The two coldest and sunniest days in London so far this winter, and my
emergence from a mountain of backlogged work e-mails, have prompted me to
remember a wonderful December (2011) on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Apart
from the delight of a new grandchild,I enjoyed one of my best ever day's
birding. I had lined up Greg Roberts before I returned and had asked for a day
of getting my eye (and one good ear)back in to local birds, with an emphasis on
variety more than rarity chasing, without despising the latter, and a good
sample of the northern SunshineCoast's ecosystem diversity. That's exactly what
By 6am we were in the Conondale Ranges watching 40 plus Topknot Pigeons manning
the cross-trees of a magnificent Bunya Pine to our front, and RegentBowerbirds
and Paradise Riflebird in a Fig to our left and White-eared and Black-faced
Monarchs in a tangle beside us - with Bell Miners providing the chorus. What a
The ecosystems covered included rainforest, rainforest stream, open forest, wet
sclerophyll forest, freshwater wetlands, sewage farm, lake and lagoons,
wallumheath on Noosa North Shore, mangroves and the tidal Noosa River (a few
days later I canoed Lake Cootharaba, the Everglades and the Upper Noosa River
with my son-in-law ).
Although the whole day was a high, being the centre of a 360 degree,
circumnavigation, by a magnificent Black-breasted Buttonquail at a constant
distance of 15 metres inthe forest at Imbil was the single highlight. Baillon's
Crake and Spotless Crake at the Cooroy Sewage Farm, Shining Flycatcher in the
Noosa River mangroves and Rose-crowned Fruit-dove and White-bellied
Cuckoo-shrike immediately overhead in a clearing in the wet sclerophyll forest
also provide memorable images. 120 species forthe day. I highly recommend the
birding and ecological delights of the area.
On a slightly different note, we reflected on the fact that we first met a few
decades ago when Greg was a student campaigner for a Conondale Ranges National
Park, now a reality -and that other notable conservation successes had occurred
in the region in the subsequent years, including the Noosa National Park (with
its'extensions to the south) and NoosaNorth Shore/Cooloola/Fraser Island - the
Great Sandy National Park. The obvious and apparently relentless expansion of
residential development tends to mask that real wins that have been achieved
for the natural environment in the area.
I did manage a few more hours birding here and there including a trip to
Buckley's Hole on Bribie Island where I had the pleasure, in the hide there, of
receiving Trevor Ford's two excellent local ID Guides from one of its' major
photographic contributors, Robert Inglis.
All that, a Koala from the verandah of a friend's unit at Noosa and a few
kilograms of local prawns, made for one heck of a December.
Back to the pleasures of wintering wildfowl refugees from the Arctic and
volunteer guiding at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust's London Wetland Centre - a
bit cooler and not quite as diverse.
Angus Innes, London, UK.
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