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Lake Tinaroo, 2009

Mission: Honeyeaters

At Mount Molloy I ate lunch, against the likelihood that nothing would be available in the evening. After winding back down the Kennedy Highway, almost to Atherton, I detoured east to Lake Tinaroo. A mosquito-free night was an attraction and these cooler elevations promised that, as did a large, empty campsite on the shore.

Paradoxically a café was still functioning next to reception. The wee hamlet that had grown up beside the lake had nothing else except one pub closed for the season. My evening fell into its usual pattern of stop, shower, snack before reading and bed.

January 29 was next and I was determined to drive round Lake Tinaroo and visit the Cathedral Fig Tree. I would make a veritable tour of arboreal extravagances. I didn’t get far.

In the middle of the road, a chap with a stop sign: “It’ll be at least half an hour, mate.”

The road had been damaged in the rains and he wasn’t entirely sure that his was the only crew blocking it. The Fig Tree would not be fruiting for me.

I returned to my night’s stop for a pee and spent a pleasant hour birding it. Nothing new came up but the bushes and eucalypts were busy with familiar pardalotes, honeyeaters and fly­catchers. That’s just as good as ticking lifers – more relax­ing in fact. There isn’t the struggle to identify the mysterious but a warm sense of intimacy instead. I was becoming an Australian birder. ⇐ ⇒

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