver its incredibly loud song at its display arena was a terrific privilege.
10. Great Bowerbird – Seen at its bower in the searing heat of Mt Carbine caravan park, pink crest and all!

Bird List

Australian Brush-turkey Alectura lathami
Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius reinwardt
Brown Quail Coturnix ypsilophora
King Quail Coturnix chinensis
Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata
Wandering Whistling-duck Dendrocygna arcuata
Black Swan Cygnus atratus
Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata
Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa
Grey Teal Anas gracilis
Chestnut Teal Anas castanea
Hardhead Aythya australis
Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Australasian Gannet Morus serrator
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
Australian Darter Anhinga melanogaster
Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax varius
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus
White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Eastern Reef Egret Egretta sacra
White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica
Great Egret Ardea alba
Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia
Cattle Egret Ardea ibis
Striated Heron Butorides striatus
Nankeen Night Heron Nycticorax caledonicus
Black-backed Bittern Ixobrychus novazelandiae
Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Australian Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
Spotter Harrier Circus assimilis
Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus
Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae
Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrhocephalus
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax
Brown Falcon Falco berigora
Australian Hobby Falco longipennis
Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroides
Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis
Baillion’s Crake Porzana pusilla
Spotless Crake Porzana tabuensis
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris
Sanderling Calidris alba
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Comb-crested Jacana Irediparra gallinacea
Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius
Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus
Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus
Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii
Black-fronted Dotterel Elseyornis melanops
Red-kneed Dotterel Erythrogonys cinctus
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
Crested Tern Sterna bergii
Little Tern Sterna albifrons
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
Rock Dove Columba livia
White-headed Pigeon Columba leucomela
Spotted Turtle-dove Streptopelia chinensis
Brown Cuckoo-dove Macropygia amboinensis
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis
Peaceful Dove Geopelia placida
Squatter Pigeon Geophaps scripta
Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes
Pied Imperial-pigeon Ducula bicolor
Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus
Wonga Pigeon Leucosarcia melanoleuca
Rose-crowned Fruit-dove Ptilinopus regina
Wompoo Fruit-dove Ptilinopus magnificus
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatooCalyptorhynchus funereus
Galah Eulophus roseicapillus
Long-billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans
Pale-headed Rosella Platycercus adscitus
Double-eyed Fig-parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma
Australian King Parrot Alisterus scapularis
Red-winged Parrot Aprosmictus erythropterus
Pallid Cuckoo Cuculus pallidus
Shining Bronze-cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus
Gould’s Bronze-cuckoo Chrysococcyx russatus
Australian Koel Eudynamys cyanocephala
Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae
Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianus
Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis
Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides
White-rumped Swiftlet Aerodromnus spodiopygius
White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus
Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus
Forest Kingfisher Todiramphus macleayii
Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
Albert’s Lyrebird Menura alberti
White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaeus
Lovely Fairy-wren Malurus amabilis
Variegated Fairy-wren Malurus lamberti
Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus
Red-backed Fairy-wren Malurus melanocephalus
Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus
Speckled Warbler Chthonicola sagittata
Fernwren Oreoscopus gutturalis
Yellow-throated Scrubwren Sericornis citreogularis
White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis
Atherton Scrubwren Sericornis keri
Large-billed Scrubwren Sericornis magnirostris
Brown Gerygone Gerygone mouki
Mangrove Gerygone Gerygone levigaster
Large-billed Gerygone Gerygone magnirostris
White-throated Gerygone Gerygone olivacea
Fairy Gerygone Gerygone palpebrosa
Mountain Thornbill Acanthiza katherina
Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla
Striated Thornbill Acanthiza lineata
Macleay’s Honeyeater Xanthotis macleayana
Bridled Honeyeater Lichenostomus frenatus
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops
Varied Honeyeater Lichenostomus versicolor
Yellow Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavus
Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii
Yellow-spotted Honeyeater Meliphaga notata
Graceful Honeyeater Meliphaga gracilis
Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala
Bell Miner Manorina melanophrys
Blue-faced Honeyeater Entomyzon cyanotis
White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis
Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis
Helmeted Friarbird Philemon buceroides
Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus
Striped Honeyeater Plectorhyncha lanceolata
Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera
Brown Honeyeater Lichmera indistincta
White-cheeked Honeyeater Phylidonyris nigra
Brown-backed Honeyeater Ramsayornis modestus
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Banded Honeyeater Certhionyx pectoralis
Dusky Honeyeater Myzomela obscura
Grey-headed Robin Poecilodryas albispecularis
Pale-yellow Robin Tregellasia capito
Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis
Logrunner Orthonyx temminckii
Chowchilla Orthonyx spaldingii
Grey-crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis
Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis
Rufous Whistler Pachycephala rufiventris
Bower’s Shrike-thrush Colluricincla boweri
Little Shrike-thrush Colluricincla megarhyncha
Grey Shrike-thrush Colluricincla harmonica
Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons
Grey Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa
Northern Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus
Spectacled Monarch Monarcha trivirgatus
Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis
Pied Monarch Arses kaupi
Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca
Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula
Shining Flycatcher Myiagra alecto
Yellow-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus flaviventer
Paradise Riflebird Ptiloris paradiseus
Black Butcherbird Cracticus quoyi
Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus
Pied Butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen
Pied Currawong Strepera graculina
White-breasted WoodswallowArtamus leucorynchus
Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris
Barred Cuckoo-shrike Coracina lineata
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis
Varied Triller Lalage leucomela
White-winged Triller Lalage tricolor
Australasian Figbird Sphecotheres vieilloti
Yellow Oriole Oriolus flavocinctus
Olive-backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus
Torresian Crow Corvus orru
Apostlebird Struthidea cinerea
Green Catbird Ailuroedus crassirostris
Spotted Catbird Ailuroedus melanotis
Tooth-billed Bowerbird Scenopoeetes dentirostris
Golden Bowerbird Prionodura newtoniana
Regent Bowerbird Sericulus chrysocephalus
Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus
Great Bowerbird Chlamydera nuchalis
Bassian Thrush Zoothera lunulata
Russet-tailed Thrush Zoothera heinei
Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena
Fairy Martin Petrochelidon ariel
Tree Martin Petrochelidon nigricans
Australian Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae
Australian Reed-warbler Acrocephalus australis
Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis
Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum
Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarina jugularis
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis
Double-barred Finch Taeniopygia bichenovii
Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin Lonchura castaneothorax
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Old Friday 11th March 2005, 09:54   #2
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Good stuff Edward, brought back a lot of good memories for me. I am just a little bit gripped that two of your top ten are species that I haven't seen. To get my own back however, I will merely point out if you think Lovely Fairy-wren is neat, wait until you see Splendid Fairy-wren... None more blue as Spinal Tap almost said.

Cheers,

Stuart
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Old Friday 11th March 2005, 10:37   #3
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Jeez Edward,
Not much left to get when you come back next year!
Tom
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Old Friday 11th March 2005, 21:45   #4
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Great stuff. I'll 2nd everything you said. Marvelous.

This is my last computer check before getting on a plane for Bali and Lombok. Hope to see the 1 Honeyeater species. A lone outpost representing all those great birds you saw down under. thanks again...........chris
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Old Wednesday 16th March 2005, 11:49   #5
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Yes, Stuart, well and truly gripped off with the Splendid Fairy-wren. To see it in Queensland I'd have had to have driven about 1,000 km west, a bit far before breakfast. But one day I'm going to see all 25 (27? new splits) Australian Maluridae. Fancy a desert expedition?

Tom, with over 800 species on the Australian list I think there are one or two birds I can see on my next trip. Plenty of birds I haven't seen in your garden I should imagine, Varied Sitella, Common Bronzewing, Australian Owlet-nightjar, any Oz owl, Marbled Frogmouth (close to you anyway), Spotted Quail-thrush. I could go on...

E
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Old Wednesday 16th March 2005, 12:26   #6
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Hang Tom's garden, Edward. Come on down here to the real Australia. On my patch, I can offer you Superb, Splendid and Varigated Fairy-wrens, half a dozen robins including the elusive Southern Scrub-robin, lots of waterbirds (some of them rare or absent in the north), owls if you're lucky, crakes and rails, heaps of different parrots, Red-tailed and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (of all the wonderful cockatoos, the Yellow-tailed is surely the most wonderful, though they are all pretty good), Crested Shrike-tit, and more honeyeaters than you can poke a stick at.

And better weather.

:)
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Old Wednesday 16th March 2005, 12:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tannin
Hang Tom's garden, Edward. Come on down here to the real Australia. On my patch, I can offer you Superb, Splendid and Varigated Fairy-wrens, half a dozen robins including the elusive Southern Scrub-robin, lots of waterbirds (some of them rare or absent in the north), owls if you're lucky, crakes and rails, heaps of different parrots, Red-tailed and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (of all the wonderful cockatoos, the Yellow-tailed is surely the most wonderful, though they are all pretty good), Crested Shrike-tit, and more honeyeaters than you can poke a stick at.

And better weather.

:)
Agreed about the cockatoos - they are all fantastic birds. However, i think my vote would go to Short-billed Black Cockatoo (or whatever it's called this week), if only because in my experience they are louder and go around in bigger gangs than all the others !
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Old Wednesday 16th March 2005, 13:13   #8
Edward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tannin
Hang Tom's garden, Edward. Come on down here to the real Australia. On my patch, I can offer you Superb, Splendid and Varigated Fairy-wrens, half a dozen robins including the elusive Southern Scrub-robin, lots of waterbirds (some of them rare or absent in the north), owls if you're lucky, crakes and rails, heaps of different parrots, Red-tailed and Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos (of all the wonderful cockatoos, the Yellow-tailed is surely the most wonderful, though they are all pretty good), Crested Shrike-tit, and more honeyeaters than you can poke a stick at.

And better weather.

:)
You've sold it to me, Tony. I'll darken your door one day. I've seen very few robins, only Eastern Yellow (stacks of them, of course), Pale-yellow and a brief sighting of Grey-headed. There's a lot more variety in terms of parrots where you are too. But just exactly how am I supposed to cram in Victoria, Tasmania, WA and the red centre into my next trip?

Didn't have the pleasure of Short-billed Black of course Stuart, and was rather miffed to miss out on Red-tailed Black and Glossy Black, but the sight of 20 Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos near Brisbane literally made me drive off the road!

E
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Old Thursday 17th March 2005, 10:22   #9
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Talking Exciting birding in Mexico

Hi Ed,

Gee, Tannin's place sounds like the place to be!
The last time I was in Victoria it was a tad chilly (temperature closer to Iceland's!) although I picked up a few new species....Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Skylark, Blackbird (Oh.. alright then, White-backed Magpie in a national park on the border with NSW or some other bird-impoverished state)
Why would ya bother with such a place?

Will send a report from our Easter-trip to the southern border parts (Stanthorpe, Inglewood, Warwick) ...will probably see the complete Victorian list in the first hour! (....and won't need a jacket!)

Looking forward to this weekend's Gold Coast pelagic, cyclone's permitting (...will send pics!)

Tom
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Old Thursday 17th March 2005, 10:33   #10
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And better weather.
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Looking forward to this weekend, cyclones permitting
I rest my case Your Worship.
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Old Thursday 17th March 2005, 10:46   #11
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Hi Tony (....caught the bait!)

Must admit I've been tempted by cooler prospects this summer (went to NZ... where it was warmer than Qld) but there's only about 3 native-birds (like Victoria) .....paradise is hard to surrender....when are you emigrating north? (like most of the mexicans down-there?)

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Old Thursday 17th March 2005, 11:57   #12
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Oh, I'll be back to Queensland before too long, Tom. It's too darm nice a place to stay away from any longer than you have to. My next big trip (6 weeks or so) will be the Cooper and points north, weather and time of year permitting. Or else the Kimberley. And I absolutely must revisit the stretch of country between Rockhampton and the Daintree, then push on up the Cape. Not to mention a return to Mt Isa with those wonderful arid country birds. And a much better look at NE NSW and SE Queensland. Not to mention what Edward's write-up is doing to my travel plans. And then there is the Gulf again, and the northern Qld-NT border country that I missed last time because I didn't have a suitable vehicle back then. And ..... The list goes on and on. Please that I live long enough to see all that I want to see. (I won't, of course. No-one does. You could live to be 300 and not see half of what you'd like to.)

But seriously now, I often used to think that I should move to somewhere else: I've been almost everywhere that's worth going to within an hour's drive of here and seen all but a handful of the birds I'll ever see in the immediate area. So I used to think that it would be good to move somewhere new.

But then I realised, as I travelled more and more, that it wouldn't matter where I moved to, I'd still keep on travelling around and around this wonderful continent. I could settle in Brisbane or in Broome, but I'd still be making trips to the Coorong or the Daintree, the Australian Alps or the gibber plains.

So I might as well stay here.

And this is, when you stop to think about it, probably one of the two or three best general areas for the obsessive birdo to live. From where I am, in a three or four day weekend, I can sensibly reach all of Victoria, anywhere in NSW south of Bourke (I've driven Bourke to Ballarat in a single day and still arrived fresh - mostly on backroads, which is half the secret), anywhere in South Australia east of Ceduna, and Tasmania is just a two hour drive and a government subsidised $25 overnight trip on the car ferry away. That's a phenomenal variety of habitat! The thing about Victoria is that it's so small that you can easily be in other places all weekend and still be back at work on Monday morning.

I rather think that the only better single base to operate from would be somewhere between Cairns and Townsville. You miss the southern species, but you pick up a lot of those in the mountains of the northern Great Divide, and you gain the wonderful tropical birds as well.

Northern NSW or south-east Qld wouild have to be close as well, but you'd really need to think in terms of 5-day weekends to get to Cairns or Port Fairy from there.

Two other hot spots I should mention in this context: Darwin and places nearby: a hell of a long way from anywhere else, but fantastic birdwatching; and the south-west corner of WA. Southern WA is limited in that you miss out on a huge number of eastern species and it's a long, long drive to see them, but has a great deal to offer by way of the local endemics.

All in all, I'll plump for either outback Victoria or somewhere in northern Queensland: Tully, for example.

Seeing as I already live and work here and moving house is such a pain - never mind having to sell my business and start another one - I'll stay put, I think, and focus my energies on spending as little time at work as possible.

I like not spending time at work!
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Old Thursday 17th March 2005, 11:59   #13
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PS: Victoria in summer is often hotter than Qld - but far less humid. Victoria in winter, on the other hand, is one reason I spend half my life driving to NSW or South Australia on the weekends!
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Old Thursday 17th March 2005, 16:52   #14
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All in all, I'll plump for either outback Victoria or somewhere in northern Queensland: Tully, for example.
Take a rain coat, I believe Tully is the wettest place in Australia!

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