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.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Out and About Sunshine Coast Christmas 2016

Pale-vented Bush-hen
Pale-vented Bush-hen, Lewin's Rail, large numbers of White-throated Needletails, Shining Flycatcher and 2 sightings of Square-tailed Kite are among the birds logged this week around the Sunshine Coast. Lewin's Rail seemingly starts exhibiting breeding behaviour (especially through vocalisations) in spring, regardless of the weather, while Pale-vented Bush-hen doesn't get going until the first serious rains of the season.

Pale-vented Bush-hen
It's been an exceptionally dry spring-early summer summer this season, so a bush-hen at North Arm was the first for the season following the first semi-decent rains in several weeks. It was quite vocal and inquisitive, venturing out of rank grassland to feed in the open. Meanwhile, the Lewin's Rails that were so vocal in October at Moy Pocket were still at that site this week, but were decidedly more secretive and not at all vocal.

White-throated Needletail
A short way up the road from North Arm at Eumundi, an exceptionally large flock of White-throated Needletails (300+) were hawking over the roads and pastures.

White-throated Needletail
Another flock of about 200 was present near Cooroy, while small flocks were also present at the Noosa Botanic Gardens and near Ninderry. An estimated 500-600 birds were seen during the day.

White-throated Needletail
A Common Tern was feeding over Lake Macdonald; this species is infrequently seen over freshwater wetlands.

Common Tern
A Square-tailed Kite was quartering the trees along the North Maroochy River at North Arm. A recently fledged Brush-turkey was in scrub at Noosaville.

Australian Brush-Turkey juvenile
At a lowland rainforest site at Cooloolabin I saw a Pale-yellow Robin - my first record of this species for the area.

Pale-yellow Robin
I checked out the still-drained Yandina Creek Wetland (though hopefully not for too much longer) where a Red-bellied Black Snake had recently shed its skin.

Red-bellied Black Snake with shed skin
In the home garden at Ninderry, Eastern Koel has been especially vocal while Green Catbird is visiting regularly.

Eastern Koel 

Green Catbird
 Common Myna, once very rare in the Sunshine Coast region, is becoming increasingly numerous. I found a pair attending a eucalypt hollow on the edge of Mapleton National Park. The main concern with this species is its displacement of native birds from scarce nesting hollows in trees.

Common Myna at nest hollow
Yesterday I had a day out with Swedish birder Andreas Lundgren. We kicked off the day with a Platypus in the Mary River at Moy Pocket before moving onto Charlie Moreland Park and Little Yabba Creek. There was no sign of the Black-breasted Buttonquail seen here in October (they seem to be highly nomadic at this site). Birds included Australian Logrunner, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove (very vocal, 20+ birds calling), Noisy Pitta, Regent Bowerbird, Paradise Riflebird and Dusky Honeyeater.

Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove
Noisy Pitta
An adult male and a juvenile female Shining Flycatcher were present in mangroves at the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary. This is the second time I've noted the species breeding here, but it is usually absent from the site. Maroochy Wetlands list is here.

Shining Flycatcher
 At the Coolum Industrial Estate, a Square-tailed Kite was hawking over remnant wallum woodland - the second sighting of the species this week.

Square-tailed Kite


  1. Awesome sightings! I aim to get out to cooloolabin after Christmas so hopefully I'll see that robin!

  2. Thanks so much, Greg. So good, & especially to have such bird news from our own area.