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.