Sunday, 7 September 2014

A July trip to Tewantin, Queensland

My brother Michael turned 60 in August but as he was helping to organise the elections in Fiji on his birthday it was decided to have an early birthday luncheon in July.  As I have rarely been north of Brisbane I was looking forward to trip for family reasons but also with anticipated ornithological results.  There were reports of Yellow and Australian Little Bitterns and an Asiatic Dowitcher in southern Queensland published on Birding-aus and, although I am not an avid twitcher, I am always happy to see new species.  We stayed in a 'villa' at Tewantin which was really an average cabin but that suited us well.  It had built in Black Ducks which greeted us as we arrived.  I suspect that previous guests had fed the birds as they were knocking at the door wanting to come in.  I am totally opposed to feeding wildlife as it has a number of negative impacts on the wildlife itself.  It is usually done more for the enjoyment of humans rather than the benefit of the wildlife.  Despite this view I did take the opportunity to photograph the Ducks at close range.  They are really handsome birds.

Pacific Black Ducks knocking at the cabin door

During our barbeque lunch at Noosa I photographed a Little Black Cormorant loafing on a small pier.  Cormorants really know how to relax in the sun.

Little Black Cormorant relaxing on pier

On Sunday morning Val and I visited Noosa National Park and found that just negotiating the car park required vast doses of Valium and some counselling.  So many vehicles with so few car parking spaces.  The sad part was that very few people were there for the national park values, unlike us.  Most were there for the surf!!!

View from the walk at Noosa National Park

Adult Grey Butcherbird, Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park

Noosa National Park

We had an enjoyable lunch on the Sunday and headed back south on the Monday.  Our first stop was Bribie Island and the famous Buckley's Hole Reserve.  I had heard about Buckley's many times as a number of Australian Pied Oystercatchers that I had banded and flagged in northern New South wales have been observed there.  Then back to Toorbul roost where the Asiatic Dowitcher had been seen.

Adult Caspian Tern at Bribie Island  with band and flag placed on it in Victoria

Immature Pied Butcherbird Bribie Island
Adult White-faced Heron, Bribie Island

We didn't find the Dowitcher at Toorbul but did see a number of Black-winged Stilts, Eastern Curlews, Bar-tailed Godwits and two green flagged Australian Pied Oystercatchers.

Little Egret, Bribie Island

Adult Black-winged Stilts with one immature bird and a Bar-tailed Godwit Toorbul

Australian Little Bittern North Lakes, Queensland

Having read about the Yellow Bittern being observed at North Lakes we decided to call in on our way home.  We met up with a small group of birdos who informed us that the Yellow Bittern hadn't been seen for about four days however the Australian Little Bittern was seen a few minutes before.  I had banded an adult male Little Bittern found in a backyard in Lawrence many years ago and saw a dead one that had been killed by a motor vehicle on Woodford Island, Clarence Valley, NSW but had never observed one in the wild.  After a patient wait I was rewarded with reasonable sightings but as it was on the far side of the wetland my photos were only average.  Despite this I was very happy to see one in the wild and to admire its beautiful colours.  A lone Wandering Whistling-Duck also graced the pond.
All in all a great combination of catching up with seldom seen family and observing and photographing some great birds.

Wandering Whistling-duck North Lakes


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