Friday, January 2, 2015

Sunshine Coast Birding

Every year I go somewhere for a Christmas holiday so this year saw me heading to Brisbane for a week, with my main goal, to finally obtain tick-able views of the elusive King Quail.

After hiring a car from the airport I drove to Rainbow Beach, had lunch and waited for the late afternoon before heading to Cooloola.

A walk along the track provided good views of Rainbow Bee-eaters, Australian Pipit and  Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo and then finally I saw 3 quail off in the distance out on the track. They were too far away to get photos so I slowly walked forwards, close enough to identify them, YES! King Quail.  TICK!!!!

They were still too far away for photos, which I really wanted to get so, although stoked to get good views I walked forwards when suddenly I hear a WHOOSH from near my feet!  I had flushed another quail from right next to me! It flew across the track in front of me giving me excellent views but landed into the long grass before I had a chance to even lift my camera.  Sadly when I looked back ahead to the first group they were gone. Oh well, I got to see them and that is the main thing!

Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo
Australian Pipit

It was getting dark so I left and headed back to my accommodation in Nambour where I stayed for 4 nights. 

I spent the next few days birding in Bli Bli, a great place for birding. The Maroochy Wetland is excellent with good facilities and helpful volunteers.


It has a board walk through rainforest to mangroves and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Wear good mozzie repellent though or you will be eaten alive!!

Eastern Whipbird

Golden Whistler - female

Golden Whistler - female

Rufous Fantail

Spectacled Monarch

Spectacled Monarch

Rufous Fantail Chick



The mangroves also provide excellent habitat for a variety of crabs which are easily observed at low tide.

Red-fingered Marsh Crab

Fiddler Crabs - the male has one large claw for defence

Semaphore Crab

Mangrove Gerygone

Parklakes in Bli Bli is another fantastic spot to spend the early morning.




I had heard that an Australian Little Bittern had been seen there so went to take a look. Amazingly it was literally the first bird I saw when I arrived! It was right out in the open hunting for fish. Excellent views and it was still out in the open when I left again.

Australian Little Bittern






There are some angles which are  not quite so attractive to photograph a Bittern from.

Plumed Whistling-Duck


Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Double-barred Finch

My friend Geoff and I headed back up to Cooloola for an afternoon and got another brief view of King Quail running across the track in front of us. We also heard at least 3 Lewin's Rail right next to us but they failed to show themselves.

I then headed to Brisbane for 3 nights. A morning at Kedron Wetlands resulted in good views of Tawny Grassbird, Golden-headed Cisticola, Red-backed Fairy-wren and the usual waterbirds.

Australian Reed-warbler


Australian Reed-warbler

Rufous Whistler -female

Tawny Grassbird
Tawny Grassbird

Slender Skimmer Dragonfly

Graphic Flutterer

Australian Tiger Dragonfly

Graphic Flutterer

Red-backed Fairy-wren

No visit to Brisbane is complete without a trip to Mount Glorious so on New Years day I had my annual coffee and cake at the Mt Glorious Café.

All the major food groups are represented!

I hiked a few of the walking tracks enjoying some rainforest species. One Tiger Leech tried to climb into my boot ignoring the 80% DEET strength Bushmans repellent.

Tiger Leech, too close to focus on with a 400mm lens!

Yellow-throated Scrubwren

Regent Bowerbird - female


Unfortunately I got a dental infection on my first day which has made me feel very unwell for the entire trip and the antibiotics are not working so far. Also unusually high humidity has made it VERY hot here so if you do come in December ensure you drink LOTS of water!! But birding is the best remedy so the rule is, if you are still breathing KEEP BIRDING!

I ended the year with an Australia Life List of 713 which made it a happy new year indeed!