Saturday, December 28, 2013


While birding along Allen Road may have been a little disappointing during November, this was far from the case for the South Burnett in general.  It wasn’t the highest monthly tally for the year to date – that honour goes to the 126 species recorded in August- but at 125 it comes a close second.  Further, November 2013 has seen the best monthly tally since the inception of regular records in 2001; there remains the November 1996 aberration from the days before our move to the region but it involves only the one visit to the Palms National Park with a humble tally of fourteen [14] species.

As an aside, that was in fact our second incursion into the South Burnett during 1996; we had ventured here in March of that year, to Yarraman State Forest [in search of Black-breasted Button-quail].

The only comparable November tally was last year’s 113 species, recorded from sixteen [16] separate sites across the South Burnett region.  As a matter of coincidence, that was the exact number of locations visited during November 2013.   Nine of those overlapped both 2012 and 2013; six sites surveyed in 2012 were omitted in 2013 and conversely, seven sites covered in 2013 had not been surveyed the previous year.

There were of course all the regular species one comes to expect and where would we be without them!  No one wants to venture down the road of the unfortunate North American Passenger Pigeon Ectopistes migratorius or the humble British Tree Sparrow Passer montanus.  As one of my former birding mentors once quipped, “We’re all too busy chasing the uncommon species; it’s the common birds you no longer see that should concern you.”

There was no shortage of Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata nor of the Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa; both the Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes and Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis maintained their strong showing; Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus, Galahs Eolophus roseicapilla and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos Cacatua galerita turned up in almost every location surveyed.  Among other regular birds of the region, the Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala continued to dominate checklists, as did the Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen and Torresian Crow Corvus orru.

It was however the one-offs, those birds appearing only once during November that really established the month’s credentials; its character.  Even during the first week, three species,
Brown Quail Coturnix ypsilophora, Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis [both showing well on the 4th] and the Australian Brush-turkey Alectura lathami [7th] that started the ball rolling.  Another four species appeared as one-offs during the second week – all on the 13th: Varied Sittella Daphoenositta chrysoptera, White-headed Pigeon Columba leucomela, Crested Shrike-tit Falcunculus frontatus and Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons.

November hit the jackpot in the third week when, as part of the Birds Queensland planned outing to Blackbutt, we visited Din Din Road, Yarraman Weir and the Gibson State Forest - it had become our habit to join BQ on a number of their weekend campouts as Saturday morning visitors only.  What an avian Mecca!  In the space of an hour or so we tallied thirteen [13] species. 
Along Din Din Road we recorded:  Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus; White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea; White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis; Dusky Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus [first South Burnett sighting since December 2011]; Jacky Winter Microeca fascinans [first sighting in the South Burnett since August 2011], Rufous Songlark Cincloramphus mathewsi [a first ever record for the South Burnett and the first Queensland sighting since September 2000] and Double-barred Finch Taeniopygia bichenovii.
During a morning tea break at the Yarraman Weir we added Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and then, post tea break, in the Gibson State Forest a last minute flurry gave us: Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus; Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla; Varied Triller Lalage leucomela; Australian Raven Corvus coronoides and Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis.
Three days later [19th] we added the Red-winged Parrot Aprosmictus erythropterus to the monthly tally.

                                                                 The best shot I could get in the circumstances.

The last days of the month would have been hard pressed to maintain the flow of one-off species experienced during the previous week but nevertheless it was not a total failure.  Far from it; the 22nd saw our only Black Swan Cygnus atratus for the month while two days later, the 24th witnessed the sole sightings of Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes and White-throated Needletail .  Four Scaly-breasted Lorikeets Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus presented themselves for viewing on the 28th and the last day of the month, at the local Refuse Transfer Plant Sewage Plant, brought Black Kite Milvus migrans [much reduced in numbers since earlier days]; the Grey Street Sewage Treatment Plant provided good views of Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia and one Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus.

In and amidst all that, the last weeks of November were among the most hectic I’ve ever experienced in 43 years of teaching; besides the tests, marking and report cards I had to prepare my room for the new staff member replacing me in 2014 – can you imagine how much assorted litter and plain junk one rather obsessive middle-aged teacher can gather over a lifetime at the Chalk Front?

Friday, December 20, 2013


As I penned in the OCTOBER OFFERINGS blog for Allen Road [and with sincere apologies for those of you who came here via that posting]:
Given that it is now mid-December, some might well consider this monthly report a mite on the tardy side.  Yes.  However, going on the premise of better late than never, it is present here with an brief explanation as to why it has taken this long to emerge.  It was actually written by the end of the first week in November and awaited a few textual adjustments and the addition of the photographs.  Piece of cake; like falling off a log.  Then the enormity of the new Australian Curriculum dropped on me like the proverbial lead balloon.  Testing, marking and of course report writing.  Gone are the days when teachers could simply comment “worked well” or “could do better.”  November and early December [when the November report would normally be prepared] became lost in a mountain of schoolwork.  I drowned in a deluge of data that had to be prepared and transferred to various computer files – and then forwarded to various areas.

‘nough said.  I’m over the October delay.  The October report for the South Burnett is here.
In essence we recorded 111 species from 18 different locations which, oddly enough, coincides exactly with the 2012 October tally [111 species over 18 locations].  Together they continue to hold the record tally since the onset of South Burnett reports in 2001; only approached by the 110 in October 2010 and 109 in October 2009; all other years came in at below the century score.

However, October 2013 for us will always be the month of the Blue Bonnet Northiella haematogaster.  We had long considered that parts of the South Burnett would be favourable Blue Bonnet habitat but had never seen any in almost 3800 separate computer entries for the region dating back to January 1990.  The last recorded sighting we have of Blue Bonnet is in the St George area back in 2000- a 13-year gap.

It never really occurred to us that our first South Burnett sighting would literally be around in the corner.  On 7 October we were surveying the Rocky Creek Circuit which we had recently tweaked to include McGillevray Road.  It was as we were turning into this latter part of the circuit [a left out of Reeve Road] that Fay noted two parrot-like birds flit across the road a few metres ahead of us.  Time froze.  We knew its name but the words wouldn’t come out.  A moment later we simultaneously breathed out, “Blue Bonnet.”  The birds alighted in shrubbery on the right-hand side of the road.  We could almost touch them.  I eased the Subaru yards closer; Fay had her binoculars trained on the pair.  I stopped and took up my binoculars.  It was not a Lifer but after a 13-year drought it was a pleasant sensation to have them in sight again – and in the South Burnet to boot!
Purloined from

There were other notable South Burnett sightings during the month.  At the Broadwater Camping Reserve we saw only our third Cotton-Pygmy Goose Nettapus coromandelianus of the year; we had glorious views of a pair cruising along on Barker’s Creek.


The White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaetus leucogaster over Meandu Creek Dam was the first since Chinchilla at the end of June 2013.  It showed for a second time during October at the Broadwater Camping Reserve in the third week of the month.

A number of birds managed only the one appearance during the month: Berlin Road [7th] provided the solitary Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus, Red-browed Finch Neochimia temporalis and the Australian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus australis; Rocky Creek Circuit [also on 7th] came up with a single White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis and Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis; finally Broadwater scored well with the aforementioned Cotton Pygny-goose together with Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea, White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis and Tree Martin Petrochelidon nigricans.
The tale of October cannot be allowed to slip by without mention of the magic moments when a Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris came to perch in overhead wires a few metres from where Fay and I stood, albeit half-disguised as passing wind-blown litter.


Monday, October 14, 2013


Given that Fay and I managed to visit only 16 of the now 80 different established locations spread out across the region one would have expected the monthly tally to be rather on the low side; not as low as the 28 recorded species of September 2010 when we spent most of that month in the U.K. but nevertheless a paltry total would not have surprised.  Nothing of the sort eventuated.  September 2013 came in at a very respectable 110 species; only four species behind the record 114 of September 2012 and the last two Septembers remain the only ones with tallies above 100 species.

Allen Road, a sub-strand of the South Burnett, clearly accounted for some of the unexpectedly high tally; surveys at the Tarong Power Station, particularly the Black Creek and Cooling Water Dams, punched above their weight; Berlin Road came good, especially with the Brown Falcon Falco berigora and Speckled Warbler Chthonicola sagittata of the 14th; the Grey Street sewage treatment plant was another white knight coming to the rescue of an otherwise dismal September prospect.
As expected the passerines took the lion’s share, accounting for 44% of sightings although this becomes the new nadir, dropping below the previous low of 48% back in 2002.  Of these the honeyeaters topped the species family distribution charts, as they have since the conception of records back in April 2001; in 2007 their nearest numerical rivals, the pigeons and doves, equalled them at 10% of all recorded sightings for the month

September carried its avian gems.  The 14th produce the Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus at the Cooling Water Dam and a host of Tree Martins Petrochelidon nigricans flitting over the dam wall on the same day.  Not to be outdone by its sister reservoir, the Black Creek Dam came up trumps with a Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis and our only Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilison the 29th of the month.  The latter dam went on to produce the sole September Australian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis and the second only Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalisof the month.  As we were departing the Power Station complex on the 29th, the region’s first Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae flew by overhead.
The Palms National Park, rather a disappointment over the past few visits, at least partly redeemed itself in our eyes by presenting us with a Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus, an Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsiltria austalis, a Little Shrike-thrush Colluricincla megarhyncha and a Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta.
To cap matters off, on the 22nd Berlin Road provided us with good view of an Australasian Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Awesome August




In essence August opened with the merest trickle of birds, increased in pace as the month proceeded and finally departed the 2013 calendar with an exciting flurry.  It was the obverse of Allen Road which suffered from the fact that Fay and I ventured further afield around the South Burnett, indeed even further, Beyond the Pale on occasions; the more we wandered, the less time we had to concentrate on Allen Road.
During the month we covered 20 of the 80 identified sites in the immediate region, including new additions David Road [Taromeo] and the Mudlo National Park [Kilkivan].  The former is the home of our good friends [and part-time birders] Richard & Bess Newman.  Hopefully if I can eventually present them with a reasonably comprehensive “backyard” birdlist [they made a start back in the early days] it will encourage them to pay birding more attention.  The latter remains something of an enigma.  We had noticed it on the maps and had always suggested to ourselves that one day we should venture out to explore its birding potential.  We never did and it took a Birds Queensland weekend outing [we joined them for the Saturday] to get us there.  A second trip is now firmly on the calendar.
We ended the month with 127 species, the best tally since records started back in 2001, clearly outstripping the second best total of 109 species in 2012 [the only two years in which August has topped the 100-species mark]. Of those, 49% [59 species] were passerines; parrots and allies managed 9% [12 species] marginally ahead of the pelicans and allies, also 9% but with only 11 species.
One species of particular note to us during the opening week of August was perhaps the White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica.  While by no means a rare species for the area, it is less frequent and less abundant than the White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae; 94 recorded sightings compared to 370 for the latter.  Thus, it is always a little exciting to see a White-necked Heron.
The second week began looking good with our trip to the Tarong Power Station complex [10 August]: the White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea, Weebill Smicrornis brevirostris and Rufous Whistler Pachycephala rufiventris put in their only appearance in the area but were all hugely over-shadowed by the Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae, last seen in more or less exactly the same spot three months earlier [May 2013].
The following day, on a return to the Power Station, the two finches, Double-barred Taeniopygia bichenovii and Red-browed Neochmia temporalis showed well along one of the tracks around Meandu Creek Dam.
The third week exploded with a flurry of birds, hoisting August from the tally doldrums to become a serious contender for the Best Bird Month of the Year Award.  It squeezed into third place, behind July at 129 and January on 134.  We’d decided to join Birds Queensland on 24 August on their Kilkivan outing.

The Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus, only our second sighting of the species since December 1996 [and both in the South Burnett], made the long trip out to Kilkivan worthwhile in itself.  I noted it flying across the road to perch on a strand of wire running across the small creek at the caravan park entrance.  Fay, in the front passenger seat, had initially missed it so I slowly reversed until she too could get a good look at its blazing colours.  It was all pleasingly reminiscent of that beautiful Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis flitting about on rocks by the beach at Marazion, Cornwall, back in January 1994. 

Mudlo National Park provided us with crippling views of a Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis, cautiously foraging alongside the gravel road; a pair of Glossy Black-Cockatoos Calyptorhynchus lathami only metres above our heads and seemingly within easy reach of an outstretched hand; confirmation that Rainbow Bee-eaters Merops ornatus were back in town; the first Little Shrike-thrush Colluricincla megarhyncha sighting since December 2009; our first Spectacled Monarch Colluricincla megarhyncha since September 2012 and our first record of Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula since January this year.  As a touching finale, the Australasian Pipit Anthus australis put in its only South Burnett sighting for the month.
And all that before 31 August when we ventured forth to the Gordonbrook Dam for our eighth visit here [the previous one earlier in January 2013].    In keeping with the literary theme  of “awesome” we came away with our best ever tally, beating the former best [43 in October 2010]  with 55 – including the superlative, the crème de la crème, six Freckled Ducks  Stictonetta naevosa a mere stone’s throw from the shoreline.
The first Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus since January 2013 put in an appearance, floating down to join the above-mentioned Freckled Ducks.  The pair of Royal Spoonbills Platalea regia was our first South Burnett sighting of this species since the solitary bird at the Sewage Plant back in April 2013. The four Yellow-billed Spoonbills Platalea flavipes complemented the pair noted at the Sewage Plant a week earlier.  The two White-breasted Woodswallows Artamus leucorynchus added to the growing Trip List, as did the unexpected but welcomed Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia.
Aye, an absolutely awesome August.
From the same view point a few hours later


Friday, August 9, 2013

Limited Jaunts in July

In a quite gob-smacking way, July 2013 turned out to be the most productive July on record.  The monthly tally of 119 species easily outstripped the previous best, 82 species in 2010 and almost quadrupled the lowest ever score of 31 species in July 2007.  Surprising because it didn’t seem to be a particularly active period with only seven [7] South Burnett destinations recorded: Nanango Fauna Sanctuary [6, 14 and 28 July], the Sewage Plant [6 July], Bunya Mts [7 July], Berlin Road [21, 27 and 28 July], both the Hoop Pine plantation and open woodland areas within the Tarong Power Station complex [14 July], Mt Wooroolin [26 July] and Neumgna Road [28 July].
Clearly, species diversity was the key.  Not that any of the seven produced particularly outstanding individual tallies:

Fauna Sanctuary
Sewage Plant
Bunya Mts
Berlin Road
Tarong [Hoop]
Tarong [open wood]
Mt Wooroolin
Neumgna Road

Nevertheless there were a few gems during July that set off a pleasing pattern.  The White-headed Pigeons Columba leocomela [7 July] posed in their usual spot, just north of the composite bridge over the gully in Blackbutt. They were adequately complemented by the Green Catbird Ailuroedus crassirostris, Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans, Topknot Pigeons Lopholaimus antarctieus and Red-rumped Parrots Psephotus haematonutus on the way to and at the Bunya Mts [7 July].
A week later [14 July] we had good views of a male Muck Duck Biziura lobata and seven Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus on the Cooling Water Dam at the Tarong Power Station complex.  They were overshadowed by close views of a Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides at the Meandu Creek Dam [Tarong Power Station].  The species presented itself again a week later.

20 July brought crippling views of a Spotted Harrier Cicus assimilis while later, en route to the Jimbour “Opera in the Park”, we were inundated by a large flock of Cockatiels Leptolophus hollandicus.
The Brown Quail Coturnix australis along Berlin Road [21 July] was eclipsed only by the later sighting [a little further along Berlin Road] of a Brown Falcon Falco berigora [identified by both sight and call].

 The month concluded with the first Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus of the season [28 July], albeit seemingly a little early given the cold conditions.  The Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta[30 July] was our first since early April 2013.
                                                                 Section of Cooling Water Dam
Can August [109 in 2012] top that?  Stay tuned.

Friday, July 5, 2013


One comes to learn not to expect too much from birding in June.  It’s end of semester time; report cards, parent-teacher interviews and the collation of data for the Education Authorities.  
Following the 2011 Census, Fay and I were randomly selected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to be tracked on a monthly basis for the next eight months.  When informed that I was paid for a 25-hour week [six hours over five days] the statistician giggled, pointing out that this was the number of working hours the Bureau allocated to the “barely employed.”  Her giggle turned to a gasp as each month I rattled off  the weekly hours I’d actually spent in school or engaged on school work.   During June those hours increased by a significant margin.

As an old wag once quipped, “Teachers!  Buggers only work from nine to three, get ten weeks paid holiday a year and do little more than hand out worksheets and yell at the kids.  And most of the males are rampant paedophiles to boot!  Visions of Pink Floyd’s Brick in the Wall.

Make what you will of the above tirade,
We managed our first birding, beyond noting the local Allen Road birds and those recorded at school, on 9 June – and that was merely casual observations from the car as we returned home following a night out at the BOLSHOI BALLET and dinner with our son, ADAM.

On 10 June we finalised the first of two new birding circuits for the month, to add to the three designed in May:
Exit Burnett Highway at Booie Road.  Follow until Booie Road makes a sharp right-hand turn while the road directly ahead becomes Smith Road.  Follow this to its T-junction with the Hodsleigh North Road.  Turn left into this and follow until it meets the D'Aguilar Highway,

Strictly speaking of course this is not a complete circuit as we usually exit at Parsons Road and return home via the Nanango-Brooklands Road [into Major and Allen Roads] rather than continue through to Nanango itself and the start of the Burnett Highway.
We created the second of our new birding circuits five days later [15 June]; well more a “Q” than a true circuit:

Drive along the Mount Stanley Road and turn left into the East Nanango-Grindstone Road.  Follow this until its T-junction with the Grindstone School Road [signposted simple as School Road].  Follow this until its T-junction with Runnymede Road and then the latter's T-junction with the Burnett Highway.  Follow this until a left turn into Lanigan Road which junctions with the East Nanango-Grindstone Road [the tail of the Q].
The engaging views of three [3] Shining Bronze-Cuckoos Chalcites lucidus seemingly displaying to each other was a bonus in itself but of the 21 species recorded on this outing, the Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus has to be the sighting of the day.  As we negotiated a slight bend the bird suddenly materialised on the right-hand edge of the road [the tail of the circuit], flew along ahead of us and perched in tree a few metres away before disappearing again.  All too fast for my slow camera work!

Other than those two occasions we managed only a brief sojourn to the Nanango Fauna Sanctuary and an even briefer trip along Neumgna Road on a very overcast, grey day.
Our final entry was during the return trip from Chinchilla when we tallied twelve [12] species between the Western Downs and South Burnett border back to Allen Road.  The Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris was worth a mention in despatches.
It was just June!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Circuits and Black Kites

At one point I was tempted to call this blog “The Month of the Raptor.”  It was certainly an amazing month for raptors.  Not only was there the Black Kite Milvus migrans of the title but we spotted eight other diurnal birds of prey during May, some of them real gems in anyone’s reckoning. 
The Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus has become almost a commonplace bird, putting in eight appearances on its own.  The impressive Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax managed four showings over May, as did the Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris.  We spotted the Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroides on two separate occasions during the month.

The first of the gems was surely the Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae on 11 May.  Our first sighting of the bird that morning was in the “open woodland” area of Tarong Power Station; our second of the bird [most certainly the same goshawk] was over Tarong State Forest, as we left the Power Station.  Fay and I have long suspected nesting in the area; we observed a pair back in November 2011.

A week later, 18 May, while further exploring the birding potential of Darley Crossing Road, we were blessed with glorious views of a Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis.  It even outshone the earlier sighting [5 May] of a Swamp Harrier Circus approximans at the Black Creek Dam.
However, the raptor of the month has to be the Australian Hobby Falco longipennis, seen shortly after the Swamp Harrier and a little beyond the dam, atop a tall tree in open woodland.  Initially seen from quite a distance away, we at first thought we might have a Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus but as we drew to within easier telescope views it became patently clear that it was a hobby.  Its presence delayed our morning’s birdwatching by at least ten minutes.  Or at least it felt that long before we forced ourselves away to continue our survey of the area. 

On our return, the hobby was still there, perched in the same tree, affording us the same lingering views.  It was going to be a late breakfast that morning!

The sudden irruption of Black Kite into the area came as a very pleasant surprise.

According to a number of local residents, these “fish-tailed hawks” had, many years ago, been quite a prominent feature of the South Burnett landscape but had gradually declined in number to the point when they were no longer noticed and eventually faded from conscious recall.  Certainly by the time Fay and I became regular visitors to [circa 2001] and then domicile in the area [circa 2005] there were no reports from any quarter of Black Kite.

I came across the first specimen back in August 2011 while returning home from school [Blackbutt].  My brief notes of the time – it is always difficult if not downright dangerous to be overly profuse in one’s scribblings while at the wheel of a car- recorded “On Nanango side of Nukku turn-off.  Being ‘escorted’ by pair of Torresian Crows”.  It was exactly a year later, August 2012, when Fay and I noted the second record in this neck of the woods, at the Cooling Water Dam in the Tarong Power Station complex.  Our notes on that occasion record, “New to PATCH LIST.  Observed being harassed by Whistling Kites [c.f.]”.

The first warning droplets of the impending deluge of Black Kites occurred on 24 Match 2013.  I was on my way into Nanango to buy something or other when I spotted the distinctive forked tail circling the area ahead.  A week later, at Horse Creek [on our way to Wooroolin], we spotted the fourth of our South Burnett kites.  There were another two sightings in April 2013, both in the Horse Creek/Barkers Creek Flats area.  On 20 April we recorded “Stopped to have a good look as the bird flew off towards Nanango.  Forked tail quite clear”.   A week later, 28 April, we spotted the next scout for the impending horde about to descend on the area.  We recorded “Circling overhead.  Further evidence that the species is entering the area.  Initially noted one just outside Nanango; Fay and I observed one near Horse Creek on 20 April 2013”.

It became comparative Black Kite pandemonium throughout May and no doubt, had we been in a position to venture forth more often [school report cards can be a birding bother], we would have recorded Black Kite on more occasions and possibly in greater numbers.  On 6 May, “Near BP Service Station outside Nanango” for the first time we encountered more than the previous solitary bird; three.
On 11 May, at the local Refuse Exchange Station – the “tip” in old parlance- we recorded 20 as a “Conservative estimate of numbers involved.  Apparently making a come-back into the area after a long absence”.  A week later, 18 May, at the same place, we noted 100 as a “Conservative estimate of numbers involved.”
The trend towards higher numbers continues into June.
The prodigal kite saga becomes a little more interesting if one considers that our records centre on Nanango and its immediate environs alone.  There are other Refuse Exchange Stations in the South Burnett region – as there are many farmers currently involved in ploughing land, no doubt being escorted by hordes of opportunistic Black Kites.
May was also the month in which Fay and I created a number of new birding circuits, a la our original Rocky Creek Circuit. 
On 5 May we extended the former Mondure Crossing Road transect to form the Mondure Creek Circuit.  It had been our practice to bird along this stretch of gravel road from its junction with the Burnett Highway [A3] to its further junction with Booie Road and then simply turn back.  On occasions we did turn left here, exploring a little way down before returning home.  This time we took the right-hand turn and followed Booie Road until its junction with the Robin & Lee Road and thus back to the Burnett Highway.
The new Mondure Creek Circuit proved an instant success.  Among the 28 species recorded that day, the jewel in the crown was undoubtedly the Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus.  Not only was this our first sighting of the species in the South Burnett region, it was our first sighting of the species since 8 December 1996 at Peachtrees!
A week later, 12 May, we incorporated the Mondure Crossing Road into a second circuit. From off the Burnett Highway we followed Booie Road which eventually sweeps around to the right in almost a right-angled turn until its junction with Mondure Crossing Road and thus back to the Burnett Highway.  While not as immediately successful as the earlier circuit, it clearly has the potential to impress and we will try it again.
Attempts to form a circuit based on Runnymede Road fizzled away when we hit a “No Through Road” sign to the left and knew that the fork to the right was the infamous pass over Mt Stanley.  Nevertheless, later, sharing a glass of Shiraz on the east verandah, poring over local road maps, we found a possible circuit using Walsh Road which runs off Runnymede Road.
Smith Road holds further circuit potential.  We still hold out hopes for the Darley Crossing Road project and of course, a little further afield, we have come across a possible Nukku Road circuit; it looks good on “google maps” buts awaits the opportunity to test it on the ground.
How long is it before I retire?