PASSERIFORMES: Ptilonorhynchidae

Sericulus chrysocephalus  

Regent Bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus)
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© Vik Dunis 2014
Eungella National Park, QLD (Sep, 2014)
Wallpaper image
Wallpaper thumb: Regent Bowerbird

If I turn I can see the cold mist rising slowly over the ridge behind me and it rolls on, over my head and through the trees, frustrating my wish for the sun to warm my bones and cheer my gloomy surroundings.

I am alone, standing on a damp dirt track a thousand metres above sea-level at the edge of a rainforest and the day is waking up painfully slowly.

Brown birds are now flitting high in the tree tops, chasing each other. A closer look through my camera with its long lens identifies them as Lewin's Honeyeaters. Lovely birds but disappointing. They are not the Eungella Honeyeaters for which I have travelled to this remote location and have not yet seen since arriving thirteen hours ago.

Admittedly, my eyes haven't been open for all of those hours. I rested in my vehicle during the dark hours and listened to the forest noises of the night. No doubt I contributed a few strange sounds of my own during the unconscious periods.

Something bright, quite low down, and not a great distance to my left catches my attention. Not a Eungella Honeyeater, they are not bright birds. Nor is it the sun, but something between the two. It is a male Regent Bowerbird which, even in this dull misty atmosphere, is astonishingly brilliant and the unexpected apparition makes me gasp and thrills me.

For half a minute this black and yellow bird hangs on a small tree trunk less than two metres above the ground surveying its surroundings before disappearing back into the deeper rainforest.

I will see this beautiful creature twice more, though much higher in the trees and more distantly. Of course I still want to see Eungella Honeyeaters, but I now know that if none appear on this trip, my sojourn here has been worth it and I will leave happy.

During the next few hours I am lucky enough to see Eungella Honeyeaters, several of them, and get great views as they come down from the upper foliage to hawk insects almost at eye level.

A few Topknot Pigeons also become more comfortable with my presence and start feeding on berries just a short distance away. I enjoy watching them gobble berries whole and admire their beautiful colours and odd features.

Altogether I spend eighteen hours here. No-one else comes along. Just me, these beautiful creatures, and this delightful location.

A magic day, the tenth day of September. Already a special day in my calendar, and now even more so.

Regent Bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus)

Regent Bowerbird

Regent Bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus)

Male Regent Bowerbird