New South Wales, RT Thrush and Masked Owl

I am sitting in the heated comfort of a motel room in Kurri Kurri, NSW. There were trees down across the roads keeping us out of Barrington Tops where we had hoped to find the Rufous Scrub-bird last weekend. So instead, we headed on south ending up here last Saturday. I am grateful.

Saturday afternoon we stopped at the very cool Wingham Brush Nature Reserve near Taree, NSW. It was recommended as an excellent Russet-tailed Thrush site. This was a bird that Lynn needed and we needed on the year list. We birded along the old wooden boardwalk and in the peaceful shade of the lowland rainforest, we soon were looking at a Russet-tailed Thrush. I took copious photos and we are positive of the i.d. I am grateful.

Russet-tailed Thrush... the secondary covert feathers are bold and the colors do not go up the feather shaft. They look as if they were dipped in paint.

The white is longer on the tail feathers...
It has a very russety, shortish tail and its rump feathers do not have the heavy dark edges like the feathers on the back.
We drove on to Kurri Kurri where we had found a nice and “affordable” motel. Our tolerance for cold seems to have lessened since all of our steamy northern travels. We had been hot, and or warm, for so long that camping in the cold is not something that we want to do very much. Especially not in the wind and or rain. So we have been splurging on little cabins and rooms when we can. After checking into our room, we headed to a local Painted Button-quail site where we saw NO button-quail. We did see lots of platelets. I think platelets are made by aliens, like crop circles. We were back at our motel by dark.

Sunday Morning, we were back at that site at first light. We birded until about 9:30am when we gave up and drove back to the motel for breakfast (we have food with us of course). Although it was not real cold, the 6-7 C temperature sank into us. We spent the rest of the morning in our room trying to get warm. Weird.
Early morning Troopi
Yet another place where button-quail are not. We know a lot of these places. But platelets? Platelets we've got. I am damn sick of looking at platelets.
Sunday evening we drove down to Allan Richardson’s house in Morisset. He had generously offered to take us looking for a Masked Owl. Allan had seen one a few weeks ago in the Watagan Mountains not far from his house. We arrived at his spot on a muddy logging track as the darkness descended. After about fifteen minutes Allan said, “That’s it!” The Masked Owl was calling from the upper canopy to the right of us. We listened to it repeatedly and then Lynn saw it fly across the track above us. It called from that side a few times before flying back across the track above us giving us all a good, brief look as it passed between the trees. Not a photo op for sure, but we saw Masked Owl! YES! I am so grateful. Thank you, Allan!
Before we took our coats off, I grabbed us a quick Masked Owl Lifer Selfie. We had looked for this bird in Tassie and Julatten, but finally got it in NSW!
We were back in our room by 9pm for a late sandwich and then we stayed up until midnight. We are wild ones! Tonight we are going out for a proper Lifer Supper somewhere. Wishing all y’all love and peace from New South Wales. I’ll keep you posted.

RB AUS Life List: 665
Lynn AUS Life List: 646
Couple’s AUS Year List: 629

Peace. Love. Birds.