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Birds of Queensland - #4 - Noosa Region (16 August 2014)
contributed by cougar15
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Last year, whilst researching the internet for recommended birding sites on the Sunshine Coast, I came across a reference to The Noosa Bird Trail.
The following link will provide more detail and a copy of the relevant brochure –
So far, I have visited only a handful of the 32 referenced Bird Trail sites but from what I have experienced to date, this brochure is a wonderful guide to birding in this region for visitors and locals alike.
A few days ago, I went out to the waste water treatment plant at Cooroy to obtain permission to enter the site and to observe the local birdlife. The chap who approved my entry was happy to oblige and I was able to walk around the extensive pondage area unescorted and at my own pace.
During my time there I saw large numbers of Pacific Black Duck, Purple Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen and Eurasian Coot. There were a few Australasian Grebes and Hardheads, as well - most of whom were pretty skittish and quickly took flight or disappeared into the nearby reed beds.
However, I was able to get close to a pair of Black-fronted Dotterels and several Fairy Martins that brightened up my visit and really made it worthwhile.
I'm sure there are a lot of bushland birds in the vegetation around the perimeter of this complex but I didn't want to outstay my welcome and left that discovery for another day.
On our way back to Mooloolaba I headed towards Noosa to see what was on offer at the Fearnley Bird Hide on the edge of Lake Macdonald. I stopped at this site last year and, on that occasion, was pleased to get a couple of close-up shots of a Great Egret and a White-necked Heron.
Unfortunately, my luck was out this year as the locals were too far away to take any reasonable photographs.
Nevertheless, I did note the presence of Great Egret, Royal Spoonbill, Australasian Grebe, Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants, Australian White Ibis, Pacific Black Duck, Eurasian Coot, Hardhead and Australian Pelican beyond a 200 metre radius from the hide.
Whilst sitting in the hide, waiting for my luck to change, I was startled by a very tame Grey Butcherbird hopping around my feet looking for crumbs from the snacks of previous birders. This little fellow (and his mate) were not in the least concerned with my presence and provided some welcome relief whilst I continued to wait in vain.
Back at the start of the track leading to the hide, I came across a Laughing Kookaburra who was just as unconcerned with my presence as the Butcherbirds. He very kindly allowed me to get close enough to take his photograph while hopping about on the picnic table under the nearby shelter.
So my stop at Lake Macdonald was not a dead-loss after all.
Addendum - 22 August 2014
I have now visited another of the sites on the Noosa Bird Trail, being Wallace Park in Noosaville, and had limited success in finding enough birdlife to maintain my interest.
Maybe, it was just one of those days that we all experience from time to time but there just wasn't much on offer.
I did, however, get close enough for a reasonable shot of a Rainbow Lorikeet and had some fun whistling to a very young Grey Butcherbird who must have thought I was one of its parents as it was quite happy to continue our "discussion" when I was only a couple of metres away from its perch.
I then moved to another of the Trail's sites, the Mangrove Boardwalk and Weyba Conservation Park at Noosa Heads.
Whilst the boardwalk is a bit of a waste of time, from a birding viewpoint, it is well constructed and does take you through the heavily vegetated mangrove area, albeit, for only a very short distance.
There is a tall electricity pole near the start of this boardwalk on top of which is a platform supporting the nest of a pair of Ospreys. It is well worth the effort to remain nearby and watch these wonderful birds come and go with their regular catch of local fish.
Across the adjacent footbridge (over Weyba Creek) there is a street which runs alongside the creek that leads you to a track into some heavy vegetation. There, you will find a number of different species including Grey Shrike-thrush, Eastern Yellow Robin, Lewin's Honeyeater, Pied Butcherbird, Magpie-lark, Australian Magpie and Australian Raven. I also saw two Great Egrets roosting in the tall trees alongside the creek bank.
I heard a number of different bird calls in this area that I could not identify and I hope to get back there before I return to Victoria.
On my way back to the footbridge I came across a lone Flying Fox suspended from a tall tree in Weyba Road enjoying the last of the late afternoon sunshine.
Addendum - 23 August 2014
I ticked off another of the Noosa Bird Trail sites a couple of days ago when I visited the area adjacent to the intersection of Old Hollett and Tidswell Roads, in Doonan.
As recommended, I parked near that intersection and walked down the unsealed Old Hollett Road (to the right) to the edge of Lake Weyba, about 1 km away.
There are many birding opportunities along this road with its heavily wooded area on the left and open farmland paddocks on the right.
Whilst I was there I heard more bird calls that I could not identify but I did see Grey Shrike-thrush, Eastern Yellow Robin, Australian Raven, Australian Magpie, Magpie-lark, Whistling Kite, White-bellied Sea-Eagle and Lewin's and White-throated Honeyeaters.
This was my first-ever sighting of a White-throated Honeyeater.
It certainly was an unexpected pleasure as I was under the impression this species was likely to be seen only towards the Top End.
I then walked back to my car and beyond, down Old Hollett Road, towards Walter Hay Drive.
Again, I came across more bird calls that were foreign to me. However, I did recognise and photograph a lovely Rufous Whistler hiding amongst the roadside foliage.
Then, just as I was about to call it a day, I caught a glimpse of brilliant blue amongst the bracken ferns near the end of Old Hollett Road. To my great joy it was a group of Variegated Fairy-wrens foraging amongst those ferns. Thankfully, one of the males stopped long enough for me to capture his image and, thus, make it another great birding experience on the wonderful Noosa Bird Trail.
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