Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bowra Station's Falcons and Parrots

Sunset along the Mitchell Highway (Photo by Narca)

Australian skies are brilliant, and their sunrises and sunsets magnificent. One such sunset graces the evening as we approach Bowra Station.

Bowra Station in southern Queensland, near the town of Cunnamulla, has become justly famous in birding circles for the rare species that thrive there. The owners, Ian and Julia McLaren, are selling Bowra to the Australian Nature Conservancy, so its management is now in a period of transition. Visitors may camp there, for a small fee.

Birding at Bowra Station (Photo by Narca)

Our first morning at Bowra, we enjoy the company of Aussie birders Roger and Greg. As everyone is standing around chatting, a family group of four Gray Falcons flies in, at first directly overhead, then spiraling in great circles till they are very high and distant. Gray Falcons are exceedingly rare; one of our new friends has been looking for the species for 40 years. And here they are. Birding has moments like that, and when such a moment comes after 40 years of searching, it is sweet indeed.

Bourke's Parrot (Photo by Narca)

During our two days at Bowra, other very interesting local species also cooperate: Chestnut-breasted Quail-Thrush; Hall's Babbler; White-browed Treecreeper––and Bourke's Parrot. We have given up on the parrot, having tramped through miles of country under the mulga trees, when Jim glimpses two of them flying up from the grass into a tree. Bourke's Parrots are lovely, subtly-colored grass parrots, rarely seen.

Tawny Frogmouth at Bowra Station (Sketch by Narca)

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