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.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Durikai State Forest-Coolmunda Lake - Western Queensland Part IV

Little Eagle

Moving on from our nice encounter with Painted Honeyeater east of Nindigully, we headed east towards Coolmunda Lake and Durikai State Forest on the final leg of our 12-day western Queensland sojourn. At a roadside birding stop west of Goondiwindi, I stumbled upon a Little Eagle and an Australian Raven entangled together on the ground in brigalow scrub. It was clear that the raven was an intended prey item as it was firmly in the grip of the eagle's talons. Upon my unintended disturbance, the two birds separated and a bloodied raven flew to its freedom.

Little Eagle

The seemingly exhausted eagle sat close by while I photographed it.

We moved on to Lake Coolmunda, where we camped lakeside for two nights. After the fabulous encounter with Freckled Duck and other waterbirds at Currawinya National Park, the waterbirds here were disappointing, but birds in the surrounding woodlands were interesting.

Western Gerygone
I was surprised at how numerous Western Gerygone was here. Birds were singing everywhere and clearly nesting. Just a little further east at Durikai, I found no Western Gerygones but plenty of White-throated Gerygones.

Little Thornbill

Little Thornbill was plentiful in the dry scrub behind the lake.
Swamp Wallaby 

Plenty of macropods were about Coolmunda Lake - Swamp Wallaby (photographed through a fence above), Black-striped Wallaby, Red-necked Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo.

Red-necked Wallaby

Moving on to Durikai, we found the famed waterhole with some effort. It is 45 kilometres west of Warwick and 5 kilometres east of the village of Karara. We camped by the waterhole, but the traffic noise is a problem: better to stay at the small motel in Karara with the benefit of hindsight.

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

This is a sensational birding spot. All day, a constant procession of birds flew in to drink at close quarters, the most numerous being Yellow-tufted Honeyeater.  I encountered a staggering 15 honeyeater species around Durakai: Noisy and Little Friarbirds; Noisy Miner; Blue-faced, White-naped, White-throated, Black-chinned, Brown-headed, Brown, Striped, Yellow-tufted, Fuscous, White-eared, White-plumed and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters.

White-eared Honeyeater

 White-eared was one of the scarcer honeyeaters.

Brown-headed Honeyeater

Among the honeyeaters were four species of the Melithreptus genus. I had commented in an earlier blog post about finding three species of honeyeater from this genus in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Here, a fourth was added to those three: Brown-headed (above). I saw and heard just one White-throated Honeyeater.

Black-chinned Honeyeater

Black-chinned Honeyeaters were quite plentiful. This bird can be hard to find in southern Queensland and I've not seen them in such numbers previously.

White-naped Honeyeater

White-naped was the most numerous of the Melithreptus species and the second commonest honeyeater after Yellow-tufted.

Fuscous Honeyeater

Plenty of Fuscous Honeyeaters were about. A few other birds seen around the water hole included:

White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike
Restless Flycatcher
Spotted Pardalote

Another nice surprise was a party of White-browed Babblers in the same patch of scrub as a group of Grey-crowned Babblers. This brought to four the number of babbler species seen on the trip - the others being Chesnut-crowned and Hall's further west.

Grey-crowned Babbler

Buff-rumped Thornbill

It was nice two see Buff-rumped Thornbill showing well.

Crested Shrike-Tit

A pair of Crested Shrike-Tits was pleasant.

Not so nice was this road-killed Koala.

Our camp behind the waterhole.


  1. Hello Greg, i'm a new subscriber, new to qld and new to birding. Just wanted to say how much i enjoy your blog, we visited mary cairncross after reading it and thoroughly enjoyed it, now we're using your blog as a travel guide for future birding adventures! Cheers, Brenda

  2. Thanks Brenda... your comments are much appreciated. Enjoy Queensland!

  3. Excellent set of trip reports Greg, and great pictures to go with them.

  4. Hi Greg, will be heading out west in the New Year. Thanks for showing us what to look forward too.

  5. Great portraits of the Little Eagle. They're actually very handsome raptors. I remember seeing one the same area a couple of years ago. A super collection of other birds too. I'm pretty sad, however about the koala. Such a precious treasure seemingly fading away.