Articles about bird-watching around Townsville routinely mention the Town Common, Ross Dam and the Borrow Pits. I have known the first two for years but never quite located the third until a trip to Kelso a fortnight ago presented me with an opportunity. Finding a map that shows it may be harder than finding the the pondage itself so here is Ross Dam at lower right and the Borrow-pits on the other side of Upper Ross River Road:
The area is not particularly prepossessing unless you happen to be a water-bird. There are a couple of benches and shelters, and a rough track runs around the pond a little above high water level, and that’s about all. A half-hearted attempt to make it more attractive to human visitors is remembered primarily by a sign at one of the entrances: the project was “due for completion” ten years ago. The birds love it, though: in a visit of less than half an hour I saw Pelicans, Ibis, Spoonbills, Black ducks, Cormorants, Stilts and Greater Egret around and on the water, and Hawks, Crows, Peewits, Friar-birds, Peaceful Doves and unidentified parrots nearby.
My favourite photos from my visit are a short sequence showing a Stilt taking off and landing but I’ll add a couple more to this post too.
The borrow pit probably gets a mention in Jo Wieneke’s birders’ guide, Where to Find Birds in North-East Queensland, too although I can’t check because I haven’t (yet) got the book – I only found out about it while researching this post. Soon!
Update, September 2014: Where to Find Birds in North-East Queensland is now an e-book. Ian Montgomery’s name has been added as co-author and the book is advertised on his site, Birdway – see http://www.birdway.com.au/publications.htm for a preview and downloading links.