From the Dalrymple Track, as described on the WQ blog and mentioned in my previous post, I drove the 20 km of gravel road to the Broadwater camping ground in Abergowrie State Forest (National Parks page, Google map), arriving just early enough to set up a tent in daylight. First impressions, confirmed next day, were that it was a typical National Parks camping ground – clean and quiet, well maintained but basic (no power, cold showers). Given that this was the first weekend of school holidays and the place was less than half full, it’s hard to imagine that it’s ever crowded.
There are two signed walks from the camping ground, a Rainforest Walk and a Creek Walk, neither of them very long or at all challenging, and the creek banks are walkable too, giving the visitor access to a good range of bird habitats. And the birds were really the highlight of my stay, and are what this post is about.
In one full day plus an evening and an early morning I saw …
- Yellow Oriole (aka Green Oriole), Oriolus flavocinctus, on the Rainforest Walk and tall trees in the camp grounds
- Figbirds, ditto
- Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia amboensis, at my own campsite
- Pale-yellow Robin, Tregellasia capito race nana, campsite
- Scrub Turkey, ditto
- Silver-eye, ditto
- Lovely Fairywren, Malurus amabilis, ditto
- Northern Fantail, Rhipidura rufiventris, campsite and creek bank
- Red-browed Finch, Neochmia temporalis, Creek Walk and campsite
- Peaceful Dove, campsite and elsewhere
- Kookaburra, heard on Rainforest Walk
- Sulphur-crested Cockatoos in flight, Rainforest Walk, early morning
- Kingfisher glimpsed on log in the creek, Rainforest Walk
- Orange-footed scrub fowl on the Rainforest Walk
- Topknot Pigeon (Lopholaimus antarcticus) in the top of a dead tree on the Creek Walk
Besides these 15, I probably saw some common species (such as the Magpie-lark) that I didn’t jot down, and I know I heard many others.
I also saw four that I couldn’t identify. One of them was probably a Yellow-spotted Honeyeater (Meliphaga notata) but may have been a Lewin’s Honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii); another, a similar-sized brownish bird in the rainforest, was most likely also a honeyeater; but the one I would really like to know was a tiny bird, finch size, which visited me while I was waiting for the platypus beside the creek very early on Tuesday morning. It was very beautiful, with a purple back and bright orange underparts, but it was far too small to have been either of the kingfishers which have that coloration. (Edit, 14.11.15: I now think it was a Spectacled Monarch Flycatcher, Monarchus trivirgatus, and that the purple was more of a purple-grey.)
I will post photos of many of the less familiar species here but the Lovely Fairywren deserves a post to himself (see next post).
The Yellow Orioles were new to me, as their range doesn’t extend quite as far south as Townsville. They are about the same size as our Blue-faced Honeyeater and have a very loud, repetitive call; I heard them for hours before I saw one.
Northern Fantails are smaller, greyer, cousins of the familiar Willie-wagtail. There were lots around the camping ground and along the creek, and they let me get very close to watch them perch and swoop, perch and swoop.
The Brown Cuckoo-dove is the largest bird here, in reality as well as on the screen, at around the size of a Torresian Imperial Pigeon or Magpie.