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, 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.