Thursday, October 29, 2009:
Some morning balcony birding was followed by an early (5:30) lyrebird hunt. We had a tip that the lyrebird sometimes appears at a Brush Turkey mound near some of the rooms. We found the turkey mound, but no lyrebird. This was not surprising, and we went to plan B, hunt the lyrebird along the Border Track.
|Red-necked Pademelons||View from the Lodge|
We walked out the trail and passed the junction with the Booyang/Tree Top Walk. No lyrebird. We continued on. At some point we heard some vocalizations downslope, but saw no lyrebird. We had to return in time to join the rest of the group for a backroads tour, and it was getting close to time to turn around. The only sign of a lyrebird was the distant downslope bird.
Then suddenly two Albert's Lyrebirds crossed the path from the uphill side. I had rotated to the end of the group, and missed the first entirely. I did briefly see the second one on the path before it also headed downslope. Several of the group missed it. The rest of us let them join Jeri to try to find the lyrebird while those of us who saw it hung back out of the way.
I was pretty confident it hadn't gone far and expected us to quickly locate it. No such luck. Still, we kept searching. Eventually a couple of us heard some scratching. Could it be the lyrebird? But it seemed to be well above the ground, which was odd. About then, Jeri relocated one of them (a male) in a Bird's Nest Fern. Although the bird was somewhat hidden by the fronds, we could see it scratching around in the fern. We then quickly returned to the Booyang/Tree Top junction, then returned to the lodge at a more leisurely pace along the Tree Top Walk and Booyang Walk.
|Tree Top Walk||Pied Currawong||Regent Bowerbird (female)|
At 8 we headed out again in a 4-wheel drive bus. Our guide and driver was Glen Threlfo. He lives about 10km down the road from O'Reilly's and is a photographer and film-maker in addition to being a guide at O'Reilly's. He knows where the birds are around here.
We headed down the road from O'Reilly's. After a brief stop to feed a Satin Bowerbird (and see a bower), we turned onto a bumpy dirt road that leads down into the valley. We made a number of stops along the road as we headed down. Some stops didn't add new birds, but others did, starting with White-naped Honeyeater and Red-browed Treecreeper. Glen knew of a owl nest. He scratched the tree with a stick (a sound similar to a goanna climbing) and a Southern Boobook flew out into a nearby tree.
Continuing, stopped for some Glossy Black-Cockatoos we saw flying. A little further down the road someone spotted a Koala. Of course, we also had to stop for that. We also found Buff-rumped Thornbill. The Bell Miner spot was a bit further down the road. Their call is like a tink frog on steroids.
|Southern Boobook||Glossy Black-Cockatoos|
|Glossy Black-Cockatoo||Valley View|
|Valley View||Taking a Break|
Eventually, we got down to the farm area (and pavement), and stopped for lunch. By now, Jeri was talking about seeing 100 species today. I didn't really think it possible, but didn't know where we were headed.
After lunch we found a bunch of Common Bronzewings at one of the farms. A bit further on some trees produced Striated Pardalote. Another stop produced Speckled Warbler and a bunch of waterbirds.
The racetrack lake added some more, including Tawny Grassbird, Striped Honeyeater, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, and Freckled Duck! By now the group was well over the century mark. We were also an hour behind schedule.
Our last major stop was at a lake, which provided more waterbirds and a surprise Baillon's Crake, which was my last new bird of the trip. The lake also had a nice Intermediate Egret in breeding plumage. That brought my personal day total to 114. I got one more bird on the way back, Black-shouldered Kite (115), but missed the flyby Double-eyed Fig-Parrots. I'm not sure exactly what the group total was, but it was over 120.
We briefly stopped for Red-necked Wallaby on the way up. An Echidna was spotted by Glen, Jeri, and Chris. None of the rest of us were in a position to see it. We stopped, and Glen tried really hard to find it, even digging in the grass. But the rest of us were out of luck.
We eventually returned to the lodge and had a late dinner followed by the final checklist count and top 10 lists.
Trip total—309 species including 281 lifers.
O'Reilly's Rainforest Guesthouse, Lamington National Park