Purple-crowned Fairy-wren (Malurus coronatus)

The beautiful Purple-crowned Fairy-wren (Malurus coronatus) is a species of bird in the Maluridae family.   I couldn’t get a decent shot at Victoria River so here’s a couple from Wikipedia, you can see the difference between male and female.

They are only found in the northern part of Australia spanning from Western Australia to parts of the Northern Territory and QueenslandVictoria River Roadhouse is the go-to place to spot them, also try Timber Creek.

LEARN MORE ABOUT PURPLE-CROWNED FAIRY-WRENS

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Austalian Wildlife Conservancy

Australian Gov’t

VIDEO

I could only find one clip on Youtube but it’s a good one!

White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis)

The White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis) is native to New Guinea, and eastern and northern Australia.  This little guy from Pine Creek was surprisingly bold in letting any passing human know he wanted a drink of water!

They have a very large range across Australia in Queensland and the Northern Territory and even into southern Papua New Guinea.

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHITE-THROATED HONEY-EATERS

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Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

VIDEOS

This one has something to say, probably asking the human below to get him some water!

Another one from Darwin

 

Rose-crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus regina)

The Rose-crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus regina) is also known as Pink-capped Fruit Dove or Swainson’s Fruit Dove.  Their delicate beauty and bright pink caps make them a real treat to see!

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They have quite a large range in northern and eastern Australia and also Indonesia.  I spotted this beauty at Howard Springs Nature Park in the Northern Territory.

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Backyard Birds

Australian Geographic

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When you know you’re gorgeous!

 

Bonded pair

 

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii)

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) also known as Banksian- or Banks’ Black Cockatoo, is a large black cockatoo native to Australia.

Five subspecies are recognised.

C. b. banksii is found in Queensland and, rarely, in far northern New South Wales
C. b. graptogyne, (Endangered) known as the south-eastern red-tailed black cockatoo, is found in southwestern Victoria and southeastern South Australia in an area bordered by Mount Gambier to the west, Portland to the south, Horsham to the northeast and Bordertown to the north
C. b. macrorhynchus, given the name great-billed cockatoo by Mathews; is found across northern Australia.

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C. b. naso (Near Threatened) is known as the forest red-tailed black cockatoo and is found in the southwest corner of Western Australia between Perth and Albany.

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C. b. samueli exists in four scattered populations: in central coastal Western Australia from the Pilbara south to the northern Wheatbelt in the vicinity of Northam, and inland river courses in Central Australia, southwestern Queensland and the upper Darling River system in Western New South Wales. Birds of this subspecies are generally smaller with smaller bills than the nominate banksii.

Good places to spot this gregarious and cheeky cockatoo are:  Along the coast of Western Australia, the Northern Territory south of Darwin, most parks in South-east Queensland.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT RED-TAILED BLACK COCKATOOS

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World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Recovery Project

VIDEOS

Beautiful close-ups of cockatoos foraging and pair bonding.

 

Filmed at Paradise Park, this slo-mo clip shows the bird in flight.

Flock roosting near Cairns

 

 

How To See 25 Australian Parrot Species In Whirlwind 8 Days From Brisbane

If you have been following this blog for the last couple months you’ve seen how I saw all kinds of parrot species in South-East Queensland. So now let’s string it together and tally up the possible parrots.  Remember, this itinerary only gets you into the habitat where the birds are commonly seen.  There is never a guarantee with wild birds but if you plan well and do your homework on eBird’s Species Maps, you have a very good chance to get them all!

This is sort of the Amazing Race of Birding and designed for people with limited time.  If you can, add one day to each location and a final day in Brisbane before your flight out.  It’s easy to get to Australia with airline miles, then just rent a car and take off!  This trip must be done while Bowra Station is open between the months of March to September.

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SEQ Birding

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LAKE COOLMUNDA/DURIKAI – 2 DAYS

Start in Brisbane.  Pick up your rental car at the airport and drive to Lake Coolmunda.  Stop at the Durikai Watering Hole on the way.  Possible Parrots:

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BOWRA STATION – 3 DAYS

This will be about 7 hours drive so start as early as possible.  Here you can find Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Red-winged Parrots, Blue Bonnet Parrots, Red-rumps, Cockatiels & Little Corellas (already mentioned).  Then add new species:

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STANTHORPE/GIRRAWEEN – 2 DAYS

Make an early start for about 7 hours drive to Stanthorpe.  Here you have a 2nd chance at Turquoise Parrots, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets.  There are several good reserves in this area so I would check eBird first to see where the birds have been seen most recently.

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BRISBANE & RAINBOW BEACH – 1 DAY

If you haven’t seen King Parrots yet, have lunch at the small cafe near Jolly’s Lookout as King Parrots, Rainbow Lorkeets & Sulphur-crested Cockatoos hang out there.  Then make the 3 hour drive north to Rainbow Beach or Tin Can Bay.  Up here you have another chance at Yellow-tail Black Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets, Galahs & Sulphur-crested Cockatooos.  But the main reason to come here is:

So there you have it – 25 parrot species all in South-east Queensland.  We do occasionally get Swift Parrots up this far as well but that’s a longshot.  They made it to Brisbane in 2014 but not this year.  I do recommend doing 3 days in Coolmunda, 4 in Bowra, 3 in Girraween, 1 or 2 in Tin Can Bay/Rainbow Beach and one final day in Brisbane so try to allow 2 weeks if you can for a more leisurely birding experience!

Birding Inskip Point, Queensland

We had an inauspicious start to the day with the credit card hacking but tried to pull it together to enjoy the last birding excursion to Inskip Point.  Two locations were planned – Bullock Point & Inskip Point.

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At Bullock Point, a magnificent Brahminy Kite showed off his fishing skills.

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Then a short walk up the access road revealed some Honey-eaters, Trillers and a Drongo.

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I was still feeling uneasy about the hacking and didn’t want to leave the key in a box accessable by anyone so we had to be back before 10am to check out.  We took a brief drive to Inskip Point which is where you get ferries to Fraser Island.  It is also a very popular camping area as seen by all the people there.  You can’t go all the way in a small car, it’s very sandy and 4×4 track only so we didn’t spend much time before turning back.

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The roads here are in much better condition than the one yesterday.

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Coming back, we saw several cute Rainbow Bee-eaters hanging out on the phone wires – doing their job and actually eating bees!

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Here’s a snapshot of the small town at Rainbow Beach – a few stores, hotels and pubs.  Typical holiday town!

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This is where we stopped for breakfast, just a short walk from the beach. A Magpie-lark was hanging around hoping to score some leftovers.

IMG_1654 IMG_1650 IMG_1649 IMG_1651 IMG_1653The Crested Pigeon blended in so well we almost didn’t see him!  Under better circumstances, we would have hung around longer for more birding but I just wanted to get back and make sure my accounts were OK (no more hackings) so we drove back to Brisbane.  It was good to get an early start on a Sunday anyways to avoid traffic.

 

Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus)

The Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus) is a passerine bird of the honeyeater family Meliphagidae native to southern New Guinea and eastern Australia. It is one of several species known as friarbirds whose heads are bare of feathers. It is brown-grey in colour, with a prominent knob on its bare black-skinned head. It feeds on insects and nectar. I took these photos of an adult and juvenile Noisy Friarbird near Rainbow Beach, Queensland.

IMG_1563a IMG_1556a It is pretty easy to find them in Eastern Australia.  Within Queensland, I have seen them at Lake Coolmunda, Mosquito Creek Road, Durukai area and Tin Can Bay area.  They can also be seen in most reserves and forest areas around Brisbane.

Noisy FBLEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BIRD

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Australian Bush Birds

VIDEOS

Tree foraging action

Defending their nest

 

Searching For Eastern Ground Parrots – Queensland Edition

Some readers may remember our adventures in Strahan & Melaleuca, Tasmania where I was able to flush a couple of Eastern Ground Parrots.  This time, we were trying to at least hear their dusk chorus and see them if we were lucky.  Ground Parrots will flush if you walk close to them so usually they have to be pretty close to the road.  Then it’s just a blur as they fly up and over around 20 meters and back into the bush.

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I was eager to try to see their cousins in Queensland so that was my main reason to join the Birds Queensland camp last week.  The location of the Eastern Ground Parrots is pretty hard to find if you haven’t been there before.  It’s between Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay and you have to watch for a little side road about 16 km from Rainbow Beach.

Brisbane - Rainbow2It’s the red blotch below “29 min 39.3 km”.

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I went back the next day to get a shot of the sign while parked on the side road facing Rainbow Beach Road.

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The road looks deceptively good for about 300 metres……………….

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…………….then it all goes to hell!  I drive a Ford Fiesta and BARELY made it as did the other small cars in our group.  Some people had 4x4s so they had no trouble at all.  You need high clearance to avoid scraping the underside of your car.  The rocks are large gravel size, going up to softball size.

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You drive for about 2.5 km, then turn left when you see this structure and go about another 2.5 km.  The road gets even worse!  Do NOT drive this road alone if you are not in a 4×4 as if anything goes wrong you would have to walk back to the Rainbow Beach Road to get decent cell phone signal.

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Eventually you come to heath grasslands like this.  This is the prime habitat of the Ground Parrots.  Walk along the main road or there’s a couple of side trails and you may flush one if you are lucky.  The birds call to each other at dawn and dusk.  I did hear them around 6pm (in December) but not as many as I had hoped.  My recording on my iPhone didn’t work out so try these ones on Xeno-canto.

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We got there way too early as it was summer with longer days.  Fair warning:  There are no toilets out here and no tall bushes to hide in.  I postponed my hydration until we got back to the camp.

While we were waiting, this cute little baby Noisy Friarbird was waiting for his parents to come back an feed him.  I was worried as he was left alone and would have had no defense against raptors.  Thankfully the parents came back!

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Way off in the distance, we could see a large flock of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.  I stretched my zoom to the max and jokingly asked the other birders, “Maybe if we ask them nicely, they will come closer”?

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I think they heard us as 3 of them swooped directly overhead and were even kind enough to swoop on the other side so we could have the sun behind us!

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On the other side (away from the sun) was a smaller flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  Not to be outdone by the Yellow-tails, one of them kindly flew overhead as well!

IMG_1589 IMG_1589a IMG_1591aIt made for an interesting but long day and I think if we ever go back on our own, we would do it in the shoulder season when the days are shorter – April, May, Sept, Oct.  With a 4×4, you could make a full day starting at this location for dawn chorus, then drive to Tin Can Bay for shorebirds and breakfast, take a siesta, then come back here for the dusk chorus.  Theoretically you could get back to Brisbane that same evening but you really need to spend the night before somewhere in the area to make the dawn chorus.  Someday I will have a 4×4 so a return visit is defintely on my list!

Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius)

The Bush Stone-curlew or Bush Thick-knee (Burhinus grallarius, obsolete name Burhinus magnirostris) is a large (55–60 cm wingspan),  ground-dwelling bird endemic to Australia. Although it looks rather like a wader and is related to the oystercatchers, avocets and plovers, it is a terrestrial predator filling an ecological niche similar to that of the roadrunners of North America.

Bush Stone Curlew1 Bush Stone Curlew2They are readily seen near most coastal and some inland areas of Australia.  If you are staying at the Rainbow Waters Holiday Park, they can be seen near the tent area and the camp kitchen around dusk.  Listen for the high-pitched eerie scream (see video below).

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LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS BIRD

Wikipedia

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

Australian Wildlife Conservancy

 

VIDEOS

A good sample of the screaming sound they make.

This one is funny – the bird wandered into someone’s cabin and proceeded to audition for a role in “Scream Queens”!

 

 

Birding Tin Can Bay, Queensland

Tin Can Bay, Queensland is the gateway to Fraser Island (which is an adventure unto itself) but you don’t need to leave the mainland to find some good birding.  It’s a 3 hour drive from Brisbane so you should spend at least 1 night here to maximize birding time either in a holiday park/campground, hotel or backpacker lodge.

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We started the morning looking for Shorebirds at Cooloola Foreshores arriving around 7:30am.  We were greeted by a Whistling Kite in the car park at Mullen’s Creek.

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I’m the first to admit that Shorebirds are not my area of expertise but it was still interesting to look for them.  Some of them make huge journeys from Asia & North America to spend winter (Aussie summer) in the warmer climates.  More information can be found on Birds Queensland & Birdlife Australia.  My photos aren’t good enough to represent the individual species as the tide was out pretty far and I wasn’t up to wading out there.  We did get a repsectable bird list for the area with sightings of:  White-faced Heron (that’s the one near the boat), Whistling Kite, White-belied Sea-Eagle, Godwit, Pacific Golden Plover, Red-capped Plover, Greater & Lesser Sand Plover, Whimberel, Eastern Curlew, Red-necked Stint, Gull-bill Tern, Little Tern, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Leeuwin’s Honey-eater, Golden Whistler & Peaceful Dove.

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Next we moved on to the Tin Can Bay Foreshore Bird Walk.  It was getting hotter by now so I only visited a couple areas but still managed to see two lifers – Mangrove Honey-eater & Collared Kingfisher via a fellow birder’s scope.  There were also some more common species such as a Pelican being chased by a Whistling Kite, Masked Lapwings, Noisy Friarbirds.  Closer to the picnic area we found Galahs, Rainbow Lorikeets, Magpies and a very handsome Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.

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