After hearing a rumour of a rumour that a Noisy pitta (Pitta versicolour) had recently taken up residence at our local botanic gardens we headed off for a Sunday arvo wander.
Our guest contributor Ben continues his story from last week…
We had now spent months observing and monitoring these juvenile Banded Stilts as they grew from eggs to nearly-fledged birds in one of the harshest environments on earth. The newest generation was finally old enough to be banded.
By our guest contributor Ben…
As a resident of central Australia I’ve witnessed the country burst to life. Earlier this year I was lucky enough to become involved as a volunteer in the discovery, documentation and eventual banding of a breeding colony of Banded Stilts (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) at Lake Torrens.
Now here’s one you don’t get to see too often. Unless of course you live in Weipa. Then you would see these guys fairly regularly on the local sewage ponds (on a side note – sewage ponds are a great place to see birds if you can handle the smell). But for those of us from anywhere else in Australia the sight of a Spotted Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna guttata) is something to write home about.
As we drove up the Clarke Range the cloud cover intensified making it hard to see much of the rainforest. Not deterred, and with book, bino’s and camera in hand we persevered to start what was supposed to be a day of Eungella Honeyeater surveys, a camp out, a cuppa and bed by 7pm of course.
The first scientifically described Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis) was shot in what is now Agnes Water in May 1770. Captain Cook recorded in his journal “it turned out an excellent bird, far the best…that we have eat since we left England” [sic]. A culinary, if not cultural echo of Aboriginal Australians who have valued the Bustard as food for millennia.
On the weekend most of the BIG crew headed out to Clarke Range west of Mackay to begin a survey of the endemic Eungella Honeyeater (EHE) (Lichenostomus hindwoodi).
Albert’s Lyrebirds have an incredible vocal ability and visual display to attract females as we found on a recent trip to Lamington National Park
Endangered Cassowaries are even more vulnerable to extinction after two cyclones in the past 5 years caused severe damage to critical rainforest habitat
If you are in the north or east of Australia you may have noticed ‘grey toucan-like birds’ (as described by a Sydney friend) in your suburb making ridiculous sounds at all time of the day and night. These birds are actually the migratory Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae). They are commonly referred to as storm birds as they turn up in summer to breed then head back to New Guinea and Indonesia around March.