Friday Night


Ok, here is a short update, to cover the rest of my time at Kingfisher Park.


I found a computer store in Mareeba this morning, to get online, so my email, †and get Rambligns29 up to the web.† It was interesting, because they didnít have a charge for it, but said it was on a donation basis.† It wasnít clear who got the donation.† Anyway, I booted up my computer, and one of their guys logged in to their wireless network.† It was a great place to get online, there was a nice fan blowing that kept it comfortable, and I had a chair and a table to use.† I loved it.† I gave them a donation of 5 bucks for the half hour I was online, and I gathered that that was above the norm, which is just what I had intended.


But, before I even got to Mareeba, I had stopped four places, to look for specific birds.† I struck out on the Northern Fantail at Abattoir Swamp, for about the 5th or 6th time.† I also struck out at the site near the Mount Molloy school for Squatter Pigeon.† But then, when I drove down Pickford Road, on the way to Mareeba, looking for Dollarbirds, I found two of them, sitting in a dead tree, almost at once.† I even got a halfway decent picture, see Photos13.† So, I was off the Schneid.† No skunk today for the Old Rambler.† Not a lifer, but a trip bird, and one I had only ever seen one time before, and one I hadnít really expected to see this time, at this late date.† Thanks to bird guide Del, who had suggested this location for the Dollarbird.


I also tried for Channel-billed Cuckoo at the Mareeba Sale Yards, but dipped.† Interestingly, I saw another Dollarbird there. ††I had only ever seen one of them before (in 2004), and today I saw three.


So, after catching up with email and the increasingly dismal world financial situation, and filling up with petrol, I headed back north.† I went on through Mount Molloy, trying again, for the 3rd or 4th time for the Squatter Pigeons by the school, and headed toward Mount Carbine.† I ended up having my lunch at the McLeod River crossing, where Del had seen Channel-billed Cuckoo a couple of days ago, but I didnít see anything interesting there, although I did enjoy my ham and cheese sandwich and potato chips.†† I always enjoy my potato chips even more because a tiny little bag costs at least $2.50 at any gas station or convenience store, but I buy a large bag of the house brand ones at Woolies for $1.89, and it lasts me for 3 or 4 lunches.† Ever-frugal BB.† The apple doesnít fall far from the tree.


So, after lunch, I returned ďhomeĒ, although I did try the school site and Abattoir Swamp on the way, with no joy.† I processed my pictures for a small Photos13, and I read my book for a while.† Just as it was getting time to have my drinkie for the night, Keith (the owner here) came by and told me that last night the Red-necked Crake had been seen about 5:15, and a group was going down to the pool to see it.


Now, this Red-necked Crake that lives here is famous.† I have read about it many times on my Aussie birding mailing list.† It hadnít been seen for weeks, but last night several people reportedly saw it.† Well, I was torn.† I knew it was a longshot, but Red-necked Crake, for Peteís sake.† That is a great bird, and one that is very hard to see.† And, this one here at Kingfisher Park is a famous one, among Aussie birders.† Surely I could find time to try for such a bird, which would be a big-time lifer for me.


Well, I sort of compromised.† I made myself a nice Bundy and orange-mango juice drinkie, and I gulped some of it down, and I trudged down to the pool where the crake shows itself from time to time.† There were four people already there, and I quietly joined them, sitting on the ground, since the bench was already full.† On the ground with the ants, I might add, and I killed maybe two dozen of them on me while I sat there.† At least they werenít biting ants, like some of them here.


Well, I sat there on the ground for almost an hour, as it turned out.† A number of birds came in to the pool to drink or bathe, but no sign of the crake.† We had up to 8 people watching for it at one point.† Eventually, I gave up and levered myself to my feet and came back to my room.† I havenít heard if anyone ever saw the crake.


I had signed up to go on a spotlighting tour tonight, but after all the time spent on the crake, I had had enough of group activities, so I bailed out.† I might have seen an owl on the spotlighting tour, but I might not have, either.† Iíll ask in the morning what they saw.† I had my bird for today (Dollarbird), and I wasnít going to spend the time looking at night mammals and maybe an owl.


So, there is an update for Kingfisher Park Lodge.† It has been a good place to stay, despite not being able to get my own computer online.† I can see why it is such a popular place.† Next I go to Chambers Rainforest Lodge, near Yungaburra, for three nights.† After that last stop on my trip, I head for home.† Maybe tomorrow will be the day I get skunked, we will see.† There are a couple of birds down near Yungaburra that I could see tomorrow, but whether I will get one of them remains to be seen.† Canít you just feel the tension and suspense?† This is really exciting stuff, no?


Barry Downunder, leaving Kingfisher Park in the morning, and heading for my last stop