The South Burnett is blessed with a plethora of state forests. Fay and I have one, Tarong State Forest, just 4km along the Nanango-Maidenwell Road; a little further, the South Nanango State Forest. The Archookoora State Forest involves a little more travel and time. In another direction we have the massive Yarraman State Forest [globally renowned as a hotspot for the vulnerable Black-breasted Button-quail Turnix melanogaster], supplemented by both the Gibson and Pidna State Forests. Or, in yet a different direction, the East Nanango State Forest.
It was the latter to which Fay and I recently travelled. Like many other forested areas there are a number of entry points. Our usual habit has been to approach the East Nanango State Forest via the East Nanango Road and along Calvert Road. Back in November 2009 we’d made our first, and to date only, trip out to this state forest accompanied by the loosely formed ROBYN bird group [Recorders of Birds in Yarraman & Nanango]. On that occasion they had used the Mount Stanley Road entry point.
It seemed a good time to recapture that outing.
Many Queensland country “roads” eventually peter out to gravel, or simply grass. The Mount Stanley Road is no exception. However, for the first few kilometres we were impressed by the sound nature of the road surface. That is until we arrive at the point S26 30’ 51” E152 04’ 42”. Here the road began to rise but the damage of the January floods was abundantly clear. No doubt a more experienced, even braver, soul behind the wheel of a 4-wheel drive vehicle would have dared the challenge of ruts across and along the road but I am of a simpler mode; discretion has always been the better part of my valour.
We stopped, alighted and were almost immediately rewarded with the distinctive call of a Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops. We counted seven Australasian Grebes Tachybaptus novaehollandiae on the adjoining dam. The Rainbow Bee-eaters Merops ornatus were an unexpected bonus, as were the crippling views of Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris.
As we walked along the track we rapidly added other species to the day’s tally: Grey Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa, Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii [a bird more often heard than seen], White-naped Honeyeater Melithreptus lunatus, Pale-headed Rosella Platycercus adscitus and eight Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis. Among the “heard only” species in those first few metres, we ticked White-throated Honeyeater Melithrptus albogularis, Brown Honeyeater Lichmera indistinct and Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus.
By the time we called it a day along the Mount Stanley Road we had accumulated a list of 30 species, including good views of Speckled Warbler Chthonicola sagittata, Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena and Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis.
En route to home we turned into Calvert Road [it connects with the aforementioned East Nanango Road] where we added Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus and Pied Currawong Strepera graculina. As we left the East Nanango State Forest we spotted a pair of juvenile Olive-backed Orioles Oriolus sagittatus perched high in a tree. This, however, is not the place to wax lyrical about the presence of orioles in this region at this time of the year.