The Tawny Frogmouth has a special place in our family folklore. Back in the mid 1980s we were camped in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park in north west Victoria. We were right next to Lake Hattah, a lovely camping spot and place full of interesting birds. On this occasion we were disturbed around midnight by an “um-um-um-um” sound in the distance – or so we thought. Imaging the worst we feared someone had a portable generator, something forbidden in most Australian national parks. It really annoyed us.
Just as we were retiring the following night we heard the noise again. My attention was drawn to a dark shape in the tree just above our tent. Sitting there quite at home was our “generator”, a Tawny Frogmouth calling. This was the first time I’d heard this bird calling. And it kept on calling for a long time but we slept soundly, now knowing where the noise was coming from.
We occasionally have this species in our garden which is great. We don’t often hear it calling due to other noises – such as the television. My latest encounter with the species was at the Visitor Centre of the Innes National Park. We were paying our entry fees and I saw the lovely bird (shown above) sitting on display on the counter. A beautiful bird.
Sad to think that its um-um-umming days are over.
Earlier this year we travelled to Clare to visit family. On the way we took a different route, one we hadn’t taken for many years. Along the way we stopped for a short break at Burra Gorge to have lunch. This ephemeral waterway drains through the hills to the south east of the mid-north town of Burra.
We were only there for about a half hour, so the birding opportunities were limited. It was a rather hot day and the bird activity was minimal. There is a pleasant camping area where I’d like to spend a few days sometime and explore along the gorge deeper into the range. On this occasion I only managed a short list of less than a dozen species. This area should produce some interesting birds if one was able to have an extended visit. This is because this gorge is in a zone between the high rainfall area of the Clare Valley to the west, and the much drier salt-bush country to the east.
The Galah featured in the photos on this post looked as if it was about to start nesting in one of the many tree hollows.
It was school holiday time and many people were bush camping in the picnic areas. There are no facilities here except for several public toilets. The nearest supplies are in Burra, some 30km to the north west.