A family holiday to Noosa last week gave me the perfect chance to get in a
spot of casual birding.
A morning walk around the car park at the north eastern end of Noosa beach
and then back down along the beach caused some major distraction with many
hundreds of terns moving from the ocean to the sand bars at the head of the
river (in both directions). Crested tern were easily identified, and common
tern too, but the other waders and terns were too far away with the bins and
Highlights of a wander up the beach were osprey and two galahs, and then I
headed up the Noosa River, collected Zoe, and hired a small boat to
investigate those sand bars more closely!
The closer inspection was worthwhile, with very good views from as close as
two meters of pacific golden plover, red capped plover, pied oystercatcher,
eastern curlew, bar-tailed godwit and whimbrel. Even better, we were able to
have crested tern, common tern, little tern, gull-billed tern, black-naped
tern and white-winged black tern all lined up in virtually one binocular
view for fantastic comparison of size. My first views of the white-winged
black tern - eight birds counted in a mixed flock of around 1,000 terns.
Highlights of the Noosa Hill walk and Tanglewood Track at the national park
on the headland were eastern reef egret (in front of the carpark),
white-browed scrubwren, spectacled monarch and variegated fairy wren (which
until then had rather embarrassingly proven a highly elusive species for
On Thursday, 11 January 2007 we took the Cooloola Way from Noosa up to Tin
Can Bay to do the Tin Can Bay Foreshore Bird Walk, seeing grey-crowned
babbler on the forestry roads as we drove along. Thank you to the good
people who put together the PDF brochure for Tin Can Bay (see
www.cooloolacoastcare.org.au). Right down at the point we caught glimpses of
collared kingfisher, which we caught up with again for a better look at
later in the day. We also bumped into Ken and Margaret from Brisbane, who
have us good directions for a spot for ground parrot (more of that later).
We found the foreshore very quiet where it's suggested you walk, with only
really pied oystercatcher and masked lapwing about. It was a very hot day,
and we headed to the other, more sheltered side (area 11 on the map for
those using the brochure). That was full of life, with the highlights being
pied butcherbird, rainbow bee-eater, spectacled monarch, variegated fairy
wren, red-backed fairy wren, black chinned honeyeater, blue-faced
honeyeater, brahminy kite, white-bellied sea eagle and striated heron.
Then we were on to the ground parrot spot off Cooloola Way. Thanks to Frank
Rheindt, Ken and Margaret and Thomas and Thomas for the ground parrot
directions. I donned the plastic pants against my better judgment on a very
hot day and in only a couple of minutes we were hearing ground parrot calls
and then flushed a single bird, which gave us excellent views as it crossed
the road and flew low over the heath for some 25 meters before going down
again. There were also white-cheeked honeyeaters in the area.
We then wandered up to the national park proper, parking in the Bymien area
of Rainbow Bay Road and walking into the fresh water lake for a refreshing
swim. The rainforest and lake are breathtakingly beautiful and we heard (but
didn't see), green catbird, wompoo and rose-crowned fruit dove. The
rainforest is dense and it is difficult to see many of the birds, but we
were fortunate enough to get crippling views of rufous fantail and
large-billed scrubwren - the latter of which paraded on an unobstructed
branch at eye-level and within easy reach for about 45 seconds.
After that it was back to Noosa to relieve grandma from baby sitting duties
and continue the family holiday!
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