Birding Without Borders

Day 344: Honeyeaters by the Dozen

A full day of birding on a new continent racks up 55 new species.

December 10, 2015: Kingfisher Park, Australia — What a day! Del and I pulled long hours on my first full day in Australia, birding from before dawn to after dark, and the new sightings came thick and fast.

We headed into the interior dry country, a landscape that felt more like Africa than anywhere else I’ve been this yearespecially when we spotted a big Australian Bustard with a chick! Various kinds of Eucalyptus trees dominated a hot savanna. Instead of lions and zebras, this place held wallabies and cattle. And lots of birds, of course.

Some of my favorites today were the Tawny Frogmouth, which Del spotted roosting in a caravan park; a couple of groups of huge Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos; and a pair of gorgeous Lovely Fairywrens. Even the little Red-browed Firetails, which are common here, were beautiful. We did well to find 12 species of honeyeaters, including some tough ones: Banded, Scarlet, White-gaped, Rufous-throated, and an unusual nesting pair of Bar-breasted. An ongoing drought has apparently pushed some interior species of honeyeaters farther toward the coast, which may have been why we saw so many today.

I’m tuckered out after a long day, so will keep this short, but it’s good to be in new territory. Hope we can keep up the pace!

New birds today: 55

Year list: 5707

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