Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Berlin Road by 7

But what else? Where else? It had rained throughout most of Saturday, confining Fay to the house [I’d been in Brisbane at a Science teachers’ conference- and it had rained there all day as well]. The rain came down again on Sunday morning, albeit initially only as a brief downpour. It continued to rain as a fine spray well into the afternoon. Clearly all those outside chores we had planned for the day were now either impractical or simply impossible. So why not a return to Berlin Road? If nothing else it would break the monotony.

Again armed with the trusty Garmin Oregon 300 GPS unit, we decided to refine our “stops” along this extended transect and recorded the geographical co-ordinates of each individual “staging post” while continuing to treat the entire road as one birding site for computer recording purposes [in other words, we did not repeat previously recorded species and only altered the number seen where appropriate].

Typical Hoop Pine plantation. Image via

We ended up with seven staging posts, ranging from the crest of the first hill [loose, open woodland on both sides of the road]; a stretch with narrow strips of remnant rainforest on both sides of the road; a stretch [one of our original stopping spots] where the remnant rainforest bordered only one side, with open grassland and a Hoop Pine Araucaria cunninghamii plantation on the other; at the intersection with both Chippendale and Jensen Roads, basically grassy lanes surrounded by grazing pastures; perhaps a 100m along the road beyond the “dog leg” where we had observed such gems as Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata on an earlier visit; at the gateway to a newly-acquired, but still house-less, site with a square patch of remnant rainforest on one side and open grassland on the other; and finally we parked in a gateway overlooking a small farm dam perhaps 50m from the road’s junction with the D’Aguilar Highway.

Our tally came to 31, equalling the second highest total we had previously recorded along Berlin Road back in January 2009 [the current best being 34 species in January 2010]. The day’s tally included four species new to the site:

Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis [an immature bird]
Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoalis

And perhaps the most interesting from our prespective [see the recent blog at Birds of Allen Road] was the

Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rocky Creek Circuit

Australian Hobby. Image via

We came across what we now refer to as the Rocky Creek Circuit more by chance and good fortune than by deliberate design. One end of Rocky Creek Road itself exits onto the D’Aguilar Highway, at a point where the highway crosses Rocky Creek, normally a thin trickle of water running along a narrow, but deepish, course. I pass it twice daily during the working week and in the back of my mind had always earmarked it as a potential for future exploration.

However, it wasn’t until we discovered that it’s other end terminates at its junction with Reeve Road, the latter running from Neumgna Road to the D’Aguilar Highway, that we appreciated the potential for a birding circuit.

The easiest way to picture this “circuit” is to imagine a capital Q; the circuit proper takes in Reeve Road, Rocky Creek Road, the D’Aguilar Highway and so back to Reeve Road. The tail of the Q is that part of Reeve Road which sweeps into Neumgna Road [and that leads to Berlin Road].

Our initial exploratory outing was back in January 2010, a trip that produced a mere five species but given that one of the very first birds was the Australian Hobby Falco longipennis it fired the imagination and has become a regular route when we’re short of extended time but feel the need to go a little beyond Allen Road.

On the subsequent visit the tally of birds rocketed to 19 and included crippling view of a pair of Jacky Winters Microeca fascinans [a member of the Petroicidae, robins]. On the previous visit, in November 2010, we had tallied a record 29 species and while the list had included nothing out of the ordinary, other than perhaps a pair of Plumed Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna eytoni, it had shown us that there was much to be had from this circuit.

Jacky Winter Image via

On the first visit for this current year, Sunday 13 March 2011, we tallied only 24 species but it did include good views of Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus, strung out along overhead wires along Reeve Road. Unfortunately the morning was overcast, dull and gloomy; not the ideal conditions for photography.

With a little "tweaking" this should the Rocky Road Circuit should become one of the best nearby locales Fay and I have on our South Burnett schedule.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Slow Day @ Berlin Road

I suppose one of the problems with Berlin Road for me is that I travel along it twice a day during the working week; once on the way to Blackbutt and again on the return journey home. On most occasions, when venturing further afield [e.g. leaving for one of our occasional trips back to Redcliffe], we use Berlin Road as the most convenient route. One tends to become a little blasé; familiarity breeding contempt.

It can often take a special occasion to stir complacency out of its moribund state. Yesterday [Saturday 12 March 2033] serves as a point in case. We were heading to Jimboomba to visit our [non-birding] son and, with Fay in the front passenger seat, notebook and pencil in hand, we recorded the birds on or either side of the road as we travelled.

Given the less than satisfactory circumstances [speed, albeit never above 80kph, is not the perfect partner to good birding practice] our eventual meagre list was disappointing:

Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes
White-faced heron Egretta novaehollandiae
Galah Eolophus roseicapillus
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen
Torresian Crow Corvus orru
Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca