Friday, March 22, 2013

Birds abound

We stopped en route to Georgetown at Ravenshoe. Considered Queensland's highest city, it apparently out ranks Stanthorpe by a mere 5 metres. Now becoming known for its wind generated turbine power public opinion seems to be divided as to the pros and cons. The turbines do actually look rather alien and spooky, especially in the mist. The cows however don't seem to mind them and I guess they might attract tourists at some stage. Apparently this is the aim over time as there is a viewing spot to stop and take photos and the t-shirts in the information centre feature them too. As for me, it is the birds that we have seen that most capture my attention. There have been a number of bustard sightings while is essential to slow down and give these guys time to get off the road. They actually stop mid stride, check you out and then, just maybe, decide to continue on their way. They really do look quite bemused as if they are wondering just what you are doing on their road! The most exciting moment for me though was seeing Rainbow Bee Eaters in the wild. With my mosaic bird all research was book based only, so seeing these little guys in the flesh was extraordinary. We went for a walk along the river in Georgetown late one afternoon. Local knowledge is an amazing thing, so we walked the river bed, cut across to the cemetery, and it was while headed back to the golf club that we saw the bee eaters. A whole squadron of them, flying in, out, around and about. In the late afternoon sunshine their colours were iridescent. One pair, a male and a female sat for me, just long enough that I could take a photo. Amazing hues of teal, jade and amber. This moment was almost eclipsed by the group of red tailed black cockatoos we saw as we left Georgetown for Cairns. Driving across the Einasleigh River we crossed the bridge and headed away from Georgetown, just as these guys flew overhead. A group of 6 or 7 birds, it really was incredible to see them, silhouetted against the sky with the sun shining through their red tail feathers. We really did feel lucky to see them. 22.3.2013

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