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Birding report September October 2016

September 5th guest reported Rufous fantail at flying fox site

6thTopknot pigeons at turning circle, 7th-Male Riflebird on Wishing tree track

8th-Guests reported a Crested Shrike Tit on treetop walk. 2 Forest Kingfishers on powerlines at vineyard. Emerald dove opposite infinity pool. Spectacled monarch calling along Booyong walk is a tad high for this one. Grey Goshawk near Picnic Rock

10th-Guiding with the Naturetrek group from the UK. We lucked a Riflebird female along the Booyong Walk near a gap where it was focused on a cavity over 5 minutes trying something in there but helping immensely to the easy viewing. 4 Noisy Friarbirds were handy at the Guesthouse, Rose Robin in the mountain gardens was partially viewed quickly. Fantail Cuckoo moving around the parks side was tricky. Logrunners built a nest right in front of us 400m down the Border Track, cool. Guests reported 2 lyrebirds near Slaughterhouse and 1 on Boxforest circuit. Tawny Frogmouth at the Green Bridge on the Gloworm tour was a bonus to the start of the spotlighting and on return was sitting on the green bridge handrail and it let us get like one METRE away from it, nearly patted it!

11th-Highlights of Naturetrek Birding Group-full day guiding included Fantail Cuckoo at Morans Turnoff, Grey Goshawk Morans Valley, Black Faced CuckooShrike as well here (atypical), Shining Bronze Cuckoos abounding and calling everywhere. Maries Gate Lukes farm had Scarlet Honeyeaters and 2 dingos down the valley. We got 3 Thornbills at Charlies (Brown, Striated, Yellow). Bottom of the mountain road had a nicely timed Wedgetail Eagle, Black Shouldered Kite near a nest, Red Back Fairy Wren, White Throated Gerygone.

 Tamborine area had Brown Falcon, Jabirus with a young bird begging and stroding around with the male parent-wonderful sighting. Walnut Road lake (Bucholz Park) was a shocking sea of water Hyacinth forming an impermeable lid of death for the site beyond compare and salvation. At least the Jacana (hyacinth trotter) was adapting and nested right on top on a smaller pond-anywhere it liked! A Nankeen Kestrel also entertained us here making a good catch of a mouse like creature. Further up the road towards Beaudesert in the Birnam area lake we had nesting Black Swans (no Hyacinth needed) and plenty of Black Wing Stilts with young ones wandering about. A good range of waterbirds here.

Heading home and a quiet Biddiddiba lakes, as with most lakes lately had few specialities. Of interest was a Pacific Black Duck with a yellow bill hybridised from a Mallard no doubt. A Collared Sparrowhawk put in a quick show. Great Cormorants were trying to cool down in the blazing sun. As we were leaving some Double Barred Finches got our interest across the road. Then up popped something different out of the roadside grasses-a Plum Headed Finch sat plum up on the Barbed Wire fence and there was a mild panic from in the car as we scrambled for directions, cameras, calmness etc. Mega Bird! (even though they are tiny) was the call and we soon learned the finches were here to stay for the next 30 minutes as we filmed away within metres of them in between cars blasting by our day’s highlight right at the day’s end. 4 Plummies showed themselves and their attention was fully absorbed by the grass seeds which must have been just ripe. They gave ample photo opps by going onto the fence every few minutes or so. Superb Fairy Wrens and Yellow Rump thornbills also struggled for attention in the encore. We nearly missed it but yes, a fantastic stroke of luck and timing.

13thTawny frogmouth on Gloworm tour, 14th-Luke noticed a Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike at the Birdshow today

16th-Guests had Noisy Pitta along Border track

17th-Indian Ringneck Parrot on the ground with Galahs, roadside on the Gilston Mclaren Road Roundabout at Nerang sure is a bit different on the drive up to O’Reilly’s. One of Lukes relatives had also questioned what this strange sighting was, relating it to looking like a Grass Parrot a bit. Ringneck was also reported on birdline in recent times. If you ask it may be able to tell you it’s name hopefully! Two Sacred Kingfishers near the Vineyard. Scaly Breasted Loris nesting in Forest Redgums near bottom of mountain road. Wedgie and Brown Goshawk at helipad by Luke whilst ‘working’ the White Goshawk show bird as well as female Figbird behind the animal sheds here. Yellow Throated Scrub Wrens nesting behind the shelter seat on the Booyong Walk. Triller at Flying fox. Rose Robins and Spectacled Monarch at Flying fox and Yellow Faced Honeyeaters still moving through. Black Faced Cuckoo Shrikes kind of everywhere lately, coast, valleys and ranges . Guests had Lyrebird across the main carpark.

18th-Glossy Black Cockatoos x 3 in the Arborlon Bends spotted by Cat coming up the road today is always fantastic news. A Bronzewing at the 12km sign. Spangled Drongo calling behind the Cafe. Then it got a bit rainy but we managed to have views of the Grey Goshawk across the Morans Valley guiding a bus tour in defiance of the conditions. We were also rewarded by a Lyrebird scarpering across the Red Road coming back near Slaughterhouse, others had one at Hidden Gully as well as Pitta on Boardwalk.

24th-Luke had a Figbird calling opposite the Guesthouse, Pittas calling in many places. Glossy Black Cockatoos scattered nuts under Casuarinas in the ‘Arborlon Bends’ half way down the main road to the valley. Guests had 2 Lyrebirds on the Villa Track. Boobook Owls calling in the Morans Valley.  Pheasant Coucal at Pine Mountain-a roadside female that was right on the verge. I hope she didn’t get bumped.

25thOwlet Nightjar calling southeast of Moonlight Crag-about 3 in the arvo, a few times, nothing sighted and wasn’t going to go off the cliff to try get a better view. Pittas calling at the Slaughter House. Variegated Wrens right at Balancing Rock. Pale Yellow Robins upstream of the concrete bridge, Morans Falls (villa track)

29th-Trent had an Azure Kingfisher at Morans Creek. They are seldom seen in this area and years ago one ran into a parked bus killing itself. It is nice to know they maybe visiting seasonally again for the summer, possibly nesting upstream near the Wishing Tree. Luke had a displaying Lyrebird guiding for some birders and finally saw the return of the Dollarbird at the Vineyard roadside

30th-Mark Jenner saw an immature Satin Bowerbird eating Stinging Tree leaves for 10 minutes. Apparently the bird was woofing them down, maybe liking the spicy flavour. Bowerbirds do eat many types of leaves but Mark was impressed at the vigour in which this chap got into what is a pretty hazardous plant.

October 2016

1st– 2 White Throated Tree Creepers were at ground level up near the second gas tank, staff carpark. One even went onto the ground under the maintenance truck. Guests found a DEAD Noisy Pitta at the Wishing Tree Track start. Not unusual in a way to find this as they succumb some how to something. It is still most unfortunate though. Other guests had Lyrebird along Border Track around midday, not far out. 2 Boobook owls along the Booyong Walk where the road intersects managed to come out just before last light. Thankfully they started calling and a few minutes later we found them outside, not inside the hollow fig where the young ones were produced last year. It took a while to realise there were two until they met up and we were privellaged to be spectators to a mating, a bit longer than most birds and then lots of flapping and calling and fluffing.

2ndSpangled Drongo at the flying fox was quite different for Luke, Craig and I. Just after the raucous calls of Kookaburras a few hundred metres away came up Morans Valley as another fairly irregular bird up here. Triller again at flying fox. Luke had Yellow Robins nesting along Booyong Walk. Goshawk at fox again. Black Faced Monarchs calling in all areas. A nesting pair of Black Shouldered Kites still present in the big Forest Redgums between the 1st and second cattle grids at the bottom of the mountain road-both seen moving about the nest-second tree downhill of the ‘straightest’ section of road >100m down (60km/hr sign).

3rd-Trent had the Tawny Frogmouth on the billy bar above the fire pit at Flying Fox site on Gloworm Tour tonight

5th-On the bus tour we had Peregrine Falcons and WedgeTailed Eagle at Lukes Bluff and the Tawnies are Nesting in the same place as the last 4 years or so! Yay! Riflebird called across the farm in the tall forest near ding bing falls. Black Shouldered Kite was on and near the nest at the bottom of the mountain road-Sarabah Valley. Saw 2 here. Boobook owls called from behind the Ranger Station then a while later one landed in the pine next to the bar for a while, maybe 10 minutes. A Sooty Owl also called tonight from down towards the Wising Tree Track as well as Owlet Nightjar in the same direction. This was whilst we were doing some mammal filming about 930pm where a Sacred Kingfisher and Noisy Pitta also joined in.

6th-Guests had Noisy Pitta not too far down border track. A Robins nest near whippys place and the big bird bath tree on the Booyong Walk. Logrunners also set up nest just up the boardwalk, maybe 50m from the road and close to the track, but facing away making it cryptic. A Logrunner nest down the border track, maybe 50m past blue pool track had a parent on the nest, also just off the track, speaking of nests a Lewins Honeyeater was building one in a podocarp right over the road from reception. We noticed him come in while we were observing a satin bower bird nest just above. Yellow throated scrub wren nest at the covered seat on boardwalk. Distinct lack of Pigeons lately except a couple Wongas around the grounds. Wompoo was reported by some guests and may be more at lower levels for now. White throated honeyeaters were heard way up at Lake Cainbable lake

8th-Cat noted the Grey Butcherbirds at Lukes Bluff nesting. She also got a guiding session off and running well with a Lyrebird and Riflebird around the turning circle. Grey Goshawk at Morans, Spinebill nesting just above the track in the hakea next to the church.

10th-A pretty busy day. A Wonga Pigeon walked right past me at the Cafe, they seem to be increasing with the Brown Cuckoo Doves. White Headeds reported by Cat down near the Alpaca farm-about 20. Pretty awesome results this morning guiding Cleland group with him spotting a Lyrebird 50m up the Booyong Walk before starting. As we wandered down to the Cafe area an Emerald Dove was wandering around the Parrot Feeding area so we got a great view. Next some Spinebills around the cafe area where there are plenty of Grevillea flowers and Bottlebrushes. Down the Villa Track a short search found Male Riflebird several times. Relocating to Kootootonga House we found 3 Honeyeaters with a Male Scarlet well seen down low in Bottlebrushes. Border Track had views of Lyrebird again and further down egg in Logrunner Nest. Rose Robin and Crested Shrike Tit being difficult before yet another Lyrebird sighting. Then a busy patch with many other regulars before Lyrebird was seen again and a major discovery evolved-a CHICK! That’s right we saw a small brown fluffy ball (with barely no tail) being delivered food by the female parent. This is big news and the 3rd chick in 4 years. Pitta up Wishing Tree Track

In Eucalypt-Sittellas, Leaden Flycatcher, Grey Goss. Yellow Tailed Black Cockies across Morans Valley lunchtime

11th– Trent got the Frogmouth around the Slaughterhouse again and didn’t get a great view but thought it looked a bit like a Marbled.

12th-Luke scored a Pitta guiding as well as a female/ young Riflebird on the villa track

13thWedge tailed Eagles perched up a while in dead trees near balancing rock. Wompoo fruit doves along border track. A whip bird with a young chick was along the Booyong walk 50m nearby the track in some dense debris, pretty cute. 2 eggs were in the Logrunner nest just past the Bluepool turnoff. Bassian thrush nest a bit further along in a previous position right over the track. Pitta near Micks Tower covering a lot of ground-about 200m in 10 minutes and Lyrebird male well seen later on right the top of the Wishing Tree track. Lyrebird preferred this area this week with many sightings reported. Mark Watson mentioned Wompoos at Mountain gardens. Bell couple staying nearby, also found Wompoos and Topknots in abundance in fruiting figs along Christmas creek way lower down in the valleys.

14th-Whippy nest in a tangle of bushes along border track near the rock eating fig. Peregrine Falcon past Kamarun lookout. Leaden flycatcher bathing at Charlies waterhole was fabulous. Guests had Grey Goshawk down low on ground on the Wishing Tree track

16th-Trent had Boobook Owl and Tawny Frogmouth on gloworm tour. I managed to see 4 Tawnies roadside that night driving up

17thLyrebird in staff village area was a treat to morning birdwalkers and those guiding with Barry Davies. Some good views and sounds got things going well for the day. Barry mentioned he saw a female a while back delivering food to somewhere and likely was feeding the new chick. Wedge Tailed Eagle and Grey Goshawk around Guesthouse. Crested Shrike Tit at Morans and Russet Tailed Thrush Morans gully. Spectacled Monarch at Slaughterhouse.

18th-Guiding with Victor Emmanuel group (departing  from Brisbane) saw me 114 birds for the day with plenty of interesting sightings such as Grey Crowned Babblers  at the Beudesert Golf Club. Little Bronze Cuckoo, Little Lorikeets, Wandering Whistling Duck and Speckled Warbler didn’t disappoint up the Kerry valley. A distinct lack of waterbirds anywhere is very strange for these tours. Tamborine had Snipe doing a long flight around, while Whistling Kites and Hobby filled in the gaps. Both Corellas were about. That night driving home I had 3 Boobook Owls and a Tawny Frogmouth roadside on the mountain road.

19th-Luke with vent group reported Glossy Black Cockatoos off the ridgeline down at the top off the eucalypt section of the main road. Vent group did find Noisy Pitta and Riflebird around the place.

21st Luke had Pale Yellow Robin at Morans Falls and a Barn Owl driving home,22ndWompoos on birdwalk with Luke.

23rdLuke had Crested Shrike Tit near the main carpark. Lyrebird seen with Luke by Ornitholidays group and Riflebird start of Border Track. Lyrebird then reported on Treetop Walk and then the Tooloona building Scrub Turkey mound. Emerald dove on Red Road

31stBoobook Owl well found by Tropical Birding group in a fantastic hollow (with a heart shape in a dunns white gum). Looked amazing up there. Red Browed Tree Creepers also hanging around 1 same place indicated nesting behaviors.

24th-Eastern Rosella with Pale Headed Rosella at Biddiddibba was a new valley bird for me-and many others in Ornitholidays group. Still quiet on lakes around the valley with no ducks. This group we had had also travelled North Queensland and had not seen a White Faced or White Necked Heron! Black Swan with cygnets at Birnam lake also Grey Teals with young, Straw Necked Ibis here was my first sighting for the year-anywhere! Both Corellas common around the valleys just lately. Jacana with chic at Bucholz park

26th-Bus tour with Mick and Glen to Lukes Farm had 2 Peregrine Falcons. Guiding the May couple had Leaden Flycatchers at Duck Creek Road. Yellow faced honeyeaters revealed a nest at the Kurrajong turnoff. Cicadabird in most places. Red backed and Variegated fairy wrens were active. Riflebird called in the Brush Box section of the dcr as well as Striated Thornbills. We scored a Lyrebird on the Duck Creek road here too which had been a while coming. Mark Jenner had a Sooty Owl down the road a couple miles. Yellow Robin nest along Booyong Walk raided like usual. Thrush nest down border track raided.

30th-While passing canopy room balconies we saw Satin Bowerbirds feeding on something which turned out to be lolly snakes (alive) that were quite dead but the birds were checking any ways and slapping them to make sure before flying off to eat in private. Emerald dove top of Wishing Tree Track. Whippys nest was raided-just like last year. Riflebird and displaying Lyrebird down Villa Track were fantastic but included some effort to see. Pitta at Flying Fox was handy. Grey Fantail on nest 50m down first bend on the Border Track (uphill side) was mightly handy and doing well. Riflebird all around Staff Village. 2 Boobook Owls around the cafe stumps, maybe wondering where all the tree branches went to. 40 Needle Tailed Swifts reported by Field Guides while they were stopped in Canungra.