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, 19 April 2018

Camping at Yandilla, Conondale Range

Masked Owl

Good birds at Yandilla Farmstay, the adjoining Conondale National Park and the nearby Kilcoy Abattoir ponds included Masked Owl, Red-browed Treecreeper, Glossy Black Cockatoo, Painted Buttonquail, Plum-headed Finch and Black-tailed Native-hen.

Conondale National Park (southern end)
We camped for 3 nights at Yandilla Farmstay at the northern end of Mt Kilcoy Road. A bit of the history and further information about the place can be found here. It's a pleasant spot with running creeks nestled in the southern foothills of the Conondale Range. A walking trail leads upstream a short way from the property into Conondale National Park. Facilities are basic, with warmish showers available late-afternoon after a tank fire is lit by the property owner (who, it should be warned, is extremely talkative!)

Camping at Yandilla

Kilcoy Creek, Yandilla
Late one afternoon a pair of Glossy Black Cockatoos came down to the camp to drink; they are seen here regularly.

Glossy Black Cockatoo
Other nice birds about the property included Eastern Barn Owl (calling), Dusky Woodswallow and White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike.

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
A Wedge-tailed Eagle soared overhead and a pair of Bush Stone-Curlews near the homestead was nice. [Yandilla elist].

Bush Stone-Curlew

Wedge-tailed Eagle
During my wanderings around the property I spotted a group of introduced Red Deer. Red-necked and Swamp wallabies were also about.

Red Deer
From the farmstay (you need to open a couple of gates going in or out) it is 1 km to the end of Mt Kilcoy Road. Then a vehicular track in quite good condition heads steeply up into Conondale National Park. It passes through dry sclerophyll forest, where I located a party of Painted Buttonquail on a level stretch of the track; the male is in these images.

Painted Buttonquail

Painted Buttonquail
I stopped 4km from the park entrance at the first substantial fork in the road. Crimson Rosellas seemed to be fairly common here in the wet sclerophyll forest that dominated at this higher altitude.

Crimson Rosella
Then I heard a Red-browed Treecreeper, a species I had seen just once in the region since moving to the Sunshine Coast in 2009. I tracked the bird down to a grey gum it was feeding in. I've suggested previously that this species and others in the region have declined in recent decades, possible due to climate change. Red-browed Treecreeper in the 1970s was regularly encountered in the Blackall and Conondale ranges but the bird has disappeared from favoured haunts. So to find it here was an unexpected treat.

Red-browed Treecreeper
I ventured back up the range at night with owling on my mind, and was thrilled to find a beautiful female Masked Owl by the track about half-way up. [Elist Conondale NP].

Masked Owl
In the same spot was a Yellow-bellied Glider; always a pleasure to see this endearing marsupial, especially so close.

Yellow-bellied Glider

Yellow-bellied Glider
On the way back from (and on the way to) Yandilla Farmstay, we dropped by the Kilcoy abattoir dams on Winya Road. Yellow-rumped Thornbill is a scarce species in the Sunshine Coast hinterland but is regular here. Royal and Yellow-billed Spoonbills were on the dams.

Royal Spoonbill & Yellow-billed Spoonbill

Yellow-rumped Thornbill
A party of 10 Australasian Shovelers was present. Also of interest were a flock of 15 Plum-headed Finches, and 2 Black-tailed Native-hens which showed briefly.

Australasian Shoveler 
Completely unexpected was a Great Crested Grebe which flew overhead; this bird is not often seen in flight. [Winya Rd elist].

Great Crested Grebe

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