Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Little Bittern, crakes and other goodies on Ewen Maddock Dam

Spotless Crake

A day in the kayak and walking around Ewen Maddock Dam near Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast proved most productive, with good birds including Australian Little Bittern, Spotless Crake, Baillon's Crake, Black-necked Stork, Little Grassbird, Red-kneed Dotterel, Great Crested Grebe and Whiskered Tern.

In the kayak I was able to explore the extensive reed beds around the lake which are difficult to penetrate from land. At this spot I flushed a Little Bittern.

Spotless Crake

Soon after I flushed a Baillon's Crake from the reedbeds, then tracked down this Spotless Crake.

Little Grassbird

I saw 6 or 7 Little Grassbirds and a single Tawny Grassbird in the reeds. As usual, the Littles proved difficult to photograph.

Black-necked Stork

At the southern end of the lake, it was nice to see this female Black-necked Stork.

SEQ Water has lowered the dam level to allow for construction works so large areas of mud are exposed at the southern end of Ewen Maddock. The habitat is looking promising for potential rarities to turn up.

Red-kneed Dotterel

About 20 Red-kneed Dotterels were in the area; this is a rare bird on the Sunshine Coast so the concentration of this many birds is exceptional. A few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints were about.

Whiskered Tern

Thirty or so Whiskered Terns were on the dam, most looking smart in breeding plumage. Other waterbirds seen included Chesnut Teal, Wandering Whistling-Duck and Great Crested Grebe.

Whiskered Tern

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

With water levels low, fish are an easy catch for raptors. On three occasions I saw a White-bellied Sea-Eagle with a huge fish that looked like an over-sized eel.


Ospreys do not usually feed over fresh water but the fish have attracted them.

Australasian Darter

The best way to access the dam is by driving to the end of Kowald Road. It terminates at a t-junction, with short driveable tracks to the left (north) and right (south). At the end of the left track, park your vehicle at the gate and walk a short distance further to the water. There are reed beds in this area. Follow the shore of the dam to the right, around to its southern end, where the exposed mud areas area.


  1. A great outing for you Greg with some excellent birds and nice pics. One of my favourite spots when living in Landsborough a few years ago.

  2. Thanks John... didn't know you lived in Landsborough, yes a delightful place