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A Report from

Birding South-East queensland, April 1 to 8 2007,

Duan Biggs


I spent a week birding the Brisbane area in early April en route back from New Zealand to Townsville. It was my first time birding in the Brisbane area. A friend of mine Shane Farrell put me in contact with Colin Reid and Robert Dougherty who accompanied me on some my birding and gave me some good inputs for my itinerary.

Areas visited: Brisbane sites (Mount Glorius, Mount Coot-tha, Muggil State Forest, Manly wader roost, Fisherman’s Island at the port of Brisbane), Girraween National Park, Sundown National Park, Lamington National Park, Mount Glorious, Muggil State Forest

Mount Coot-tha

My first outing was to Mount Coot-tha where I met Robert an hour before dark in the parking lot at the JC Slaughter falls access point. We walked in past the toilet block for about 200m to an open patch of land just before a stream on a trail. Here we had  White-throated Nightjar and Powerful Owl around and soon after dusk. The Powerful Owl can also be seen here roosting during the day by walking up the stream.

Girraween National Park

I spent one night at Girraween National Park and had a full mornings birding there. At the Castle Rock campsite the very tame Satin Bowerbirds were a highlight. Also seen around the campsite was Pied Currawong, Crimson Rosella, Striated Thornbill, Red Wattlebird, White-throated Treecreeper and White-browed Scrubwren. At the Bald Rock campsite I had Variegated Fairy-wren, Golden Whistler, Striated Thornbill and White-naped Honeyeater. On the circular trail I enjoyed good views of White-eared Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote, Crested Shrike Tit, Grey Shrike Thrush, Striated Thornbill and Eastern Yellow Robin. On the road to Stone King Dam I located my first group of White-winged Choughs, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Thornbill, Eastern Spinebill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater and Rufous Whistler.  On my way out of Girraween I spoke to a local ranger and according to her Turquoise Parrot and Superb Fairy-wren can be found at the entrance gate area to the park. Turquoise Parrot and also Spotted Quail Thrush can apparently be found on the Dr Roberts waterhole trail and at Underground Creek. The small town of Ballandeon is just north of Girraween. Turn off onto Curr road in Ballandeon and after 400m there is a small dam on your right. Here I had Red-rumped Parrot and Robert had recorded Plum-headed Finch here before.

Sundown National Park

Sundown has a lovely campsite and at dawn I took a walk down the Permanent Waterhole track which starts at the end of the campsite. Along the track I had a group of Buff-rumped Thornbill, Speckled Warbler and Spotted Pardalote. At the waterhole itself I was delighted to find my first Spiny-cheeked Honey-eater as well as Superb Fairy-wren and Azure Kingfisher. White-plumed Honeyeater was common in the campsite. The paddock (open grassland) around the rangers house is reputed to be spectacular for birding. Here I only had Common Bronzewing and Yellow-rumped Thornbill. When I spoke to the ranger he reported that he had seen White-browed Babbler earlier that morning at the wooden bridge towards the campsite as well as Diamond Firetail. I dipped on both of these.

Lamington National Park

I camped in the town at the bottom end of the road up to Lamington National Park as according to the Queensland Park website and through phoning them the campsite (Green Mountains campsite) at Lamington itself was all booked full. I woke up pre-dawn and on the road into Lamington National Park I had views of Wonga Pigeon. I arrived at the campsite to find more than half the campsites empty and a bunch of Australian Brush Turkeys running around. On recommendation of the Lamington’s at the lodge I walked the border track. Along this track I had great views of Logrunner, Yellow-throated Scrubwren as well as the ubiquitous White-browed Scrubwren. I also saw Striated Thornbill, Brown Gerygone and Eastern Yellow Robin. A large party in fruiting trees about two thirds of the way up the border track proved very fruitful. I followed the canopy party for about 45 minutes and had Paradise Riflebird, non-breeding Regent Bowerbirds, Satin Bowerbid and Pied Currawong. At the waterpond near the escarpment I had splendid views of a Rose Robin male in full breeding plumage. Shane Farrell suggested that from his experience at Lamington that sitting quietly at this water hole (there is a small sign on the path indicating water) for hours would be the best chance at seeing the highly elusive Rufous Scrub-bird. I sat for 90 minutes and no Scrub-bird appeared although it was a good spot to get close up to other forest birds.  I returned via the Todengoola circuit which had good scenery but no new birds. After a hearty dinner at the lodge I went up to Mick’s tower, stakeout for the Marbled Frogmouth – but had no luck. As I had missed Albert’s Lyrebird on the first morning but was told by a friendly girl working at the lodge that she had seen them virtually every morning on her morning runs shortly after dawn. The kilometre after the junction which says Green Hills campsite is the best spot and it was exactly here that I found 2 Albert’s Lyrebirds. After breakfast I headed down Duck Creek road, an area supposedly good for Glossy Black Cockatoo and Spotted Quail Thrush. I had no luck but picked up on Straw-necked Ibis driving back to Conoungara.

Brisbane: Mount Glorious, Muggill State Forest and Fisherman’s Island

I met up with Colin Reid in Brisbane who kindly provided me with a bed for the night. After a quick dinner we set off for the impressive Mount Glorious reserve. We parked at the sign for the Greene’s Falls trail and we took the trail down to the valley bottom below some very tall trees. Marbled Frogmouth was heard calling from the canopy and after some searching we finally got a view of one about 20m up. Walking back up to the parking lot we picked up on the call of Sooty Owl. Once back at the car, we had gripping views of 3 birds responding to playback. The habitat at Mount Glorious looks very good and Colin says that during the day it is a good site for Regent Bowerbird. The following morning we set off for the Muggill State Forest, Colin’s closest stakeout for the White-eared Monarch. We had no luck with the Monarch – they had probably moved north already. We did have Golden Whistler. From there we moved on to the Fisherman’s Island at Port of Brisbane. A number of waterfowl were present and we identified Chestnut Teal, Wood Duck, Pacific Golden Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Straw-necked Ibis, Little Pied Coromorant, Little Black Cormorant, Curlew Sandpiper and Great Egret. From there we shot onto the Manly wader roost which is at the Manly boat harbour walking up from the Royal Queensland Yacht squadron. Here we had Curlew Sandpiper, Far Eastern Curlew, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Pied Oystercatcher, Grey-tailed Tattler, Banded Plover, Red-necked Stint, Intermediate Egret and Bar-tailed Godwit. We returned to Colin’s place where I packed my bags for my flight to Townsville.

Trip report compiled by: Duan Biggs e-mail:

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