lørdag den 5. december 2015

Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia.

Tropical Australia is a dream birding destination. Lots of endemic and special birds which can be fairly easy seen - add to this some nice mammals and you've got yourself a very nice cocktail. In November of 2015 I did a road trip with my girlfriend from Brisbane to Cairns with a few detours on the way. We rented a small, cheap caravan in Brisbane which was to be our home for the next weeks. In the first part of the trip we mainly slept in the car but as we got further north and the temperature/humidity increased it simply got to warm. 

Koala found from the car enroute to Lamington. Always wanted to see one.
First stop was Lamington National Park about 1,5 hours southwest of Brisbane. The park is famous amongst birders for being the easiest place to see magic birds like Alberts Lyrebird, Paradise Riflebird, Regent- and Satin Bowerbird and lots of other goodies. Almost at the top of the mountain there is a luxirous lodge called O'Reilly. We took the much cheaper option and stayed at the campsite 200 meters down the road. A bit basic but the site had showers and dry toilets which are basically what you need. There is no stores on the mountain so we brought food. O'Reilly has a restaurant and a Cafe so there are other options for lunch/dinner.

The bower of a Satin Bowerbird is very impressive.
My main targets in Lamington were Paradise Riflebird, Alberts Lyrebird and Noisy Pitta. In the end we had very nice views of all. The lyrebird was only seen once behind the campsite toilets but gave nice and extended views lasting more than 15 minutes.
Paradise Riflebird. A dream came true - my first Bird of Paradise. We heard five males but we only saw one male and a one female. Riflebirds forage like nuthatches they are just much bigger. 
Female Paradise Riflebird.  

Alberts Lyrebird. Lyrebirds are big passerines (only dwarfed by a few ravens) and the larger Superb Lyrebird was made famous by Mr. Attenborough.  
Noisy Pitta. Heard daily but only seen once.
Regent Bowerbird is by many considered to be one of the most beautiful birds of the world. The species can be easily seen in Lamington around the feeding area and the O'reilly lodge. Finding one in the forest is much more difficult. 
Regent Bowerbird wating to be fed.
Regent Bowerbird
Regent Bowerbird
Regent Bowerbird
Regent Bowerbird, female plumage.
There are a number of trails, a nice boardwalk and treetop walk. During our stay most target birds were seen at two trails a bit down the mountain called Python Rock Track (only place we saw Bassian Thrush - Russet-tailed was seen daily) and Morans Falls Track. The parking- and cafe area at O'Reilly is a good place to start as Regent- and Satin Bowerbirds are common here with Crimson Rosella, Australian King Parrot, Eastern Spinebill, Red-browed Finch, Superb Fairywren all common here.  
Australian Logrunner is quite common at Lamington. Part of small family containing only its Papuan counterpart and the Chowchilla of Northeastern Queensland. They use their feet to sweep away leaves to find food.
Australian Kingparrot on an O'Reilly sign.
Australian Kingparrot. At the cafe they sell seeds for the parrot hence making them very
Black-faced Monarch. Quite common
Crimson Rosella. Common near the feeding area.
Eastern Spinebill. A pair could be found near the cafe on all days.
Green Catbird. Very noisy in the early hours of the day.
Rose Robin. Actually quite common if you know its song. 
Satin Bowerbird. We found two bowers near the campsite. 
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. Common and impressive bird. 
Southern Boobook. We only heard Sooty Owl. No sign of Marbled Frogmouth for which you would probably need to hire a guide.  
Superb Fairywren. Fairywrens can often be found on their song. 
Torresian Crow. Only crow species seen on the trip
White-headed Pigeon. Seen in low numbers all days.
Wonga Pigeon. Scarce but seen daily.
Russet-tailed Thrush. The common of the two Zootheras with Bassian only seen two times. The two species are very tricky to id. 
Besides the Koala we also saw a few other mammals while in Lamington. Red-necked Pademelon was common on the campsite with Red-legged Pademelon only seen inside the rainforest. Further down the mountain Red-necked Wallyby and Whiptail Wallyby could be seen. At night time we found Common Brush-tailed, Common Ring-tailed and Short-eared Brushtailed Possum. The best however were three Dingos that ran close by me one early morning in the forest.

Red-legged Pademelon. Only seen in the forest and mainly in the early hours. Notice grey hindneck compared to below.
Red-necked Pademelon. Very common on the campsite.
Red-necked Wallyby. The species which can be found in the wild several places in Europe, including one animal on Ærø.
Whiptail Wallyby. A quite big Wallyby with a nice pattern.
Common Ringtail Possum. Very common at night.