Lamington National Park is in Queensland on the border with NSW. It averages 900 meters in elevation and is an important section of preserved rain forest which once covered all of this part of Australia. It is an area of high bio-diversity and the ancient Antarctic Beech forest remnants are absolutely spectacular, huge ancient trees some as old as 5000 years, all coated in green mosses and lichens, truly magnificent. Unfortunately I came across this armed only with my 500 mm birding lens so sadly was unable to capture the landscape.
I met a ranger at the information centre as I arrived just after daybreak. he was a birder and advised me to walk part of the Lower Bellbird Circuit which he considered one of the best for birding. Just opposite the start of the trail I spotted this large male Koala in some roadside eucalyptus trees. I remember being surprised at how big it was. I had seen Koalas when I was last in Australia about 40 years ago, and somehow thought of them as cuddly little teddy bears, but this guy was much larger than I remembered or imagined. Sadly Koalas are becoming scarce as homo-sapiens drives virtually all other life forms to extinction, so I was very happy to see at least one of this charming bear species. Another generation might not have the opportunity.
My first bird photograph from the park is probably my favourite Australian bird species, the Eastern Spinebill. This is a very exotic looking bird, one of the Honeyeater family that has a long downcurved bill perfect for extracting nectar from flowers by lapping with its brush-tipped tongue. It has large bright red eyes and a long, sleek black, white and buff coloured body. It was flitting around and occasionally hovering in some flowering trees and was extremely difficult to photograph as it never stopped moving for an instant. It reminded me of a very large Hummingbird. Really impressive.
My next sighting was this stunning Crimson Rosella. I think this is the most beautiful of all the parrot species I saw in Australia. The crimson and blue plumage is truly outstanding, only exceeded in beauty perhaps by the Scarlet Macaws I that watched in Costa Rica.
The wet forest habitat of Lamington is perfect for this species and it was quite numerous up here, whereas I didn't see any at all down below these mountains. I do believe though they frequent gardens and will visit feeders in many areas not at higher elevations.
The Grey Shrike-thrush is a fairly common bird that I saw in a variety of habitats. It is perhaps Australia's most loved songbird, being matched only by the rare Albert's Lyrebird in tone and melodic quality.
No prizes for guessing the name of the next bird. The Silvereye has a conspicuous ring of white feathers around the eyes. It is one of a very large group known as White-eyes, scientific Zosteropidae. They occur throught sub tropical Africa, S E Asia and Australasia.
White-eyes, or Silvereye in this case, are all small and very attractive little birds often pictured in oriental artwork and decorative illustrations. One can see why.
I didn't need to come to Lamington to see a Pied Currawong, it is a very common species right across Eastern Australia, but I quite like this photo of one on the Bellbird Trail. It had spotted me and was looking suspiciously down upon me as I pointed my camera up at him.
The Brown Cuckoo-Dove is a large rusty-brown pigeon with a long tail. It lives in rain forest all along the East coast of Australia and is quite a handsome bird to see perched on a horizontal branch over a forest trail.
Here's another look at the colourful Golden Whistler which I had photographed before, but it was quite numerous here in the forest, and very easy to find as it was making its distinctive whistling call constantly.
The female Golden Whistler lacks the male's bright yellow and black plumage, but I quite like the shot below with a large fern as background offsetting the birds very large, shiny eye.
Lewin's Honeyeater is a common resident of woodland and rainforest along the Eastern seabord of Australia. easily recognised by its large white half-moon earpatch.
It took me a while to identify this little woodland bird but by a process of elimination I have decided it must be a Pale-yellow Robin. This species is endemic to Australia and is only found in just two fairly small areas, one in N. Queensland and the other here, in SE Queensland and NE NSW, where it is relatively uncommon.
I actually took these photographs in Booyong Reserve near Ballina, not at Lamington. It is only found in lowland tropical and sub-tropical rainforest and I think I was lucky to get it. I have seen it described as rather nondescript, but I don't agree. I find it is a very attractive little lemon-yellow and olive-green bird with a very expressive face and large eyes. Not nondescript at all.
On my way down from Lamington I spotted this superb Pheasant Coucal in a field by the roadside. I was able to stop and photograph it though the car window. This bird is actually a type of Cuckoo, but unlike other Australian cuckoos it is is not a brood parasite, it makes its own nest. In fact the male builds the nest, incubates the eggs and feeds the young. Admirable, a thoroughly modern male.