RARE SIGHT: The pair couldn’t believe their luck when they saw this Fantailed Cuckoo. ALL PICTURE CREDIT: Sue Hoopmann
RARE SIGHT: The pair couldn’t believe their luck when they saw this Fantailed Cuckoo. ALL PICTURE CREDIT: Sue Hoopmann

Rare species escapes drought to Southern Downs ‘refuge’

FOR one Southern Downs habitat, drought has had an unexpected effect as rare species flock to the region in the ultimate show of nature's perseverance .

Owners of Adjinbilly Rainforest Retreat Cabins, Sue and Tony Hoopmann said they've seen an "influx" of birds at Killarney's Adjinbilly Creek since the drought begun - something which is continuing long after early 2020 rainfall.

"Because Adjinbilly never dries up, right through the drought, it became like an aviary here," Mr Hoopmann said.

"The fact there was water meant there were lots of insects and they had feed.

"There were so many different species and they all seemed to have stayed on."

In fact, in the past week alone, the pair have spotted four new species, including the rare shining bronze cuckoo and the fan-tailed cuckoo.

"Because we have so many birds, we get used to each cry but we heard these strange sounds the other day and we dropped everything to run out with our camera to find it,' Mr Hoopmann said.
"And it was this beautiful cuckoo, a bird I'd never seen in my entire life."

Other strange visitors included a white-breasted sea eagle they believed may have followed the Darling River up to the region.

 

The sight of the White-breasted Sea Eagle was incredibly rare for our region.
The sight of the White-breasted Sea Eagle was incredibly rare for our region.

 

Mr Hoopmann, who also reported a return of platypus following drought, said Griffith University had singled out the creek for its unique ecosystem.

"The Professor said Adjinbilly is a refuge for fish, platypus and birds. That when the temperatures get too high or drought occurs, they come in here to survive and when they're better they move out again," he said.

"It makes you wonder whether there's a memory in them that tells them this is where you go to be safe.

"And it goes to show the area is worth protecting."


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