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Current happenings - What's About?....

December, 2004 - Black Bittern & return of the Bush-hen>

Just as we got home from town late this-afternoon, a Black Bittern rose from a small muddy patch across the 
creek from the house - a favourite shady resting place for various water birds. Maybe it had spent hours there 
while I was stuck in the shops! 

It flew along the creek and out of sight, all in the space of maybe five to ten seconds. 
One of the very last birds of 2004 for us at Abberton. Our bird list for the garden now stands at 205, 
with 116 spp for this December being our highest monthly total to date. 

We were excited last year when a Bush-hen turned up at Abberton on 30 December, and called noisily 
for the best part of two weeks, granting us occasional views. Quite a few people got to hear that bird, and 
a few friends even managed to see it. He was a new bird on our Abberton list, and when he disappeared in 
January we accepted that we'd been lucky  enough to enjoy one of those odd birding one-offs that happen from 
time to time, and the Bush-hen wouldn't be seen or heard of again. 

Then on Boxing Day this year, a Bush-hen began calling loudly from the creek-bank right across from the house. 
It started at about 6.45pm and it was still going strong around midnight - I'm sure the Bush-hen was the last 
sound I heard from my bed that night. Has the same bird returned? Has it possibly been hereabouts all year, 
but only just re-announced itself? There are so many possibilities to be considered.

The very next day, when friends from a couple of kilometres further up the creek came over, I played them the call. 
"Oh yes", they said, "we've been hearing that at night!"

They are of course sworn to take their mobile phone down to the creekbank and to call me as soon as they 
next hear the call. I hope to be sitting on my verandah at the time, listening to a different individual Bush-hen.
There is a small mystery to be solved, with the possibility of at least one exciting scenario if we can confirm that 
we have more than one individual calling here.

Peaceful Dove
A Peaceful Dove basking before going 
down to the pool
Brown Honeyeater, Silvereye and White-throated Honeyeater
Meanwhile, Brown Honeyeater, Silvereye and White-throated Honeyeater over at the bird bath

13 December 2004 - Talking of Letter-winged Kites

There have been a few reports of putative Letter-winged Kites in the area recently - none of them satisfactorily confirmed.

Black-shouldered Kite

The dark areas showing against the sky on the underwing of this hovering Black-shouldered Kite perhaps illustrate 
how it might be that people not familiar with either of these handsome raptors could, having seen such a bird,  
take a look later at a field guide and assume that they had seen a  Letter-winged Kite. 

Spotted Harrier
click image to enlarge

Local Spotted Harriers

I've been trying my hand at in-flight photos lately. Not too hard with a Whistling Kite, 
but very much tougher to capture a fast-moving White-throated Needletail!

Whistling Kite

  White-throated Needletail 


9 December 2004 - Painted Snipe on the Move


Painted Snipe at Lake Atkinson on 7 November, 2004


I haven't seen the Painted Snipe at Lake Atkinson for some time now, but have heard of a single male or
 immature bird near at Gatton on 23 November, and on 3 December I found 2 juveniles 
alongside a small waterhole near Seven Mile Lagoon.


All of these birds could well be from the family that was at Lake Atkinson in November.


Brown Quail
click image to enlarge
Brown Quail in the garden

Brown Quail are always around, but just lately two birds have taken to feeding
close up to the house every day.


Female Common Koel and Chestnut-breasted Mannikin at the rock pool.

Leaden Flycatcher in the garden and Restless Flycatcher on the verandah.

Little Bronze-cuckoo

We hear Little Bronze-cuckoos more than we see them. This one has been around for weeks now, 
but has still not allowed me close enough for a good photograph.


30 November, 2004 - Rain!

We've had some decent rain at last, and there is water again in some of the long-dry lagoons.

Red-necked Avocet and Black-winged Stilt - both are breeding locally

Buff-banded Rails get quite adventurous following rain


Glossy Ibis and Marsh Sandpiper

Australasian Grebes at the nest 

The Pacific Black Duck is a beautiful bird
- and ill-named

Hardhead and Australian Wood Duck

Red-kneed Dotterel, Black-fronted Dotterel 
and Black-winged Stilt

Red-kneed Dotterel

Royal Spoonbills


15 November 2004 - Birds 204 and 205 for Abberton!  


Two new birds for Abberton in the space of a week:


 Little Grassbird, skulking in the creekside vegetation on 5 November, but showing well as it 

crossed the creek; seen again the next day in the same place.


Fuscous Honeyeater. Not an uncommon bird a couple of kilometres away where the soil and the 

endemic trees are just a little bit different, but the first one ever in our garden on 11 November. 

Seen again by Eileen in a birdbath the next day.  

Pale-headed Rosella
click image to enlarge
Australian King Parrot
click image to enlarge


In the garden:


Above - Pale-headed Rosella and King Parrots

Below - Red-capped Robin (in August)


Also a new frog for us: Broad-palmed (Rocket) Frog. Several calling very noisily just on dusk lately, 

one of which I was able to isolate and photograph - but the increasingly frenetic call is a dead give-away.  


Broad-palmed Rocket Frog


9 November, 2004 - Inland a little

A day just a little west of here, across the Great Dividing Range, delivered a variety of more inland species
 - including Emu and White-winged Fairy-wren as well as a host of different honeyeaters and much more.

Little Corella


White-winged Fairy-wren


7 November 2004 - Painted Snipe, Musk Duck, possible Letter-winged Kite


Twenty days after the first sighting, I got this photograph of the three young Painted Snipe 

which are now just about the size of the accompanying male. Since then, I've been back a couple of 
times without finding the birds, which might well have moved on.


A fully-lobed male Musk Duck is at Lake Dyer, also a Great-crested Grebe.


I've recently had two reports of Letter-winged Kites in the east of the state from two usually reliable 
observers. The first was a couple of weeks ago, but was even then several days old, and a bit distant, 
and I couldn't follow it up, but the second was on Sunday near Lake Atkinson. I did get out there and

didn't see the bird, but I'm very much on standby. I feel that two reports so close together from usually 
reliable people merits thinking about, so if you're in SE Qld - just give every Black-shouldered Kite 

a second look, in case.  


7 November 2004 - Black Falcon 


Black Falcon overhead

I've been seeing Black Falcons quite frequently lately and suspect they might be breeding nearby. 

I was able to pull off a few silhouetted shots of this big falcon, which give some idea of its 
characteristic jizz in flight with long broad, pointed wings and long tail.

Black Falcon cruising

Immature Collared Sparrowhawk partaking of a Double-barred Finch


25 October 2004 - A garden full of birds

Nankeen Night-heron trying not to be photographed 

Following a few days of rain, life in the garden is generally abundant. Several Nankeen Night-herons are 
roosting in creekside casuarinas and coming down to the water's edge at dusk each evening. 
Pheasant Coucals are calling noisily to each other for much of the day from the lush vegetation they inhabit, 
occasionally clambering up to show themselves in their rich rufous-brown and black breeding plumage.  

Rainbow, Scaly-breasted and Little Lorikeets are coming to the eucalypts to feast on the blossom. Many passerine species are nesting and taking advantage of the plentiful supply of insects and other invertebrates 
that are so plentiful in the spring.

Olive-backed Oriole
Olive-backed Oriole
click image to enlarge

Yellow Thornbill    
Yellow Thornbill                                 White-browed Scrubwren 

Striated Pardalote
Striated Pardalote
click image to enlarge

The four species above are all nesting at Abberton at present.

Rainbow Lorikeet
Rainbow Lorikeet, feeding on Eucalyptus tereticornis

Laughing Kookaburra Red-browed Finch
Laughing Kookaburras and Red-browed Finches are ever-present


Rufous Fantail

 Rufous Fantail (above) 
and Spangled Drongo (right) 
are seasonal visitors, both here now

Spangled Drongo


20 October 2004 - Painted Snipe and a lot more on a wet day

We've had a Little Bronze-cuckoo calling for several days, and on Sunday morning it spent a spell in the trees close to the house allowing decent views and good looks at its red eye, but staying just a bit too high and too
back-lit for anything better than ordinary photographs.

Bush Stone-curlew
Bush Stone-curlew

Monday was a day of awful weather here. Torrential rain, with intermittent spells of damp half-light. But once committed to a day's birding, it's hard to stop - even the toughest day will surely yield some reward for
perseverance. We found Toowoomba's suburban Bush Stone-curlew early on, and
headed straight back down-range out of the cloud.


 Nankeen Night-herons
Some of the 10 Nankeen Night-herons which were on this tree
- with a couple of Little Black Cormorants 

In between drying lenses and sheltering from the worst of the weather we saw ten duck spp on the 
lagoons around the valley, and Lockyer Creek yielded 10 Nankeen Night-herons standing along the 
branches of just one fallen tree! All full-plumaged adults. 

As we were counting them, a Black Bittern flew past the night-herons and settled just upstream on another 
fallen log. We saw another 5 night-herons during the day at other locations.

It was however just the right sort of day for crakes, and we had long looks at a Baillon's Crake, 
walking and swimming. 

Australasian Shoveler
Australasian Shoveler


Red-rumped Parrots
Female and male Red-rumped Parrot,
part of a flock of 30
Brown Quail
Eight Brown Quail were quietly feeding just inside the gate as I got home the other day

Later, a flock of 30+ Red-rumped Parrots, also 3 Ground Cuckoo-shrikes harassing a magpie, then resting on 
a branch just over our heads, close enough for us to enjoy the beautifully fine barring across
what usually just shows only as a pale rump.

Late in the afternoon, (in almost impossible light for photographs) we came across a Painted Snipe with three 
tiny young. Yet another location for Painted Snipe, which we've seen now at eight or nine spots around 
the Lockyer Valley in recent years. 

     Painted Snipe

Painted Snipe and Black-winged Stilt     Painted Snipe and Black-winged Stilt

Painted Snipe with three young, all looking pretty small alongside Black-winged Stilts.
Note the young birds swimming in the second photograph, and in the third, a straggler being 
severely harassed by a Black-winged Stilt. The youngster made it safely back to the group. 




Cotton Pygmy Goose
click image to enlarge

Cotton Pygmy Goose

     Cotton Pygmy-geese, female with the dark stripe through the eye.
The next day, we found Cotton Pygmy-geese on three different bodies of water, and
two immaculate Hoary-headed Grebes - which always remind me of a smart Spanish Don 
with his salt-and-pepper hair brilliantined and slicked straight back. 

Wedge-tailed Eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle 
Spotted Harrier
Spotted Harrier

Spotted Harrier hunting the creekside paddocks, Wedge-tailed Eagles, more night-herons, including one
right in front of the verandah on a post which had just been vacated by an Azure Kingfisher. 
Multiple Rainbow Bee-eaters nesting in the banks of Lockyer Creek.

Nankeen Night-heron
Nankeen Night-heron on a post in the creek, 
opposite the verandah

Collared Sparrowhawk at Abberton this-morning, and Speckled Warblers, which have been wandering 
about with good-sized juveniles seem to be gathering nesting material 
- maybe they're going to go have another go.


6 October 2004 - Spotted Harriers

I met a pair of Spotted Harriers yesterday afternoon, just up the road. They were communicating noisily, and one had a half-eaten catch in its talons with which it flew around, calling all the time, while the other sat in a tree.

Spotted Harrier
Spotted Harrier with half-eaten prey 
click image to enlarge

When the bird with the prey landed, I managed this snap. What a magnificent raptor!


24 September 2004 - What a day!

120 + species yesterday around the valley, and we didn't get round to any forest before we ran out of light!

  Shining Bronze-cuckoo  
Shining Bronze-cuckoo

This Shining Bronze-cuckoo has been in the garden for a week or so.

At home, we've had a pair of Shining Bronze-cuckoos hanging around for a couple of weeks now, 
they've even started coming to the bird baths. They've got a good supply of potential hosts with 
Yellow Thornbills, Weebills, White-throated Gerygones and all the fairywrens nesting, as is much 
else including Fairy Martins, Olive-backed Orioles, and several finch spp. 

Speckled Warbler  Speckled Warbler
Speckled Warbler male, and female with the chestnut stripe above the eye 

  Eastern Whipbird 
Eastern Whipbird, a regular in the garden

 Assorted Finches
Assorted finches at the feeder. 
I only put out one cup of seed a day - but they all turn up for it.
click image to enlarge

Speckled Warblers have got two youngsters and Chestnut-breasted Mannikins have got young in
tow. There are pairs and pairs of Rainbow Bee-eaters all over the place.

Sacred Kingfisher
Sacred Kingfisher in residence

Channel-billed Cuckoos turned up here at Abberton yesterday 
and Sacred Kingfishers, which never leave for long, are back and very noisy.


  Red-capped Plover
Red-capped Plovers

Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Marsh Sandpipers are now present at several
waterside locations, along with Red-capped Plovers and one or two Pacific
Golden Plovers. 

Baillon's Crake
A local Baillon's Crake went walkabout in the open in the middle of the day


King Parrots  Chestnut-breasted Mannikins
Australian King Parrots, Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and Double-barred Finches


In the garden this-morning, we had White-backed Swallows flying low over our heads. 
The Shining Bronze-cuckoos were getting around together, though they sometimes sit quietly in partial 
cover - apart, but in the same tree. Some big Eucalyptus tereticornis are just beginning to burst into flower, 
and are full of Scarlet and other honeyeaters, pardalotes, thornbills, whistlers and gerygones. 

These are the trees that Black Honeyeaters turned up in one October while they were flowering 
- so every small bird up there is getting a thorough inspection, in case it happens again.


Crested Pigeon
click image to enlarge

A beautiful Crested Pigeon - and just a couple of feet away a Galah on a verandah post


Galahs feeding their way through a field of stubble


4 August 2004 - Lots of birds

  Curlew Sandpiper  Red-necked Avocets
Curlew Sandpipers and Red-necked Avocets
click image to enlarge

Black-tailed Godwits
Black-tailed Godwits

A number of early-spring birds for us here in non-coastal Queensland are turning up around the margins of the Lockyer Valley's lakes - in particular a couple of Curlew Sandpipers and a Pacific Golden Plover. There are still a few Black-tailed Godwits about, several hundred Red-necked Avocets, and dozens of Red-capped Plovers.

Collared Kingfisher  Collared Kingfisher
A Collared Kingfisher - near the mouth of the Brisbane River

Some of the special birds which came through Abberton yesterday included White-backed Swallows, 
Banded Lapwing, Plum-headed Finches, Red-tailed Black Cockies, Collared Sparrowhawk, 
White-bellied Sea-eagle and Australian Hobby. Not too far from home we came across Black Falcon, 
Black-necked Stork, Cotton Pygmy-geese and both Swamp and Spotted Harriers.


20 July 2004 - Spotted Harrier, Black Cockatoos, White-backed Swallows

Comb-crested Jacana
Comb-crested Jacana
click image to enlarge
Wandering Whistling-ducks
Wandering Whistling-ducks
click image to enlarge
 Lake Freeman, a shallow somewhat ephemeral lake is alive with vegetation and birds. 
Ten or so Cotton Pygmy-geese (they bred there this year), a couple of dozen Wandering Whistling-ducks 
(they bred too); both very scarce in these parts; Royal Spoonbills, Plumed Whistling-ducks by the hundred,
Magpie-geese, numerous Comb-crested Jacanas, and literally scores of other species, too many to list. 

Black Swan on nest
Black Swan on nest at Lake Freeman

Coots, moorhens and swamphens all have young, as do Black-winged Stilts. 
A Black Swan is sitting on a huge nest.


Black Swans with young
Black Swans with young

When a place is in balance like this, everything seems to flourish, and Welcome Swallows and 
Fairy Martins were sweeping past us the whole time feasting on the abundant insect life over the lake. 
Even those hard to find nomadic White-backed Swallows were there, joining in, sometimes flying 
right over my head challenging me to try to photograph them in flight. But just to
watch those strikingly beautiful birds is enough, I didn't need to frustrate
the experience by bringing any fiddling with the camera into it.

About a kilometre from home, six big heavy-winged birds crossed our path, heading in the same 
general direction as we were. One of the five was huge with black separated primaries - had to be a raptor. 
The other five were Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, and as the raptor peeled away from them it revealed itself 
as an immaculate Spotted Harrier. 

Spotted Harrier  Spotted Harrier
Spotted Harrier, showing underwing and tail, and upperwing and tail as it is about 
to claim its prey 

While the cockatoos continued to head west, in the general direction of Abberton, the harrier 
dropped into his more typical activity of cruising the adjacent fields just two or three metres 
above the ground, huge grey-blue wings set in that distinctive shallow V.

11 July 2004 - Raptors and more

It always happens! Since the raptor count the other weekend, an assortment of the species we didn't 
see then have been flaunting themselves almost daily.

  Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite juvenile

In this last week we've had Brahminy Kite, Spotted Harrier and Little Eagle at Abberton as well as 
several of the raptors we did see on the day - Wedge-tailed Eagles, Collared Sparrowhawk, Whistling Kites etc.

In the garden yesterday, a really tight flock of 50 or 60 Plum-headed Finches 
raced past me low in a straight line and at speed, distinctly and uncharacteristically different 
from their usual looser, more elevated wandering. 

Sure enough, a Hobby materialised above and behind them, wings swept back as he bore down on any 
straggler. I didn't see an outcome; the unfolding drama took a second or so to whiz past, culminating in who
knows what a few hundred metres further along its path.

Australian Hobby
Australian Hobby


Azure Kingfisher
click image to enlarge
Azure Kingfisher
Azure Kingfisher alongside the creek

Today is very mild for mid-winter, and very birdy. A little while ago I heard a Restless Flycatcher and 
headed off into the garden to try for a photograph. I didn't find the bird, but instead photographed all three local
fairywrens, Speckled Warbler, Azure Kingfisher and four Red-tailed Black Cockatoos that passed overhead. 

Fairy Martins  
Fairy Martins gathering material for their mud-bottle nests

No prize-winning shots in there, but it's great fun. I'm determined to remain a birder first, and a photographer
second - or lower, subject only to getting a few topical shots to keep the website relevant.

  Great Egret 
Grey-crowned Babbler

 Three more Abberton regulars - Great Egret and Grey-crowned Babbler (above)
and Lace Monitor (below)

  Lace Monitor

Elsewhere in the Lockyer Valley this last week we've had Black-necked Storks (with beautifully green necks of course), Cotton Pygmy-geese, Banded Lapwings and Ground Cuckoo-shrikes. 

Five Musk Duck out at Lake Coolmunda - Emu nearby.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater  Bluebonnet
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and the hard to photograph Bluebonnet -
two inland species that we catch up with when we head a little way west.


28 June 2004 - Looking for raptors

Several of us spent much of yesterday looking for raptors in the Lockyer Valley as part of the 
Toowoomba Bird Observers annual raptor count.

We couldn't cover every nook and cranny in one short winter's day, but we did encounter 65 individual raptors 
of 9 species. Several other teams no doubt had similar success in other parts of the Toowoomba club's 
study area, and perhaps I can report back later on the overall count.

Pacific Baza   
click image to enlarge
Pacific Baza
The same Pacific Baza - watching me closely from a tree and showing its underwing markings in flight


Brown Falcon
Brown Falcon
Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel

Three Swamp Harriers, 4 White-bellied Sea-eagles and 17 Whistling Kites were at the various water habitats we visited. One Whistling Kite was carrying the dangling freshly rent body of a White-faced Heron - I couldn't say for certain that the kite had killed it, but it was still bleeding, and certainly newly dead. 

But the most interesting sighting for me was of the biggest female Hobby I've ever seen. Having swept over us, 
it settled on a dead limb just above a clearly smaller Pied Butcherbird, demanding a closer look 
- which confirmed it (her) to be a Hobby, but a very big one.

Masked Lapwing  
Masked Lapwing sitting tight on the nest


While scanning dry paddocks for possible Ground Cuckoo-shrikes and Banded Lapwings, 
it was uplifting to have about 16 Caspian Terns fly overhead. They presented an incongruous 
and welcome sight in a dry landscape. 

Caspian Tern  
Caspian Tern
click image to enlarge

Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern

I don't think I could ever tire of seeing Caspian Terns!

1 April 2004 - Channel-billed Cuckoos still here.

But, firstly, hot from the camera - here are a few photographs taken just this-afternoon in the garden at Abberton.


Sacred Kingfisher

A juvenile Sacred Kingfisher who is coming for a wash in our rock-pool every day....

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

and a female Red-tailed Black Cockatoo in a Eucalyptus, and a male in a White Cedar 
- part of a group that spent most of the day in our garden eating the fruit of the cedars....

  Back to the Cuckoos - 

Charadriiformes apart, it's surprising how few species actually absent themselves from Australia in toto 
in the winter. Most of our cuckoo species just relocate within Australia, only the Oriental Cuckoo, 
Channel-billed Cuckoo and Common Koel departing our shores more or less en-masse. Similarly with the Coraciiformes, only the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and the Dollarbird exit the country 
completely. Likewise White-throated Needletail and Fork-tailed Swift.

Having said which, there are occasional winter records from north Queensland of most of the above species.

Channel-billed Cuckoo
Juvenile Channel-billed Cuckoo - significantly bigger than 
the Torresian Crows which are feeding it.

We still have two juvenile Channel-billed Cuckoos in the garden every day, making noisy demands on, 
and being fed by, Torresian Crows. They've been stocking-up here since February, but they must surely 
be on their way north any day now.

Juvenile Dollarbirds were here up to a week or so ago, Koels have now gone, whereas Pheasant Coucals are 
active, noisy and nesting. A lot of birds are breeding after the recent rains, including Cotton Pygmy-geese and 
Wandering Whistling Ducks at local lagoons, and very busy and vociferous Eastern Whipbirds in the garden.

Striated Pardalote Striated Pardalote
click image to enlarge
Striated Pardalotes have recommenced their distinctive, day-long, calling this last week or so. This one turned up on the verandah just outside my study window, and the photo just had to be 
taken, albeit through not particularly clean glass.

There has been some discussion on the birding-aus mailing list about the difficulty of seeing Owlet Nightjars, 
which contrasts with their generally accepted abundance in the bush at night. "Difficult to see, and still more 
difficult to photograph" was the consensus - whereupon I foolishly observed that I had photographed one a 
couple of years back, and volunteered to put it on the website. 

Owlet Nightjar
Owlet Nightjar, just after dark.

Well, here it is! And the poor quality of the image perhaps confirms how difficult they are to photograph, 
unless you can stake out a roost hollow.

Late March 2004 - A new pool for the birds.

A corner of the house, showing the study window overlooking the new rock-pool. 

I've been looking for some time for a sizeable piece of local sandstone that I could turn into a 'natural' birdbath, 
and we've just recently installed a 2 tonne rock just outside my study window.

It will take some time for a newly planted native-garden to grow around the rock, but it's already proving 
popular with birds drinking or bathing in it every day - at least 20 species so far.

New rock-pool at Abberton Plum-headed Finches
click image to enlarge
The new rock from my window - and two Plum-headed Finches visiting it, and below 
a bedraggled Striped Honeyeater and Sacred Kingfisher -  both regulars at the new pool.
Striped Honeyeater
Sacred Kingfisher
Eastern Whipbird
Eastern Whipbird bathing.

Despite the popularity of the new pool, the older birdbaths remain busy. Eastern Whipbirds are very active just now, with a male and female harmonising noisily in the undergrowth day-long, and occasionally bathing together.

Zebra Finch Australian Magpie-lark
Four more of our residents -

above, Zebra Finch, Australian Magpie-lark
below: Double-barred Finch, Red-browed Finch  
Double-barred Finch
click image to enlarge

Red-browed Finch


March, 2004 - A great start to Autumn.

  Four years ago, we began revegetating Abberton's creekside and adjacent areas with locally native species. 
We dotted fifty or so White Cedars throughout the plantings, hoping to provide an irresistible harvest 
of fruit for the Red-tailed Black Cockatoos that are around most months, but have never had a food 
supply in our garden. This year, the cedars fruited for the first time, and the other day.......  

Female Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
Female Red-tailed Black Cockatoo in a fruiting White Cedar tree
... a group of five Red-tailed Black Cockatoos spent the best part of a day feasting in one White Cedar 
in the garden. Since then, we've had them here every day, visiting various cedars and also feeding 
 occasionally on gum nuts in interspersed eucalypts.

Male Red-tailed Black Cockatoo Red-tailed Black Cockatoos
Male and female red-tailed Black Cockatoos enjoying the fruit of a White Cedar.
Water has returned to many of the lakes that have been low for so long, and even the ephemeral lagoons that have served as grazing paddocks for the last few years now have water, and associated waterlife, in them.

Lockyer Creek at Abberton

Lockyer Creek at Abberton. Our garden is what you see on the right-hand side of the creek.

Red-kneed Dotterel Black-winged Stilt
Red-kneed Dotterel and Black-winged Stilts both have young at present.
Latham's Snipe

Latham's Snipe is a summer visitor here from Japan.

Grey-crowned Babbler Pied Currawong
Grey-crowned Babblers are chatty, convivial birds - colloquially known as "Happy Families".   Pied Currawong, an omnivorous species, 
 much given to nest-robbing. 

February, 2004 - After the heat.

  Summer is just about over, but we still have two Channel-billed Cuckoos serenading (!) us all day every day as they make constant demands on the four Torresian Crows which are attending them. It is probably just two sets of foster-parents with one usurper each, but they're spending their days as a party, with the two young cuckoos mostly in the same tree while the four crows forage constantly on their behalf. 


Peaceful Dove
   Peaceful Dove

Two views of a Peaceful Dove, handsome from any angle.
Bar-shouldered Dove's nest Bar-shouldered Dove
click image to enlarge
Bar-shouldered Doves nest here every year - this one in a casuarina.
Noisy Miner Noisy Miner nestlings
Noisy Miners are nesting nearby.  We see them only occasionally at Abberton, which suits us well,
 because this aggressive species can easily dominate a habitat.


Red-browed Finch   Red-browed Finch

Several days of high temperatures resulted in a lot of activity at our bird-baths. 
It's amazing how a bird as smart as this Red-browed Finch can be transformed by a few 
seconds of bathing into something barely recognisable.

Plum-headed Finch and Silvereyes

Plum-headed Finches and Silvereyes queuing for a turn in the water.

Willie Wagtail
click image to enlarge
Willie Wagtail on the verandah, scolding me.
click image to enlarge
A Silvereye about to take the plunge.
 These two beautiful birds are everyday species here, and well worth a closer look. 


Nankeen Night-heron
Nankeen Night-herons come to the creek to forage every evening.
They have various roosting spots nearby, and it isn't unusual to see a brightly rufous 
adult bird flying along the creek in the middle of the day. 


Glossy Ibis
click image to enlarge

Please feel free to CONTACT US with any questions !
We are always pleased to answer any queries and to help 
you in any way we can to plan your trip to Queensland.

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Bill Jolly, Abberton, Helidon, Qld
(27 34' 21' S; 152 08' 21' E)