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.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Lockyer Valley: Black Falcon, Plum-headed Finch, Freckled Duck, Brown Songlark, Stubble Quail

Pink-eared Duck
Good birds encountered during another foray to the Lockyer Valley (other than the Pectoral Sandpiper reported earlier) included Black Falcon, Plum-headed Finch, Freckled Duck, Hoary-headed Grebe, Australasian Shoveler, Brown Songlark, Horsfield's Bushlark, Spotted Harrier and Stubble Quail. I kicked off the visit by stopping at the farm dam at Cove Road, Stanmore, but nothing much of interest here, or at the dams in Winya Road, Kilcoy. Heading through Esk, I stopped at a couple of dams straddling both sides of Green Swamp Road, a few kilometres north of Lake Clarendon, which have been quite good in the past. Pink-eared Duck (100+) and Australasian Shoveler (30+) were on these dams along with Hoary-headed Grebe (10, outnumbering Australasian) and Red-necked Avocet (80+).
Australasian Shoveler

Black Falcon
A Black Falcon was at Lake Clarendon, close to the spot where I found them nesting in August (see here); this bird appears to be an old adult. On the lake itself, quite a few Australasian Shovelers were seen but the large numbers of Great Crested Grebe that had been here on past visits were gone, with just a handful of birds remaining. A few Glossy Ibis were by the lake; this species was again encountered commonly throughout the valley.

Black Falcon
Glossy Ibis
At Jahnke's Lagoon, 6 or 7 Hoary-headed Grebes and 4  Freckled Ducks were present, as well as big numbers of Pink-eared Ducks. About 20 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and 5 Marsh Sandpipers were also here.

Hoary-headed Grebe

Freckled Duck
Moving on to Lake Galletly, 10 more Freckled Ducks were encountered along with large numbers of Pink-eared Ducks, but there was no sign of Blue-billed Duck. The huge Cattle Egret colony here was in full swing with well-developed chicks all over the place.

Cattle Egret

I visited the woodland at Adare near Gatton. Birds here included White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike, Jacky Winter and Fuscous Honeyeater. A Mistletoebird took a liking to its image in my car window.
I spent the night in Lockyer National Park just north of Gatton but there was little of interest here.

Plum-headed Finch
Early in the morning I found a group of 8 Plum-headed Finches just outside Helidon on Back Flagstone Creek Road. Two more Plum-headed Finches were seen 6km west of Helidon along the road. Another 20 were seen later on Cross Road, where I found them last April (see here).

Plum-headed Finch

Swamp Wallaby
A Swamp Wallaby with joey appeared along Back Flagstone Creek Road. A Spotted Harrier was also seen along here. I visited Peach's Lagoon on Ropeley Road, where 7 Freckled Ducks and a few Australasian Shovelers were seen. Then on to the Cross Road Lagoon, where the Pectoral Sandpiper referred to in yesterday's post was found. I visited Karrasch's Dam at Placid Hills where the water is fast drying out; a goodly number of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (60+) were here.

Brown Songlark male
Seven-Mile Lagoon was dry but good birds were here nonetheless. I saw 20+ Brown Songlarks and others were calling; I've not seen so many of this species in south-east Queensland previously. Quite a few Horsfield's Bushlarks and Stubble Quail were also present in the dried out lake bed. Several more Hoary-headed Grebes were on the farm dam along Haslingden Road. It is interesting that the predominantly inland species that turned up in late-2012 - among them Pink-eared Duck, Australasian Shoveler, Freckled Duck, Glossy Ibis, Red-kneed Dotterel, Red-necked Avocet, Hoary-headed Grebe, Black Kite - are still about in good numbers.

Brown Songlark female

Rufous Songlark
Near Toogoolawah on the way home, I had Rufous Songlark and Brown Songlark calling from fence posts within 50 metres of each other.

Common Bronzewing
Common Bronzewing was again in the garden of our old holiday home near Coominya.


  1. Goodness, such a lot of birds for me to track down (I wish), of which only the Bronze-wing is in our area.
    Again, such a lovely crop.

  2. A Mistletoebird on a car mirror .. you got to be kidding Greg. Amazing. Again, as always, an informative blog and great photos.

  3. It's good to know that the bird life has recovered from the floods. Another interesting collection.

  4. Again many thanks for your postings. I followed your route on 13th, 14th January, pretty much. Missed out on many of the birds you saw but the trip was very enjoyable. A colony of bell miners was seen on Upper Flagstone Creek Road, this is only mentioned as this bird is the only one not listed on the Lockyer Valley Council brochure, presumably an oversight.

    1. Thanks Duncan. I would not have expected bell miners out there.