Simon Kennedy | Wetland Birds Monitoring Coordinator
Editor’s note: Simon’s article below discusses his regular surveys for our Birds With Altitude Project on Copperlode Dam Road. Find out more about our Birds With Altitude Project:
Did you know the Birds With Altitude campout is this weekend (30 September to 2 October)? We’ll be looking for Wet Tropics birds and learning how to survey for them. View the event for further information and to RSVP:
I live on the Cairns plain and regularly survey on the coast and wetlands around the place, but it’s nice to head into the foothills, and there’s only a couple of spots I can get to on a workday.
Sometimes I drive my wife to work in the city from Yorkeys, and if it’s early enough, on the way home I detour up the Lake Morris Road to Key Bird Area (KBA) Wooroonooran Radius 500 22, perched just below the summit of Mount Sheridan. I’ve been there more than 20 times in the past couple of years, averaging 10–15 species for each 20 minute 2 hectare survey I do there: with a total of 43 species.
At an altitude of just over 500 metres, it’s not blessed with the mountain specialties such as Atherton Scrubwrens or Golden Bowerbirds, but it does have plenty of birds I rarely or never see on the plain.
As for the birds that are a conservation concern, it’s been good to see and hear regular Victoria’s Riflebirds (75% reporting rate), and sometimes Eastern Whipbirds (24%) at this altitude. Other interesting birds for this lowlander have been White-eared Monarch, Golden Whistler and Chowchilla. I have breached 20 species a couple of times: see one of my lists below from June 2022. Apart from a couple of mannikins on some roadside weeds, it’s all rainforest birds. Every year is different, so I’ll keep going back to see the comings and goings as trees come into fruit and flower. And seeing birds of paradise before work is something I’ll probably never tire of!