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, 26 March 2017

Night Parrot: A Big New Barbed Wire Fence and the South African Glamping Connection

Juvenile Night Parrot killed by barbed wire fence in 2006
Bush Heritage Australia has completed construction of a barbed wire fence along the western boundary of its Pullen Pullen Reserve in western Queensland where none existed before, raising fears that low-flying Night Parrots may be killed by colliding with the fence. The fence is intended to keep stray cattle out of the reserve and to remind wayward twitchers that they risk a $353,000 fine if they cross it.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the owner of South African birding tour company Rockjumper is connected to a $25,000-a-head glamping tour to find Night Parrots in Pullen Pullen. Despite a suggestion in an email by Rockjumper founder and owner Adam Riley that participants would see a Night Parrot if they sign up, BHA cautions that a sighting is not guaranteed and declines to confirm that a July tour is fully booked, with more tours to come.

Adam Riley's email
The BHA fence extends from the property's southern boundary abutting Diamantina National Park, north along the Diamantina River Road to the reserve's northern boundary adjoining Brighton Downs cattle property. The fence is just 30m from the eastern side of the road.

Although there is plenty of nice looking habitat in view of the road on Pullen Pullen, access is prohibited to birders as the Queensland Government has issued a conservation order over the 56,000ha property. Anyone stepping over the fence risks a $353,000 fine or two-year jail sentence. The area west of the Diamantina River Road is floodplain with little suitable habitat, so opportunities for birders travelling the road looking for Night Parrots are seriously limited.

Pullen Pullen's new fence. Pic by Bob Young 
Satellite-operated cameras are installed along the fence to catch would-be intruders. John Young's epic finding of the Night Parrot in this area was prompted by the discovery of a bird which was decapitated by hitting a barbed wire fence in 2006 in the nearby Diamantina National Park. BHA is understood to have used flags and taping along its fence in the hope of saving more parrots from a similar fate, but two of the fence's three strands are barbed wire.

Off Limits: Potential Night Parrot habitat in Pullen Pullen along Diamantina River Road
This is somewhat ironic given BHA's fierce opposition to Australian Wildlife Conservancy plans to build a fence (albeit a different type of fence) in Diamantina National Park to protect bilbies. Night Parrots are low-flying and nocturnal. BHA has declined to respond to my request about what assurances it can give that the new fence will not impact adversely on the Night Parrot population. It is known that parrots fly from spinifex roosts to feed on succulents and other plants on adjoining floodplains. It appears likely that this fence would separate Night Parrot spinifex roosts from feeding grounds.

Off Limits: Potential Night Parrot habitat in Pullen Pullen along Diamantina River Road
As was reported, BHA is struggling with a $1.5 million mortgage to fund its Pullen Pullen acquisition, and the glamping tours could be a way of providing much needed cash. The problem is that the state government's over-the-top intervention not only impedes searches for further Night Parrot populations. It's not a nice look for BHA, which could do with more goodwill from the birding community. Instead, birders are branded a major threat to the species. Apart from Pullen Pullen, the government has imposed similar restrictions over the eastern half of the 507,000ha Diamantina National Park.

Diamantina National Park's exclusion zone
Adam Riley, the founder and owner of Rockjumper, emailed a cashed up birder advising him he had been invited to join an "exclusive" group of six people "to see" the Night Parrot on an excursion next July. The price included a charter flight and "glamping" (glamour camping) on Pullen Pullen. The "hefty" fee - which could be tax-deductible, he adds - is comprised of a $5,000 "cost" and a $20,000 donation to BHA.

Off Limits: Potential Night Parrot habitat in Pullen Pullen along Diamantina River Road
Riley's email, with the Rockjumper logo, says the tour is being conducted under the auspices of BirdLife International. His email last December said two spots were available. "With your interest in the bird I thought I'd best offer you the opportunity before anybody else," he added. Those spots have been filled, and further trips are on the cards. 

BirdLife's involvement is news to BirdLife. BirdLife Australia chief executive Paul Sullivan (who famously described birders looking for Night Parrots, his own members no less, as "vigilantes") tells me: "I can categorically assure you that neither BirdLife International nor BirdLife Australia are organising any 'official trip' for visiting birders/supporters to see Night Parrots."

The news appears to be news even to Riley's company. Rockjumper senior tour consultant Crystal Brook says: "Please note that we are not involved or associated with any Night Parrot searches." Adam Riley says he sent the email in a private capacity and that Rockjumper had no involvement. "It’s correct that I was invited on such a trip in a personal capacity," Riley says. "I then emailed a personal friend and invited him also. Neither I nor Rockjumper Birding Tours had anything to do with arrangements for this trip and I would have paid full price if I had chosen to participate. I decided not to participate for various reasons, as did my friend that I invited, and as far as I am concerned that is the end of the matter..." Riley adds that "claiming I have made a clear suggestion to participants that they will see a night parrot is a false accusation".

Off Limits: Potential Night Parrot habitat in Diamantina National Park

For its part, Bush Heritage Australia continues to refuse to admit to plans to raise funds with Night Parrot tours, saying only that BHA donors are often invited to visit its properties. But BHA is quick to assert that nobody visiting Pullen Pullen is guaranteed of seeing a Night Parrot.

Night Parrot. Pic by John Young
"In the event that there were such plans in the future, we could not guarantee visitors would see a Night Parrot," says BHA chief executive Gerard O'Neill. "Scientists have spent thousands of hours at Pullen Pullen Reserve in the past three years, during which the sighting of a Night Parrot has been rare."

What O'Neill doesn't say, however, is that things have come a long way since the days of those very rare encounters. Enough is known now that provided a reliable site is known, birds can be seen - even without playback or flashlights - in the right conditions with a bit of luck, time and perseverance. O'Neill says neither playback nor flashlights will be allowed during visits to Pullen Pullen. Crucially, however, the important matter of access to an active site will be taken care of.

Oh, and by the way, participants should not expect a free bottle of bubbly upon arrival. "To clarify, BHA is not offering any glamour camping trips to Pullen Pullen," O'Neill says.  

Update 30/3/2017
BHA refused to respond to questions about its fence but I found this information on a blog by the Pullen Pullen manager, Alex Kutt. Although Alex suggests that fences are well-known and avoided by nocturnal birds, he fails to mention that this is a new fence and a new barrier for parrots to negotiate:
After advice from the Night Parrot Recovery Team, we decided to fit the new fencing with white electric tape (aka horse tape). This 40mm bright white tape runs along the top of the new fence to create a highly visible barrier. On top of this, bright orange flags are placed every 100m as a bit of extra flappy bird deterrent.
This fence is already constructed in a typically wildlife-friendly manner – only three strands with the top wire plain

Bush Heritage will monitor the effectiveness of the fences, and make tweaks to the designs if necessary – though the long-term existence of many pastoral fences in the area means that these unnatural barriers in the landscape are well-known and avoided by nocturnal species.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Cash for Night Parrot

Night Parrot. Pic by John Young
The full version of a story published in the 25-26/03/2017 edition of The Weekend Australian:

Cashed up nature lovers will pay $25,000 a head to join luxury “glamping” trips to outback Queensland in the hope of a glimpse of the world's most mysterious bird.

Revelation of the plan has angered bird enthusiasts who face a two-year jail sentence or $353,400 fine if they enter the same area planned for what is emerging as a novel and potentially lucrative ecotourism venture.

The row erupted as news emerged this week of two newly discovered populations of the critically endangered night parrot 2000km apart.

The naturalist John Young generated international headlines when he photographed a night parrot in the Pullen Pullen Reserve, south-west of Winton, in 2013. It was the first time the enigmatic bird had been photographed, and the first confirmed record of a live night parrot since the 1880s.

The 56,000ha reserve was excised from the sprawling Brighton Downs cattle property when it was acquired by Bush Heritage Australia early last year.

John Young in the field
The Weekend Australian was criticised by the expert Night Parrot Recovery Team for revealing the whereabouts of the secret site last May. Critics argued that the parrots would be threatened by disruptive visits from an invasion of birding “twitchers” eager to spy a night parrot.

The Queensland Government took the unprecedented step of issuing a conservation order banning unauthorised entry to the private reserve, with hefty penalties for transgressions.

At the time, Environment Minister Steven Miles lumped twitchers together with egg-collectors as a “great threat” to the species, adding: “Before the area could be opened to bird-watchers, we must have more information about night parrots and take care of their conservation requirements.”

However, very few birding trips have been made to the remote area. Meanwhile, Bush Heritage has struggled with a $1.5 million mortgage it was forced to take out to fund the Pullen Pullen acquisition.

Wealthy birders have been emailed by intermediaries to determine their interest in paying $25,000 a head to join a camping trip to Pullen Pullen with the chance of seeing a night parrot, regarded by the Smithsonian Institution as the most mysterious bird in the world.

Participants could look forward to a glamour camping or “glamping” experience among the rugged, spinifex-clad slopes of Pullen Pullen near the reserve's southern boundary with Diamantina National Park. The first of the six-person trips is scheduled to take place in July.

The fee includes $5,000 for a permit and costs, with $20,000 donated to Bush Heritage to fund its night parrot program.

Night Parrot habitat at Pullen Pullen
Participants are told the visits are backed by the 15-member Night Parrot Recovery Team and BirdLife International, a peak overseas birding body.

Recovery team chairman Allan Burbidge, a WA Department of Parks and Wildlife scientist, said the team had not backed any such plan.

BirdLife Australia chief executive Paul Sullivan said BirdLife had no involvement in arranging visits to Pullen Pullen.

Alice Springs ornithologist and birding guide Mark Carter said the site being used as a private resource for tour operations raised questions about whether the Queensland Government's special protection measures were an abuse of process.

Any such tour would prove that birders are not an existential threat to the bird as was claimed,” Mr Carter said.

Australian birders are owed an apology for the way they've been treated throughout this whole affair.”

Australia's leading authority on parrots, Joseph Forshaw, said he was mystified by the preoccupation with alleged threats to the night parrot from bird lovers.

Authorities need to be vigilant against feral cats, foxes and wildfire rather than bird-watchers,” Dr Forshaw said.

Bush Heritage Australia chief executive Gerard O'Neill denied that glamour camping was on offer but conceded that donors would be visiting Pullen Pullen.

Across Australia, Bush Heritage works with individual philanthropists who are prepared to commit to significant and long-term support of our conservation reserves and programs,” Mr O'Neill said.

Any trips to Pullen Pullen Reserve for donors, who have helped us to establish the reserve and continue to support our efforts to protect the night parrot, will be planned carefully in consultation with leading ornithologists and conservation biologists to minimise disturbance to birds.”

Environment Minister Steven Miles said no approvals had been sought for commercially-based visits to the reserve.

Any unauthorised activities conducted on the property resulting in disturbance to the birds may be a breach of the Nature Conservation Act and therefore any ecotourism activity proposals for this area, commercial or otherwise, would be highly scrutinised,” Dr Miles said.

Dr Miles revealed this week that John Young had discovered a new population of night parrots at Goneaway National Park, 50km east of Pullen Pullen, bringing to at least 10 the number of sites now known for the species across a 350km arc of arid country in Queensland's channel country.

At the same time, a group of birders photographed a night parrot and several others were heard east of Broome in Western Australia.

Bird-watching is emerging as one of the world's most popular hobbies. Surveys in North America and Europe reveal about 20 per cent of people report regular, positive interactions with wild birds; bird-watching is overtaking gardening and fishing as the most popular past-time in some western countries.

BirdLife Australia has more than 10,000 members and 50,000 supporters; many are cashed up and prepared to pay handsomely for the opportunity to see rare species. Thousands more Australians belong to smaller groups or pursue their hobby privately.


It is perfectly legitimate for Bush Heritage Australia to raise funds for its Pullen Pullen program. BHA insists it is repaying the charity of donors by hosting visits; it's a thin line between that and a commercially based ecotourism venture.

No argument either way. The problem lies with the fact that anyone not in the BHA tent faces a $353,000 fine or 2 years in jail courtesy of a Queensland Government interim conservation order over the reserve. BHA, the Night Parrot Recovery Team, the state government and even BirdLife Australia have all been singing from the same song sheet. They regard the birding community as a menace. Birders are described as "vigilantes". They have been lumped in with egg collectors as a major threat to the Night Parrot.

Yet the opposite is true. The prospects of the Night Parrot surviving are hugely enhanced by excursions by birders over the vast expanse of the bird's former range. The recent discovery of the Night Parrot in the Western Australian Pilbara is testimony to that. Yet in Queensland, more than 250,000 ha of existing and potential Night Parrot habitat - the whole of Pullen Pullen and the eastern half of Diamantina National Park, covering an area many times greater than known sites - have been declared off-limits to birders. The government is signalling yet more areas will be out of bounds following last week's discovery of the parrot in Goneaway National Park. It's overkill, it's not necessary, and it's counterproductive.

For more than three years the recovery team and BHA refused to release playback of the parrot's call to help facilitate further searches. They did so only recently, and I suspect reluctantly. That is a travesty. While they sat on the calls, great tracts of potential Night Parrot habitat were subjected to mineral exploration and other potentially harmful activities.  

BHA needs the birding community on side for fund-raising, but its handling of the matter is doing the organisation no favours.  


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Night Parrot Discovered in Goneaway National Park, Queensland

Legendary bushman John Young has discovered the Night Parrot in Goneaway National Park in western Queensland. Young's discovery brings at to at least 10 the number of Night Parrot sites now known from a 350km arc of arid country stretching from Boulia in the west to Stonehenge in the east.

Working as a senior field ecologist for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Young and another researcher heard several calls from Night Parrots in the remote reserve last week. The site is more than 50km east of a number of places where Young and the AWC team have found Night Parrots in recent months in the Diamantina National Park.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszcuk described the discovery as "terrific news". Environment Minister Steven Miles said the state government would consider imposing another exclusion zone over the national park. Existing zones over the eastern half of Diamantina National Park and the neighbouring Pullen Pullen Reserve, where Young took the first photographs of a Night Parrot in 2013, cover an estimated 250,000ha.

John Young
The exclusion of such a vast area of existing and potential Night Parrot habitat severely limits efforts by others to look for new parrot populations. Anyone entering the zones faces a potential two-year jail sentence and $353,000 fine. The measure was introduced largely because of fears that invading hordes of twitchers could jeopardise the bird's survival. The hordes never did materialise even when, after three years of suppressing them, recorded calls of the Night Parrot were finally released last month to help facilitate further searches.

However, Miles said the remoteness of Goneaway National Park may preclude the need for a further exclusion zone. The national park is difficult to access, with no gazetted roads to it. The government's management plan for the reserve warns: "Due to the parks extremely remote and rugged nature, significant safety issues have been identified for visitors. There is very limited potential for visitor opportunities to be developed, beyond a remote walking experience, until the issues of safety and access are resolved."  

Australian Wildlife Conservancy chief executive Atticus Fleming, said the Night Parrot calls were heard in a remote part of the national park. “The expedition to Goneaway involved exploring likely Night Parrot habitat by foot and all-terrain vehicle in extreme heat and challenging conditions, highlighting the challenges involved in studying and protecting this nocturnal parrot," Fleming said. 

“AWC has developed a habitat model which will guide further exploration by AWC ecologists of potential Night Parrot habitat in central west Queensland, in partnership with the Queensland Government, and elsewhere across Australia.”

Unfortunately, a draft press release by the Premier and Environment Minister - seen earlier today - yet again makes the mistake of claiming that the Night Parrot was considered extinct until Young's 2013 photographs. For the record, among other things, dead birds were found in 1990 and 2006. This myth seems to have morphed into accepted wisdom but the Queensland Government should know better.
Update 23/3: Although the press release was amended to "practically extinct" when it was eventually released, the myth continues to be perpetuated with The Courier Mail reporting this morning: "The species of bird was thought to be extinct until a discovery at Pullen Pullen reserve in western Queensland in 2013."

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Golden-headed Cisticola All At Sea

Golden-headed Cisticola off Sunshine Coast
 The Australian Reptile Park's Tim Faulkner has drawn my attention to a strange event concerning the diminutive Golden-headed Cisticola. Last weekend off the Sunshine Coast, fishermen reported that "dozens" of cisticolas had landed on several fishing charter boats and trawlers about 30 nautical miles offshore. Deck hands were able to easily capture some of the birds.

Golden-headed Cisticola
The boats were in an area where there have been large numbers of baitfish recently with attendant flocks of terns and other seabirds. We were offshore for our March 4 pelagic at this time and although we saw some boobies perched on fishing trawlers, we did not encounter a cisticola. The area where the cisticolas landed on boats is some distance north of where we were.
This seems to me to be an extraordinary sighting. The Golden-headed Cisticola is to my knowledge not known to migrate. It is a resident of a variety of habitats that have healthy growth of grasses and other ground vegetation.

Golden-headed Cisticola offshore: Pic Jason Pietzner 
Soon after hearing from Tim, I was contacted by Paddy Dimond, our skipper on Saturday's pelagic. He also had been sent pictures from a fishing mate of this strange little bird landing on boats offshore. One fisherman described a bird that landed on his boat as "exhausted"; he said it hung around for a few days before flying off.

Golden-headed Cisticola offshore

Eastern Koel
Meanwhile, the long, hot summer is finally winding down with seasonal migrants preparing to head north for the winter. They include a recently fledged Eastern Koel in the garden at Ninderry.

And a male Cicadabird on Mt Ninderry.

Australilan Owlet-Nightjar
Also on Mt Ninderry was an Australian Owlet-Nightjar perched at the entrance to its tree hollow. I was alerted to its presence mid-morning by the characteristic call near the walking path to the summit.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo
The garden birdbaths have been particularly popular during the hot weather. Eastern Grey Kangaroos are regular drinkers and their attention requires continual replenishment.

Baillon's Crake
The Parklakes wetland took a battering when much of the aquatic vegetation was removed by the real estate developers early last year. It has recovered to an extent, with Baillon's Crake making a welcome return in recent weeks after an absence of a couple of years. Australian Little Bittern has also again been recorded at Parklakes and I saw one last month at the Coolum Industrial Estate, where a bird was present this time last year.

Black-necked Storks
A pair of Black-necked Storks were by a small dam near River Road, Yandina Creek, where a Grey Goshawk was flying overhead.

Grey Goshawk

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Sunshine Coast Pelagic March 2017

Red-footed Booby
White Tern, Red-footed Booby, Streaked Shearwater and good numbers of Lesser Frigatebird, Pomarine Jaeger and Brown Booby were the highlights of the pelagic trip off Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast, on Saturday March 4, 2017.

Pomarine Jaeger
We departed Mooloolaba Marina at 6.45am on an unseasonally warm autumn day with hopeful expectations following a prolonged period of fresh south-easterlies offshore over the preceding week. We were not to be disappointed. A gentle 5 knot easterly and a swell of .5-1m made for a relatively smooth ride as we headed east, seeing the first of many Pomarine Jaegers for the day and a dark phase Arctic Jaeger on the way out.

Wedge-tailed Shearwaters with (1) Flesh-footed Shearwater
Things started to get interesting in 120m, before reaching the shelf, when we saw a fairly distant pair of Lesser Frigatebirds. A little further on we spotted a collection of Flesh-footed and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters feeding while above them, no fewer than 10 Lesser Frigatebirds graced the sky.

Lesser Frigatebird female

Lesser Frigatebird male

Near here we saw a couple of Brown Boobies perched on a trawler before finding 2 more Brown Boobies accompanied by an intermediate phase Red-footed Booby perched on another trawler further out. A second intermediate phase Red-footed Booby flew by while we watched its perched brethren.

Brown Booby

Red-footed Booby
Red-footed Booby
After these welcome interruptions, we passed a couple of Tahiti Petrels before reaching the shelf at 10am, a little later than usual - 34 nautical miles offshore in 210m at 26.31.436S; 153.44.850E. The swell had picked up to 1.5m and the breeze to a comfortable 5-10 knots.

Tahiti Petrel
More Tahiti Petrels arrived as we began laying a berley trail and good numbers of both Flesh-footed and Wedge-tailed Sheawaters joined us for the whole time we were on the shelf. Unlike recent pelagic trips off both the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, birds appeared to be very hungry, attacking the berley voraciously.

Pomarine Jaeger
Pomarine Jaeger dark phase

We were soon joined by a smattering of Pomarine Jaegers in various plumage phases; we were to have as many as 11 at one time about the boat.

Streaked Shearwater
A single Streaked Shearwater joined the fray, coming and going as the morning progressed.

Brown Booby
A couple more Brown Boobies brought the total to 6, along with the 13th Lesser Frigatebird for the day; the highest number I have encountered for either species on a pelagic. Numbers of Pomarine Jaeger and Flesh-footed Shearwater were also unusually high.

White Tern
White Tern
Shortly after midday a single White Tern was a welcome addition to the list as it flew overhead. Other non-bird "sea monsters" included Glaucus, bluebottles, Porpita, Violet Snail, a comb jelly and a pelagic crab holding a spirula shell.
Common Terns
After drifting southwards 5.5 nautical miles we turned around to head back at 1pm, stopping for a feeding flock of Common Terns and Little Terns inshore before arriving back at the marina at 3.15pm.

PARTICIPANTS: Paddy Dimond (skipper), Greg Roberts (organiser),  Ralph Brown,  Devon Bull, Ian Cleary,  Kaya Cleary,  Malcolm Graham,  Matteo Grilli,  Nicholas Haass,  Elliot Leach,  James Martin,  Davydd McDonald,  Steve Pratt,  Raja Stephenson.

BIRDS: Total number seen. (Maximum number seen at any one time).

Wedge-tailed Shearwater 90 (30)
Flesh-footed Shearwater 40 (15)
Streaked Shearwater 1 (1)
Tahiti Petrel 12 (5)
Brown Booby 6 (2)
Red-footed Booby 2 (2)
Lesser Frigatebird 13 (10)
Arctic Jaeger 1 (1)
Pomarine Jaeger 26 (11)
White Tern 1 (1)
Crested Tern 30 (6)
Common Tern 80 (40)
Little Tern 8 (4)
Silver Gull 1 (1)

Friday, 3 March 2017

Hervey Bay & Boonooroo 2017

Asian Dowitcher with Bar-tailed Godwits & Grey-tailed Tattler
Radjah Shelduck and nice shorebirds including 2 Asian Dowitchers, Common Sandpiper, Wandering Tattler, Grey Plover and exceptional numbers of Greater Sand-Plover were the highlights of a 3-day visit to Hervey Bay, calling in at Boonooroo on the way home.

Greater Sand Plover & Lesser Sand Plover
 Hervey Bay was visited this time last year and also in 2015. The sand-plovers were concentrated at the high tide roost at Gables Point at the north-east end of Pt Vernon. This area is easily disturbed and the birds were constantly put to flight by human interlopers and their dogs.

Greater Sand Plover & Lesser Sand Plover
Of interest was the large number of Greater Sand-Plover, with a couple of counts arriving at a figure of about 200 birds on two visits, with much smaller numbers of Lesser Sand-Plover among them. Many sand-plovers were in full or partial breeding plumage.

Wandering Tattlers
 A short distance along the shoreline at the headland north of Gatakers Bay is a smaller roost, where 3 Wandering Tattlers were present.

Sooty Oystercatcher & Pied Oystercatcher
Pied Oystercatcher and Sooty Oystercatcher, a pair of each, were roosting together here.

Pacific Golden Plover
A flock of 50 Pacific Golden Plovers was also roosting at the headland.

Rainbow Bee-eater
While Rainbow Bee-eaters were active in the adjoining Allocasuarina trees.

Common Sandpiper
At the other end of Gatakers Bay, a Common Sandpiper was roosting behind the mangroves. Tides were very high (3m), giving the birds little space to roost. I've listed the birds at these Pt Vernon sites together on ebird here.

Radjah Shelduck
I visited Arkarra Lagoons but as in south-east Queensland generally, water levels were very low due to prolonged dry conditions. I had to cancel plans to visit Garnett's Lagoon because it was bone dry. Water was present in the Anembo Lakes area - a series of artificial lagoons immediately north and east of Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens at Urangan.

Radjah Shelduck
On one of these pools I found a Radjah Shelduck - a rare visitor to south-east Queensland.

Little Egret
All 4 species of egrets were common in the lagoons but they were surprisingly devoid of many waterbird species that could be expected here. A list of Anembo Lakes birds seen is here.  The shelduck site is pinpointed in this ebird post.

Krefft's Turtles
Water levels in the lagoons were also low and large numbers of evidently hungry Krefft's Turtles were concentrated in the shallows.

Little Red Flying-Fox
A large colony of Little Red Flying-Foxes was present at one lagoon; these normally nomadic animals were also present in 2015 and 2016. A few Grey-headed Flying-Fox were among them. A separate colony at Pialba was comprised mainly of Black Flying-Fox.

Asian Dowitcher with Bar-tailed Godwits & Grey-tailed Tattler

Asian Dowitcher pair with Bar-tailed Godwits 

At Boonooroo while returning home, towards the end of Davies Road on the right, I found two Asian Dowitchers among Bar-tailed Godwits and Great Knots in the same spot where saw saw 2 dowitchers in January. This site is best checked about 2 hours before high tide.

Bar-tailed Godwits in breeding plumage
Curlew Sandpipers & Great Knot
Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew-Sandpipers & Grey-tailed Tattlers
Many waders are coming into nice breeding plumage including Curlew-Sandpiper, Great Knot, Grey-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit.

Great Knots, Greater Sand Plovers, Lesser Sand Plovers, Little Terns
At the main wader roost at the end of Adair Street (not Bates Street as I incorrectly wrote in my January post) was a large roosting flock of Greater Sand-Plover, Lesser Sand-Plover, Great Knot and Red-necked Stint; unlike Gables Point, Lesser was far more common than Greater here. Little Terns were numerous.

Grey Plovers
About 30 Grey Plovers were also present at what has proved to be a reliable site for this species.
A full list of the Boonooroo birds can be found here. I also visited the high tide roost at nearby Maaroom but few shorebirds were present, evidently because the exceptionally high tide left little room for roosting.