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, 9 May 2013

Masked Owl at Amamoor, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Masked Owl
Masked Owl is one of the trickiest of its tribe to see in south-east Queensland. It is scarce and calls infrequently. So I was very happy earlier this week to have an excellent encounter with this male Masked Owl.

Masked Owl

I was out looking for Powerful Owl at a spot in Amamoor State Forest, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where I found a Powerful Owl last year (see here for details). No Powerful Owls, but I heard a Masked Owl calling a little after dusk. Soon this male bird was showing itself very nicely.

Masked Owl
The owl called a couple of times even while I watched it, although it remained fairly high in the canopy. I heard a second owl, presumably the female of the pair, calling nearby but could not find it. Masked Owls are heard much more often than they are seen. I camped that night about a kilometre up the road from this spot and heard another Masked Owl just before dawn but could not locate it. The habitat that the birds were in was a nice mix of open eucalypt forest, hoop pine plantation and rainforest along Amamoor Creek.

Australian Owlet-Nightjar
Around my camp I had a vociferous pair of Australian Owlet-Nightjars.

Dusky Honeyeater
 I checked out the main daytime picnic area at Amamoor in the morning and about 20 Dusky Honeyeaters were in a flowering tree there - a high number for this species at one spot in south-east Queensland.

Fairy Gerygone
Moving on to Moy Pocket beyond Imbil, I encountered a pair of Fairy Gerygone. While this species is common enough in coastal vine scrub around the Sunshine Coast, it is much more scarce further inland.

Other niceties included White-eared Monarch, which was calling at both Moy Pocket and Amamoor - notwithstanding the time of year - and Wompoo Fruit-Dove.

A bothersome gut ache that morning gradually worsened during the day and at lunchtime I was admitted to Nambour Hospital. My appendix had ruptured! It was removed late that night - 24 hours after I was chasing owls in the forest. It is good that I had not been in the back blocks of Cameroon or Tibet or some such place. 


  1. Both 'Wow' re the owl and 'Bloody Hell' re the ruptured appendix. Get well soon. Marie T

  2. Congrats on the Masked Owl. An exciting find. Hope you recover well after your hospital stay.

  3. A great collection of birds - most would be lifers for this South of the Murray birder!
    A forlorn looking species in that last shot! What better way to recuperate than with a blog update & Masked owl memories. Similarly I had my appendix out 18 months ago!
    I hope all goes well!

  4. Get well quick Greg. Need you back 'out there' as love reading your blogs. Lucky finding the Masked Owl. I'm yet to see one.

  5. Thanks everyone. Yes, always nice to find a Masked Owl, one of my favourite birds. Not so nice to do an appendix in, but I think of worse places for that to happen :)