Saturday, 28 January 2017

Queensland 2016 No.2: Atherton Tablelands, Lake Eacham & Hasties Swamp

Yungaburra is a great base for exploring some of the best and most accessible places in the Atherton Tablelands.  As well as the Platypus in Peterson Creek, there is plenty of wildlife in and around the small town, and close by is Lake Eacham, part of the Crater Lakes National Park.  The crater within which Lake Eacham sits is covered with rainforest and easily accessible via a circular trail.  You can also swim in the lake (which we did, briefly, as it was quite cold!).  We visited twice and saw a good range of birds plus the Musky Rat-Kangaroo, a primitive marsupial.  I got a brief, close-up view of a male Victoria's Riflebird (one of my three target species) right beside the entrance road, unfortunately just as a cyclist passed by and disturbed it.  Quite a stunner.  Later in the trip I saw several female birds and glimpsed a couple more males, but this turned out to be my best view.  If you stay in the lodges next to Lake Eacham you are much more likely to get good views.
Musky Rat-Kangaroo, Lake Eacham
Grey-headed Robin, Lake Eacham
Pale-yellow Robin, Lake Eacham
Spotted Catbird, Lake Eacham
Lake Eacham
Also quite close-by is Hasties Swamp National Park, a fairly small area of wetland that has been protected from drainage and has become a honeypot for waterbirds.  The wetlands are easily viewed from a tower hide. We seemed to hit the reserve just at the right time for Plumed Whistling Ducks - there were thousands crowded along the shoreline creating quite a cacophony of whistling calls.    There were also large numbers of Magpie Geese and a selection of herons and egrets.
Hasties Swamp
Plumed Whistling Ducks
Magpie Geese
Pacific (White-necked) Heron, Hasties Swamp

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