The Wollomombi Falls LBJ, 2008

Mission: Honeyeaters

It was the little brown job that was destined to become my default identification almost all the way up to Cairns although it wasn’t that hard to distinguish: it is more of a low-level forager. It always helps not to have to dislocate one’s neck to seek out field marks high in the canopy.

Acanthiza pusilla became my seventh and last of the twelve Australian members of the thornbill genus – a journey begun with the inland thornbill at Two Peoples Bay, to which this bird is very similar. The main distinction seems to be that it is less streaky and has a rufous speckled forehead. Hence it gets called the brown thornbill. Hard to see but there it is.

A further contender for default LBJ, especially scratching around on the forest floor, was the nominate race of the bird I’d copped at Prevelly. Again, individuals must have cropped up a good deal of the way from Adelaide: the species is so abundant. Even so, it was only at my next stop, Ebor Falls, that I had confidence in its identity. It’s in the same warbler family as the thornbill but its Sericornis genus has a largely eastern distribution. I would add four more of them in the ensuing weeks. This clinching white-browed scrubwren set the ball rolling.

Despite their tourist status, Wollomombi and Ebor Falls and their associated villages were light on the catering stakes. The night before’s curry was doing a good job but my blood sugar levels were dipping.

Roads into Cathedral Rock and Guy Fawkes River National Parks were tempting and I succumbed to one. The tarmac ran out soon in so circumstances dictated that I attend to the rumbling stomach instead. Dorrigo, another 30 miles on, was my best bet. It turned out to be my best bet in so many ways, possibly even the highlight of the entire trip. ⇐ ⇒

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