Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Atherton Tablelands - Part 2 - Wongabel State Forest

Wongabel State Forest was next on our list. The Mabi forest include a 2.6km botanical walk where a total of 192(!!) species of trees are named. A habitat sporting such an enormous variety of plants should be a great place for all kinds of exciting birds(?) and a quick search on the internet reveals that Wongabel State Forest should indeed be the home to great birds including quite a few that I had not seen before, who would not like to spot a Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Victoria’s Riflebird, Spotted Catbird and maybe a Yellow-breasted Boatbill - the rumor even suggested that little G. could pick up a Rufous Owl if she was lucky.

Well, if luck is measured by the above listed birds, we had absolutely non of it! None of those famous residents decided to show - we saw quite a few LBBs (little brown birds) and of all the pictures taking during our trip, the set taking in Wongabel has by far been the most difficult to go through and do the identification.

Another setback was my battery situation, which made it impossible to follow my new found technique for getting usable pictures in dark rain forests - letting that flash rip in combo with the 150mm macro nearly wide open.

The walk was not exactly demanding, only 2.6km and exceptional flat. The entire exercise felt like walking through a humongous botanical garden with absolutely fantastic dense forest. We probably spend 2 hours so we can truly claim to have given a large part of the signs a read.

Birding was incredible difficult! Lots of stuff was happening, but getting a good look or, even harder, a photo of the small birds darting around in the dense undergrowth was truly stressful. After two hours of chasing LBBs around I must admit I was happy to get out in the open again.

I still got a few "mystery birds" from Wongabel - including the two below, please feel free to chip in :-)

Finally outside we dived into another serve of exotic fruit. If you ever find yourself driving around in the Atherton Tablelands I would recommend doing some regular stops at the farm sales along the road, there are some seriously good fruit and vegetable deals to be made; 6 avocados for $1 .. that beats the local supermarket here in Sydney! Just before leaving we managed to spot a few Chestnut-breasted Mannikins feeding along the road side - good to be out of the dark forest.

No comments: