Thursday, 2 April 2020

Virtual Mt Lewis Birding Tour

We begin our tour with a drive up the dirt track to the clearing on the Mt Lewis road. As you can see this is a single lane dirt track which can be rather rough in places.

On the lower section of the track we may see some of the regular rain-forest species like Spectacled Monarch, Brown and Fairy Gerygone, Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Pacific Emerald Dove.

Pacific Emerald Dove

During their breeding season we also stop to have a look at the display perch of the Victoria's Riflebird. This bird of Bird of Paradise is endemic to the wet tropics of Queensland

Male Victoria's Riflebird displaying to a female at the perch

As we get higher up the mountain we see the vegetation becoming more lush. Birds flit across the road and disappear down the steep slope to the left. They will mostly be Yellow-throated Scrubwren and Grey-headed Robin. We could also see the occasional Bassian Thrush.

When we reach the clearing we park the vehicle and explore the road in both directions looking for Atherton Scrubwren and Fernwren. We can find most or the birds endemic to the wet tropics along this section of the track as well as many other species of rain-forest birds.

exploring the track near the clearing
Grey Fantail are common along the track
We return to the vehicle for coffee and cake. At the same time we will be listening for the high pitched calls of the Blue-faced Parrot-Finch. During the summer months the Parrot-Finch feeds and nests in the area. We also see Red-browed Finch and Chestnut-breasted Mannikin here.

Blue-faced Parrot-Finch
 After packing up the car and getting our gear together we head out along the walking track. We can hear birds calling all around us. Eastern Whipbird, Mountain Thornbill, Supurb Fruit-Dove, Yellow-throated Scrubwren and many others.

The walking track

We usually encounter the Grey-headed Robin and Golden Whistlers first. The Robin usually perches just above the ground or is hopping along the path in search of a meal.

Grey-headed Robin
The whistlers are heard calling from the mid-story of the rain-forest and we need to search until we find one with a clear view.
male Golden Whistler
As we walk we keep our eyes open for small movements and rustles in the leaves which give away the presence of Atherton Scrubwren and Chowchilla. Both these species can be very confiding if approached slowly and quietly.
Atherton Scrubwren

female Chowchilla
In the wet season there are plenty of great looking fungi on all the rotting logs and interesting and colourful rain-forest fruits on the ground.

We eventually reach the dam and stop here for a break.

old tin miners dam
Here we can still hear the golden whistlers calling and the Mountain Thornbills are in the trees above. A little pish and these inquisitive birds come down for a look.

Mountain Thornbill with a wormy snack
From here we head out to visit the Golden Bowerbird at his bower. He is usually around somewhere and with a short wait he turns up. On our last visit we were lucky enough to watch him doing a bit of maintenance by placing fresh sticks on the towers of his bower.

Golden Bowerbird
It is now time to start heading back to the vehicle birding along the way. We have been hearing the Spotted Catbirds calling all along the track and soon get good views of the bird. We also happen on a Tooth-billed Bowerbird at eye-level next to the path getting great views. We usually visit his display court in the right season but it is all quiet at the moment.

Tooth-billed Bowerbird
Just before reaching the end of our walk we are lucky enough to encounter a Bowers Shrike-Thrush. It is always a pleasure to see this bird and hear its beautiful call

Bowers Shrike-Thrush
Well the tour is over and we pile into the vehicle and head down the mountain for lunch at the Julatten Tavern.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and would love to see you on a real one in the future!


  1. Good use of time Doug - well done. You might have to do one for the Iron Range summer trip!

    1. Thank you Peter. I will definitely consider your suggestion!