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.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Harry's Hut: Masked Owl, Squirrel Glider, Kayaking the Noosa River

Squirrel Glider
Harry's Hut is a lovely camping ground on the banks of the Noosa River in the Cooloola Recreation Area of Great Sandy National Park, reached from Kin Kin in the Sunshine Coast hinterland along a decidedly rough road (allegedly 4-wheel drive only, but take your time and it's okay for other vehicles). We had three nights here and were delighted to find that a Squirrel Glider frequented the trees around our camper van in the evenings.

Squirrel Glider
My friend Trevor Quested saw a Sooty Owl in the large rainforest patch along the road to Harry's Hut a few years back and I spent a couple of hours one night searching unsuccessfully there for this species and Marbled Frogmouth. However, upon my return to camp, I was stunned to see a Masked Owl perched on one of the picnic tables. It flew to a low tree branch affording good if brief views (too brief for the camera); the black lining to the facial disc and greyish-black upperparts were seen clearly.
I later found large owl pellets near the camping ground but no owls were heard. This is my third encounter with Masked Owl in recent months.
Harry's Hut
Also about the camping ground in the evening were  Australian Owlet-Nightjar and White-throated Nightjar. Harry's Hut was built to house workers employed by a long-closed sawmilling operation and is today preserved as an historic site. I last visited here on a camping trip with Glen Ingram in 1972.

Upper Noosa River
We had several forays in the kayak along the Upper Noosa River. The image below shows some of the extensive  Cabbage Tree Palm forest in the area.

Upper Noosa River
This area is regarded as one of Australia's top kayaking/canoeing destinations. From Harry's Hut, someone can hike north or south a few kilometres to a point along the river to be met by a companion who has rowed in a kayak. The two people can swap places to return to the camping ground; my companion Glenn and I did this a couple of times. Upstream from Harry's Hut there are several other camping grounds for those who are happy to transport their camping gear by boat.

Australasian Darter
 A darter along the river and some birds about the camp.

Fantailed Cuckoo

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo 

Variegated Fairy-wren

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
 A few reptiles were also about.

Wall Skink

Eastern Water-Dragon

Black Kite
Meanwhile, back on the Sunshine Coast, the influx of Black Kites from inland that was first detected more than 12 months ago continues unabated, and appears to be increasing. There are frequently 200-300 kites in the vicinity of the Nambour rubbish tip and smaller numbers are found throughout the coastal belt.

Black Kite

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