Monday, December 24, 2012

From Coles Creek to the Lockyer Valley

Yesterday I had to go down to Ipswich to pick up a few things so I decided to make a day of it and drop in at a few spots and get some photos along the way. Due to such a distance in one day I didn't arrive at optimal times at many of the places but I was still pleased with the species I photographed.

I started off at the my house at Coles Creek. I didn't go birding here but as I was getting ready to leave I noticed a few birds close to the house, so I couldn't resist as my camera was on my back.

The Dollarbirds arrive mid spring each year and leave late summer to early autumn. Nearly everyday they can be seen in the big dead trees around the property. This is the first time I have seen the Varied Trillers on the property since I have lived here. There were about 5 in the tree.

One of the Dollarbirds that roost near the house daily

Australian White Ibis

Male Rainbow Bee-eater
A regular species on the property lately, even though I had never seen them here until early spring this year.

Female Varied Triller
After finally leaving the house we made a quick dash towards Kenilworth. On the side of the road I saw a Buff-banded Rail and a Pheasant Coucal. Unfortunately I missed the photo of the Pheasant Coucal due to me following the Rail. The next few photos were all taken on the side of the road heading towards Kenilworth.

Buff-banded Rail

Female Australian Wood Duck with her ducklings (Dad was close by)

Female Galah
Next was a quick look around the banks of Little Yabba Creek near the rest area. I was very surprised today by the lack of birds calling out, compared to other trips to the area. Very few birds were heard and this is normally a good time of day. Not sure if the weather had anything to do with it or the small amount of rain from the night before. I only saw a few Logrunners which are normally prolific and none of the pigeons or doves were heard either! Admittedly I was only there for about 20 -30 minutes due to the travel planned but normally you would hear many in that time. At least a few birds were seen before I headed off again.

Yellow-throated Scrubwren

Spectacled Monarch

One of my favourite birds, due to there call: Green Catbird

Crimson Rosella eating the berries off the lantana
After leaving Kenilworth we headed towards Yandina and arrived at Wappa Dam for a quick look. The weather became even worse with very light rain and dark clouds which made long distance photography even more difficult. Several species were seen here. Many Australian Wood Ducks,  Pacific Black Ducks, Dusky Moorhens plus multiple Hardheads were visible. A few Dotterels were flushed off near the banks but I am unsure of the type as I didn't see them properly. A few Common Koels and Azure Kingfishers were seen too along with the other species below.

Great Crested Grebe (One individual in the distance)

Pair of Pacific Black Ducks, Pair of Australian Wood Ducks and a Little Pied Cormorant on the dam wall

Male Painted Snipe
After leaving Ipswich the next place to visit was UQ Gatton Campus. I went to the lake and was amazed by the number of species present in such a small area and the quantity of the birds also. Around the lakes the Cattle Egrets had a massive breeding colony. Not the biggest I have seen, but definitely one of the more successful. There would have been a few thousand birds nesting or roosting in the trees. There very many hundreds, if not a thousand or more egg shells scattered over the ground beneath the trees. Babies could be heard everywhere. Often in big breeding colonies like this I have seen in the past many babies are found dead beneath the trees. In the area I walked only 3 baby birds were found dead beneath nests.

The lake itself had many Hardheads, Grey Teals, Magpie Geese, Pacific Black Ducks and Black-winged Stilts. Other species that were in good numbers included Black-fronted Dotterels, Red-kneed Dotterels, Australasian Grebes, Royal Spoonbills and Pink-eared Ducks. Several other common species of birds were also seen in and around the lake.

One of the many Cattle Egrets

Just a few of the eggshells that were scattered throughout the whole area

Magpie Geese (One of the many trios on the lake)

Grey Teals, Red-kneed Dotterel and a Black-winged Stilt
Red-kneed Dotterel

Hardheads, Grey teal and Black-winged Stilts

Australasian Grebe with baby on board near the nest (Look carefully on her back)

Grey teals and Black-winged Stilts

Pair of Hardheads

Pink-eared Ducks

Just a few of the many Black-winged Stilts present
The last spot to drop in at before heading home was Atkinson Dam. Unfortunately the dam was extremely busy with people jet skiing and boating so the birds were not in good numbers but some that remained went into the small area near the bridge on Atkinson Dam Road. The noise from the boats was incredible. There were many hundreds of people in the parks near the dam and over a hundred boats and jet skis on the water. I don't blame the birds for wanting to get away from there to be honest.

A few Pacific Black Ducks, a trio of Magpie Geese, a few Cotton Pygmy-geese were seen along with multiple Dusky Moorhens. A few Black Swans and Australian Pelicans were also sighted.

Pacific Black Duck with her ducklings and a Dusky Moorhen looking on

A pair of Cotton Pygmy-geese

A pair of Cotton Pygmy-geese
A long and tiring day. As I arrived home as usual the Variegated Fairy-wrens and Red-backed Fairy-wrens were calling out in the lantana on the edge of the property next door. Each afternoon they feed in that area before finally roosting just after sunset. A productive day overall. Definitely a good way to make a boring trip to pick up things more exciting, by dropping in at places to take some photos.

Male Variegated Fairy-wren (Another one of my favourites)

Female Variegated Fairy-wren

Female Red-backed Fairy-wren
More updates and pics each fortnight.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Trip to Fig Tree Walk

It's great when plans work out. I went out early this morning to have a look around the southern outskirts of Kenilworth again.  This time I spent the entire time on the Fig Tree Walk circuit that follows Little Yabba Creek. To access it you make your way to the rest area on the left heading from Kenilworth. After you park you can walk over the bridge to access the walk. This forest is stunning! This rainforest has the same species as the walks around Charlie Moreland campground but are easier to photograph and actually seem more approachable. I saw a few other birds here today that I hadn't seen last week at Charlie Moreland but I know they are present in that forest too.

I won't go into all the species again, as all the birds from last week were seen again today. If you want to check out the list go to my last post. Some others that I did see today included a large amount of Green Catbirds. There must have been 20 or more. Spectacled Monarchs, Little Shrike-thrushes, Lewin's Honeyeaters, Brown Gerygones and Brown Quails were some of the other species that were seen today, that were not seen on my trip last week.

I was very surprised to see such a large number of Wompoo Fruit-Doves here today. In one small area alone I saw at least 50 birds and also about 50 Brown Cuckoo-Doves. Both of these flocks were fighting over certain Piccabeen Trees and fig trees in the forest. I got some better photos of most of the birds from last week so I will include them in this blog.

Female Logrunner

Green Catbird

Green Catbird

Green Catbird calling out

Male Logrunner

Noisy Pitta

The same Noisy Pitta as above from a different angle

Topknot Pigeon

One of many Wompoo Fruit-Doves that were seen

Male Paradise Riflebird

This female Paradise Riflebird came from nowhere as soon as the male called

Another one of the many Noisy Pittas that were seen

The same Noisy Pitta as above from a different angle

One of the many Brown Cuckoo-Doves that were seen

I would have to say that this is a brilliant place to go for bird watching or even just a beautiful, relaxing walk in the forest. Even more relaxing and fruitful in terms of birdlife than the Charlie Moreland campground. This would be my new favourite spot on the coast. A great morning out that's for sure!

More updates and pics each week.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Birds around Kenilworth

Went out early yesterday morning to have a look around the southern outskirts of Kenilworth. Much of the time was spent at and around the Charlie Moreland campground near Little Yabba Creek. This would have to be the best birding spot on the Sunshine Coast. It has lots of the more common birds as well as the not so common, all in one place. I arrived just before 6 and the birds were still active and calling when I left the area around 10 o'clock.

Unfortunately I had camera issues for the first few hours of the trip so I missed out on many good oppurtunities. As a result many of the species mentioned below have not been included as photographs in this blog due to the quality. I did include the Noisy Pitta  and the Logrunners, even though they are terrible photos.

Noisy Pitta (Too bad about the photo quality)

The highlights of the trip were seeing several Topknot Pigeons and getting my first photograph of them and seeing dozens of Wompoo Fruit-Doves and Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves. It's great to see that both of these birds are in large numbers at this location on the Sunshine Coast. The other highlights of the trip was seeing my first Noisy Pittas and Paradise Riflebirds on the Sunshine Coast. There were about 10 individuals in the area of each species. Some Noisy Pittas were roosting in the trees but the majority were flushed from the forest floor. Unfortunately all of the male Paradise Riflebirds were in flight that were seen. Beautiful to observe but hard to photograph. Many were heard calling from within the forest as well.

Wompoo Fruit-Dove

My first ever sighting and photo of a Topknot Pigeon
 Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove
In large numbers and easily heard but hard to photograph

Brown Cuckoo-Doves, White-headed Pigeons and Spangled Drongos were also seen in reasonable numbers. Bell Miners were in the 100's if not thousands in the whole area. Noisy Miners were common near the campground but not elsewhere. Hundreds of Logrunners were also sighted.

Brown Cuckoo-Dove feeding on wattle seeds

Male Logrunner

Female Logrunner

Other species that were observed were the Pale-headed and Crimson Rosellas, White-browed Scrubwrens, Yellow Thornbills, Eastern Whipbirds, Eastern Yellow Robins, Golden Whistlers, Grey Fantails, Yellow-throated Scrubwrens, Restless Flycatchers plus a few others. Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos and Little Lorikeets were in quite large numbers also.

I would recommend this area to anyone that enjoys bird watching. One of my favourite birding spots from around Australia. An amazing collection of birds. Might even try this place again next weekend now the camera is back in action and will hopefully get some good quality pics of the other species that were sighted.

More updates and pics each week.

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