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, 30 April 2016

Powerful Owl & Masked Owl at Jimna

Masked Owl
Excellent views of Masked Owl and Powerful Owl were the highlights of a three-day camp at Peach Trees camping ground near Jimna, in the northern Conondale Range, south-east Queensland.

Powerful Owl 
The Powerful Owl was not heard during the first evening but was vocal throughout the next two nights in and around the camping ground. The bird called occasionally during the day; its size and the pitch of the call suggested a male, possibly in search of a mate. Surprisingly, it sat out in the open just before sunset one evening.

Powerful Owl

Powerful Owl
The Masked Owl was seen in mixed vine scrub and eucalypt woodland between the camping ground and the nearby hamlet of Jimna. Its darker colouration and large size clearly indicated this was a female.

Masked Owl
I have seen Masked Owl on two previous visits to Peach Trees and had them in the camping ground in the past.

Masked Owl
Another highlight was a Yellow-bellied Glider calling loudly and showing briefly from high in the trees in the camping ground, frequenting the same area as the Powerful Owl. Other mammals included a Black-striped Wallaby and several Red-legged Pademelons.

Black-striped Wallaby
Among other birds, a Glossy Black Cockatoo flew over the camp late one afternoon. New Holland Honeyeaters, here at the northern end of their range, were common. Yellow Thornbill and Brown Thornbill were unusually sharing the same habitat. Paradise Riflebird, Russet-tailed Thrush and Australian Logrunner were in the dry vine scrub. I found a small area of quite fresh platelets in a scrub patch, probably made by Black-breasted Buttonquail, 800m before the camping ground entrance on the right.

New Holland Honeyeater
 Eastern Spinebills, also numerous, were fond of the flowering lantana.

Eastern Spinebill
A few Rose Robins were about, this one an immature male. Full list of bird species can be found here.

Rose Robin

Peach Trees Camping Area

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Red-backed Buttonquail, Grass Owl, King Quail on Sunshine Coast + Tackling a new camera

Eastern Grass Owl
UPDATED 24/04/2016
Red-backed Buttonquail, Eastern Grass Owl, King Quail and Spotted Harrier were among the birds seen during two mornings in the Maroochy River canelands of the Sunshine Coast.

Eastern Grass Owl
During my first pre-dawn visit last week (19/4) I had an Eastern Grass Owl showing well at sunrise in the Bli Bli area. On the second morning (24/4) with Garry Deering, we had no fewer than 4 Grass Owls. I finally managed a couple of images of this species with my new camera outfit: a Canon EOS 70D camera body with an EF 400mm F 5.6 prime lens. As the sky lightened, the owls could be watched without the aid of a spotlight as they quartered the grassland in the early morning light. A White-throated Nightjar was un unexpected find on the second morning; interestingly, a Grass Owl flew in to investigate playback of a nightjar call.

New camera gear

Spotted Harrier
I had 2 Red-backed Buttonquail calling during the first morning at the same site where I have seen the species previously: one of only 2 sites on the Sunshine Coast where I've had this bird. During the second morning, we flushed a pair of Red-backed Buttonquail from tall grass; Garry later saw a third bird. Five or six King Quail were calling on both mornings, with a couple seen this morning, as were a few Brown Quail.

Spotted Harrier & Black-shouldered Kite
Two Spotted Harriers were seen on both mornings. A Spotted Harrier and a Black-shouldered Kite  were sparring this morning, with the camera catching the moment. There was evidently food about for the owls and harriers as I saw a couple of Rattus leutreolus running across the road. The Spotted Harrier perched image in this post was taken when I was with Chris Corben recently in this area.

Spotted Harrier

Grey Goshawk
Other raptors were about including Grey Goshawk and Brown Goshawk. Oddly, in these grasslands the Brown Goshawk is furtive and largely terrestrial, while the Grey is much more confiding and always in trees. Ebird list here.

Little Friarbird
I called in on Parklands Wetland which remains a sorry shadow of its former glory since the estate developers carved it up.

Plumed Whistling-Ducks
A flock of Plumed Whistling-Ducks was obliging; I'm gradually honing the skills on getting decent snaps of birds in flight. Little Friarbird was also a nice show. On the subject of birds in flight, here are some other offerings.

Intermediate Egret
Sorry but there is limited public access to this owl/buttonquail site. If you contact me privately I may be able to help. Unfortunately, small roads in cane farmland are highly problematic. I've found in the past when I've publicised caneland sites (River Road, Finland Road, Yandina Creek Wetland) that my once good relationship with local farmers has been soured by an influx of birders. As a consequence, I no longer enjoy access to several properties that I once had; farmers who were formerly friendly are now decidedly unfriendly (I have been literally forced off River Road by a tractor driven by one such fellow - be careful if you go there); and in the case of Yandina Creek, trespassing by birders proved to be highly damaging to the (ongoing) campaign to protect the wetland.


Brahminy Kite
An Intermediate Egret and Glossy Ibis were nicely paired along Finland Road.

Glossy Ibis & Intermediate Egret
While an Australasian Shoveler, a rare visitor to the Sunshine Coast, has turned up at North Arm.

Australasian Shoveler
Away from the lowlands, a Yellow-throated Scrubwren was unusually co-operative when I was at Mary Cairncross with Angus Innes, hopping about on the grassy lawn in the open.

Yellow-throated Scrubwren
Yellow-throated Scrubwren
While a Willie Wagtail somehow got into our home in the evening, eventually finding its way out.

Willie Wagtail