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  • Writer's pictureKaia Colestock

Day 16-19: Lamington National Park

Updated: Jan 6

We stuck our big toe back in Queensland just southwest of Brisbane. Another “must-see” in three bird-finding guides was Lamington National Park. Up a windy, seat-clenching road at the top of Mount Lamington is old-growth rainforest. Aboriginal people have lived on the Lamington Plateau of the McPherson Range for 6000 years. We settled into our cabin at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, and were joined immediately by crimson rosellas and Australian king parrots that flew up onto the porch.

Not more than 30 feet from the main lodge, we were treated to regent and satin bowerbirds…

Regent bowerbird (above) and male & female satin bowerbirds (below)

The staff at O’Reilly’s instructed us to look out for satin bowerbird “bowers,” or platforms where the males do a display to attract a female. How would we find them, we asked? By keeping an eye out for bright blue objects strewn about the entrance to the bower. Satin bowerbirds go for just about anything - bottle tops, plastic silverware, tail feathers from the rosellas, and even blue clothesline pins. Indeed, they were easy to spot. Bowers varied in all shapes and sizes. As soon as the male was done performing, he would immediately dismantle the bower. No time to let artistry linger, I guess.

We stumbled upon an active satin bower and an older male was trying to attract the female with his dancing. I snuck up to the bower and crawled the last bit to leave my phone recording. You’ll see a male bowerbird approach the bower and a female shortly follows. She positions her head in the bower to view his performance on the other side. He picked up a blue bottle cap and what looked like a letter “K,” and performed a dance with accompanying vocalizations. She was interested for a bit, but it didn’t end well for him. A bit of practice never hurts.

From left to right in the slideshow (view from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, eastern yellow robin, eastern spinebill, regent bowerbird, wonga pigeon, rainforest understory, eastern whipbird, rufous fantail, Australian king-parrot, and Bassian thrush)

And we capped it off with an extremely localized Albert’s lyrebird. The range of this species is restricted to just several small mountain ranges in far southeast Queensland. We never saw another one again.

A boardwalk across from the O’Reilly retreat took us to a tree top walk in the canopy, where we were 60 feet above the ground. You get a chance to see birds at eye level or below.

You’re surrounded by black booyong trees that rely heavily on wide buttresses for support.

Mount Lamington was a stupendously-beautiful rainforest and highly recommended for future travels.

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