Southern Queensland BirdingAuthor: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: December 2006
The rough road was good to us. We saw 5 Red Waddlebirds and heaps of Eastern Rosellas. We saw 64 birds overall.
We finally got to White Swamp, except there wasn't any swamp, just a cattle station called Eden Dale. We did see wild Glads and White Morning Glory vines.
In the afternoon we went shopping for the ingredients for a gourmet dinner. My wife found a recipe for Warm Spanish and Red Lentil Salad in a "Donna Hay 10-Minute Cookbook". The key ingredient is Haloumi frying cheese. Miraculously, the Spar market had the cheese. The rest was easy: half cup of red lentils (metric hasn't replaced cups and spoons for cooking), 2 cups of chicken stock, 1 bunch of baby spinach leaves (how much is that??), 1 T of olive oil, a package of Haloumi cheese (4 oz), 2-roma tomatoes, 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (we had to consult with the produce manager to figure out which parsley to get), sea salt, cracked black pepper, and lemon wedges.
The lentils were cooked using the chicken stock -- then the spinach and parsley is added and stirred in. The Haloumi cheese is fried in the olive oil along with the tomatoes. When the cheese turns golden, serve it over the lentils. Squeeze lemon juice on top everything to give it zest. Eat with dipping bread. Very Beautiful!!!!!!!
On Dec 16 we headed early for the Main Range NP. Our first stop was Bellbird Point. We didn't hear or see any Bellbirds, but there were 1000s of Bell Miners -- everywhere. We stopped at the crest of the mountain to hike in Cunningham Gap (28.050S 152.394E). We were pretty close to the cloud tops on the hike. The visibility wasn't good so we did the 1.4 Km track. At one stage a female Satin Bowerbird dive-bombed my wife's head. We were surprised to find an Eastern Whipbird in a tree. Upon closer inspection, my wife determined the Whipbird was peeling back the bark on the tree to find bugs.
For most of the walk a young brightly colored Rufous Fantail followed us. I guess he was attracted to my wife's bird calling. Our best find today was a majestic White-headed Pigeon. We stopped at the Visitors Center in Boonah for maps. There was an adjacent park and cattail pond where we spotted a pair of nesting Australian Reed-Warblers. I also got a great shot of a Royal Spoonbill in brilliant breeding plumage.
For dinner my wife improvised Taco Salad. They have a lot of Old El Paso Salsas in the store, but no Tortilla chips (we used Doritos corn chips). We used nutritious red leaf lettuce and spinach for the salad, instead of Iceberg Lettuce. Our host, Doreen, gave us some Spring Onions from her garden. We used Minced Premium Beef from the local butcher. We looked for regular Sour Cream, but had to settle for the lite version. We used the avocado spread we put on sandwiches. They didn't have canned pinto beans, so we got canned Borlotti Beans. The canned tomatoes came with capsicums and tomato paste. We sprinkled on salted peanuts with Balsamic Vinegar. Rico, Muy Rico!!
On Dec 17 a loud penetrating Quar-rr-rgh-a-kak, Quar-rr-rgh-a-kak Quar-rr-rgh-a-kak, Quar-rr-rgh-a-kak, Quar-rr-rgh-a-kak of an Australian Owlet-nightjar woke us up at 2:45am -- it had the tonal quality of arching electric wires. The tiny owl-like bird is about the size of a Blue Jay. Thirty minutes later it woke us up again.
It was threatening rain most of the morning, so we stayed around the house looking for birds at the bottom of our hill. We found two Collared Sparrowhawks learning how to fly. We also found a juvenile Crested Shrike-tit and a baby Flowerpecker.
In the afternoon we drove to the small town of Rothdowney. Close to town we found a nice wetland with Comb-crested Jacanas and baby Purple Swamphens.
Each evening large numbers of silver and pink Galahs gather in the trees near our host's house where there is a hanging birdfeeder.
On Dec 18 we left at 7am to drive the 35 miles to Cunningham Gap. We walked in the Cool Subtropical Rainforest -- its subtropical because they get less than 6ft of rain a year here. It was soooo cool in the woods today. We saw little groups of Large-billed, White-browed, and Yellow-throated Scrubwrens, with the odd Yellow-rumped Thornbill and Black-faced Monarch for color. A pair of Australian King-Parrots was beautiful.
About 2 hours into the 2.5Km walk we came on a big tree that had fallen across the track. We took this as a sign to turn back. We got back to the house at 12:30pm.
On Dec 19 during Br my wife broke the side off a lower back tooth. Monday Doreen called her dentist and got my wife an appointment for 9:30am Dec 20 (today). The lady dentist put on a temporary filling.
On Dec 20 a pair of Pale-headed Rosellas escorted us for 15 Km in the morning on our way to Lake Moogerah (28.045S 152.550E). We saw 25 bird types along the road including: Richard's Pipit, an Australian Hobby, a covey of Brown Quail, and a Yellow-rumped Thornbill.
Lake Moogerah is a water retention lake in the Main Range foothills. It is Heaven in a Dry and Thirsty Land for water birds. The best part was seeing 2 Pelicans surrounded by 10 Darters (sometimes called Snake Birds). We drove up a steep, and sometime rough, gravel road to Spicer's Gap in the Main Range NP. The hills were alive here with the sounds of Noisy Friars and parrots. We were glad to see a Collared Kingfisher with its bronzed olive-green back shining in the sun.
Late in the afternoon 10 Rainbow Lorikeets discovered our birdbath, but not the bread we had scattered on the ground. A female Kangaroo with a Joey in the pouch came by and made a mental note of the bread for later tonight. Pretty soon the Lorikeets got spooked by something and left the birdbath to a pair of Brown Honeyeaters and a lone Lewin's Honeyeater. The Brown Honeyeaters must have been really dirty or something; they used the bath for over an hour.
Water is so scarce here that Doreen waters her pot plants with water from the clothes washer. We follow suite by filling the birdbath with rinse water from the dishes.
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