Paluma – rainforest and birds

A Danish visitor, in Townsville for the recent Australian Festival of Chamber Music, provided us with the necessary extra incentive to visit Paluma, in the ranges an hour or so North of Townsville, for a walk in the rainforest and some birdwatching. The three of us had a lovely day, so thanks, Poul!

We paused briefly at Crystal Creek (where Poul was quite excited to see his first-ever Scrub Turkey) on the way up the range but didn’t really stop until we reached McClelland’s Lookout on the edge of the township.

Scrub turkey, Paluma
Scrub Turkey #7 beside the picnic table at McClelland’s Lookout

After a cup of coffee there we paid a brief visit to Gumburu Environmental Education Centre (not open to the public, but we locals know it well from residential workshops), where we were lucky enough to see a Victoria’s Riflebird. Then we set off through the rainforest for Cloudy Creek by way of Witt’s Lookout.

Looking North along the coast from Witt’s Lookout

The rainforest, as I’ve said before, is a vegetable kingdom: the richness and diversity of plant life is almost overwhelming, although insects were scarce and birds were heard but rarely seen.

We returned to McClelland’s Lookout via the Andree Griffin memorial track, which cuts across from the Cloudy Creek track to the Village Green via the miniature weir which I think I will always remember as the site of Marion Gaemers’ ephemeral sculpture six years ago.

After lunch (with more scrub turkeys) we visited a couple of local residents who are keen bird-watchers and happy to share their enthusiasm. They were able to show us the birds below and would have shown us a Golden Bowerbird’s bower like this one on Birdway, too, if only we hadn’t run out of time.

Paluma Rainbow Lorikeet
Rainbow Lorikeet at bird-feeder, Paluma township
Honeyeater Paluma
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Grey-headed Robin

As always, there were birds we saw and heard but did not photograph, notably a Spotted Catbird (Ailuroedus melanotis) and a couple of Pale Yellow Robins (Tregellasia capito) in the residents’ gardens and an unknown number of Chowchillas (Orthonyx spaldingii) in the shadows of the forest floor.

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