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.

Monday, 31 December 2012

Lockyer Valley Flush with Birds

Australian Painted-Snipe
The highlights of one-and-a-half days in the Lockyer-Brisbane Valleys with Chris Corben included Australian Painted-Snipe at two sites, Plum-headed Finch, Cotton Pygmy-Goose at four sites, Brown Songlark at three sites, Australasian Shoveler, plenty of Pink-eared Ducks, Hoary-headed Grebe, hundreds of Glossy Ibis, Australian (Spotted) Crake, Red-necked Avocet, Black Kite, Blue-billed Duck, Little Grassbird, Stubble Quail and Banded Lapwing. Conditions are ideal, in large part presumably because birds which bred prolifically inland during the past two bountiful seasons are now dispersing to coastal areas.

Glossy Ibis

Red-necked Avocets
Before meeting Chris, I found a pair of Cotton Pygmy-Geese on the lagoon at the junction of the D'Ɓguilar Highway and Mary Smokes Road, and a second pair near the wall of Atkinsons Dam. After getting together, we walked around the western end of Seven Mile Lagoon. It was nice to see and hear several Brown Songlarks; we first had them at this site in the early-70s.
Australasian Shoveler
 We counted 45 Red-necked Avocets, 12 Hoary-headed Grebes and 10 Australasian Shovelers, while an estimated 400 Glossy Ibis was an extraordinary number for this species in south-east Queensland. Several Yellow-billed Spoonbills were also about.

Sharp-tailed Sandpipers
While Red-kneed Dotterels were plentiful elsewhere, none were seen at Seven Mile, where there were surprisingly few waders (avocets and stilts aside). This small flock of Sharpies were the only migratory waders.

Banded Lapwing

 About 30 Banded Lapwings were present in the paddocks near Seven Mile. We moved on to the small swamp opposite Lake Clarendon, where up to 7 Australian Painted-Snipe have been present. We found none and proceeded to Lake Galletly on the university campus near Gatton. The Australian (Spotted) Crake which has been here for some time showed well. A Little Grassbird was in vegetation close to the hide and a pair of Blue-billed Ducks was on the lake.

Brown Songlark

Plum-headed Finch
We spent the night in Gatton, arriving at Jahnke's Lagoon in the early morning. We saw some more Brown Songlarks near the lagoon and a Rufous Songlark across the road. A pair of Plum-headed Finches showed nicely near the spot where Tom and Marie Tarrant found them a few days ago, in long grass opposite the lagoon; I have had them at this site in years past. Plenty of Red-kneed Dotterels and Pink-eared Ducks were on the water. Quite a few Black Kites were also about, here and elsewhere in the region.
Pink-eared Ducks

Australian Hobby

We stopped again at the Painted-Snipe spot near Lake Clarendon and this time flushed a single bird. About 10 Great Crested Grebes were on Lake Clarendon - far fewer than during some recent visits. On a small dam along Green Swamp Road, we found a third pair of Cotton Pygmy-Geese, while an Australian Hobby was nice. At Kelly Swamp, about 20 Wandering Whistling-Ducks were present.

Australian Painted-Snipe
We returned to the Seven Mile Lagoon area and found a male Australian Painted-Snipe showing nicely on a small dam along Haslingden Road.  On the canal on the eastern side of Atkinsons Dam we found a fourth pair of Cotton Pygmy-Geese. After birding woodlands in the Coominya area, we moved on to some fields near Toogoolawah. Here, some more Brown Songlarks were seen and heard, and a Stubble Quail was calling. On the way home, I stopped at Ewen Maddock Dam and saw a Spotless Crake. Here are a few bits and pieces that I photographed as we moved about:

Nankeen Kestrel

Rainbow Bee-eater with bee

Jacky Winter
Superb Blue Fairy-wren

And an old mate, Chris Corben, at Seven Mile Lagoon


  1. You amaze me Greg .... you always find the birds.

  2. Thank you Jude, but there have been a few of us out there around the Lockyer Valley over the past couple of weeks... amazing times