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.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Ninderry Barn Owls, Interesting Cuckoos, Departing Waders

Barn Owl
Barn Owl is common in many parts of Australia but not on the coastal plains of southern Queensland. I have seen many more of its more sought after cogeners - Sooty, Masked and Eastern Grass Owls - than Barn Owls around the Sunshine Coast. So it was gratifying to come across a family not far from my home in Ninderry. The birds nested in a large, dead eucalypt and I was able to see at least four and probably five birds - presumably the adults with fledged young.

Barn Owl

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo is a regular visitor to my Ninderry garden but a small flock of 4-5 birds was an unusually large concentration. These birds appeared much whiter about the face than normal; in particular they showed white flecking on the forehead and obvious white ear patches. They generally had a much cleaner, paler look. These features suggest the New Zealand race, lucidus, a scarce visitor to Australia. However, the crown appears to be bronze, a feature of the Australian resident race plagosus. Any suggestions are welcome.

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo

Terek Sandpiper
The migratory waders have headed north. A recent visit to the Toorbul roost was notable because of a gathering of about 30 Terek Sandpipers - an unusually large number of this species in south-east Queensland.
Terek Sandpiper & Grey-tailed Tattler
The commonest wader at the roost was Grey-tailed Tattler, many in breeding plumage. Grey-tailed and Wandering Tattlers are among the last wader species to depart.

Elsewhere about the region, pairs of Great Crested Grebe are present on Wappa and Poona Dams. A Large-billed Scrubwren was co-operative at Cooloolabin.

Terek Sandpiper & Grey-tailed Tattler
Great Crested Grebe
Large-billed Scrubwren

Little Friarbird
In the garden at Ninderry, plenty of Little Friarbirds are about. There is an abundance of this species presently on the Sunshine Coast, where it is normally scarce.

Tawny Frogmouth
A new frogmouth has taken up residence in the garden.

Spotted Pardalote
Spotted Pardalote is a winter visitor here. Less endearing was a headless Northern Brindled Bandicoot found at the bottom of the garden. This bandicoot was well-known to us and had been about for several weeks. It appears likely to be yet another cat victim.

Northern Brindled Bandicoot
Long-necked Turtle
I found this turtle near Cooroy.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Back in the Kayak on Maroochy River

Azure Kingfisher
I took to the kayak yesterday for a 12-kilometre paddle, launching at the end of West Coolum Road in Coolum Creek, and finishing at the Bli Bli boat ramp. Nice to see three kingfishers up close - Azure, Sacred and Collared. I watched the Sacred as it tackled a crab.

Sacred Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher
Maroochy River
A look up the river to Mt Ninderry, our home base.

Shining  Flycatcher
I encountered Shining Flycatchers on five occasions - a pair and three singles. They are clearly about all year though more difficult to see in the cooler months.

Brahminy Kite
Always a pleasure watching some of the more common river birds.
Little Pied Cormorant
At Bli Bli I found a small colony of Mangrove Honeyeaters. That's of interest because while this species is abundant further north at Tin Can Bay and south in the Pumicestone Passage, it is rare and local along the Noosa and Maroochy rivers for unknown reasons, despite plenty of suitable habitat. A full list of birds along the river can be found here.

Mangrove Honeyeater
Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, White-faced Heron
I popped into the Cooroy sewage treatment works, which are again open to the public after an extensive closure due to rehabilitation works.
Chris Corben and I visited the Parklakes wetlands at Bli Bli. Nothing of interest on the water but a Square-tailed Kite quartering open forest in the Parkland Reserve was nice.

Little Friarbird
Normally Little Friarbird is uncommon on the coastal plains but there is presently a local invasion, with the species outnumbering the resident Noisy in places.
Pacific Baza
A baza in the garden at Ninderry.

Black-necked Stork
A Black-necked Stork flies overhead near Bli Bli.

Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin, Tree Martin

Welcome Swallow, Fairy Martin and Tree Martin share a line. Note how small the Fairy Martin (centre) is compared to the Tree Martin (right).

Tree Martin

Brown Tree-Snake
 In the home garden, Brown Tree-Snake was an addition to the reptile list. This was a young animal curled up in a dustpan, which I didn't see until it bit me.
Purple Swamphen, Plumed Whistling-Duck
A visit to the North Arm ponds.