This excursion evolved over the past one year when Gerry Saide and I thought it a good idea for our two clubs to have a combined outing – for the Nats to look at a subject through the eyes of a good photographer, and for the Photographers to borrow from our naturalist eyes. Twenty-three members and two visitors, plus 12 photographers, enjoyed a day out together. At least three of our members were also members of the Photographic Society. We assembled at “Coronet Street” to carpool and I gave directions to Laws’ place, only to have most of them arrive there before I did.
|White-winged Fairy-wren (Photo: Blade Preston)|
Glen and Nicki Laws own a Vet Practice in Oakey and Westbrook and run a Wagyu breeding program on their property three kilometres north of Kingsthorpe, where they have lived for about 10 years. We had the benefit of their garden and the back corner of the farm where the White-winged Fairy-wren was present for the first group to see – though perhaps only Blade Preston captured an image of it. Nicki and Glen put on a billy tea and damper for us at about 11.30am, which is when most of us caught up with the large koala perched conveniently in an old mountain coolabah near their deck. Nicki had not seen any koalas on her early morning walk, so she assumes that it made its way there at about 8.00am – just for our benefit! Much appreciated.
|Koala in E.orgadophila (Photo: Blade Preston)|
We made our way to Goombungee’s Pioneers’ Arms Hotel for our 1.00pm date with lunch and I’m pleased that all went well. Thirty-six in total dined, including Nicki and Evan.
Our afternoon venue was at Russell and Evan Ehrlich’s farm, about four kilometres north of Laws’ place. It has been in the family for three generations (about 90 years) and ceased to be a dairy farm only one month ago. They are moving into Angus beef production, and we saw some of these on their Cooby Creek block later in the afternoon. Our first walk took us along a Landcare windbreak/corridor with a variety of endemic species. At this early afternoon hour, it was not a good time for birdwatching. The dead trees where we were parked had been ring-barked long ago by Evan’s grandad. These provided good atmosphere for the photographers who went into overdrive, also a fine opportunity for us when some birds landed (tree martins and an Australian Kes trel) against an afternoon sky backdrop.
We moved to Ehrlich’s Cooby Creek block, next to the Boodua Reserve. Currently, there are only shrinking waterholes in the prevailing dry, but I’ll urge you all to make a trip there some time after good general rain when the water levels are well up. Then you’ll need care as you drive in on the black soil road!
Our sincere thanks to the two landholders who welcomed us to their inner sanctums so openly and gave so generously of their time. [Report by Ben Gundry]
Bird List (complied by Natasha and Blade Preston)
Australian Raven, Galah, Zebra Finch, Kestrel, Black-shouldered Kite, Superb Fairy-wren, White-winged Fairy-wren, Variegated Fairy-wren, Rainbow Lorikeet, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, White-faced Heron, Straw-necked Ibis, Red-rumped Parrot, Australian Magpie, Yellow Thornbill, Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin, Striped Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Magpie Lark, Little Friarbird, Fairy Martin, Australian Pipit, Rufous Songlark, Rock Dove, Pale-headed Rosella, King Parrot, Cattle Egret, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Grey-crowned Babbler, Crested Pigeon, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Apostlebird, Striated Pardalote, Laughing Kookaburra, Indian Mynah, Pied Currawong.