A fine cast of critters seen on and about the Sunshine Coast over the past 24 hours includes an excellent encounter with a Richmond Birdwing butterfly, sightings of Sooty Owl, Eastern Grass Owl and Marbled Frogmouth, and a host of mammals including Koala and Greater Glider.
A male Richmond Birdwing was seen this morning in rainforest fringing the Maroochy River at North Arm. It was unexpected here as the habitat is fragmented and infested with Camphor laurel and various exotic weeds. The butterfly was watched for some time as it appeared to make a circuit of about 100 metres or so following the same route, more or less, over and over. The Richmond Birdwing is regarded as a threatened species, endemic to the rainforests of south-east Queensland and north-east NSW.
Eastern Grass Owl - Picture Jim Snedden
Late yesterday afternoon I set out in search of night birds and mammals with NSW birder Hans Wohlmuth. We scored our first success at sunset with an Eastern Grass Owl fly-over. A bird was heard calling soon after as it flew over an area of grassland. We also had 2 or 3 King Quail calling here just before sunset.
We headed off to the Conondale Range in the hinterland where we spotlighted in the Conondale National Park and surrounding state forests. We could not locate a Masked Owl I found here recently (see here) but in the same spot where the owl was seen we enjoyed excellent views of a Sooty Owl. I have seen the two species co-existing in several places in the the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Later we heard a second Sooty Owl.
We had three pairs of Marbled Frogmouth calling in various places, seeing one bird, and also saw Australian Owlet-Nightjar, Tawny Frogmouth and Southern Boobook.
We did well with mammals during the evening, seeing a fine male Koala, 4 Greater Gliders, 1 Common Ringtail, 1 Short-eared Brushtail, 2 Common Brushtails, 1 Brindled Bandicoot, 1 Grey-headed Flying-Fox, 1 Black Flying-Fox and several Red-necked Pademelons.