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Trip report: Birds with Altitude Surveys in Wooroonooran National Park

Ceri Pearce | Birds With Altitude Project Leader


It was a glorious brisk clear morning at the Windin Falls trailhead at 7am on Sunday, 23 July as 11 keen birders gathered to participate in Birds with Altitude surveys in Wooroonooran National Park.


After an initial briefing by Amanda and Ceri, the team broke into three groups to survey more area. Two groups headed out along the Windin Falls trail (the fittest went ahead) and another group targeted an area along the main access road into the National Park. Each group completed three 2 ha 20-minute area surveys over the next hour or so. After a scrumptious morning tea and relax at the western trailhead of the Mount Bartle Frere walking track (see Figure 1), the team regrouped and surveyed sites along the beginning of the Bartle Frere track and along the road.


Figure 1. The volunteer team enjoying morning tea at the Mount Bartle Frere western trailhead after initial surveys were completed at Windin Falls. Photo: Ceri Pearce.

In all, 17 2 ha 20-minute area surveys were completed (see Figure 2), with a total of 45 bird species (237 individual birds) seen and/or heard (see Table 1). Ten of the 14 Wet Tropics birds identified as threatened, or near threatened in The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020 (Garnett & Baker, 2021) were seen or heard. The four threatened, or near threatened Wet Tropics birds not seen or heard were Bowers Shrikethrush, Golden Bowerbird, Satin Bowerbird (Wet Tropics subspecies), and Mountain Thornbill. While no Cassowary were seen, evidence of their presence (droppings) was identified.


The day concluded after a picnic lunch.


Sincere thanks to everyone who came along and so generously contributed their time and effort to the Birds With Altitude project. Your contribution helps to build a greater understanding of species populations and distribution, and monitors for distribution shifts or population changes in response to habitat/climate change.


Figure 2. Map illustrating the 17 surveys (blue dots) completed in the Windin Falls trailhead area and Mount Bartle Frere western trailhead area of Wooroonooran National Park. Screenshot from Birdata.


Table 1. Bird list (seen and/or heard) during 2ha 20-minute area searches in Wooroonooran National Park on 23 July 2023

Species

Count

Southern Cassowary (droppings)

2

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

1

Brown Cuckoo-Dove

13

Brown-capped Emerald-Dove

3

Wompoo Fruit-Dove

16

Topknot Pigeon

2

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo

1

Laughing Kookaburra

1

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

4

*Australian King-Parrot (Wet Tropics subspecies)

3

Rainbow Lorikeet

3

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot

4

Spotted Catbird​

7

*Tooth-billed Bowerbird

2

*Little (White-throated) Treecreeper (Wet Tropics subspecies)

4

Dusky Honeyeater

2

Macleay's Honeyeater

6

Eastern Spinebill

6

Lewin's Honeyeater

16

Graceful Honeyeater

5

*Fernwren

1

*Brown Gerygone (Wet Tropics subspecies)​

17

Yellow-throated Scrubwren

4

*Atherton Scrubwren

1

*Large-billed Scrubwren (Wet Tropics subspecies)

3

Chowchilla

6

Varied Triller

7

Golden Whistler

12

Little Shrike-thrush

7

*Eastern Whipbird (Wet Tropics subspecies)

14

Yellow-breasted Boatbill

5

Pied Currawong

1

Black Butcherbird

1

Grey Fantail

6

Pied Monarch

2

Spectacled Monarch

1

White-eared Monarch

1

*Victoria's Riflebird

15

*Grey-headed Robin

13

Pale-yellow Robin

5

Mistletoebird

4

Red-browed Finch

1

Silvereye

6

* Wet Tropics bird identified as threatened, or near threatened in The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020 (Garnett & Baker, 2021).


Figure 3. Mount Bartle Frere from Lammins Hill Lookout. Photo: Ceri Pearce.

Reference


Garnett, S.T., Baker, G.B. (Eds) (2021). The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.


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