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.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Yandina Wetlands: Pink-eared Duck, Lewin's Rail, Kites Feasting on Swamphens

Whistling Kite Feeds on Purple Swamphen
I accessed the eastern edge of the Yandina Creek Wetlands after taking my kayak up Yandina Creek. Creek banks can be accessed by the public but note that the landholders have denied entry to this superb wetland to birders, so entry by foot or vehicle is unfortunately not possible. I was immediately struck by the superabundance of waterbirds and other birds during this visit. They included a relatively large number of Whistling Kites (20+) and it soon became apparent what they were feeding on - the even larger number of Purple Swamphens.

Whistling Kite
Several Whistling Kites were feeding on bits and pieces of swamphen, suggesting that they were killing the birds and not just scavenging. Other raptors about included a Swamp Harrier and a Black Kite. Black Kite was common around the Sunshine Coast for quite awhile after an influx began in August 2012, but they have been generally absent in recent months.

Black Kite
A pair of Lewin's Rails were calling loudly and closely - unusually for winter - but they failed to appear, as did a calling Spotless Crake. Waterfowl were in good numbers - an estimated 600-800 birds.

Grey Teal, Chesnut Teal, Pacific Black Duck
Most were Pacific Black Duck, Chesnut Teal and Grey Teal, but I saw a pair of Australasian Shovelers and 2 Pink-eared Ducks; this is the first record of Pink-eared Duck for the Yandina Creek Wetlands.

Black Swan on Nest
Black Swans were in unusually large numbers (60+) and about 10 pairs were attending recently constructed nests - seemingly a little early for the breeding season.

Black-necked Stork
 A male Black-necked Stork looked glorious as usual in the morning sunlight.

Australian Pelicans
More common fare included the usual assortment of Australian Pelican, 4 species of egret and 4 species of cormorant.

Sacred Kingfisher
Sacred and Azure Kingfishers were about the wetlands. Little Grassbird and Tawny Grassbird were both present. Also of interest were huge flocks (several thousand) of mixed Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin and Fairy Martin, the latter generally being scarce in south-east Queensland in winter.

Elsewhere around the Sunshine Coast, I saw a Square-tailed Kite quartering over open forest along the Tewantin-Cooroy Road, near its junction with Beckman Road. While nearby at Noosaville, near the shopping centre, a male Glossy Black Cockatoo was feeding in one of its favoured Allocasuarina haunts.


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