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.
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”.