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.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Australasian Bittern, Regent Honeyeater, Lesser Crested Tern & Big Year Update

Australasian Bittern
Plenty of avian activity hereabouts in recent weeks. An Australasian Bittern was reported by a Sunshine Coast Birds Australia outing to Garnett's Lagoon at Hervey Bay. This is a favourite spot which I've regularly visited. When I finally had the opportunity to visit the lagoon with John Knight on August 2, the bittern had been there for about 3 weeks; some observers had dipped, others were successful. Australasian Bittern is very rare in South-East Queensland. It took a bit but we eventually found the bittern lurking in the reeds - my second Queensland sighting of the species and my first images of it.

Australasian Bittern

Australasian Bittern
A white phase Eastern Reef-Egret at Hervey Bay was nice.

Eastern Reef-Egret

Excitement was in the air when a Regent Honeyeater turned up at Tin Can Bay recently for what looks to be the third record of this endangered species north of Brisbane. It was not seen subsequently but a Regent Honeyeater, likely the same bird, was spotted at nearby Carlo Point near Rainbow Beach on August 5. The bird has been seen each day since in exactly the same spot – behind caravan park site E4. Carlo Point is another favourite spot; we have camped here several times. The honeyeater was seriously harassed by Noisy Friarbirds and Little Friarbirds but kept returning to the same group of trees. 

Regent Honeyeater

Regent Honeyeater
 From Carlo Point I ventured out to Inskip Point, where a large group (450+) of Crested Terns was roosting on the shore. I'd dropped in here a few days ago on the way to Hervey Bay but the same flock was on an island offshore – too distant to make much of. This time I managed to find a Lesser Crested Tern in the scrum.

Lesser Crested Tern

Lesser Crested Tern
The tern was number 286 and the honeyeater 285 in my Sunshine Coast region 2018 Big Year. Still 14 to go to hit the target of 300, but being away for most of the rest of the year, that won't be easy. Seven other species have been seen but not photographed. Recent additions included a Green Pygmy-Goose that Jane Cooksley found at Lake MacDonald - another species that is very rare in South-East Queensland. 

Green Pygmy-Goose
Steve and Carol Popple discovered a Red-backed Kingfisher at Upper Glastonbury several weeks ago, which by all accounts is still there. 

Red-backed Kingfisher
We camped at the Brooyar State Forest camping ground nearby and heard and saw several White-throated Nightjars. I found a road-killed nightjar near Miva.

Camping at Brooyar State Forest

White-throated Nightjar
Spotless Crake at Parklakes Wetland and Nutmeg Mannikin at Bli Bli were further additions to the list.

Nutmeg Mannikin

Spotless Crake
I visited the Kilcoy area, finding good numbers of Cotton Pygmy Goose at Villaneuve and a nice Peregrine Falcon.

Cotton Pygmy-Goose
Peregrine Falcon
 Also of interest at Villaneuve was a large flock (400+) of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters on migration. These birds were heading south far earlier in the year than is usually the case - perhaps another consequence of climate change.

Yellow-faced Honeyeater migration

A Beach Stone-Curlew put on a show feeding on soldier crabs in the Noosa River estuary.

Beach Stone-Curlew

Beach Stone-Curlew
I tried unsuccessfully to photograph Swift Parrots at Sheepstation Reserve but did see a small flock in the distance. A Powerful Owl was there however, along with the Barking Owl nearby that I saw recently.

Powerful Owl

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