A Flame Robin in Braemar S.F., South-east Queensland

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Rod Hobson
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:03 am

A Flame Robin in Braemar S.F., South-east Queensland

Post by Rod Hobson » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:42 pm


I spent last week among the mossies, sandflies, ticks and White Spear Grass of Braemar State Forest at Kumbarilla near Dalby, SEQ. We were doing a fauna survey along a proposed gas pipeline route due to be constructed through the state forest but I won't dwell too much on that.

We ended up recording just over an hundred vertebrate species that included 70 of birds. The greater majority of birds seen were typical Southern Brigalow Belt Bioregion species but two are especially noteworthy. The first was a male Black Honeyeater sighted on the 16.04.10 at UTM 94 - E 285444, N 6987119. This dainty little honeyeater turns up in this general area occasionaly (I also saw a male along the Chinchilla-Barakula Road on the 31st. October 2008). So it's a good bird to see but not totally unexpected in this neck of the woods.

The second bird of note for the trip was totally unexpected. On Saturday 17.04.10 I was birding with fellow QPWS employees Martin Ambrose and James Haig in an area of Brigalow and Belah near the old abandoned Forestry headquarters and barracks. We were seeing some nice birds here including Jacky Winter, Speckled Warbler, Cicadabird and White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike when a small greyish bird alighted on a low branch of a Belah near to us, only about six metres off. Clearly a robin, either a female or immature. At first I thought it a Red-capped Robin; a fairly common local species but not so. Perhaps then a Rose Robin, a species that does turn up in this type of habitat occasionally despite what the books say but 'no' not a Rose Robin either. So I was left with the highly unlikely option of either Scarlet or Flame Robin. Both these species straggle into SEQ in autumn and winter, especially on to the Granite Belt but I'd not heard of either ever being recorded in the Dalby area (although I was later to learn that the Flame Robin has been recorded at Chinchilla. See Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight's 'Field Guide to the Birds of Australia' (1997) pp. 410-11).

I scribbled some hasty notes in my fieldbook and on getting back to the car was very pleased to confirm the bird as an adult female Flame Robin - a flamin' good record for sure. My notes verbatim are:

" 2.55 p.m., female robin. about 5-6 mtrs, in shade. Low in Belah about 1.5 mtrs from ground. very faint white spot base of bill/forehead. all over grey. belly, breast darker grey/brownish. wing bar bold, white, conspicuous. pale whitish vent. throat lighter, paler than chest. White outer tail coverts. legs, beak appear dark, black. pale eye ring. No sign of pinkish, reddish flush anywhere. left 3.05pm. bird still there. (Leica 10 x 42 HD). J.Haig, M.Ambrose also. UTM 94 - E 282138, N 6990095"

The robin was surely the highlight of the week. So if you throw in such other goodies as Red-naped Snake, Dwyer's Snake, Brigalow Scaly-foot, Golden-tailed Gecko, Greater Glider, Sugar Glider, Black-striped Wallaby, Gould's Long-eared Bat, Yellow-footed Antechinus, Large Toadlet (Pseudophryne major) and the lovely little butterfly, the Bright Purple Azure (Ogyris barnardi) to name but a few then the socks full of White Spear Grass seeds wern't quite so unbearable after all.

Rod Hobson

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