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.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

From Bauple to Bribie – The Game & The Big Year

Barking Owl - Sheepstation Creek

BirdLife Australia Sunshine Coast, our local birding group, has for some time been running a game on its Facebook page organised by its leader, Ken Cross. One objective is to encourage people to photograph as many species as possible in a calendar year in the Sunshine Coast region. The area extends north to Inskip Point and Bauple; south to Bribie Island; and west to Kilcoy, the Conondale Range, the Amamoor area and Muna Creek-Miva. An outlier to the south, Sheepstation Creek Conservation Reserve near Burpengary, is also included.




I thought it would be fun to join in for the 2018 game, and it's proved quite a challenge. A bit like a big jigsaw puzzle, with all the bits slowly falling into place. A few weeks ago, what I dubbed The Game morphed into a Big Year for me, so I'm keen to see how many species in the region I can photograph this year. As of 24/6/2018, I'm up to 279, and while it might be nice to hit 300, another 21 is a tall order, especially since I'm away for much of the second half of the year. I've seen but not managed to photograph another 6 species (Black-tailed Native-hen, King Quail, Stubble Quail, Eastern Ground Parrot, Swift Parrot, White-throated Nightjar). I've seen a total of 344 species in the Sunshine Coast region since time immemorial.

Among recent forays was a visit to Imbil State Forest at Stirling Crossing, not far west of Imbil. Little Lorikeet was added to the list here and it was nice to see Dusky Woodswallow close up.

Dusky Woodswallow

Little Lorikeet
I moved on to another part of the state forest near Brooloo, where I had a fantastic close encounter with a female Black-breasted Buttonquail. Also of interest here were more Little Lorikeets and a Black-chinned Honeyeater. The honeyeater is a rare winter visitor to the region and I'd seen it just the week before along Amamoor Creek Road.

Black-breasted Buttonquail 

Black-breasted Buttonquail
On another trip I decided to head to the northern sector of the area, where I found a group of White-winged Choughs outside Bauple.

White-winged Chough
I then had a look at the Muna Creek-Miva area a bit further west, concentrating on the excellent open woodlands along Munna Miva Road. I found Speckled Warbler along here. Nearby along Sexton Road I found two groups of Grey-crowned Babblers.

Grey-crowned Babbler

Speckled Warbler
In more open country I saw a Rufous Songlark, unexpected at this time of year.


Rufous Songlark


We camped for two nights at Charlie Moreland Park, an old favourite. Yellow Thornbill had been seen along the road in by Ian Stargazer and while I didn't expect them to be still around, a party of 6 were in the same area.

Yellow Thornbill
In the forest above the park along Sunday Creek Road I tracked down a Sooty Owl. A Russet-tailed Thrush was finally connected with at nearby Booloumba Creek camping ground. This was the first bird I photographed for The Game back in January, but I discarded those lousy images and it was another 6 months before I scored again.

Russet-tailed Thrush

Sooty Owl
I visited Sheepstation Creek to chase up a Barking Owl which Matt Wright kindly pointed me towards. This was my first sighting of the species in the region. I also found a Square-tailed Kite in the reserve.

Barking Owl

Square-tailed Kite
A Wedge-tailed Eagle (the third for The Game) was seen at Toorbul.

Wedge-tailed Eagle
I thought another trip north was in order. I saw a flock of 20 Red-tailed Black Cockatoos at Scotchy Pocket – not new for The Game because I had them at Amamoor, but nice.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
I overnighted in the pub at Tiaro, just north of the area for The Game, and was delighted to find a Barking Owl along the Mary River - my second encounter with the species in a few days.

Barking Owl - Tiaro
I again visited the Munna Miva Road, this time connecting with a group of Weebills; this species is inexplicably scarce in the region. I also found Black-chinned Honeyeater again -the third time for The Game.

Weebill


Black-chinned Honeyeater
Back on the home front at Ninderry, a Square-tailed Kite has been frequenting the garden area. 
A Gould's Long-eared Bat was hanging on a rafter under the back porch.

Square-tailed Kite

Gould's Long-eared Bat
Nearby at North Arm, an Intermediate Egret struggled to kill and swallow a rat of some kind.

Intermediate Egret with rat

Intermediate Egret with rat


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