This morning I went outside to investigate the unusually loud trumpeting of numerous cranes and got an even bigger surprise. The Sarus Cranes were circling around to the west of the village and I was wondering if they were leaving early this year. No they were not gaining height. It may just have been the meeting of a couple of flocks.
Then I noticed one was flying very low. It was coming up from the creek and over Nick's Restaurant. It was a Great-billed Heron! It turned and flew north along Peterson Creek, giving its guttural, groaning rattle of a call.
The Great-billed Heron is a shy bird of the mangroves. I have heard reports of them being seen on the Tablelands before but this one was visible from home so it goes on the list. My home block list includes all the birds seen on or from our yard and the paddock below the house as far as the creek and wetland.
This marks the 189th species of bird to be sighted at our place in Yungaburra. Living on the edge of the village with the wetland nearby and the Curtain Figtree National Park not far away gives us the chance to have many visitors. Some like this bird may not be seen again. A Rose-crowned Fruit Dove was seen two days before Christmas last year. On the second of August 2007 I was lucky enough to see a brown coloured Golden Bowerbird fly out from under a fruiting mandarin tree, land in another tree but then it disappeared. A Satin Bowerbird visited after the cyclone in 2006 and stayed around with some Spotted Catbirds to eat our citrus! At least they eat the whole of the fruit unlike the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.
Some of the unusual birds on our list:-
Red Goshawk. First spotted this pair over our house. they stayed around the village for a month and a half.
Black Swan. The wetland is a bit small for these two species.
There are not too many more that I would expect to show up but it is strange that the Australian Wood Ducks have always sat on the opposite shore on the rare occasions they have visited. Might just have to go around and herd them across next time. When the water is low I expectantly scan for waders as this is the group most liekly to add to my total.
I have twice seen birds I have seen well enough to identify if I knew them already. One was a long tailed small grey and white bird flying over with a swooping flight of a couple of wingbeats and then a glide. The other I feel may have been a northern hemisphere warbler.