Birding on Bribie Island and at Toorbul, Qld.

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Birding on Bribie Island and at Toorbul, Qld.
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 15:35:10 +1000
Hi all,

This bit of info might be useful to those of you who will be in SE Qld over this coming weekend or, indeed, over the Christmas/New Year break and are wondering where to do a bit of birding, birdwatching or bird-photography.

Consider Bribie Island or Toorbul.

Bribie Island is a little north of Brisbane and a little south of the Sunshine Coast. It has at least two famous birding spots - Buckley's Hole Nature Reserve and Kakadu Beach high tide wader roost. Buckley's Hole Nature Reserve has a great wetland area containing a (drying fast) lagoon with a bird hide overlooking the lagoon on one side and a sandspit on the outside where shorebirds, terns and gulls gather at high tide. There is also a high viewing spot at one end of the lagoon which overlooks the wetland.
Currently at, in or near the lagoon are such niceties as:
Latham's Snipe (up to 9 regularly seen lately)
Spotless Crake (several in the area)
Buff-banded Rail (lots)
the 3 large white egrets
Chestnut Teal (probably the predominant duck at the moment) and Grey Teal
Brahminy Kite (look for the juvenile)
Osprey (several in the area)
Royal Spoonbills (several in the lagoon today)
other waterbirds
Dollarbirds (numerous in the area)
Pheasant Coucal (residents)
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers masquerading as Pectoral Sandpipers (but check them out - Pecs have been seen there in the past)

The lucky or persistent birder also has the chance of seeing Lewin's Rail (probably best to look for it in the late afternoon at the northern end of the lagoon), Baillon's Crake (around the edges of the lagoon), Oriental Cuckoo (in the bushland near the hide) and Marsh Sandpiper (in the lagoon). Photographers have a good chance of getting some good photos from the hide particularly in the early morning and if the weather is fine. Be careful and quiet when approaching and entering the hide as the crakes, snipe and egrets could be nearby and are easily spooked.

Kakadu Beach wader roost is an artificial roost at Banksia Beach on Pumicestone 
Large numbers of waders and terns are gathering at the roost during the high tide periods and can be viewed best from the hide at the northern end.
The specialty at the Kakadu Beach roost at the moment is 
............Broad-billed Sandpiper.
This bird is hard to pick up amongst the hundreds of Red-necked Stints and Lesser Sand Plovers so be prepared to spend a couple of hours in the hide if you need this species for one of your lists.
Other birds there include:
Great and Red Knots
Bar-tailed Godwits (look for the odd Black-tailed Godwit)
Red-capped Plover (with at least one very young juvenile)
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Gull-billed Tern

The picnic area to the north of the Kakadu Beach roost could yield Olive-backed Oriole (calling at the moment), Tawny Frogmouth, Eastern (was Common) Koel along with dragons.

Bribie Island has numerous places to buy lunch or a snack.

Toorbul is a short drive north of Bribie Island and is a prime wader spot. There is an enhanced wader roost at the southern end of the Esplanade where there are also picnic tables and shade. Toorbul is one of the best places to see large numbers of Eastern Curlews but get there (near the aforementioned roost) well before the high tide as they may decide to head over to Bribie Island to roost if the numbers get to big or they are disturbed. Toorbul is also a better place to look for Black-tailed Godwits than Bribie Island. For the past few weeks there has been a small flock of Black-taileds at Pelican Point which is just south of Delisser Avenue. Be careful when viewing at this spot as the birds are forced close to the road at high tide and they can be easily flushed. I recorded 3 Marsh Sandpipers at this spot a week ago but they are uncommon. The roost at the southern end of the Esplanade is quite open and care needs to be taken when approaching it for viewing. Local human activity seems to have made the birds quite wary. It is probably better to arrive at the nearby picnic area a couple of hours before the high tide and observe the birds gathering from there. I ask the photographers to temper their desire to get ultra-close to birds for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. We are having enough trouble educating the locals to not disturb the roosting birds so if they see non-locals doing just that in attempting to get photos we will lose the battle.
Keep an eye open for a Broad-billed Sandpiper here. Also, Grey Plover is 
Birds for the Toorbul area include:
Eastern Curlew
Common Greenshank
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Royal Spoonbill
Gull-billed Tern
Little Tern
Grey-tailed Tattler
Red-necked Stint
Sooty Oystercatcher (uncommon)
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Rainbow Bee-eater
knots (both)
Black-winged Stilts

Toorbul has a fish and chip shop.

A few kilometres before Toorbul on the Pumicestone Road is Bishop's Marsh (not signposted but look for Volz Rd) where Brolgas are often to be seen (4 last week). Be careful when pulling off the road here as the verges are narrow and can be soft. The passing traffic passes at high speed.

If Striated Herons are your thing then a visit to Godwin Beach (on the mainland near Bribie Island) between tides could be productive. I have often seen several of this species feeding on the mud-flats throughout the year.

Travel notes: Refer to the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast UBD Refidex
Bribie Island - maps 52, 53, 54, 63, 64;
Toorbul - maps 41, 51;
Godwin Beach - map 61, 62.

Please note: I offer this information with good intentions but I don't guarantee any of the birds mentioned above will be there when you visit and I take no responsibility for any damage, loss or injury suffered by anyone who follows up on this information. However, I am sure that anyone who takes care and pays attention to all of the potential dangers inherent in any outdoor activity will enjoy a productive trip to the areas mentioned. I suggest that sun-protection be applied and insect repellant be carried in case midges (so-called sand-flies) become a problem.
These locations will be thick with tourists over the Christmas period and the 
roads could be busy.

Good birding

Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point


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