The Townsville Common – a nostalgic borrowing from the mother country – is a great spot for birding, but because it involves leaving this aspect, not a lot got done.
Oh, and there was also the awesome Australian Chamber Music Festival, with over 20 concerts in 10 days. I was sure, and I wasn’t the only one, that Rachmaninoff’s Elegiac piano trio No 2 (lamenting the death of his mentor, Tchaikovsky) was the best thing I had ever heard live. Timothy Young was passionate and brilliant on the piano, as was Timo-Viekko Valve on the cello and Liza Ferschtman on violin.
Last year was the first time I had seen a Spotted Bowerbird, with its bower slap bang in the middle of a car park. Along the clipped hedges of the Strand, this year’s bower find was substantially more elaborate. The male spent some time moving things just a bit to there, oh will she be happy with that – maybe just a bit back that way ad nauseam.
I had my first sightings of the Brown Honeyeater, in town, and the Brown-backed Honeyeater, in the Common.
It was also my first sighting of the Rufous-throated Honeyeater, again in the Common.
Rainbow Bee-eaters were also plentiful, zipping into the stagnant pools for the mozzies and dragonflies – foolishly they were all dressed up to look like bees.In the Common, there were dozens of Forest Kingfishers, darting from their tree vantage points into the grasses for insects.
barrOther tree birds included the seriously ubiquitous Willie Wagtail, Grey Fantail, Double-barred Finches, Bar-shouldered Doves and Torresian Crows.
Back at the Townsville hotel, every evening at about 5, half a dozen Blue-faced Honeyeaters came in to bathe in the swimming pool and have a chin-wag about the day’s honey eating.
The bay is great for the birds of prey and this young Osprey spent a long time fishing, albeit with no apparent success.
There were, in the Common, also lots of Little Egrets, stalking unsuspecting prey, and Australian (Sacred) Ibis. There are thousands of both Sacred and Straw-necked Ibis around these parts.
Michael Monaghan August 2019