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.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Red-backed Buttonquail, Grass Owl, King Quail on Sunshine Coast + Tackling a new camera

Eastern Grass Owl
UPDATED 24/04/2016
Red-backed Buttonquail, Eastern Grass Owl, King Quail and Spotted Harrier were among the birds seen during two mornings in the Maroochy River canelands of the Sunshine Coast.

Eastern Grass Owl
During my first pre-dawn visit last week (19/4) I had an Eastern Grass Owl showing well at sunrise in the Bli Bli area. On the second morning (24/4) with Garry Deering, we had no fewer than 4 Grass Owls. I finally managed a couple of images of this species with my new camera outfit: a Canon EOS 70D camera body with an EF 400mm F 5.6 prime lens. As the sky lightened, the owls could be watched without the aid of a spotlight as they quartered the grassland in the early morning light. A White-throated Nightjar was un unexpected find on the second morning; interestingly, a Grass Owl flew in to investigate playback of a nightjar call.

New camera gear

Spotted Harrier
I had 2 Red-backed Buttonquail calling during the first morning at the same site where I have seen the species previously: one of only 2 sites on the Sunshine Coast where I've had this bird. During the second morning, we flushed a pair of Red-backed Buttonquail from tall grass; Garry later saw a third bird. Five or six King Quail were calling on both mornings, with a couple seen this morning, as were a few Brown Quail.

Spotted Harrier & Black-shouldered Kite
Two Spotted Harriers were seen on both mornings. A Spotted Harrier and a Black-shouldered Kite  were sparring this morning, with the camera catching the moment. There was evidently food about for the owls and harriers as I saw a couple of Rattus leutreolus running across the road. The Spotted Harrier perched image in this post was taken when I was with Chris Corben recently in this area.

Spotted Harrier

Grey Goshawk
Other raptors were about including Grey Goshawk and Brown Goshawk. Oddly, in these grasslands the Brown Goshawk is furtive and largely terrestrial, while the Grey is much more confiding and always in trees. Ebird list here.

Little Friarbird
I called in on Parklands Wetland which remains a sorry shadow of its former glory since the estate developers carved it up.

Plumed Whistling-Ducks
A flock of Plumed Whistling-Ducks was obliging; I'm gradually honing the skills on getting decent snaps of birds in flight. Little Friarbird was also a nice show. On the subject of birds in flight, here are some other offerings.

Intermediate Egret
Sorry but there is limited public access to this owl/buttonquail site. If you contact me privately I may be able to help. Unfortunately, small roads in cane farmland are highly problematic. I've found in the past when I've publicised caneland sites (River Road, Finland Road, Yandina Creek Wetland) that my once good relationship with local farmers has been soured by an influx of birders. As a consequence, I no longer enjoy access to several properties that I once had; farmers who were formerly friendly are now decidedly unfriendly (I have been literally forced off River Road by a tractor driven by one such fellow - be careful if you go there); and in the case of Yandina Creek, trespassing by birders proved to be highly damaging to the (ongoing) campaign to protect the wetland.

Hardhead

Brahminy Kite
An Intermediate Egret and Glossy Ibis were nicely paired along Finland Road.

Glossy Ibis & Intermediate Egret
While an Australasian Shoveler, a rare visitor to the Sunshine Coast, has turned up at North Arm.

Australasian Shoveler
Away from the lowlands, a Yellow-throated Scrubwren was unusually co-operative when I was at Mary Cairncross with Angus Innes, hopping about on the grassy lawn in the open.

Yellow-throated Scrubwren
Yellow-throated Scrubwren
While a Willie Wagtail somehow got into our home in the evening, eventually finding its way out.

Willie Wagtail

7 comments:

  1. Hi Greg,
    Awesome camera, and it is such a shame that there have been birdwatchers going out and disrupting private property, if one is to go birdwatching on private land, they should always ask permission! Also, do you know of any reliable area to find Spotted Harriers? I love the photos!
    Cheers,
    Ollie Scully.

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    1. Ollie there are quite a few about the coast - along Finland Road is good and along the Yandina-Bli Bli Road on the long flat stretch of grassland

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    2. Cheers, I'll look into it!
      Ollie Scully.

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  2. Hi Greg, Are the brown and grey goshawks on private property also? Best place to find them otherwise?

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    Replies
    1. Matt Again, these are quite widespread in the canelands.... see comment above for possible sites

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  3. Great choice of lens Greg, the best decision I made over the 100-400 zoom, for birds in flight

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  4. Hi Greg,
    I'm a recent escapee from Sydney and trying to make contact with birders up here. I'm keen to see a grass owl and was wondering if you could help me. I'm currently novels in the Latham snipe flyway monitoring project on our farm at Eumundi. I've regenerated areas specifically for the snipe. I approached LandCare for advice on ecosystems for grass owls but there was limited knowledge. You may be able to help me on that. My email is lynnscott@bydesign.net.au

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