Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Part 3: No Squatter Pigeons here

The exact sequence of events escapes me. What I remember between Crater National Park and Mt. Molloy is a jumble of birds, torrential downpours, checking my email in the MacDonald's, searing heat and one extremely satisfying raspberry soda! So, in the vein of many travel writers, timeline be damned! Disjunct spots will hopefully coalesce into a broader picture as we made our meandering way North. This part of the trek past through drier country before coming back to the sub-topical feel at Mt. Lewis and to the tropical Daintree beyond.

The birds could not be found. The termite-mound dotted landscape whizzed by as I steadfastly took us forward. "There's another spot for them over here" became the line to spur on the troops. The "them" in question were Black-throated Finch, Squatter Pigeon and Black Bittern. Upon reflection, the season was wrong. Not that "they are not found here" wrong, but rather "won't be concentrated here" wrong. Termite mound after termite mound past with nary a living creature about. A country road on which our little Hyundai should not have traveled was our second to last spot for redemption. Some finches shifting through the dry grass got my attention. Not the ones we were looking for but instead the common Double-barred Finch. Using the moniker common may sound like I think less of this species than the aforementioned Black-throats, but such is not the case! These delightful birds would have girls worldwide swooning at their cuteness.

At Tinaroo Creek, down the aptly named Tinaroo Creek Rd, the Black Bittern could not be found. Clearly the finches' charm did not rub off on us. The well used verse, "I'll just have to come back another time", was uttered.

Coming back would of course require getting out. As I was heading down toward the creek, I felt us pass the point of no return in a soft muddy road. I knew that if I could not make it up the other side of the creek there would be no going back the way we came. I conveniently kept this information from my travel companions. *NOTE* (If the rental car agency is reading, I categorically deny going on any unpaved roads and thus breaking our rental agreement). Thankfully, we didn't have to charm any non-existent passerbys in the deserted countryside as I made it up the other side without issue.

So onward we went. Squatter Pigeon corner was noticeably void of any squatters; pigeon or other, and we would leave without seeing any of the species promised in our guide. C'est la Vie.

Willie Wagtail (One of the birds we did see!)

All was not amiss though. At some point in this jumble of a couple of days, the decision was made to drive "out of our way" so we could camp at an actual park. This proved to be a wise decision. The White-browed Robin, a specialty of the region happened to be nesting right at our camp site. Splashing around in the stream as it tumbled across the rocky substrate and around small tree islands, we listened and watched the bird flit from island to island. We even chanced a brief soak in the cool water to wash the road filth from our bodies.

And so it went. A stop here for Cotton Pygmy-Goose, and stop there for Green Pygmy-Goose. A black Kite here, a Brahimy Kite there. The list grew slowly. A distant Australasian Pelican would strangely enough, be the only one of the whole trip for me despite its professed common status. A few would not make it all; Saurus Crane and Apostlebird come to mind.

Neverless we kept on, with the occasional downpour sending us running back to the car to pursue Black-necked Storks another day!

We were careful not to hit any Kangaroos ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment