Here's a short list of birds we don't often get to see around home - Rufous Fantail, Rose Robin, Black-faced Monarch, Crested Shrike-tit, Red-browed Treecreeper and Mistletoe Bird. A small group of HBW's saw these and more in the Colquhoun Forest at Kalimna on the weekend.
As a means of doing a 'shakedown camp' for a later exercise, I took my tent etc up to Kalimna on Saturday afternoon. John and Nancy were staying in a nearby motel and they caught up with me late in the afternoon. To that stage there hadn't been much to report. I'd had a few sightings of Golden Whistlers while pitching the tent, but not much else to excite the masses! I was getting worried. Asking people to drive for a couple of hours to see a Golden Whistler, a beautiful bird no less, was bothering me a little.
An aside -
Just as I was about to cook tea, IE heat the baked beans, another camper pulled in. Bloke got out, said hello, surveyed the site, chose his spot and reversed in. He then set up his slide on camper arrangement and after perhaps 10 minutes, a lady got out of the cabin, climbed up into the camper and proceeded to ring her friends and family on her mobile. Her loud conversations went something like, "We're in some bush at Lakes Entrance. It's a beautiful spot...." Just how she knew it was beautiful I do not know! This went on for quite some time. As darkness approached, I went spotlighting and returned an hour or more later to hear the lady say good night to the last person. Next morning, I left at 10 am to meet the other HBW's nearby and I still hadn't seen either person more than 5 metres from their vehicle. They'll probably dine out on some tales of their bush camping trip for some time after they get home!
After listening to some night noises - Boobooks galore, Sugar Gliders yip yipping away in the tree behind my tent, and I think, the 'descending bomb' like whistle of a Sooty Owl, I slept well.
Breakfast just after daylight was prepared with an orchestral performance in the background - Grey Shrike-thrush, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Lewin's Honeyeater, Treecreepers, Golden Whistlers, the mournful note of the Crested Shrike-tit and plenty more largely unknown to me - was perhaps a good omen for the day ahead.
On a quick scout around the campsite, it became apparent the beautiful and accommodating Eastern Yellow Robins were almost in plague proportion.
Just before meeting up with the rest of the crew, I managed to get up close to the Crested Shrike-tit. Duncan and I have seen them in good number at this site some years before, so perhaps this endangered bird is well established in the area.
We did a fairly short loop walk that should have taken little more than half an hour. An hour and a half later we got back to the cars having seen and heard a panoply of birds. All the while, the persistent sad downward trill of the Fan-tailed Cuckoo accompanied us.
Lyrebirds, Whipbirds and Lewin's Honeyeaters were calling from the depths of cover in the gullies. In the tree tops, Spotted Pardalotes, White-naped Honeyeaters, Orioles, Treecreepers and Whistlers had us almost falling over as we leaned backwards to get a good enough look to ID each flash of a bird as it zoomed through.
Lunchtime produced a family of Rose Robins and some Black-faced Monarchs before everything went quiet again. It was like someone had thrown a switch. Boy, were we sated though? We had some great images in our heads for the long drive home. An iced-coffee at Stratford helped too, (I put this in for Tony).
Wonderful day, great birds, pleasant company, must do it again soon.