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, 20 October 2016

Barrington Tops Looking Good

Gloucester Tops
We had a pleasant if extremely cold 6-day stay in Barrington Tops National Park in NSW, spending 2 nights at the Polblue camping ground in the northern sector of the park, and 3 nights at the Gloucester River camping ground in its southern sector.

Polblue Swamp
I once lived in the Gloucester area so know this park well. Good to be reacquainted with the extensive temperate Nothofagus and sclerophyll forests, the subalpine meadows and woodlands, and great mountain scenery.

Subzero temperatures at Polblue Swamp
Barrington Tops
 A nocturnal walk around the Polblue circuit did not end well when we were saturated by an unexpected downpour, and temperatures plummeted to 0-6 degrees in the early mornings. So it was not surprising that we didn't see Common Wombats and Tiger Quolls although we found their droppings.

We did see brumbies, and it is beyond me why the NSW National Parks authorities have not eliminated this introduced pest from what is an outstanding World Heritage-listed area.

Flame Robin
Flame Robins were out and about in the woodlands.

Rose Robin
Rose Robins were also quite common, though in denser vegetation, while a single Scarlet Robin was seen.

Beech forest
Olive Whistler is one of the avian attractions of the beech forests, though the species is typically reluctant to show itself.

Olive Whistler
Superb Lyrebirds were widespread throughout the Tops and several were foraging around the Gloucester River camping ground.

Superb Lyrebird
Superb Fairy-wren was another delightful attendant in the camping ground.

Superb Fairy-wren
A few Red-browed Treecreepers were found at Gloucester Tops but they were outnumbered by White-throated.

Red-browed Treecreeper
Also at Gloucester Tops was a nice male Satin Flycatcher. I also saw a female Satin Flycatcher in the northern sector of the park at the Manning River camping ground.
Satin Flycatcher
Another avian attraction of Gloucester Tops is Crescent Honeyeater, the species occurring here at the northern extremity of its south-east Australian range. The site is best-known for Rufous Scrubbird; I had several pairs mapped out here when I lived in the area in the early-1980s. However, the unseasonally cold weather did not let off and just two birds were heard in the Gloucester Tops area.

Crescent Honeyeater
Several Bassian Thrushes were heard and seen high up around Gloucester Tops.

Bassian Thrush
Lower down around the Gloucester River camping ground, several Russet-tailed Thrushes were calling, The bird below was giving a Russet-tailed call but looks like a Bassian Thrush. I'd welcome further input. Gloucester Tops-Gloucester River list can be found here.

We saw this Copperhead on the way to the Gloucester River.


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Sundown National Park

Musk Lorikeet

East meets west at Queensland's Sundown National Park, where we opted for a 3-night stay in the Broadwater camping ground. Plenty of rain in recent weeks meant that this spot, like the rest of inland Australia currently, was fresh and green with loads of avian activity.

Sundown National Park
It had been many years since we had been here and much had changed. The lovely camp overlooking the banks of the Severn River was gone, replaced by a row of pokey, difficult-to-access (if you're towing a camper trailer) camping bays so loved by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

White-plumed Honeyeater
First stop en route was the outskirts of Warwick, where Musk Lorikeets were feeding in flowering Calistemons. At Sundown I checked out the road in, the open areas before the camping ground, and park trails. The river was overflowing and the ground so sodden that some vehicles were seriously bogged. White-plumed Honeyeaters were plentiful. 

Brown Treecreeper
The nice mix of coastal and inland species was evident. Torresian Crowns and Australian Ravens were here together, as were Satin and Spotted Bowerbirds; Red-winged and Australian King Parrots; and White-throated and Brown Treecreepers, the latter attending several nests. The few rosellas seen seemed to be intermediate between Pale-headed and Eastern.
Red-capped Robin
Red-capped Robin and Inland Thornbill are here at the eastern extremity of their breeding range; as far as I'm aware, they are not resident even the short distance further east at Girraween National Park, where Inland is replaced by the coastal Brown Thornbill.

Hooded Robin 
Hooded Robins were in woodland fringing the road in. 

Inland Thornbill
Absent were the Turquoise Parrots which had been common at Sundown over the winter.
Crested Shrike-tit was quite surprisingly common. 

Crested Shrike-tit
White-winged Chough and Apostlebird (both nesting) were numerous.See here for full bird list.

White-winged Chough
White-browed Babblers were side-by-side with Grey-crowned Babblers.

White-browed Babbler
Several parties of delightful Speckled Warbler were seen.

Speckled Warbler
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater is another species that occurs here at the eastern extremity of its range.

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Day Roosting Marbled Frogmouths

Marbled Frogmouths on day roost

I found a pair of Marbled Frogmouths roosting during the day in Mapleton National Park, in the Blackall Range in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The birds were huddled closely together in the subcanopy, about 5 metres from the ground in a rainforest gully close to a stream.

Marbled Frogmouths on day roost 
This cryptic bird can be difficult to see even at night, but it is rarely encountered during the day. I have  previously seen one on its daytime roost just once. The birds yesterday were not attending a nest; presumably it is a little early for nesting.

Marbled Frogmouths on day roost
This pair of frogmouths is one of about 10 that I am aware of in the Blackall Range. I tried different camera settings with these birds. A flash was used in the image above, explaining the highlighted eyes. List of birds in the park can be found here.

Great Crested Grebes
Also in the area was a pair of Great Crested Grebes on Lake Cooloolabin, where I've not seen them previously.

The first Dollarbird of the season showed yesterday close to home at Ninderry.

Yellow Albatross
Butterflies are out and about in the increasingly warm Spring weather. This Yellow Albatross was in Mapleton National Park.

Young Little Wattlebird
On the home front, the young Little Wattlebird reported earlier is doing well. It continues to be fed by its parents but is increasingly self-sufficient. Interestingly, the wattlebirds are building their second nest of the season, in a different hanging basket on our back verandah porch.

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike

A White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, a rare visitor here, has been about the garden for several weeks.

Eastern Whipbird
This Eastern Whipbird had just been attacked by a territorial Forest Kingfisher and appeared a little shell-shocked.

Double-barred Finch
A Double-barred Finch from Parklakes.