Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Go South 05 -- north to Mt Lewis

I drove to the end of the road that goes to the top of Mt Lewis between Mossman and Mt Molloy, home to the Blue-faced Parrot-finch. This is the easiest place to observe this uncommon and possibly rare bird.

A gravel road snakes up from the valley through rainforest for 12km or so before topping out onto a relatively flat area where the trees have been cleared and rank grass is growing in an area, say, three hundred metres by one hundred metres. I slowed down and stopped and there, without even having had time to switch the engine off, were some Blue-faced Parrot-finches in full view eating seeds on the top of long grass stems just a few yards from the car. Wow. Not that often you see a target bird so quickly, easily and predictably. Job done.

The alternatives now were ...
1) turn around and drive off to the next target, or
2) camp.

I decided the latter. Next morning I walked further along the track past the locked gate and saw Yellow-throated Scrubwrens in the company of both Bassian and Russett-tailed Thrushes, all to the accompaniment of Spotted Catbirds, Grey-headed Robins and no camera!

Blue-faced Parrot-finch Erythrura trichora

In company with BFPFs were lots of other finch-type birds.

Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis
Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin
Lonchura castaneothorax
Grey-headed Robin
Heteromyias cinereifrons
Yellow-throated Scrubwren Sericornis citreogularis

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