Feb 25: On Top of the World, well Brisbane anyway

Brilliant morning out today. I started at Bellbird Grove, where the main target species is Spotted Quail-thrush. Arriving at the car park, there were 3 walkers’ cars backed up from the creek, which was flooded and running quite fast over the road. They were going to park in the previous car park and walk out to the trailheads. I did the same, parking up and getting my things ready. As soon I opened the door the expected peace and quiet of the middle of nowhere at 5.30am turned out to be loud thumping rave music. There was some sort of party going on in the main car park. Walking past all the hullabulloo I headed up the Link Road and pulled up the hill. Not much was happening, although near where the pylons cross I heard and then saw a White-bellied Cuckooshrike, always a thrill.

I continued up Link Road, and suddenly heard a Spotted Quail-thrush singing on the left just before I reached the junction with Marshall Road. The song is reminiscent of some calls of White-throated Treecreeper, and it would definitely pay to listen to a recording of the quail-thrush call before heading out into suitable habitat, just to ensure you don’t overlook it as a White-throated Treecreeper. I half toyed with the idea of leaving straight away – the year tick was in the bag, and I could try for some other species. Quickly I came to my senses and pushed on up the track to try to see the bird. Turned out it was very close to the track edge, and it showed extremely well (at least for a quail-thrush) allowing some fairly good photo opportunities. I stayed with the bird for about 10 minutes until it eventually wandered off out of sight. A couple of Striated Thornbills were calling overhead, and gave distant views – another year tick.

I walked back down the track and in the rainforest areas around the creek near the car park there was a Spectacled Monarch, 2 Black-faced Monarchs and FINALLY a Golden Whistler! Third year tick of the day.

I jumped straight into the car and headed up to the highest point in Brisbane – the summit of Mount Glorious. I stopped by the Mount Glorious Community Centre to have another look for New Holland Honeyeater, having missed them on the eventful 11 Jan. I got out of the car and wandered around, and out of nowhere a couple of stonking Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos flew lazily low to the south. Annoyingly I didn’t have my camera, and assessing the distance back to car I wouldn’t have made it anyway before they disappeared. Moral: Never leave camera behind when getting out of the car, even if only walking 20 metres. I walked up to Maiala, always taking care to stay on the Brisbane side of the road; the boundary between Brisbane and Moreton Bay Region runs along the road here. I’d almost given up when finally a New Holland Honeyeater flew over my head as I got back to the car. It disappeared immediately, but at least I’d finally caught up with one. Someone on one of the Facebook groups had mentioned they’d been difficult this year, and I hope it doesn’t mean they’re declining. Just before I left, a splendid female Regent Bowerbird obligingly posed for a picture for a few seconds.

Needing to get home, I headed off down the hill. One of the front wheels was making a ticking noise, but I couldn’t see anything wrong with it. This persisted, and then eventually on the Pacific Motorway just before the Marshall Road turnoff the front passenger side tyre blew out and I ground to a halt on the hard shoulder, with traffic rushing past only inches away. Fortunately the spare tyre was in good condition, and all the tools worked well. I changed the tyre and headed home, extremely satisfied with a great morning’s birding.

With five year ticks today (Spotted Quail-thrush, Striated Thornbill, Golden Whistler, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, New Holland Honeyeater), my year list surged to 244 species. I spent 1 hour 46 minutes birding, walked 4.762 km and drove 113.6 km.

Spotted Quail-thrush, Bellbird Grove, 25th Feb 2018.