Monday, November 7, 2011


We’d known it was there for quite some time. On our way into Nanango we had often spotted people out for a walk along the track, exercising their dogs, jogging or simply strolling for the sheer pleasure of a walk. We also knew that the track followed Reedy Creek, the second watercourse that, with its companion, Sandy Creek, had flooded back in January 2011 cutting off the town for a few days.

Its potential value as a birding site was obvious but knowing that and actually getting around to doing something positive about the prospect took a little longer to marry. The problem is the track is three kilometres outside Nanango, on the D’aguilar Highway. It’s six kilometres from out home and we rarely venture forth in that direction. Believe me, .you need to have a definite purpose in mind to travel out to Nanango; it has few appealing characteristics with about as much tourism appeal as a toothache.

We did nevertheless make the effort on Sunday.

Only, on reaching the starting point of this Council-laid walking track, we discovered that it was two walking tracks. The track we had observed from the car while making one of very few scheduled trips into Nanango turned out to be an easy 1.4km track following the course of Reedy Creek. However, this was also the starting point of another, previously unsuspected, track of 1.8km terminating at Brooklands Road.

We opted for the latter and were almost immediately gob-smacked [pleasantly surprised] at the quality of the birding. No sooner had we turned the first corner than we found ourselves crossing Reedy Creek via a concrete culvert and there ahead of us was a pair of Olive-backed Orioles Oriolus sagittatus with a pair of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters Lichenostomus chrysops in an adjoining tree.

A Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae called from somewhere on our left, a Pied Butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis from the right and a White-throated Gerygone Gerygone albogularis from a little behind us. We proceeded across the culvert and added a pair of Sacred Kingfishers Todiramphus sanctus and a small troupe of Apostlebirds Struthidea cinerea.

The next twenty metres provided our tally with a pair of Noisy Friarbirds Philemon corniculatus , three Variegated Fairy-wrens Malurus lamberti and a humble Weebill Smiicrornis brevirostris. That of course includes only those species observed at close quarters and for lengthy periods of time. In the same space we added a dozen or more “heard only” species [e.g. Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianinus, White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis, etc.].

The short trek included a number of, at least for us, special species. The Black-chinned Honeyeaters Melithreptus gularis are a rarity in our own backyard and here were too high in the treetops and far too active to provide any photographic opportunities; a pair of White-winged Trillers Lalage sueurii excited but disappeared as I raised the camera towards them; the solitary Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus was interesting but too deep in shadow to make photography worthwhile.

Then we spotted the Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis!

In all, our tally for the walk amount to an impressive 44 species and of course, we still have the original track to explore.