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Southern Queensland BirdingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: December 2006
The lake was covered with yellow Lotus water lilies, with a few blue water lilies for accent. Variegated Fairywrens (one male and a dozen females) were jumping thru the Lantana that grows along the path. We got a great look at the diamond shaped tail of a young Wedge-tailed Eagle flying overt the lake.
Toward the end of our walk it seemed like there was a thousand tiny bells ringing. It turned out to be a large gathering of Bell Miners with romance on their mind.
On Dec 11 we heard the Koel whistle "Ko-ell Ko-ell" over and over again in the early morning. After Br we went for a walk along the road that fronts the B&B. We saw 26 birds including the rare White-napped Australasian Magpie, Cicadabird, a Rufous Whistler, and a White-napped Honeyeater.
We had lunch at Finnegan's Chin Irish Pub. We started with Herb Potato and Cheddar Cob Loaf served with Kilkenny Butter (it looked like a big dinner roll with seasoned mashed potatoes inside and cheddar cheese over the roll). We had huge serving bowl of Cream of Pumpkin Soup with potatoes, onions and coconut. I had a 400g (14oz) fillet steak with chips and garden salad. My wife had the Chicken Cobble Stone Cottage Pie (chicken veggies cooked in a thicken broth over mashed potatoes with a Shamrock shaped puff pastry top.
On Dec 12 we interrupted our Circumnavigation of Australia for a months rest in Boonah at the Bilyana Cottages. The house had a stereo and a tape of my wife's favorite song - "Love Changes Everything". We went to town to shop in the afternoon. The BP station recommended the Spar (pronounced Spa) Market. They had all we needed except fresh stir fried veggies (we got frozen).
We spent the afternoon and evening watching birds at the birdbath in our front garden. Our best bird was a Striped Honeyeater.
On Dec 13 we drove 5Km to Lake Maroon (28.179S 152.649E) in the morning. There were heaps of water birds, but they were trumped by the flies. We did enjoy seeing several male Red-backed and Superb Fairwrens. On the drive back to the house we were stopped by a flock of Yellow-rumped Thronbills.
On Dec 14 we saw a small female kangaroo with a Joey head sticking out of the pouch as we left the cottage. On our way to Queen Mary Falls (28.341S 152.372E), in Main Range NP, we saw a Ringtail Possum in the road. Not far from the possum I saw 2 Brown Quails in the grass ditch along side the road. They were cooperative and waited for us to back-up and take pictures before disappearing into the grass.
On our trip up the mountain road we spotted a pair of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos. We stopped along the way to see the wild flowers. Once we saw some wild pink Glads surrounded by Passionflowers. The Superb Fairwrens were going after the nectar of the Passionflowers -- we saw dozens of them. It was a lot cooler and greener as we drove up the mountain. The early morning clouds were pressing against some of the mountains, and cloud fragments were drifting across the high meadows. The road was practically lined in purple wild flowers with a few Straw Flowers mixed in. We were surprised to see so many Straw Necked Ibis and White-necked Herons in the fields.
We stopped on the Queensland -- New South Whales (NSW) border to walk to Moss Overlook. On this section of the border they have a supposed Rabbit-proof fence made out of chicken wire. Along the fence we heard and then saw an Albert's Lyrebird down the hill from us. The Lyrebird kept on squawking disapprovingly while staying hidden in the rocks. We saw a Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly along this track.
We stopped at the Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park for a midmorning snack (4 hours and 53Km from our house). My wife had cappuccino and I had a milk shake. We split a homemade Macadamia Nut and Pineapple Slice with White Chocolate. Beautiful!! But TERRIBLY rich!
We asked the owner how she made the Slices (there were many varieties). She said they are prepared in the refrigerator, not the oven. The base is made of sugar, flower, condensed milk, syrup, coconut, and groundnuts. She then melts the chocolate and adds the toppings. This is pored over the hardened base and left in the refrig till the whole thing is solid.
She said they have severe water restriction in this area. You aren't even allowed to water your "pot plant" with a bucket. We kidded her about the way Australians use "pot plant" -- we would say ‘potted plant". She said if she was growing Pot plants she wouldn't have to make Slices.
We ate outside the cafe. My wife had to beat off a female Satin Bowerbird that wanted the Slice.
On Dec 15 the kangaroos were out to show us their Joeys. In a stretch of 500 ft we saw 15 kangaroos -- 4 Moms with bulging Joey(s). One Joey must have been in a hurry to get back in because all we could see was the feet sticking out of the pouch. One young kangaroo followed us down the road for a couple of hundred feet looking for a good place to jump in front of us. He finally jumped, but we stopped.
The road to White Swamp (28.272S 152.458E ) started out as sealed, got narrower, and then became a smooth gravel road. When we crossed over to NSW the road got rougher, but no machine gun ripples. The rabbit fence was on both sides of the border crossing, but there was no gate at the crossing itself. I guess that's how the jackrabbits we've seen got into Queensland.
A sign at the border crossing said Rabbit Keeping was subject to a $30,000 fine -- not quite as much as illegal harvesting of mud crabs.
We only passed 2 cars on our 5-hour -- 40 mile scenic drive today. In NSW a couple in a pickup truck stopped on the rough road to see if we were OK. I guess they don't get a lot of birdwatchers out here.
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