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, 7 March 2016

Brush-tailed Phascogale, Bush-hen Babies, Marbled Frogmouth and more in Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Brush-tailed Phascogale
Brush-tailed Phascogale is one of our more secretive, uncommon and difficult-to-find marsupials. So it was something of a surprise to learn that one had taken up residence in a residential letterbox along Booloumba Creek in the Conondale Range, in Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Brush-tailed Phascogale
What's even more surprising is that according to the home owner, Christopher Lee, a phascogale has been resident in the letterbox on-and-off for the past four years. Phascogales are not long lived, with lifespans ranging from 12 months (males) to potentially 3 years (females), so it is highly likely that more that one animal has lived here.

Brush-tailed Phascogale
It is even stranger that the letterbox is in the open, by a road. The phascogale would need to traverse 20-30 metres of open lawn to reach some bush, and there is no shortage of owls, snakes and other predators in the area. It seems possible that the original animal that took up residence in the letterbox was a female and that its young have followed suite.

Home of the Phascogale
The phascogale comes and goes. According to Chris, it can be there for a week, then absent for a week, then back again.

Brush-tailed Phascogale. Pic: Christopher Lee  
Initially, the animal huddled in a corner of the letterbox as the mail was delicately removed daily. Then Chris put a small cardboard box in with some torn newspaper for bedding, which the phascogale took to readily as its abode within an abode.

Barred Cuckoo-shrike
Also about the area were good numbers of Barred Cuckoo-shrike, with a flock of 8 birds at the Charlie Moreland Park turnoff, and 2 birds along Booloumba Creek Road.

Marbled Frogmouth
In the evening I saw a female Marbled Frogmouth along Booloumba Creek at precisely the same spot where I first saw a Marbled Frogmouth in 1977.

Brown Tree-Snake
Also along the road in warm, damp conditions was a lively Brown Tree-Snake.

Great Barred River-Frog
Further up in the mountains, a Great Barred River Frog was on the road, while in the damp surrounding rainforest, numerous Marsupial Frogs were calling.

Pale-vented Bush-hen with young
 I called it at Moy Pocket at a reliable site for Pale-vented Bush-hen, and was happy to see an adult with two well-fledged young.

Pale-vented Bush-hen

White-eared Monarch
Elsewhere in the hinterland, I checked out a new site: Kureelpa Falls Track, at the end of Kureelpa Falls Road behind Nambour. John Kooistra saw an Oriental Cuckoo here last week; coincidentally, on the same day, I saw an Oriental Cuckoo fly over the Bruce Highway at Glenview.

Wompoo Fruit-Dove 
Kureelpa looked very birdy. I didn't see John's cuckoo but White-eared Monarch (along with Spectacled and Black-faced), Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Barred Cuckoo-shrike were nice.

Buff-banded Rail juv
Plenty of juvenile birds were seen including a Buff-banded Rail. Elsewhere about the Sunshine Coast, good numbers of waders were gathering at the Toorbul roost, many in breeding plumage, preparing for their annual journey north.

Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Great Knot

Common Greenshank
Chesnut-breasted Mannikin
This Chesnut-breasted Mannikin was in the reeds at Parklakes.

Plumed Whistling-Duck with young
A Plumed Whistling-Duck was attending a flock of youngsters at the Coolum Industrial Estate wetland; this species breeds uncommonly in South-East Queensland. Two Australian Little Bitterns - an adult male and a juvenile - have also been present in the wetland.

Collared Sparrowhawk
Not a great image but the distinctive tale shape can be seen in this juvenile Collared Sparrowhawk at Yandina Creek.

Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove juvenile

Australasian Figbird juvenile
It's been a good season for the normally scarce Barred Cuckoo-shrike, which has also turned up in the big fig in the home garden, along with juvenile Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves and loads of Australasian Figbirds.

Wonga Pigeon
Wonga Pigeon - a scarce visitor here - has been about the garden recently.

Eastern Koel female

While Eastern Koels in the garden are preparing for their northward migration.


  1. Gotta love the Sunshine Coast hinterland! I hope to travel somewhere out there this weekend looking for Sooty Owls. Do you have any good locations for them?
    The Phascogale is gorgeous by the way, nice shot!
    Ollie Scully.

    1. Ollie Nowhere specific but you can try any decent area of rainforest above Charlie Moreland or Booloumba Creek.