Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Frogmouth and thick-knees on the 1770 campsite

I've moved onto the town of 1770 in Queensland, staying in a cabin right in the middle of a eucalyptus woodland, offering lots of nocturnal possibilities! I've heard that there are possums, sugar gliders and echidnas on the site, but tonight I had to be content with a tawny frogmouth. The frogmouths belong to the same family as the nightjars and like their cousins they are always extra special birds to find, not least because of their nocturnal habits.  On my last visit to Australia in 2015 I was shown a Papuan frogmouth sitting on a nest, and those are even larger than tawny, but this bird was impressive enough, at least twice the size of a nightjar I would guess. A stunning bird.

There are a pair of bush thick-knees in residence just a few metres from my cabin and like many species here are very approachable, to with 3 or 4 metres.

It was a day for picking up some unexpected new birds and this was the first, one of two black-shouldered kites. I'm not sure if this is the same species as that we get in Europe.

This is golden-headed cisticolla, a close relation to zitting cisticolla (fan-tailed warbler) which occurs in Europe. The latter has a very wide range and also occurs in Australia. Some Golden-headed have unstreaked heads which makes separation of the two species easy, but the race which occurs in this part of Australia has a streaked head and then separation becomes very difficult. Fortunately the call is very different, and this bird was calling constantly, completely ruling out zitting cisticolla.

Magpie geese

Red-kneed dotterel, a completely chance find. I pulled up to look at some birds in a tree and spotted a a muddy pool on the edge of the field which had this bird, plus six black-fronted dotterel.

Wedge-tailed eagle.

At last, some close up kangeroos!

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