Prince Albert, I Have Beheld Your Lyrebird!

I first went to O’Reilly’s at Lamington National Park in January of 2011. I saw awesome birds up there and I loved the place, but despite a lot of looking, I did not see an Albert’s Lyrebird. Our friend Allison and her husband, Erik live an hour from O’Reilly’s, so since we were visiting them, we headed up the incredibly winding road to Lamington on Saturday morning.

We did not arrive until after 8am and missed a Lyrebird that had strolled though the grounds of the lodge at 6:15am. But we had a great day of birding with Allison and saw a lot of wonderful birds. Lynn got several lifers including an unexpected Pacific Baza flyover. It was a delightful day of birding and companionship and I am very grateful. No Albert’s Lyrebird though.

Regent Bowerbird giving me a look.  
The symbol of O'Reilly's, the Regent Bowerbird.
Lynn's lifer Australian Logrunner. 
The surprise flyover of the Pacific Baza
So… Sunday morning we borrowed Erik’s car and drove back up the mountain arriving at 6am (yes, we got up before 4am to leave by 5). For the first morning in days, no Lyrebird walked around the lodge. A little disappointed, we kept looking.

The as cute as they are ubiquitous, Pademelon. And for a brief moment, they can really look like a Lyrebird on the edge of a road. 
Ms Satin Bowerbird
Mr. Satin Bowerbird
A posing Brown Gerygone that I had to photograph.
After an hour or so of birding around the lodge areas (we got the Paradise Riflebird) Lynn suggested we take the “path” down to the Villas and Spa area. This led us to the old road down to the zip-line area and the trail to Morans Falls. We had spoken to two birders who had seen an Albert’s down that road on Saturday. We continued on down. At the entrance to the Falls trail, we met a woman who had just seen a Lyrebird to the right of the observation platform by the falls. Down we went. Long hike, no Lyrebird.

This is where a moment of realization washed over me. There I was in amongst it. I was deep in the rainforest overlooking beauty that needs to be experienced rather than described. It was wondrous. And yet I was staring mostly along the ground searching for a bird. I stopped. I breathed in the rainforest and the visual wonder of it all. We took a selfie with the falls behind us. I still wanted the Lyrebird, but it was no longer my entire focus and I allowed myself to be in the moment. Yes, hippie-dippy stuff, but true. I am very grateful.
Me looking for the Lyrebird to the exclusion of all else.
Morans Falls... 
Truly, deeply amongst it and loving it.
We hiked back up to the road and kept heading down. We got to the bottom where the zip-line is, crossed the stream and continued up the road. We heard a Lyrebird. We tried to find it. We did not. We came back down the road to the zip-line area where the Wishing Tree Trail climbs back up to O’Reilly’s. There was a nice guy on the road and we chatted as you do (he insisted that Lynn keep his water bottle. Thinking we were just going a bit down that first trail, we had foolishly not brought water with us). And while we were talking he heard a Lyrebird across the creek. We heard it too.

I headed back up the road we had walked just minutes ago. As I went up the hill and rounded a turn, there ahead scratching on the edge of the road was an Albert’s Lyrebird. I grabbed some quick shots and turned back to alert Lynn who was about 60 meters back. And this is where I know that she is truly a birder. When she realized I was seeing the bird, she ran up the hill. We had hiked over 6 miles (none of it level) at that point and she broke into a run and got up the road in time to get identifiable views through the underbrush of the Albert’s as it headed down toward the creek.
I. Am. Grateful.

Albert's Lyrebird... finally.

We took a Lifer Selfie at the Wishing Tree as we hiked back up the Wishing Tree trail to O’Reilly’s where we had a wonderful lunch at the café (and I had ice cream on a stick as my Lifer Pie). I am so grateful.
Just starting up the Wishing Tree trail at the bottom where it's not very steep yet.
Albert's Lyrebird Lifer Selfie at the wishing tree. I am so grateful and hope with all my heart that my wish keeps coming true.

Birds. Peace. Love. Earth. Laughter. Music.