Nine Sunshine Coast BirdLife members enjoyed perfect mild winter weather on their mid-week birdwatching outing on the 19th August. We started at the Noosa Botanical Gardens at 8am watching a flock of 15 Topknot Pigeons noiselessly fly over, and then slowly worked our way down to Lake MacDonald. Noisy Miners were seen feeding two young in a nest at eye level beside the track, keeping the photographers happy (although Vince was seen later yet again photographing flowers instead of birds). One each of Caspian and Gull-billed Tern were over the water and a Buff-banded Rail showed nicely on the grassy edge. We scored the usual assortment of resident waterbirds with only two duck species, but a juvenile Comb-crested Jacana was an interesting find. The gardens were very dry and bush birds hard to find, a solitary Green Catbird the best seen. Our two hours produced 51 species (with two heard only) with not a single raptor, 5 species each of pigeon and honeyeater.
There was much more waterbird activity at Jabiru Park and Fearnley Hide after morning tea, and we were treated to a pair of Australasian Shovelers, along with Grey Teal, Pacific Black , Hardhead and seven Magpie Geese. Intermediate and Great Egret were present, along with White-faced and White-necked Heron, and 10 Caspian Tern, including some in juvenile plumage. But the highlight of the day was overhead, where in one view 70 Straw-necked Ibis soared effortlessly on high, whilst below a male and female Brown Goshawk were harassed by a Magpie. To complete the picture, a lone White-bellied Sea-Eagle was seen floating in the distance. At Valda's suggestion we finished the morning with a walk back along the entrance road (Grange Rd.) where we found our only Olive-backed Oriole, Grey Fantail, Forest Kingfisher, Golden Whistler, and White-throated and Scarlet Honeyeaters of the day. A Fan-tailed Cuckoo alighted only metres away as we did our final tally. Another two hours well spent with 57 species (5 heard only).
All-up we counted 76 species (three heard only) , which we modestly told ourselves was not a bad winter's morning work. We were unable to locate any early spring migrants, but it didn't seem to matter, as we enjoyed relaxed and uncrowded time with our resident Sunshine Coast birds. Mid-week outings appear a worthwhile addition to our yearly itinerary.