Central Queensland BirdwatchingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: December 2006
Seeing 47 bird species on the drive from Yeppoon to Chinchilla thru the arid Outback of Queensland.
Of the 153 bird species we saw in Central Queensland, 49 are endemic to Australia. Most of the 102 non-Australian Endemic bird species we saw in Central Queensland were new for us. 4 species were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is: Cotton Pygmy-goose, Mangrove Honeyeater, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, & Squatter Pigeon
On Nov 16 we left Mission Beach at 7:30am. About Noon we stopped in Ingham at Wooly's for groceries. We wanted to get lamb & cheese patties, but this is beef country, so we settled for beef & cheese patties (looked the same).
South of Ingham we stopped at the Frosty Mango for lunch. We had a Chicken Wrap, Passion Tart slice, a Milk Shake with Chocolate Chip Biscuits and Mascarpone Ice Cream, and the thickest Ice Coffee yet (it was like a thick malt with coffee instead of malt).
We turned off the Bruce Highway and headed up the steep, narrow, and winding Paluma Road. It took us about an hour to go 21 Km. Paluma (19.000S 146.217E) is at an elevation of 3000 ft.
Mid-afternoon we went for a walk in the Rainforest on the outskirts of town. It was the coolest place we had found today, but dark. We heard and tracked down a Tooth-billed Bowerbird and found his bower of shiny leaves in a circle. This Bowerbird was very procreatively motivated by the size of his bower. Later we saw a pair of White-headed Pigeons. The Rainforest was swarming with butterflies. We did the 1.3 Km walk in 1 hour.
Later we sat on the porch of the cottage and saw heaps of birds in the late afternoon; i.e., Noisy Pita, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Spotted Catbirds, etc. Our best find was a female Regent Bowerbird.
On Nov 17 a small flock of 7 Crimson Rosellas (parrots) were in the Pink Mimosa Bush in our front yard before sunrise. The Rose-pink heads of the Rosella's blended in with the Mimosa blossoms. The yard was a twitter with birds. A Macleay's Honeyeater dive-bombed our Br. We had 2 male and 2 female Victoria's Riflebirds in the yard till the males squared off to fight. A Lewin's Honeyeaters landed on the porch rail and stared at us. A Noisy Pitta strolled thru the yard several times calling "Walk to Work. We sat on the front porch for 3 hours of delightful birding.
We took a brief walk around town. There were lots of nice houses with beautiful flower gardens, and lots of Topknot Pigeons and other birds. Mid morning we went for a drive to Birthday Creek Falls (18.976S 146.158E). The road went thru the Rainforest -- 4 Km sealed and 6 Km of pretty smooth gravel. There was a 0.5 Km moderately steep track down hill to the cascading style falls. It was very beautiful and well worth the effort to get there.
At the falls we spotted an Azure Kingfisher. We saw it dive into the water for a few seconds and emerge with a Yabby (crawfish) in its mouth.
We drove another 5 Km out the gravel road to Lake Paluma (18.956S 146.147E). The lake was formed in 1958 as a water reservoir for Townsville.
In the afternoon we walked around town. Some of the coleus here have turned into scrubs. They grow wild along the roads. The flowers are awesome! The best birds today were the Scarlet Honeyeater and BrownThornbill.
On Nov 18 we went for an early morning 1.3 Km walk thru the Rainforest to the Witt Overlook. We saw 6 Eastern Whipbird dash across the trail in front of us. We also saw the female Regent Bowerbird, several male Victoria's Riflebirds, heaps of Scrubwrens, and a Pale-yellow Robin.
We walked around town in the afternoon looking at the flowers and butterflies. Later, we got a Noisy Pitta bobbing around our yard.
On Nov 19 we left 6:15am. It took 35 minutes to get down the 18 Km of steep, windy road. Fortunately, we didn't meet any cars until we were nearly at the bottom of the Mountain.
We drove 328 miles and arrived at Eungella (pronounced Young-Gella 21.167S 148.505E) at 2pm. Eungella is located 1500 ft up in the Great Dividing Range. The road was pretty good but steep for 4.5 Km.
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