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.


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