Sunday 26 Oct 2008 - Townsville Region Bird Observers Club Heads West  By Len Ezzy

Townsville Region Bird Observers Club’s (TRBOC) outing 6:30am yesterday lead us westward from the humid coast, up over Hervey Range, Keelbottom Creek, Star River and then north along the Laroona-Ewan Road bisecting Laroona grazing property. We then back-tracked safely home to Townsville, mid-late afternoon. 29 birders consolidated into 7 vehicles and we all took advantage of the many different dry country habitats and the great birdlife that these supported.

Many of bird species we found were definitely in breeding-mode. (The cattle too breeding, calving as we witnessed) Where we parked our vehicles at Laroona Dam, just off the dirt road in the wide table-drain, besides all the other great birds there, we had noticed a pair of Black-fronted Dotterels behaving quite randomly and unusually closely for the whole 1½ hours that we were birding around there. Then, as we were departing, we found the reason for such antics… They had precariously “placed” 2 eggs on the main dirt road only millimetres from the primary wheel track, and only about 2 metres from our closest parked vehicle. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for them. The broken-wing diversion tactic doesn’t work for Iron Ore haul trucks, or the many cattle wandering in for a drink.
Amongst the “TRBOC Shutterbuggers”, I 'm sure there will be some great pics forthcoming. Some of us were fortunate enough to photograph Varied Sittellas feeding chicks at the nest. I however was not, but feel quietly privileged to find this Willie Wagtail sitting patiently on its neat nest.
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