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News From Mount Isa

Rex Whitehead | Mount Isa correspondent

Well, after weeks and months of wondering if our Lake Moondarra would get any water in it, after being well below 30%, it has finally happened.

Most or our readers would have heard about the terrible flooding in the lower Gulf region, and in the Northern Territory: and Mount Isa has finally received some good falls. Whilst mainly being on the edge of the larger falls to the north, we have passed our yearly rainfall average already.

I would estimate Lake Moondarra to now be at about 90%, while Lake Julius is over 100%.

This of course, has covered all the food sources for the migratory waders. With the exception of just a few, most have moved on, as have many of our native species. I guess they are all chasing areas where previously dry swamps and watercourses are now full of water, and teeming with food. At the Horse Paddocks, however, I’ve noticed that the migratory Wood Sandpipers, and the occasional Swinhoe’s Snipe are still present.

Swinhoe’s Snipe
Swinhoe’s Snipe preening. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

My birding outings have got fewer due to the weather. However, I would say that the birding will be full on in a couple of months: especially when the water birds return and the country dries out somewhat.

White-plumed Honeyeaters have bred twice in my yard this year, producing two offspring each time.

While the Pamela Street water tank area appears to be the most likely spot for visitors to observe Kalkadoon Grasswrens, they have also been seen at Telstra Hill (by me as well). However, my strike rate for them is only about 50%.

Kalkadoon Grasswren
Kalkadoon Grasswren – Telstra Hill. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

Painted Finch
Painted Finch – Telstra Hill. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

Hopefully, weather and health permitting, I plan to return to Iron Range ASAP, to try for species that I missed there last year. Of course, there will have to be a Desert trip as well. I love all of our country, but the Desert has a special allure for me.

As my knowledge of social media is improving marginally, due to the help of friends, I have been posting some bird images from Mount Isa on a couple of sites. Hopefully, this will promote Mount Isa more, as a top birding destination. I have been amazed, at the positive response to date.

Recently, my birding partner and I have been driving the back tracks at night, to see what nocturnal birds we may encounter. To date, we have had some success, with Spotted Nightjars, Owlet Nightjars, Little Button-Quail, Stubble Quail, and Frogmouths…. along with a few snakes, and of course, there are always plenty of Roos.

Spotted Nightjar
Spotted Nightjar – Mount Isa Region. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

Stubble Quail
Stubble Quail – Mount Isa Region. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

Little Button-Quail
Little Button-Quail – Mount Isa Region. Photo by Rex Whitehead.

The proposed Bird Hide has been approved in principal. However, we still need some more design input, along with the raising of funds, for this project. It is a work in progress at the moment.

So, let’s hope it will be a goer in the near future.


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