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, 18 November 2017

Lockyer Valley November 2017

Blue-winged Kookaburra
Among nice birds encountered during a foray into the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys were Blue-winged Kookaburra, Freckled Duck, White-winged Chough, Hoary-headed Grebe, loads of Rufous and Brown Songlarks, Red-necked Avocet and Black-tailed Godwit. I started out along Cove Road, Stanmore, where a pair of Cotton Pygmy-Geese were on one of the farm dams. Moving on to Toogoolawah, an immature Nankeen Night-Heron was flushed from a roadside ditch. Plenty of Rufous Songlarks were in the grasslands east of the town; they proved to be unusually common throughout the region.

Nankeen Night-Heron

Rufous Songlark
Atkinsons Dam was about half-full. An estimated 500 Whiskered Terns, many in breeding plumage, were feeding over the lake's shallow waters. A pair of Wandering Whistling-Ducks here is unusual for this part of the world. ebird list.

Wandering Whistling-Duck

Whiskered Tern
Seven Mile Lagoon was nicely full. Huge numbers of birds were concentrated here, mainly Eurasian Coot, Hardhead, Grey Teal, Black Swan and Pacific Black Duck. Several Brown Songlarks were displaying and they too were found in several other spots during the day ahead. At least 10 Hoary-headed Grebes could be made out in the distance along with small groups of Pink-eared Duck and a few Glossy Ibis. A Swamp Harrier was quartering the flooded grassland.

Grey Teal, Hardhead, Eurasian Coot

Swamp Harrier
Continuing west along Nangara Road I came across a party of White-winged Choughs – a scarce species in south-east Queensland including the Lockyer Valley, despite the presence of plenty of suitable habitat.

White-winged Chough
I walked most of the way around Lake Clarendon, focusing on the northern end where a concentration of fallen and dead trees makes for interesting habitat. At least 150 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers were here but no sign of the Pectoral Sandpiper seen earlier in the season. Good numbers of Red-kneed Dotterels were present.

Red-kneed Dotterel & Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Other migratory shorebirds were 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Marsh Sandpiper and 2 Red-necked Stints. Two Red-necked Avocets were there and 2 Freckled Ducks were seen distantly. Pink-eared Duck and Australasian Shoveler were present in small numbers as were all 3 grebe species – Australasian, Hoary-headed and Great Crested. ebird list.

Black-tailed Godwit & Glossy Ibis
Fairy Martins were abundant and nesting everywhere.

Fairy Martin
At Lake Galletly, 3 Pink-eared Ducks were among several hundred Magpie Geese. Pairs of Pink-eared Ducks were scattered around several farm dams in the valley.

Pink-eared Duck
Cockatiels were plentiful along the road on the way to Forest Hill.

I found a Blue-winged Kookaburra at Forest Hill in the same spot where they were seen in 2015 by Roger Jaensch, suggesting they are resident here. This species is rare in south-east Queensland; the Lockyer Valley is one of the few areas in the region where it is occasionally encountered. The species may be declining in south-east Queensland. For many years it was resident at Wivenhoe Crossing and at Lake Clarendon, but it turns up only rarely at Lake Clarendon these days and has disappeared entirely from Wivenhoe Crossing. ebird list.

Blue-winged Kookaburra
Some wetlands such as Jahnke's Lagoon and Karrasch's Dam were empty despite the heavy Spring rains that fell over south-east Queensland. Peach's Lagoon had a bit of water but not much was there other than a Little Bronze Cuckoo. A flock of 22 Red-necked Avocets was on a farm dam near Laidley.


  1. Thanks, Greg. Why do you think some wetlands were empty?

    1. Not sure Judith. I thought it strange that 7-Mile was full when these others were dry.