A Lamington Bird Day

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Lamington National Park in south east Queensland is a world heritage park that is a must-visit location for any serious bird photographer. All in, more than 160 species of birds are resident in the park. Not only are there lots of birds, they don’t fly off and it’s easy to photograph them from relatively close. Being less than a two hours drive from Brisbane Lamington is easily accessible. The main resort in the park is O’Reilly’s Rainforest Lodge. It’s high up in a great location with cool temperatures and a superb base for a bird photography expedition, whether it’s a day trip or longer. In fact many of Lamingtons most famous birds can be viewed from within the lodge grounds and immediate trails. 

One of the most interesting of all the Australian birds are Bowerbirds. The males create elaborately decorated ground structures as a means to attract the females. Whilst finding Bowers is not that uncommon, finding one with a Bowerbird in attendance is not so usual so we were very pleased to be able tp photograph a Satin Bowerbird attending to its Bower. 

The male is a very attractive purplish-blue with incredibly luminous blue eyes. It decorates its bower with blue objects and it seems that any blue object even plastic bottle caps are prized decorations. As tacky as it looks it obviously works given the large number of these birds around O’Reilly’s!

Another common resident of the resort is the Regent Bowerbird. The male has a striking yellow head and glossy black plumage that is so contrasting it is quite difficult to photograph because the camera white balance range can’t absorb the differences.

The female Regent Bowerbird is more plain, but still very attractive with amber yellow eyes that are strikingly clear. There are so many of these birds in and around O’Reilly’s that it is not possible not to come away with tons of shots of them.

The gardens round the resort are full of flowering indigenous bushes and tree’s which are a magnet for a wide variety of Honeyeaters and Spinebills. When feeding they become oblivious to your presence and it is easy to photograph them up close resulting in superb photographs of them in business. These Lewin’s Honeyeaters were a pleasure. They were all over the place and not fussed at all with the camera almost in their face.

Like the Lewin’s the very attractive Eastern Spinebill was equally accommodating in terms of posing but a more restless feeder that doesn’t spend more than a few seconds in a single spot.

The temperate tropical rainforest of Lamington is home to some very unusual and rare birds. One of the prized residents that every one wants to see and photograph is the Albert’s Lyrebird apparently only found in Lamington. As usual with such birds, they all gapped it deep into the forest when they heard us coming so until the next trip they remain a rumor rather than a reality.

Nevertheless we did manage to photograph an Eastern Whipbird named after its call which sounds like a whip cracking. These birds are more heard than seen as they prefer the deep forest to open spaces and their dark colouring makes them almost invisible. Fortunately this particular bird obligingly foraged the path right in front of us.

One of the common residents of Lamington is the White Browed Scrubwren. They busily forage the dry leafy floor in pairs and like the other residents of the park are happy to be photographed from close up.

For me, the prize of the day was this Eastern Yellow Robin, and attractive gentle bird that insisted on posing like no other bird we have ever photographed. It was a real professional, flitting from one superb perch to another almost as if it knew what sort of perch would result in the best shots.

All in all, it was a good bird day. Lamington is definately worth another visit and more time. In line with the last post I decided to close this post with something “non-bird”, but typically Australian none the less. Just before we hit the highway on the way back to Brisbane we spotted this quite good looking Kangaroo grazing next to the road. The term good looking is subjective in respect of Australian wildlife but to my mind this guy definately has more pleasant looking features that most of his cousins. 


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