I've been away holidaying on the Sunshine Coast in SE Queensland, doing a
small amount of birding in between offering scandalous support to the
tourism industry there. It's my one-and-only resort holiday, and I promise
I'll never do it again!
Sorry for the flippancy - it's really quite serious. In the 10 days I was
away, I missed the hot thread on Birding-Aus on land clearing, habitat
loss, etc., but on the bus from Noosa to Maroochydore earlier today, the
seriousness of those issues was evident. Noosa National Park itself is a
bit of a joke - a small and highly fragmented park containing diverse plant
communities ranging from littoral rainforest to Banksia woodland and wallum
heath - but the park sectors are so small and closely pressed on ALL sides
by rampant housing and tourism developments. The landbird diversity in the
park is not great, and this is surely a consequence of extreme
fragmentation. At the other extreme though, north of the Noosa River, is
the stunning and large Cooloola National Park. The range of habitats is
similar, but the area of contiguous habitat is probably 50 or 100 times
greater, running from the Noosa River up to Fraser Island. Cooloola has a
fantastic array of plants, birds and doubtlessly mammals, etc. too.
A few birding highlights (from a mostly non-birding holiday):
MARY CAIRNCROSS PARK, MALENY, 18/7/1998, (26° 46' 58"S 152° 52' 45"E).
Lots of WOMPOO FRUIT-DOVES feeding in the canopy on small black olive-like
fruits, and one bird sitting on a nest. This is the spot where the
BRUSH-TURKEY section of the recent megapode TV show on ABC was filmed - and
they are as ubiquitous there as the doco suggested.
TEA-TREE BAY, NOOSA NATIONAL PARK, 20/7/1998, (26° 23' 33"S 153° 5' 37"E).
Offshore there were countless schools of small fish boiling the surface of
the ocean, and these were being fished by a huge, dispersed, mixed flock of
thousands of terns and other birds. Most of the birds were CRESTED TERNS,
but I was also able to get close enough views to identify smaller numbers
of LESSER CRESTED TERNS, ROSEATE TERNS and BLACK-NAPED TERNS. Having three
'gannet' species together was a bit of a bonus - BROWN BOOBY (dozens),
MASKED BOOBY (one), and AUSTRALASIAN GANNET (two). The crowning glory
though - three GREAT FRIGATEBIRDS harrassing the mixed flock. Other birds
of interest there (to me) included: WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE, and a probable
STREAKED SHEARWATER (like a big, long-necked, pale morph Wedge-tailed
FARM DAM NEAR KIN KIN, 22/7/1998, (26° 15' 35"S 152° 53' 20"E).
Three COMB-CRESTED JACANAS lily-trotting (of course), with a number of
HARDHEADS on deeper parts of the dam. A few vocalising RUFOUS WHISTLERS.
One OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE engaged in vigorous and quite loud mimicry of
Australian Magpie, Pied Butcherbird, Grey Butcherbird, Willie Wagtail, and
others. Nice but fleeting view of ROSE-CROWNED FRUIT-DOVE.
WAHPUNGA SCHOOL PARK, 22/7/1998, (26° 14' 26"S 152° 54' 26"E).
A small rainforest reserve and picnic area on the road between Kin Kin and
Wolvi. Several quite feral RED JUNGLEFOWL (aka CHOOKS!). A SUPERB
BYMIEN PICNIC AREA - POONA LAKE WALKING TRACK, COOLOOLA NATIONAL PARK,
22/7/1998, (25° 57' 19"S 153° 6' 12"E).
One WHITE-EARED MONARCH near Poona Lake. PALE-YELLOW ROBIN and EASTERN
YELLOW ROBIN vied for 'the most often seen' bird on the walk. AUSTRALASIAN
GREBES on Poona Lake were vocalising very loudly, a chittering call, and
tail chasing - evidence of breeding activity? One solitary, silent GREEN
TIN CAN BAY, 22/7/1998, (25° 54' 13S" 153° 0' 44"E).
Too late in the day for Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins (damn!). One
calling BEACH STONE-CURLEW was a reasonable consolation prize. A few
RED-WINGED PARROTS around town (nice town birds!).
58 Holden Street
Fitzroy North 3068 Vic, AUSTRALIA
Phone: (03) 9486 4575
Voice-mail: (0419) 588 993