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Southern Queensland BirdingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: December 2006
Hearing thousands of Bell Miners singing at Bellbird Point in the Main Range NP. Watching Kangaroos race Thoroughbreds on a horse farm.
Discovering Haloumi frying cheese.
Of the 186 bird species we saw in the Southern Queensland area, 74 were endemic to Australia. Most of the 112 non-Australian Endemic bird species we saw in the Southern Queensland area were new for us. 15 species were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is: Albert's Lyrebird, Singing Bushlark, Australasian Magpie, Sooty-Owl, Green Catbird, Speckled Warbler, Ground Cuckoo-shrike, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Little Buttonquail, White-headed Sittella, Logrunner, White-throated Gerygone, Pallid Cuckoo, Wonga Pigeon, & Paradise Riflebird.
On Nov 26 we were up at 6am. The road East was narrow and hummocky with speed limits up to 110 Kmph (70mph). The area we drove thru today was agricultural, but without the crops. We arrived at Helidon about 2pm.
In the late afternoon we drove to Lake Apex in Gatton (27.571S 152.270E). There were two small tree-covered islands in the lake saturated with thousands of breeding Cattle Egrets with their burnt-rufous heads. The Egrets were so thick the trees looked like they were covered in cotton.
On Nov 27 we got to Apex Lake at 7am. We took the 1-mile track around the lake and saw baby Australian Ibis, baby Pacific Black Ducks, and "baby" Black Swan. We also saw 2 pairs of Blue-billed Ducks.
At 11:30am we went searching for lunch. We took the alternate route to the top of the Toowoomba Escarpment (bluff), which put us on a 21% grade road for 1 mile . We had lunch at a good Italian Restaurant - La Fresco. My wife had the chef's special: chicken, chives and Proscuito mixed into gnocchi (potato based pasta) with a creamy chardonnay sauce. I had the house specialty: sauteed chicken breast with sun dried tomatoes, bacon, basil caramelized onions, chips and a garden salad.
Afterwards, we discussed the various means of the word "tea" with our waiter and another customer. Once someone asked us if "Chicken was all right for tea". We couldn't understand what he was saying since you don't drink chicken. It turns out that "tea" can mean a drink, or lunch, or teatime, or dinner. The waiter said Australians confuse each other with the way they use "tea" all the time.
"Jumper" is another word with various meanings including "sweatshirt". The Captain of the Australian Rugby team that just won the Tri-Nations tournament has released a special Jumper (sports jersey) to commemorate the event. We told them it meant a form of woman's dress in the US. They never heard of that.
In the afternoon we drove out to Crows Nest and Ravensbourne NP (27.249S 152.411E). We saw lots of Bougainvillea Bushes and Jacaranda Trees along the route. We spotted an English Deer in velvet along the road -- it didn't look anything like a Whitetail or Mule Deer. We saw wild Petunias and Glads. This area has 2 large water retention lakes, but the lakes are down 80% due to the drought.
On Nov 28 we went birding along the Lockyer Creek (27.572S 152.168E) in the morning. We mostly saw ducks, but a Red-backed Fairy-wren showed up and a Capricorn White-eye.
We drove back to La Fresco's for lunch. My wife had chicken breast strips with sweet potatoes planks on a lemon salad with salsa and pecans. I had Chicken Parmesan with Napolitiana Sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese, fresh herbs, chips, and salad.
On Nov 29 we were off at 8am for the 100-mile drive to the Magpie Creek Thoroughbred Farmstay. After checking out the kitchen, we went to Jimboomba for lunch and grocery shopping. Unfortunately, the restaurants didn't open till Noon, so we got some tucker and came back to the farm for a picnic.
In the afternoon we went to the information center in Canungra to get local maps. Later we drove to Mt Tambourine NP (27.938S 153.177E). The drought has had a browning affect on the area. The waterfalls we visited were nearly dry. But, a few Noisy Miners caught our attention. The high temp today was 106F (41C).
For dinner we fixed Pumpkin Soup with Turkish Bread, Olive Oil, and Dukkah. After dark a big storm with lightning moved in.
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