• [caption id="attachment_1041" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Tawny Frogmouth in a suburban Brisbane backyard, February 2011"]Tawny Frogmouth in a suburban Brisbane backyard, February 2011
    • Bowra6-900
4 Jan 2020 – Orient Express

Woke up at 0155 by my son climbing into bed and kicking me in the head. Couldn’t get back to sleep, so decided to get up and head down the reservoir early. This turned out to be a good move, not because I had any spectacular night birds (although I did see a Koala), but actually quite a few bits and pieces were calling, including a trio of patch year ticks: Bush Stone-curlew, Australasian Swamphen, and several Magpie Geese. The Magpie Geese appeared to have been roosting on the reservoir, and were lifting off calling before dawn. Impossible to gauge numbers, but didn’t sound like very many.

As dawn broke, I got myself to the spot along the pylon break where Elliot Leach found an Oriental Cuckoo yesterday. Right on cue, the lank long-winged form of an Oriental Cuckoo appeared just yards from me, and it landed somewhat obscured in the Melaleuca trees. It even allowed me to snap a few pictures – totally MEGA! This has been a great summer for Oriental Cuckoos in south-east Queensland, and I was mighty relieved to have caught up with this species at Tingalpa so early in the year.

Continuing onto the Forest Peninsula, yesterday’s Austrlasian Shoveler was still there, but had been joined by a second bird, which was nice. The Caspian Tern had gone, but the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper flock had swelled to 13 birds, still with no other migratory shorebirds with them. Also no sign of the Latham’s Snipe. This is all good, suggesting substantial movement of birds through the reservoir. Off the end of the peninsula, another Oriental Cuckoo showed very briefly, and it seemed to be a different bird to the pylon break individual – top stuff! I also added Red-browed Finch, Pied Currawong, Galah, Crested Pigeon, and Blue-faced Honeyeater to the year list. And a nice male Peregrine was sitting on one of the pylons.

No sign of any quail / buttonquails in the “Desert”, but two Brown Songlarks were still present, as were the four Wandering Whistling-Ducks in the southern arm. A tatty Brown Goshawk flew over, and I also saw it later hunting in the woodlands. It was getting hotter, and I decided to call it quits about 9am, bumping into Wayne and Joanne Schulz on the way out – always nice to actually meet people whose names are familiar from eBird / social media.

Dam water level is 54.6% today, and my patch year list finished the day on 112, having added Magpie Goose, Australasian Swamphen, Bush Stone-curlew, Oriental Cuckoo, Pied Currawong, Spangled Drongo, Crested Pigeon, Peregrine Falcon, Galah, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Red-browed Finch, Willie Wagtail, Brown Goshawk and Striated Pardalote. A bumper day!

Oriental Cuckoo, within 5 metres of the coordinates that Elliot Leach had kindly given me from his sighting yesterday!
A second, self-found Oriental Cuckoo.
Australasian Shoveler – two birds were present on the reservoir today.