• lab4
Feb 10: Gold Rush
 

Up at 0256 and in to the car reasonably quickly to pick up Mat Gilfedder in St Lucia at 0330. We drove out to Gold Creek Reservoir with the plan to try for nocturnals and Painted Buttonquail early on and then look for yesterday’s Barred Cuckooshrike after sunrise.

Standing at the car park just after we arrived we heard a sort of grunting noise that was definitely avian but we couldn’t place it at all. It’s amazing how often one hears strange noises at night that are hard to fathom! Probably something common just making an odd noise. Eventually we had Tawny Frogmouth and Southern Boobook calling away, and managed to see the frogmouth. We went up the track south of the dam wall, and heard a splendid calling White-throated Nightjar – it’s one of my favourite bird calls of all time, and Mat managed to get a recording. It was a year tick for me, so I was well-pleased.

As light dawned, we began a new eBird checklist (as per eBird protocol), and almost immediately a White-naped Honeyeater was calling away, a second year tick for me. As we walked down the grassy track toward the SW corner of the reservoir I heard something walking in the undergrowth. It was too dense to have any hope of seeing it, so I moved towards it and the bird flushed with whirring wings. Mat and I both saw it, but our views were so poor that we couldn’t tell if it was a Brown Quail or a Painted Buttonquail. We subsequently stalked it but there was no further sign. The one that got away.

The woodland was reasonably quiet, but we heard another White-naped Honeyeater. When we got back to the dam, a nice pair of Forest Kingfishers suddenly landed on the tower in the water and sat there for about 15 minutes, another year tick. Even with binoculars we could clearly see the overall blue colouration, white flashes in the wings as the birds flew, the clear white underparts, and the round clean white spot above the bill base. Cracking birds! There was no sign of the Barred Cuckooshrike from the dam wall, so we birded along the approach road for a while. At the second creek crossing an Azure Kingfisher was sitting on a branch over the creek, and a Spotted Pardalote called for a while, two more year ticks! I was really getting through the remaining common species that I still hadn’t seen for the year. Eventually we gave up, about 7am and drove up Hillbrook Road to a spot where Mat had seen good bird activity in the past few weeks. There were quite a few birds moving, including another couple of White-naped Honeyeaters, and a Scarlet Honeyeater – the sixth year tick of the day. Golden Whistler is now the last remaining common species I still need for my year list.

With six year ticks today (White-throated Nightjar, White-naped Honeyeater, Forest Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Spotted Pardalote and Scarlet Honeyeater), my year list at the end of the day rose to 229 species. I spent 3 hours 36 minutes birding, walked 5.601 km and drove 69.6 km.

Progress of my year list (green) against all species seen in Brisbane by all eBirders (purple). Certainly looking better than the stock market has recently. There might be a few additional species seen by the (small number of) Brisbane birders that don’t use eBird.