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, 20 September 2015

Lewin's Rail, Parklakes Wetland Redevelopment, Ground Parrot Habitat Burnoff

Lewin's Rail
Spring is in the area and manifested in fine form by vocal Lewin's Rails about the Sunshine Coast. I had a pair along Finland Road, Pacific Paradise, in paperbark wetland - a habitat in which I've rarely noted this species. These birds showed well but briefly, even venturing to the road edge. One bird  moved into an area of grassland, indicating the variety of habitats frequented by the rails. The rails were twice seen in flight.

Lewin's Rail
I found a second pair of Lewin's Rail in mixed grassy swamp and lantana thickets near Eumundi, where I had heard them previously. These birds showed extremely well but only after gradually losing fear of the human interloper over a period of a couple of hours. A list of birds at the site is here.

Lewin's Rail
Lewin's Rail occurs on and around the coast in habitat ranging from grassland and creekside  vegetation to lantana thickets and wallum heath.

Restless Flycatcher
A Restless Flycatcher at North Arm took a dislike to its image in the car window.

Parklakes Wetland development
Elsewhere about the coast, the Parklakes Wetland at Bli Bli is undergoing a makeover. Several people have expressed concern about the work underway, which has removed a substantial portion of the big reed bed favoured by Australian Little Bittern and crakes. The Parklakes estate developers say the Sunshine Coast Council has insisted on changes to the vegetation regime but that the wetlands will be restored. As usual, the council doubtlessly intervened without the aid of professional advice.

Pink-eared Duck
A pair of Pink-eared Ducks is present on one of the pools at Parklakes. This species is a rare visitor to the Sunshine Coast.

A short distance away, the pair of Radjah Shelducks which turned up recently on Finland Road, Pacific Paradise (see here) is still present. I had seen a single shelduck at the site on two occasions, so this was the first time I had seen the pair.

Radjah Shelduck
Chesnut Teal
Chesnut Teal showed well here. Also along Finland Road was an Australian Hobby feeding on a quail of some kind.

Australian Hobby
Further north, the state authorities have burned off a substantial portion of the wallum heath in sections of the Noosa and Mt Coolum national parks frequented by remnant populations of Ground Parrots.  Parts of the heath had not been burned for 15-20 years; it was so tall and dense that most of the habitat was unsuitable for the parrots, which have declined sharply over the decades (see here for more). So the burn-off is necessary, if overdue.

Noosa National Park burnoff at Peregian Beach
I listened at dusk at a site near Mt Coolum which had been inhabited by Ground Parrots but failed to hear any birds; they may well have disappeared from here. I was disturbed to learn from a local birder that a dead Ground Parrot was found in the driveway entrance to a service station nearby in Marcoola last year. The bird probably was likely to have belonged to the tiny population surviving within the fence of the Sunshine Coast Airport, a population at risk of being eliminated by plans for a new runway.

Variegated Fairy-wren
A Variegated Fairy-wren showed nicely on the edge of the heath at Peregian Beach.

At the Buderim Forest Park, Green Catbirds and Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves were nicely co-operative as they fed in a fruiting tree on the edge of the northern carpark.

A male Mistletoebird was looking cheerful along River Road, Yandina Creek.

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