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Central Queensland BirdwatchingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: November 2006
In the late afternoon we went birding and found an Eastern Yellow Robin and 20 Banded Lapwings. We walked along the Broken River and saw a small Platypus swimming in the river, along with a Little Black Cormorant and a Nanking Night Heron.
On the way back to the lodge we saw 100's of Plumbed Whistling Ducks fly into a farmyard across from the resort. The pasture was covered with Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. We ate dinner at the resort restaurant. We had Brochette with salsa, Porterhouse medallions with mushrooms and Epicurean Curley Fries, and Spanish and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli with onions and mushrooms sauteed in wine and cream (terrific sauce). You know you are going to get a lot of food when they bring it to you in a wheelbarrow. For dessert, we had Chocolate Mud Cake with Chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on a plate drizzled with nutmeg. Beautiful!!
On Nov 20 we woke-up to the whip crack of the Eastern Whipbird. When we went for a walk a flock of Australian King Parrots flew into the resort.
Eungella is located in a Cloud Channel -- a gap in the Mt range that lets low level clouds pass easily. In the early morning we got the usual misting from the passing clouds.
The Eungella Honeyeater we had come here to see was gone. Two weeks ago they were all over the resort grounds eating flower blossoms, but not today. We went on a few short Rainforest walks before heading down the mountain.
We found our way thru Mackay and arrived at the Sea Breeze Resort on Slade Point (21.071S 149.229E) about 2pm. We were going to cook here, but the only grocery store around was back in downtown Mackay. We decided to eat at the resort, which is also the local Casino and drive thru Bottle Shop.
In the late afternoon we went for a walk. There had been a big brush fire near the resort today that was still billowing smoke. We saw the beautiful sandy beach near the resort.
We ate dinner at the casino. We started with pumpkin soup with garlic bread. My wife had deep fried prawns with garden salad. I had Thai Chicken stir-fry with Jasmine Rice.
On Nov 22 we were off at 5:30am. About 140 Km south of Mackay the Bruce Highway came close to the ocean. We turned off at Clairview Beach (22.121S 149.537E) for a look. The tide was out. We had mud flats as far as you could see. We saw a Brahminy Kite flying down the beach with its noise about an inch above the sand, a baby Red-capped Plover, a pair of Pied Oystercatchers, Eastern Reef Herons, and several White-rumped Swiftlets.
We got to the Brae Bothy B&B at 1:30pm. We had arranged to have our dinner with Judy & Keith, our hosts. Keith fixed baked chicken with pumpkin, carrots, potatoes and broccoli. For dessert we had blueberry pie with pudding.
On Nov 23 (Thanksgiving back home) it got light at 4:45am. Before we left the B&B we saw a Pale-headed Rosella. We were off at 5:30am for the scenic Mary River Loop Drive (23.106S 150.585E).
The road to Mary River took us by Ironpot Mountain, for which this area is named. As you might imagine, it looks like an up-side-down Iron Pot. The road was gravel on a hard base, which made for good driving. There wasn't a lot of traffic, so we could stop whenever we wanted.
Along the way we saw Squatter Pigeons and Crested Doves running in the road. We saw a Gray-crowned Babbler -- then there were 8 of them. Babblers have a community nest that the whole clan lays eggs in. All the adults then feed the mob of chicks. The Babbler's call is like a car security system going off.
The highlight of the river drive was seeing 2 pairs of Cotton Pygmy Geese. We have seen heaps of Green Pygmy Geese, but Cotton Pygmy Geese are hard to find. We saw a male run another pair out of his territory.
The 59 Km (37 mile) river drive took us 5 hours. As we were concluding the river drive a pair of huge Broglas flew in. We hoped they would do their courting dance, but they just walked off.
Late morning we drove over to Emu Point to see the beaches. We found some beach glass, a Greater Crested Tern, and an Eastern Curlew. The beaches were spectacular with countless offshore islands.
We stopped at a beach backwater for fish and chips. We thought they would come on a plate. I got them wrapped in butcher paper with no knife or fork, no ketchup or tarter sauce, and no napkins. The fish was Red Emperor. We took our package across the street to a shaded picnic table. It was good food, after we got by the package shock.
For Thanksgiving dinner Judy fixed steak with mashed potatoes & gravy, carrots, green beans and pumpkin. For dessert we had sticky-date pudding over date bread.
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