Saturday, 26 July 2014

A Plug for Barung Landcare

Members [and others] are encouraged to peruse the following information about Barung Landcare, an excellent organisation centred in Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Opportunities to learn more about the flora and fauna of the Sunshine Coast as well as opportunities to improve and/ or provide habitat for them. Please consider.
Their website is


Barung Landcare, established in 1989, sits in the headwaters of four major river systems in the Blackall Range in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Based in Maleny, Barung Landcare is a leading community-based organisation working to develop ethical solutions for a sustainable future. We support local and regional community empowerment to conserve and enhance the rich diversity of natural resources of the Blackall Range and environs.  more info


The ‘Gardens for Wildlife' program encourages and recognises wildlife-friendly gardens and environment-friendly practices in our gardens. 


launched an ambitious
and visionary project for conservation in the
Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Hinterland Bush Links
aims to protect
healthy bush long-term,
restore areas that have
been degraded by weeds
and other impacts, and connect habitat with
flora and fauna

more info


The Barung Centre on the
Maleny Community Precinct

Barung Landcare is celebrating its 21st year by taking the first steps towards the creation of its education Resource Centre on the Maleny Community Precinct.

Take the Ethical Paper pledge!

Upcoming Workshops & Events

Monday, July 28, 2014 9:00 AM • Burgess Lane, Maleny
Saturday, August 09, 2014 9:00 AM • Burgum Road, North Maleny
Saturday, August 16, 2014 8:00 AM • To be announced
Monday, September 01, 2014 9:00 AM • Treehaven Way, Maleny
Tuesday, September 02, 2014 9:00 AM • Barung Nursery
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 7:00 AM • Flaxton
Thursday, September 04, 2014 • To Be Announced
Friday, September 05, 2014 • To Be Announced
Saturday, September 13, 2014 8:00 AM • Russell Family Park
Saturday, September 13, 2014 9:00 AM • Crystal Waters, Kilcoy Lane, Conondale
Saturday, September 20, 2014 • Mimburi - Belli Park Sunshine Coast
- See more at:

Thursday, 24 July 2014

AUGUST OUTING - London Creek Environmental Park

August 2nd          London Creek Environmental Park 
Meet at 8am. From Bald Knob Road [accessable from Peachester or the Maleny - Landsborough Road] turn east into MacDonalds Rd. Park here.
Referdex Map 94 12L

Park at marker

Friday, 11 July 2014

Ethical Birding and Photography

Update [13/07]
Yellow BitternWallaroo Circuit, North Lakes
The Yellow Bittern (female) was visible for most the morning and again this evening. It was not being disturbed by visiting birders.

From Eremeaea; [11/07]
 Yellow BitternNorth Lakes Golf Course

Arriving approx. 12.45pm I was directed from the previous reported (Wallaroo Court Circuit ponds) across the Bounty Boulevard to a pond centred in the Golf Course. After a few minutes the Yellow Bittern came onto the lily pads and continued to feed and frolic in the sun for all the surrounding birders. I have been informed that the owners and management team of the golf course are extremely displeased by birders trespassing to view this bird - please keep this in mind.

Please be an ethical birder.
In the instance of a rare bird sighting, please keep in mind these birds have most likely undergone an arduous and long journey, be conscious they will be easily stressed by overenthusiastic birders and photographers trying to get the best view or the perfect shot. Please keep an appropriate distance from all birds, stay on marked trails and avoid entering restricted areas and private property.
 For more information on Birdlife Australia's ethical birding policy, please see here 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Rare Birds around SE Qld - July 2014

Eremaea is basically the site to monitor records of rare birds in SE and Central Qld [although all states are covered] however I'd like to publish records close to or of interest to Sunshine Coast birders here as well in the hope that more people can access the information.

First the 'big' news; while not an Australian first it's almost in that category. A Yellow Bittern has been discovered at North Lakes in SE Qld. This is normally a common SE Asian species. It is a female bird and there is a male Australian Little Bittern at the same site.

This is the initial report from Eremaea dated July 8;               Yellow BitternNorth Lakes SE Queensland

Still present this morning. Paul Walbridge & Brian Russell found a female Ixobrychus Bittern on Sunday which was far more prone to fly around and its call was different to another Australian Little Bittern present. Photos were sent down south for analysis and the immediate response was that it was probably a Yellow Bittern; this has since been confirmed by J.Davies, D.Rogers & M.Carter and an expert based in Asia. Paul will now write up and submit the record as the first live mainland sighting. Paul will give out further details. Contact him on: The particular lake is in a rather peaceful section of the complex and we expect visiting birders to show respect for the local residents e.g. with Parking. The streets are rather narrow and won't stand up to large numbers of extra vehicles. Also one would expect observers to keep to the footpaths and observe the birds from a respectful distance. Can the local 'Photographers' please respect all the birds present, stay on the path and not disturb the area, and refrain from cutting vegetation down to get good shots.
Rob Morris & Andrew Jensen

This is a description of the Australian Little Bittern from a Birdlife Australia document - 'Australian Little Bittern Identification Guide';
The ALB is the smallest Australian heron, only 35 cm long and weighing around 85 g. In contrast to most other herons, the sexes are distinguishable with the male having a black back, whereas the female’s back is brown. Both have a black or dark crown, a rufous or buff neck, black tail and a dark-brown double-stripe from throat to mid-belly, flanked by broader buff streaks. The juvenile is similar to the female except it has bold brown/black streaks on much of its body and rufous tips on most feathers feathers. In flight the male shows a marked contrast between dark back and primaries, and the buff upperwing coverts, whereas this contrast is reduced in the female and slight in the juvenile.  

Also from that guide; In northern Australia, be wary of a potential vagrant species, the Yellow Bittern . This migratory species has been recorded once in Australia but may be go undetected. It is of similar size to the ALB, but it is a much paler bird, with both sexes being rufous brown on the back. However, in flight the primary and secondary feathers of all phases of Yellow Bittern are black and contrast markedly with the rest of the plumage, at times giving a piebald impression.

Some good pictures of Australian Little Bittern can be found here;

This is a description of Yellow Bittern from a Birds of singapore website [] -
 Description:  Crown, short crest and nape black marked with buff. Rufous-brown on face, sides of head and neck, with deeper rufous on hind neck, greyer on forehead and supercilium. Upperparts, tertials and scapulars reddish-brown marked with pale buffy-yellow. Lower back, rump and uppertail coverts pale grey marked with reddish-brown, mostly obscured by long feathers of mantle. Sides of body and flanks pale buff. Tail black. Primaries and secondaries black, primary and greater coverts pale buffy-yellow. Underparts white streaked with golden-buff from chin to middle abdomen, whiter on the throat and neck. Undertail and underwing coverts white.
Females: Like males but more rufous above. Forehead and crown streaked with dull rufous, back and scapulars rufous-brown streaked with buff. Underparts paler white, with a dark buffy-brown line down middle of chin, throat and foreneck, breaking up into streaks on the sides of the body and flanks. In very old birds, the line down the throat and foreneck disappears, and both sexes are almost exactly alike (Robinson & Chasen 1936).
Immature birds: Head and mantle dark brown streaked with pale buff. Greater and lesser wing coverts coarsely streaked darker brown, uppertail coverts blackish-brown. Underparts heavily streaked, with reddish-brown on throat and upper breast, with dark buff on abdomen, vent and undertail coverts.
Soft parts: Iris orange-yellow, facial skin greenish-yellow (a bird with a brood patch, caught at Sungei Buloh on 13 December, had facial skin bluish-yellow). Tarsi dull greenish-yellow, yellower on the rear, soles yellowish-buff. Bill brownish-black on ridge of upper mandible, lower mandible orange-yellow, greener at base.

Simpson and Day emphasise the difference in bills between the two species; The Yellow Bittern's bill being longer and thinner than the ALB. I think this difference can be seen in the accompanying photos.
Bill of ALB
Yellow Bittern Bill

Below are some photos taken by Ken Cross yesterday.
Yellow Bittern
Yellow Bittern

Yellow Bittern

Male Australian Little Bittern

Male Australian Little Bittern
Other birds of interest in the greater area include Powerful Owls seen at Sheep Station Creek Reserve near Caboolture. Also at that reserve are White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes as well as Fuscous Honeyeaters [both uncommon species in the greater Sunshine coast area. At Toorbul, a well known site for SC birders, an Asian Dowitcher continnues to show as well as a variety of other wintering waders plus Red-necked Avocets.
A Powerful Owl


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Sh*t Birders Say

An amusing little video for birders. Made in the USA for US birders but much of it works for Aussie birers as well.

Friday, 4 July 2014

July Outing - Park Lakes, Bli Bli

Recently while in East Africa I noticed a sign that stated simply ‘Bird Watching is a good use of Wetlands’.  As a birder living in the driest continent on our planet I could not agree more. And so it was fortuitous that on our first group outing since my return we ventured to Park Lakes near Bli Bli; a relatively recently man made wetland. 
Magpie Goose - an uncommon species on the Sunshine Coast

Now to be clear this is not the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary, another very good birding site, which is also situated at Bli Bli albeit a few kilometres away where, according to their website, ‘you can explore wet and dry eucalypt forests, rainforest, melaleuca forest, casuarina woodland, salt marsh and mangroves.’ 

Park Lakes is not a natural site, however it is to the credit of the developers that many species of birds have been fooled. The site features a variety of different habitats, especially freshwater habitats.  The Lakes have been planted around with many species of flowering natives and many honeyeaters are attracted.

Now Park Lakes came to the attention of local birders a while back mostly through the efforts of Greg Roberts who was pleased to find it, in summer at least, a good site for uncommon species such as Baillons and Spotless Crakes, Little Bitterns, Australian Painted Snipe, Little Grassbird and both Whistling Duck species. Through Greg’s website [  ]and through Eremaea [another birding site - ] the site recieved some publicity and achieved some notoriety and many birders dutifully got great views of many of the species listed above.
Australian Reed Warbler

Today, sadly, very few of the species listed above were recorded save some relatively good views of Little Grassbirds. 

Anyway – today’s stats. Thirty five birders made the modest 8am start – the normal winter’s start time and together the group sighted exactly seventy species with an additional one [Eastern Whipbird] heard.

The ‘star’ species apart from the Grassbird were Australian Reed Warbler, calling Olive-backed Oriole, nesting Striated Pardalotes and Eastern Yellow Robins, quite good numbers of Double-barred Finch, at least five Australian Pipits on the sports fields adjacent, Jacana and Buff-banded Rails on the wetlands, Magpie Geese perhaps trying to nest as well and, finally, a flight of 42 Great Cormorants with a lone [and perhaps confused] Pied Cormorant.

All in all a good morning with great attendance and a good bird count.
Pacific Black Duck

Ken Cross

An aerial photo of the Park Laes area from Google Maps showing the forest habitat and the wetland areas to the north with a good cement path circling the entire area.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

July - Queensland Garden Expo

Join us at the Queensland Garden Expo - on the weekend of July 11th - 13th. Birdlife Sunshine Coast will be exhibiting. Members are encouraged to join us to help 'talk birds' with visitors. Looking forward to meeting many new members.

Life is a garden - celebrate 30 years with us in 2014

July Outing!!

July 5th                Park Lakes Wetland near Bli Bli
Meet at 8am. A new site for the club!! From Bli Bli, turn north into Willis Rd, follow the main road [it changes into Thomas Road]. At the roundabout turn left into Park Lakes Drive. Follow this road through several roundabouts until the end. Near the end of the road there is a park on the right. We will meet here and begin our walk. A good mix of habitat and spp. Little Bitterns have recently bred here and a few crake spp have been regularly seen.
Referdex Map 57 9P
Map showing 49 Parklakes Drive - park across road in front of the park.

June Outing Report - Ewan Maddock Dam

Birdlife Australia's Sunshine Coast group had a good walk recently around part of Ewan Maddock dam. The weather was fine and cool with a light breeze.
Great Egret

There were 26 people attending with a number of visitors and new members attending.

59 bird species were sighted with 4 species heard only. Amazingly there were no Rainbow Lorikeets recorded!

Scarlet Honeyeaters  were calling everywhere ! Nothing unusual among the others but Hobby, Brown Goshawk and Whistling Kite were noted sightings. 

A few species recorded and photographed by Vincent Lee accompany this brief report.

Whistling Kites
Tawny Frogmouth

White-bellied Cuckoo Shrike