Tyto Wetlands in winter

A longer visit to Ingham’s Tyto Wetlands was high on my wish-list after our very short visit on the way home from Mission Beach a couple of months ago.

The wish came true sooner than I had thought likely, as I managed to get there before 8 a.m. last Wednesday with no need to leave before mid-afternoon. Walking all the way around the main lagoon (at bird-watching pace) and exploring some of the side tracks occupied most of the morning very happily.

Tyto wetlands view
Looking across the lagoon to a bird hide

Birds were the main attraction, as usual – Willy Wagtails, Brown Honeyeaters and many others on land, with Black Ducks, Pygmy Geese, Grebes, Cormorants and Egrets among the water birds.

Egret, Tyto wetlands
Great Egret
Tyto wetlands lagoon
Another view across the lagoon

A visitation of figbirds

Figbirds (Sphecotheres vieilloti) are rowdy gregarious fruit-eaters which visit our garden quite often – not for the fruit they are named for, because we haven’t got any big fig trees, but for the palm seeds.

A large group turned up a few days ago to feed on the Alexandra palm and stayed long enough to be photographed. Long enough, in fact, for a Bowerbird to join them and then wander off again.

Adult females and the young of both sexes are brownish with speckled bellies and grey eye-rings. Adult males are colourful, their red eye-ring and vivid yellow belly contrasting brilliantly with their olive-green back and black head. Young males grow through a transitional stage in which all the adult colours gradually show through the camouflage.

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Tyto wetlands

We stopped off at Ingham’s Tyto Wetlands for a couple of hours’ birdwatching on the way home from the Kennedy Track and I was surprised to find later that Green Path has never even mentioned them – surprised, even mildly shocked, because we’ve been visiting the park for longer than the blog has existed.

We will now make up for our neglect by posting a selection of photos from the last twelve years’ visits.

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Many Peaks trail revisited

I walked the Many Peaks trail again last weekend, almost exactly a year after my previous visit. This time, walking with friends, I didn’t stop so often to look at little wildlife, but we still took about five hours for the twelve kilometres or so. That seems, in fact, to be a reasonable minimum time for the route for anyone who wants to enjoy it.

The Wet is well over but there is still open water. The water birds, however, still have other options and are not in great numbers on the Common. That said, we did see Drongo, Magpie Geese, Egret, Peaceful Dove, Honeyeaters, Rainbow Bee-eater, hawk (probably Black Kite), Plovers, Scrub Turkey and other species.

The Tawny Coster is now so well established that it was one of the commonest butterflies but there were plenty of the usual Swamp Tigers, Blue Tigers, Crows (both Common and Brown) and others.

view of Many Peaks Range
Bald Rock from near Tegoora Rock

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Common names and Latin names

The science community tries very hard, as described in my post about Birdwing butterflies and their food plants, to make sure each species is uniquely identified by a single Latin name. So long as the Latin names are correct, however, we can have as many local vernacular names as we like without causing significant confusion.

One species, one Latin name, many common names

One species may have several common names, even in the same language in the same region, let alone different languages and different countries.

A smallish ground-feeding black-and-white bird is a good local example, being known as a Magpie-lark, Pee-wee, Peewit or Mudlark. None of those names are wrong, and any doubts about the identity of the bird can be resolved by pointing to one or referring to its unique Latin name, Grallina cyanoleuca.

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