Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My Reward

At his request, I took Denis Abbott to see the "much vaunted" waterhole in the Meehan Range today. With the cooler weather, there are fewer birds visiting, but despite that, some 12 species, perhaps more, partook of the waters. Denis wanted to try out his new digital camera and thought this might be a good spot. I suspect he found there was a fairly steep learning curve! But there are few short cuts and practice and patience have their own reward. I feel my reward was getting the chance to take the accompanying pix of the aptly named Beautiful Firetail. I had seen them coming down to the water on previous visits, but they are generally fairly secretive in their approach. This year I've only seen odd birds and not the usual family groups. The Meehan Range appears normally to hold good numbers of Firetails.


John Tongue said...

Beautiful shots, Alan! The bird looks like it's been eating something, or picked up some debris on its beak from when drinking at the waterhole. We didn't spot any Firetails when we were last at THE waterhole, but then, we don't see them often, anywhere. More's the pity, because they are certainly a beautiful bird.

Here's hopeing the north-Queenslanders have still got some birds around, and they haven't all been blown away with so much of the rest of their lives!

BirdingTas said...

Thanks for the comments, John. I've enlarged the bill in another shot and they are obviously seeds and from their size etc., I think they're almost certainly fron the Kangaroo Apple (Solanum aviculare) which certainly grows there and the fruit should be ripe now. I hope that no one thought the pix were in anyway a "just" reward! Just lucky.

felix Wilson said...

Very nice shots of the beautiful firetails Alan!
They certainly desrve their name, don't they.
Sounds like you should organise a Birds Tas outing to the area!

BirdingTas said...

Thanks Felix. Unfortunately, this is an area where birds are sometimes very hard to find. I think that the presence of water (both in the waterhole and in the creek) draw birds in, certainly during dry periods. Over many years of obs. in the area, I think that at this time of year, migratory species funnel through the whole of the Meehan Range--a look at a map might show why--on their way North.I've recorded over 70 species here. I may write a blog sometime about the area.

Felix Wilson said...

It certainly sounds like an area worth visiting, but I know what you mean about the good times and the bad. Sometimes its hard to understand why when you come to an are there are large numbers of birds and then another visit yields very little.
70 species is a pretty good count for an area like that, do you have a list that you could put on the site or email?

BirdingTas said...

Hi Felix, it might be easier to tell you what's not there! I did a quick check list and counted over 70 species, that includes fly over gulls and similar. It would include all the birds you would expect in a dry eucalypt area, plus such species as Quail and Pink Robin (caught one).A fire went through the area in the early 80s, but I'm sure there are more birds in there than before. It is a highly modified area, from quarrying,and has a very checkered history and still much abused by a range of illegal activities. I will endeavour to blog something.