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.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Winter Bush-hen and Fairy Gerygone in the Garden, Masked Owl in the Hinterland

Fairy Gerygone
Two surprising additions to the birdlist for my Sunshine Coast garden at Ninderry today were Fairy Gerygone and Pale-vented Bush-hen.

Fairy Gerygone
Fairy Gerygone was once considered very rare in south-east Queensland but I've found it to be quite common in coastal vine scrub on the Sunshine Coast. Increasingly, I'm also now finding the bird in the hinterland, with sightings at North Arm, Moy Pocket and now here at Ninderry.

Pale-vented Bush-hen
Perhaps even more surprising was Pale-vented Bush-hen. I heard one calling last night in dense grass and weed vegetation at the bottom of the property. It was calling again this morning, vigorously and frequently, with no encouragement from playback; it is still calling as I write. A second bird was heard further down the hill. This species was once considered a summer migrant to south-east Queensland because of the absence of winter records. However, it is now known to be resident, although it rarely calls in the non-breeding season. The calling of these birds at this time of year is highly unusual. The bird did not show itself; this image was taken late last year.

Masked Owl
On Friday night (July 5) I was night-birding with Luke Bennett and Terry Bennett in Conondale National Park above Booloumba Creek in the hinterland when Terry spotted a Masked Owl from the vehicle as we were driving through wet sclerophyll forest.

Masked Owl
The owl was close when we first spotted it but flew to a high perch where unfortunately these were the best images we could manage. However, even these show how white the bird is, both on the underparts and the face, although the distinctive colouration of the upperparts and the black facial lining were obvious. This bird was the smaller male.

It's interesting to compare the Conondale bird with this one that I saw recently at Amamoor (report is here). The Amamoor bird is much darker, with heavy black flecking on the underparts and a good deal of colouration on the face, indicating how variable this species can be. 

1 comment:

  1. I remember when the books listed the Bush-Hen as a summer migrant too! It's amazing how much knowledge can change over even a couple of years. I like your Masked Owl shots because it's an "honest" view - I've had to identify many birds from precisely this angle!