Birding the Royal

In the possibly futile attempt to post monthly, I’m going to sneak in with a quick report on my trip to Jersey Spring on Lady Carrington Drive (LCD) in the Royal NP this morning. Photos to come – I’m just trying to not write my powerpoint for a series of classes I’m delivering in 8 days time.

I went for a stroll along LCD down to Jersey Spring and back, in the hope of finding some youngish male Lyrebirds.

It’s a month or 3 too early for them to be flexin’ for the ladies, but they should be around. And they are. I found a party of 4 young males bickering and carrying on, as young males do – it’s quite similar to the first few weeks of university really – frisky young people carrying on… good on them, but jeez it gets tiresome (at uni anyway – i quite like it in the bush. fnar, fnar). There was even one male calling, but he was over the river – I suspect that this winter will be Lyrebird season in the Royal, as I’m seeing more young this year than in many years indeed. I can only assume that it’s the same throughout their range.

At Jersey Spring, I wandered over to the river and saw an Azure Kingfisher fly north towards Audley – and I thinks to myself, sweet, I’ll set up shop and wait for him to fly back and take some shots. So I clambour across fairly dry mud that is smashed by deer hoofs (obviously the wet summer has been good for the Rusa Deer in the park as well, while not being so good for the river edges!), and notice another Kingfisher perched on a branch in the river. Another Azure! and s/he even let me take photos. And then I notice another Kingfisher perched! A Sacred. Not as exciting as an Azure, but to have the 2 of them in close proximity gave an excellent chance to compare size, and the Azure is as small as you’d think it is.

SO anyways – I’ve seen the kingfishers, they’ve gone off king-fishing, and I head back – pretty good tally for Jersey Spring – 2x kingfisher species, big party of Lyrebirds, Catbird and Bowerbird, good views of Striated and Brown Thornies, and Brown Gerygone, no topknots, but i’m pretty happy – it’s 11am and pretty much a howling gale after all – so I start to head back and come to work.

At the spring itself, I stumble across a mixed feeding party of bush-birds – Lewin’s, White-eared and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Eastern Yellow Robin, and at least 10 Black-faced Monarchs, including juveniles. Sweet!

About 200 meters along the track past there, I see a mixed flock of small birds feeding on the edge of the track – and then I hear a Beautiful Firetail whistle. That totally threw me – I’ve only seen BF’s in heath and swampy heath. not in tree-fern lined gullies of recovering rainforest/wet schlerophyll… then I see one. and another! definitely Beautiful Firetails! stoked! Got a dodgy, dodgy record shot (to come) to prove that they’re in rainforest. The nearest I’ve seen these guys is at Chinaman’s Helipad – about 150 meters of altitude (as in sheer cliff), and 3ish km as the firetail flies, but a whole different ecosystem. I should track their expanding range across the NP – and will even try to do that based on my records. Stay tuned.

Put the bins on the fairy-wrens, expecting them to be Superbs, when a male hops across, and I see the chestnut band – “bugger me – they’re Variegated!”. I’ve seen them previously on the Forest Path (about 2.5 km away), but not in the middle of LCD. all good.

In other news – I’m getting a 300mm f2.8 lens for my South Australia trip, and you’ll see all manner of updates from both of us as we’re off on that trip. I can’t wait, and I hope Keryn enjoys it as well ;) haha!