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.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Pectoral Sandpiper, 100+ Latham's Snipe, Australian Spotted Crake, Australasian Shoveler at Yandina Creek Wetlands

Pectoral Sandpiper
I found a Pectoral Sandpiper today at the Yandina Creek Wetlands on the Sunshine Coast. The bird was associating loosely with a flock of Red-kneed Dotterels and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. Pectoral Sandpiper is a rare visitor to south-east Queensland and this is the first record of the species for the Sunshine Coast region. The bird was in poor light and distant, so the images are not as sharp as I would have liked.

Pectoral Sandpiper
About 20 Red-kneed Dotterels were present, including several juveniles. As these birds have been in the area for two years now, it is likely they have bred. A single Red-necked Avocet was also about.

Latham's Snipe

Red-necked Avocet
Of particular interest was the large number of Latham's Snipe present. I counted 85 and estimate that given the extent of habitat favoured by the birds, a total of 120-150 snipe were there. I have not seen anywhere near this large a concentration of this species previously and would be interested in knowing of any sightings of comparable numbers in Australia. It is likely that numbers are building up at Yandina Creek for the northward migration.

Australian Pelican & Black Swan
Two Australian Spotted Crakes were heard calling. This species, another rarity in south-east Queensland, has been seen at the River Road end of the wetlands by other observers but not by me. The River Road section of the wetlands is the only area that is publicly accessible, but is presently dry. I am able to gain access to the edge of the main wetlands through two properties that I have permission to enter. Please respect the wishes of the property owners not to trespass on their land.

Australasian Shoveler
A pair of Australasian Shovelers was present today among large numbers of Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal and Chesnut Teal.

Black-necked Stork
Also of interest were two pairs of Black-necked Stork. This is an excellent site for this relatively scarce species, but I've not previously seen so many at one time there.

Varied Eggfly
Among other wildlife were plenty of butterflies, mainly Varied Eggfly and Swamp Tiger.

Efforts to persuade the Sunshine Coast Council to acquire these wetlands for a reserve continue. While the landholders are agreeable to selling, they intend to drain them for cattle pasture if an offer is not forthcoming. The discovery of Pectoral Sandpiper here and such a large number of Latham's Snipe further strengthens the conservation case. It also increases pressure on the Commonwealth Government to ensure that no development proceeds that could endanger the habitat of the large numbers of migratory waders that frequent the wetlands. The creation of a reserve would of course also allow public access to what is emerging as one of the most significant wetland sites in south-east Queensland. The case for protecting these wetlands is presented in detail here.

River Road - Flooding February 2015
During heavy rains in February, much of the area in the vicinity of the wetlands was extensively flooded, raising questions about the viability of raising cattle on this land.

Channel-billed Cuckoo juvenile
In other local picture opportunities, the juvenile Channel-billed Cuckoos have fledged and departed for greener pastures further north. This one was raised by a pair of Torresian Crows at Tewantin.

Australian Wood Duck family
A family of Australian Wood Ducks at the Maroochydore Sewage Treatment Plant.

Australian Hobby
An Australian Hobby was looking good at Paradise Waters.

Eastern Water Skink
This Eastern Water Skink was remarkably tame on the boardwalk in the Peregian Beach section of Noosa National Park.

Little Red Flying Fox

Eastern Whipbirds
It seems that Little Red Flying Foxes are presently invading coastal south-east Queensland, as they do from time to time. In the flying fox colony at Noosaville, this species greatly outnumbered the resident Black Flying Foxes, and I could not find any Grey-headed Flying Foxes.
In the home garden, Eastern Whipbirds are regularly coming to the birdbaths to bath and drink.


  1. What a fantastic location! Here's hoping that the various levels of government recognise a good thing when they see it. Thanks for your efforts in documenting and promoting this place.

    1. Thanks Christian. Hopefully it will be made a reserve and everyone can experience this place.

  2. We do hope this area is saved for the birds and all the birding tourists that will visit the Sunshine Coast to see it! We look forward to the day when we can visit.

    1. It will depend on whether enough people voice their concerns to the council and the relevent state and commonwealth ministers