This post is a continuation of our recent time away in Far North Queensland where we enjoyed a much needed rest and recuperation, as well as some birding of course. You may have noticed my weekly posts have become shorter, as I realised that many of my readers are busy and do not have the time to appreciate long posts. One blessed feature of our time in Palm Cove was that several of the birds we sought and wanted to see, were actually brought to us at the resort. Last week I featured the Rainbow Bee-eater which was just outside the window near our room each morning. However, one bird in particular that walks hunting on the nature strips along the beaches at night, of the Far North Queensland coast, is the Bush Stone-curlew, a bird which I featured in last year’s post on our visit to Townsville. Here are some day time photos taken in Townsville.
This large bird seldom flies but stalks the streets and parks at night, resting secluded during the day, similar to other night birds. It feeds on a variety of foods including insects, molluscs, small lizards, seeds and occasionally small mammals.
One night as my wife and I sat dining in the open tropical setting of our resort dining area, next to the garden and hallway entrance, we were surprised by some very unusual sounds coming from the garden near where we were seated. After a few minutes, to our surprise and delight, a Bush Stone-curlew emerged from that same garden and was standing in the hallway barely six feet from us. I managed to catch the following pics on my phone, as I did not have my camera with me.
This bird which we had not yet seen here had come to us. We proceeded to follow it as it made its way out of the dining area past the guests onto and across the street to the nature strip where it would spend the night stalking insects that come to the light, as it could hide along the beach in the vegetation as people passed. After dinner I took my movie camera and my wife her camera and we walked up and down the nature strip finding several lone birds in their own territories hunting. Here is some footage:
Listen to their cries, it sounds like someone being murdered. This can go on through the night as they communicate to one another and mark their territories. Sorry for the traffic noise in the background.
Notice how they freeze when they are seen, this is a protective feature many birds use when their plumage matches their surroundings, and are less likely to be seen if they do not move at night, for example the Bassian Thrush in the dark rainforest setting.
The feature photo at the beginning of this post was taken by my wife in the dark as is these:
If that wasn’t enough, next morning at breakfast in the same dining area, which had been opened to the ocean and tropical breeze, a ruckus of birds being pursued was heard outside. We could hear Common or Indian Mynas as they are locally known and whistling sounds. Looking up into one of the huge native paper bark trees we saw a pair of Radjah Shelduck terrified by this experience. These introduced Mynas are a menace to our native birds, and in some cities eradication has helped, but they breed so well here. You can hear the whistle sound of the Shelduck:
The first bird sounds we heard on our arrival and during our entire stay from morning to night were that of the Australasian Figbird, of the northern race which differs considerably to our southern race. Australia has over 100 varieties of Fig trees which provide food for our many fruit eating birds all year round, as each species fruits at a different time of year. Here is what we heard each day from our room.
The male Figbird has a very dark red eye ring and complete yellow breast making it the new northern subspecies race ashby which use to be with the now Intermediate sub species with partial yellow underparts race flaviventris. Our southern race back home is known as the green Figbird race vielloti. Compare our green Figbird from the south, pictured last below, with the northern Figbird we were seeing at Palm Cove.
To finish, we return to the beautiful and rapid flying Rainbow Bee-eater to show some captures shown in slow motion of a small flock first having a wash. Followed by frames taken of them washing and then shaking themselves dry together in a tree nearby.
That’s all for this week, will have some lifers and more exciting finds next week. The main message I received from the time away was that when I rest in God as my loving Father and trust him to bless me with his avian wonders, he faithfully brings them to me, and do not need to strive after them. When we planned this holiday, before we discovered my recent health issues, we were planning a very active birding expedition, but we were both told to rest, and for the first time I made that a priority rather than chasing the birds. This was the exciting aspect that my wife and I both enjoyed and saw as a mark of his favor during our time away. that when we rest on the Lord and wait for him he comes to us.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” – Psalm 37:7 (NIV)
“Be patient and wait for the Lord to act;” – Psalm 37:7 (GNT)
and for us who are experiencing healing and/or have need of it…
“The Lord will help them when they are sick and will restore them to health.” – Psalm 41:3 (
Have a wonderful week!
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