A day in the kayak and walking around Ewen Maddock Dam near Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast proved most productive, with good birds including Australian Little Bittern, Spotless Crake, Baillon's Crake, Black-necked Stork, Little Grassbird, Red-kneed Dotterel, Great Crested Grebe and Whiskered Tern.
In the kayak I was able to explore the extensive reed beds around the lake which are difficult to penetrate from land. At this spot I flushed a Little Bittern.
Soon after I flushed a Baillon's Crake from the reedbeds, then tracked down this Spotless Crake.
I saw 6 or 7 Little Grassbirds and a single Tawny Grassbird in the reeds. As usual, the Littles proved difficult to photograph.
At the southern end of the lake, it was nice to see this female Black-necked Stork.
SEQ Water has lowered the dam level to allow for construction works so large areas of mud are exposed at the southern end of Ewen Maddock. The habitat is looking promising for potential rarities to turn up.
About 20 Red-kneed Dotterels were in the area; this is a rare bird on the Sunshine Coast so the concentration of this many birds is exceptional. A few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints were about.
Thirty or so Whiskered Terns were on the dam, most looking smart in breeding plumage. Other waterbirds seen included Chesnut Teal, Wandering Whistling-Duck and Great Crested Grebe.
With water levels low, fish are an easy catch for raptors. On three occasions I saw a White-bellied Sea-Eagle with a huge fish that looked like an over-sized eel.
Ospreys do not usually feed over fresh water but the fish have attracted them.
The best way to access the dam is by driving to the end of Kowald Road. It terminates at a t-junction, with short driveable tracks to the left (north) and right (south). At the end of the left track, park your vehicle at the gate and walk a short distance further to the water. There are reed beds in this area. Follow the shore of the dam to the right, around to its southern end, where the exposed mud areas area.