Great Sandy National Park, Inskip Point, & some others SEQ areas

The following report describes a recent trip (November 2013) to south-east Queensland (SEQ), an area that provides some of Australia’s most spectacular birding. The logic behind the trip was simple. Aside from the birding reasons (mentioned below), as part of a birthday present my wife had offered to pay for airline tickets to a birding destination (within reason) of my choice! Surely I must be the luckiest birdwatcher in the world.

The rainforest floor. Scattered with the flowers of the Flame Tree and fruit of the Piccabeen Palm.

The birding destination I chose to visit was Great Sandy National Park, a coastal park approximately three hours north of Brisbane. The park includes some fantastic habitats, ranging from coastal scrubland to open low-lying heathland, superb beaches to mangroves, and Scribbly Gum woodlands to some extraordinary lowland rainforest. Clearly, a great place to go birding. While in SEQ, I also found the time to visit some upland subtropical rainforests, such as those in Conondale and Lamington national parks.

It was late November (2012), the perfect time to visit the region. It wasn’t too hot, most of the east coast migrants were trickling down SEQ, and many of the birds were either nesting or had already nested. Basically, bird numbers and bird varieties were in abundance.

Black-breasted Button-quail. [Image Ian Montgomery.]

Itinerary, car, and weather
After flying into Brisbane’s domestic airport from Melbourne, my itinerary involved driving up though the Sunshine Coast to Inskip Point and Great Sandy National Park (250 km) with side stops at Alexandra Headland and Cooroy Treatment Works. From there after a few days I headed south-west to Conondale National Park (150 km) located in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. This was a park that local birder Greg Roberts has been recently raving about and justifiably so (see his excellent site at sunshinecoastbirds.blogspot.com.au). Then, with a little time on hand, I headed south to Lamington National Park (250 km) via Lake Samsonvale. Simple.

My hire car for the trip was a Nissan X-Trail. Budget’s terms included unlimited km per day, with a $30 insurance upgrade. As usual for birding, it proved perfect. Heaps of space, some good off-road capabilities, and surprisingly it was getting 700 km to the tank.

Great Sandy National Park has a subtropical climate. During my visit, the weather was perfect – warm to hot, somewhat humid, nicely cooled by sea breezes. The average temperature during the day was around 30°C; while at night, it got down to 19°C. There was little or no cloud cover – they don’t call it the Sunshine Coast for nothing. Although, to be quite honest, I was extremely lucky, in the days preceding there’d been a series of big storms with major flooding. In terms of clothing typically, I didn’t bother to pack long trousers and my sweater didn’t get a guernsey. I did pack some bathers, they did get a guernsey, with a refreshing swim at Inskip Point and Lake Poona.

One of the birds of the trip. Spectacled Monarch. [Image Greg Oakley.]

The Birds of SEQ
Although there are no specific endemic birds to SEQ, due to its climatic and floristic diversity, you can see a great variety of species in just a few days. As an indication of this, here’s a list of just some of the birds seen (basically in chronological order): Wandering Tattler, Black-breasted Button-quail, Beach Stone-curlew, Noisy Pitta, Rose-crowed Fruit-Dove, Mangrove Honeyeater, Marbled Frogmouth, Ground Parrot, Southern Emu-wren, Pale-yellow Robin, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Green Catbird, Glossy Black-Cockatoo, King Quail, Pale-vented Bush-hen, Pale-headed Rosella, Albert’s Lyrebird, Regent Bowerbird, Australian Logrunner, Paradise Riflebird and Russet-tailed Thrush.

The specific birding reason I was visiting the Great Sandy National Park, and SEQ generally, was to target a few species that had so far evaded my Australian list. These included Black-breasted Button-quail, Wandering Tattler and Pale-vented Bush-hen. Targeting these birds reminded me of a tale once told to me by a birding friend who’d long since seen every Australian resident bird species. He said he had a major birding dilemma: aside from vagrants he had nothing left in Australia to target. He went so far as to say that, in retrospect, he should’ve saved a few birds up his sleeve. It occurs to me that I’m very close to the same dilemma. Although another way of looking at it was that it was now time for me to cash-in on my SEQ birding savings, if that makes.

Wandering Tattler. Alexandra Headlands.

By the end of the trip I’d seen Black-breasted Button-quail at two separate sites, been surfing with a Wandering Tattler, and had crippling views of a crazy pair of Pale-vented Bush-hen. Aside from these, the trip proved rewarding for quail and fruit-dove (the later turned up in decent areas of rainforest), and from a purely birdwatchers perspective, Spectacled Monarch and Varied Triller were probably the birds of the trip. These two species epitomised a good birding trip – in SEQ these two bird species are commonly encountered however, by contrast, in sunny Victoria, where I normally go birding, they’d be considered major rarities. In addition, when birding, you can’t walk past a good monarch.

Caloundra and Alexandra Headlands
First stop downtown Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, with a quick walk along the rock shelf at Wickham Point, located between Shelly and King’s beaches (commonly known as Caloundra Headland). To be honest, it was strange visiting Caloundra. It was like traveling to the suburban Gold Coast specifically to go birdwatching. I got the feeling that Caloundra, with its bars and nightclubs, only really came to life at night. The reason I was here was to look for Wandering Tattler, a wader with a preference for rocky headlands – as opposed to its cousin, the Grey-tailed Tattler, which prefers sand bars and mudflats. Although I didn’t see any Wandering Tattler at Wickham Point, at sea there were a few Wedge-tailed Shearwater and, on the rocks, Sooty Oystercatcher and Eastern Reef Heron.

Another recommended site for Wandering Tattler was Alexandra Headlands, located about 19 km north of Caloundra. Here there was a single bird feeding on a rocky reef in a surf-break, located immediately in front of where Alexandra Parade intersects with Buderim Avenue.

Overlooking Great Sandy National Park.

Cooroy Treatment Works
The Cooroy Treatment Plant was teeming with birds. It’s located on the north side of the township, accessed via a track that lead off Mary River Rd about 1 km north of town. Although beware, I was thrown out of the place! This involved being driven back to my car in the back of a Ute, and then waved away. At the time, it seemed somewhat surprising, even contradictory. On the front gate there was a large inviting sign indicating how good the plant was for birdwatching – they even had images of all the species you’re likely see. It seems however they didn’t have a problem with me birdwatching per se, it was just that the plant was undergoing a major upgrade (see Unity Water), which would be finished June 2013. I should come back then. I was also told that in terms of birdlife the place would be bigger and better due to improved wildlife management systems.

My initial reason for visiting Cooroy was to try to track down Pale-vented Bush-hen, recently reported by Greg Roberts. Although it eluded me, before I was escorted from the plant I did get manage to see Latham’s Snipe (six of them), Spotless Crake, Buff-banded Rail, Australasian Grebe, Intermediate Egret, Swamp Harrier and Red-backed Fairy-wren. I can highly recommend the Cooroy TP as a birding site – but only after June 2013 or you’ll find yourself in the back of Ute.

A Beach Stone-curlew hanging around Inskip Point

Inskip Point (Inskip Peninsula Recreational Reserve) 
On the Inskip Peninsula, I camped at the S.S Dorrigo campsite (interesting name), located at the east end of Inskip Peninsula. It’s a large camping area, less populated than the other peninsula campsite. There is a nice section of mangrove next to the campsite (west side of the Inskip Point Rd) that held a pair of Shining Flycatcher (must be getting pretty close to its southernmost distribution), Mangrove Honeyeater, Mangrove Gerygone and a vocal pair of Collared Kingfisher. At night, in the campsite Bush Stone-curlew revealed their presence with their eerie wailing call.

Since the publication of Dools’ Big Twitch, back in 2005, the Inskip Peninsula has become known as the place to see Black-breasted Button-quail (BBBQ). They bird Acacia/Monotoca scrub on the coastal dunes at the very tip of the peninsula – otherwise known as Inskip Point. Aside from BBBQ, it is an excellent birding site generally, despite the large numbers of touristy campers who pass through the point to catch the ferry across to Fraser Island, all of whom were driving enormous 4WD, and even bigger camping trailers.

Roosting terns with waders at the very tip of Inskip Point.
Inskip Point at dusk. A very pleasant place to be.

Some of my birding friends had informed me that finding BBBQ would be a breeze, they were a dead cert, and I would be kicking them out of the way before breakfast! With high spirits, I park at the roundabout at the very end of Inskip Point Rd, and started my search around 5:00 am. Six, or maybe, seven hours later (I lost count) I still hadn’t seen them – and this was a place no larger than a couple of decent sized cricket fields! There were certainly plenty of platelets about, in fact they were literally everywhere, and the ranger had told me that he’d seen two birds just two days earlier. What was going on? Was I losing my touch? Should I be put out to pasture, or even sent to the knackers!

Lewin’s Honeyeater. This bird is sunning.

While there, I’d met a couple of WA birders. They were actually a couple, Allan and Sandy Rose. Nice people. Allan had seen two BBBQ several days earlier, using the old ‘find some platelets and sit down and wait technique. Therefore I found a good spot scattered with platelets and sat down. Being a Melbourne birder (you know the type, impatient), I only managed to sit for about 15 minutes before getting frustrated. Allan had sat for well over an hour. In my defence, I was still functioning of ‘city time’ i.e. just a day earlier I was marking the papers of snotty-nosed uni students.

With so much time on my hands, I found worthwhile to divide Inskip Point into four main sections: 1. north-east of the roundabout; 2. north-west of the roundabout; 3. south-east of the roundabout; and 4. south-west of the roundabout (all the way to the point). See my basic mud map below. It was the last section (4) that I finally located a pair of BBBQ, and this area was easily the best section for birding. Section 3, the south west, was simply horrible. For some reason, it was scattered with toilet paper, so not a pleasant place to be. Interesting it was the area that most people recommended that I look.

A sunning Noisy Friarbird

To be more specific, the spot that I located the BBBQ, from the roundabout, was down a trail that leads south-west – it’s marked with a large sign that reads ‘Pedestrian access only’. Here, I saw a pair of birds about 270 metres down (-25.809956,153.048014), feeding in some bracken that was surrounded by platelets. The spot was near a beach access gateway – the second gate along. That said, the chances are you might see BBBQ anywhere on Inskip Point. The ranger had seen them on the south side of dirt road that leads to the point (top side of section 4), near where there’s a large overtaking area (-25.809374,153.049614), and Allan Rose has seen along the same walking track I’d seen them, but closer to the roundabout.

Also along this track was a large fruiting fig tree. It attracted a wide range of birds, most numerous being Australasian Figbird, Noisy Friarbird, Lewin’s and White-throated Honeyeater, as well as Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove and Brown Cuckoo-dove.

Interestingly the Noisy Friarbird and Lewin’s and White-throated Honeyeater would regularly lying on the ground nearby, sunning themselves (see images). The process of ‘sunning’ amongst birds is not, in itself, unusual, but three types of honeyeater doing it in the same place at the same time is new to me. I suspect that after feeding on the figs, their feathers had become wet and sticky, and this technique somehow dried their wings. An alternative theory might be that they were sunning themselves to maintain feather health, such as dislodging feather parasites collected while feeding in the fig tree, or increasing vitamin D level. There may be a number of reasons – any suggestions welcome – it was certainly an interesting phenomenon to see, especially when you consider the number of birds involved (there were six birds doing it at a point) and the variety of species doing it, and all returning to the same spot repeatedly.

Sunning White-throated Honeyeater.

There plenty of other birds about the place – a Noisy Pitta called, and there were Fairy and White-throated Gerygone, Varied Triller, Spectacled Monarch, Little Shrike-thrush, Spangled Drongo, the ubiquitous Australian Brush-turkey, Red-winged and Variegated Fairy-wren, Large-billed Scrub-wren, Sacred Kingfisher, White-breasted Woodswallow, and honeyeaters such as Lewin’s, White-cheeked, Mangrove, Scarlet and Blue-faced. Perhaps the most numerous bird species on the point was Bar-shouldered Dove. Usually feeding on the ground, their presence proved particularly frustrating – in a nice sort of way – when looking for BBBQ. Lace Monitor was also common in the scrubland: at Inskip Point there must be a continual social interplay of life and death between the goannas and the BBBQ.

Another interesting bird seen at Inskip Point was Bush Stone-curlew. I’d anticipated seeing them on the sand bars, however I where I found them was the bush in the north-east section (2), hanging out along a sandy walking track that headed east to the campground. Although I didn’t see any young, I suspect they were nesting nearby.

The intertidal sandbanks at Inskip Point provided a roosting site for migratory shorebirds and terns. About a third of the waders here were Bar-tailed Godwit, while others include Grey-tailed Tattler, Lesser Sand Plover, Great Knot, Eastern Curlew, Whimbrel and Red-necked Stint. Terns here included Crested Common, Gull-billed, Caspian and Little. Other birds seen on the Inskip Peninsula included Pheasant Coucal, Australian Koel, Rainbow Bee-eater, Eastern Whipbird, Eastern Yellow Robin, Leaden Flycatcher, and raptors such as Eastern Osprey, Brahminy Kite and White-bellied Sea-Eagle. At night, Southern Boobook called, and Allan and Sandy Rose said they’d heard Large-tailed Nightjar in the bush just east of the campsites, which must represent the southerly population for this species.

Great Sandy National Park (Cooloola Recreation Area)
To get to Inskip Point you drive through the Cooloola section of Great Sandy National Park, a park that reminds me of Croajingolong National Park in far-eastern Victoria. From Inskip Point, I visited a couple of birding spots in the Great Sandy National Park including the lowland ranforest around the Bymien Picnic Area and the heathland along the Cooloola Way.

Poona Lake Walk. Great Sandy National Park.

The Rainforest at the Bymien Picnic Area 
Around the Bymien Picnic Area you’ll find an excellent example of lowland rainforest, where the rainforest literally grows on sand dunes. It’s also shaded under an extremely closed canopy – perhaps the most enclosed forests I’ve ever visited. I was there is the early evening, with a plan to hang around to do some spotlighting.

Some of the rainforest trees here included some gigantic Kauri Pine (Agathis robusta), Hoop Pine (Araucauria cunninghamii) Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus), Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys), Small Leaf Lilly Pilly (Syzygium luehmannii) and spectacular Piccabeen Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) and, in places, Grey Myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia – also known as Carrol) dominated the understorey. Woody lianas dropped down, Tarzan-like, from the trees, and there were strangler figs, plenty of epiphytes and some large tree buttresses.

From the picnic ground, I did the walk to Poona Lake – it’s about 2 km return. The most vocal species along the walk was Wompoo Fruit-Dove, with a bird calling directly above the picnic area. I also saw – more often heard – Rose-crowed Fruit-Dove, White-headed Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Noisy Pitta, and Green Catbird, Little Shrike-thrush, Brush Cuckoo, Lewin’s and Scarlet Honeyeater, Large-billed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone and Pale-yellow Robin – the northernmost extent of  capito subspecie, which seemed larger than the FNQ subspecies. Along the walk there was a particularly persistent Australian Brush-turkey, who spent most of his evening following me around. If you do walk to the Poona Lake don’t forget to take your bathers – a quick swim is the perfect thing to do at the end of a hot day. It’s a beautiful lake, with a scenic tea-coloured appearance, and is surrounded by a white sandy beach.

Mangrove Honeyeater.

After dusk, along the short Dundathu Walk, I spotlighted a Marbled Frogmouth (‘plumed’ ssp plumiferus), the first time that I’ve seen this subspecies. Southern Boobook was also here and there was plenty of rustling nocturnal on the ground, made by Fawn-footed Melomy and Southern Bush Rat. Although I didn’t see or hear any, this area is said to be good for Sooty Owl, and White-throated and Large-tailed Nightjar and Yellow-bellied Glider. In terms of the Marbled Frogmouth, I’m always amazed by its silly call. The first time heard it in the Iron Range it reminded me of a Wild Turkey who suddenly gets his head chopped off – Gobble, gobble, gobble, chop!

Superb heathland near the Cooloola Way. Great Sandy National Park.

Heathland along the Cooloola Way
Although it wasn’t the best time to visit in terms of wildflowers (the main flowering season is from mid-July to mid-Sept), the heath along the Cooloola Way is very impressive. Dominated by sedges, rushes, grasses, Xanthorrhoea and Wallum Banksia (Banksia aemula), there was distinct lack of dominance of any large trees, which perhaps augmented the floristically-diversity of some of the smaller plants.

I found a particularly good area of heath just off the Cooloola Way – best accessed via a track that turn left of the Cooloola Way, 3 km from the Rainbow Beach Rd turn-off. It follows the path of overhead power-lines. After about 1.5 km, I parked near the point that the track turns right (south) – see -26.049168,153.040427. Great Sandy National Park represents the northernmost distribution of Ground Parrot, and they seem to be doing well this section of heath. I quickly flushed a a bird and heard the call of several others – they had a distinct preference for the low lying, ground-covering heath. Other bird here include Southern Emu-wren (again northernmost distribution), Brown Quail, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Eastern Whipbird and Tawny Grassbird. It’s worth noting that this area of heathland is said to be good for Eastern Grass Owl; I imagine the best time to see them would be immediately after dusk, although you occasionally can see them very early in the morning. It’s worth noting that the track gets a bit rough in the heathland area and, despite just being resurfaced, it’s probably strictly 4WD or AWD. That said, you could easily walk the last 500 m or so of the track to reach the heath.

Along the beginning of the Cooloola Way, you’ll also find a nice section of Scribbly Gum woodlands, a habitat type that dominated the parks better-drained, high country. Some of the birds here included Scarlet and White-throated Honeyeater, Pale-headed Rosella, Little Lorikeet, Pied Butcherbird,  Tree Martin, Dusky Woodswallow, White-throated Honeyeater, White-throated Gerygone, Rufous Whistler and Striated Pardalote.

After a couple of days at the Great Sandy National Park, I headed south-west to the Conondale National Park. It was a really shame to leave. In terms of seeing wildlife and experiencing the park, I felt I’d only just touched the surface.

Lake Samsonvale, near Samsonvale Cemetery. Probably the best place to find King Quail in Australia.

Conondale National Park and the Conondale Ranges
The Conondale Ranges are series of rainforest-covered mountains in the western part of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. I camped on the banks of the Little Yabba Creek at the spacious Charlie Moreland campground, located in the Conondale National Park. The Little Yabba and Piccabeen circuits walked through some great sections rainforest and tall eucalypts forests. Along these were Noisy Pitta, Wompoo and Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Emerald Dove (quite common in the campsite itself), Green Catbird, Satin Bowerbird, Bell Miner, Australian Koel, Scarlet and Dusky Honeyeater, Australian Logrunner, Cicadabird, Spectacled and Black-faced Monarch, Bell Miner, Paradise Riflebird, Pale-yellow Robin and Bassian Thrush. On the way in, there was a small flock of Glossy Black-Cockatoo feeding in Casuarina along Maleny-Kenilworth Rd.

A Pale-headed x Eastern Rosella hybrid on the road up to Binna Burra.

I didn’t really have enough time to do much birding (or spotlighting) in the Conondale Range. A real pity, as there are some fascinating birds in these mountain ranges. For example, the endangered Eastern Bristlebird occurs here – with a few sites north of Sunday Creek Rd and Booloumba Creek Rd. There have been a few sightings of the extremely rare, possibly extinct, Coxen’s Fig-Parrot – with the most recent report from the summit of Mount Borumba. Interestingly, at this stage it’s considered a subspecies (coxeni) of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, although there’s talk that it may be a future split. The Conondale Range, and the nearby Blackall Range, is also renowned for nightbirds, being a stronghold for Marbled Frogmouth and Sooty and Masked Owl. Little Yabba Creek is also said to be good for cyptic species such as Pale-vented Bush-hen, Lewin’s Rail and Black-breasted Button-quail. Looking this list, one night at Charlie Moreland was clearly not enough – I needed to spend a week there.

Lake Samsonvale
Next stop Lake Samsonvale, a slight detour on the way to Lamington. My main reason for visiting was to check out its grassy fringes for quail, with a good spot near Samsonvale Cemetery (see -27.267443,152.85915). To get there I turned off Mount Samson Rd onto Golds Scrub Lane and then drove a kilometre down to the cemetery.

Upon arrival, three Helmeted Guineafowl scurried off into the bush. Wild population perhaps? Apparently, they’ve been recorded at Lake Samsonvale since at least 2007. I certainly ticked them for my trip list.

The somewhat mythical Pale-vented Bush-hen. For some birders, this bird doesn’t seem to exist.

From the cemetery, I did the short walked down to the grassy area near the lake. My first thought was that this area wasn’t big enough to support any interesting quail, or damp enough for King Quail. Almost immediately, my thought was corrected, flushing a male King Quail, then several Brown Quail and a Tawny Grassbird. Not bad. (Observation tip: how do you quickly identify flushed King Quail? The male is blue.) On the lake itself there were Great Crested and Australasian Grebe, Pacific Black Duck and Hardhead, and Whiskered, Gull-billed and Caspian Tern, while around the edge there were Great and Intermediate Egret. Some of the birds in the bushland bordering the cemetery included Pale-headed Rosella, Brush Cuckoo, Cicadabird, Varied Triller, Pied Butcherbird, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-breasted Woodswallow, White-throated Gerygone, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin and three species of fairy-wren – Red-backed, Variegated and Superb. SE Queenslanders may take this sort of thing for granted, but for visiting Victorians three fairy-wrens in one spot is special.

Danger. Laser harzards, live bombs & Black-breasted Button-quail.

Canungra Creek
Working on a tip giving to me by Mark Stanley, I stopped to search for Pale-vented Bush-hen in the riparian vegetation beside Canungra Creek, an area immediately adjacent to the Coburg Rd concrete causeway. Often regarded as an extremely shy species, Pale-vented Bush-hen is the bogey bird for many birders. One particular friend of mine – who shall remain unnamed (Stuart D… cough!) – despite looking many times, considers it a mythical species that doesn’t actually exist. I was therefore very surprised at how forthcoming they were. Indeed I actually got them before I reached the creek, hearing two very vocal birds calling as I got out of the car! Specifically they were seen along the creek just south of Moriarty Park (-28.020287,153.159467), in creekline thickets immediately south of the encaged ‘Leash Free Area for Dogs’.  

The Road to Lamington National Park
I spent my last night in SEQ at Lamington National Park. For most birders Lamington is like a great mountain, it attracts you like a magnet. I camped in the Binna Burra section of the park, accessed via the township of Beechmont, and then along Binna Burra Rd.

On the road up to Lamington, along Beechmont Rd, a pair of button-quail scuttled off the road. Hang on. These birds were black. Black-breasted Button-quail! Fantastic. Or was it? I’d just spent the last few days devoted to searching for BBBQ at Inskip Point. If you include the flights in and out of Brisbane, and the drive up to Inskip Point, it was a 4000 km turn-around to see a new species of bird. Moreover here they were casually scuttling of the road on my way up to Lamington! Well, that’s birding for you. The specific location that I saw BBBQ was directly opposite the exit to the Marian Valley Catholic Church ( -28.077783,153.200574). When I stopped, they moved off the road into some Lantana thickets, where there was clear evidence of button-quail platelets. I was planning to follow them; however a sign on fence read ‘Danger – Military Range Boundary. Laser hazard. Live bombs. No trespass.’ Should I follow? Mmm…  no….  I still needed to set up my camp.

Coomera Falls.

Without wanting to spend too much time talking about Lamington National Park, my favourite walk for rainforest birds is the Coomera Circuit, which takes you to the Coomera and Yarrabilgong Falls. The viewing platform at Coomera Falls places you literally several hundred feet above the valley below – it’s simply spectacular.

On a morning walk along the Coomera Circuit birds seen included Albert’s Lyrebird, Noisy Pitta, Paradise Riflebird, Australian Logrunner, Russet-tailed and Bassian Thrush, Yellow-throated Scrubwren and Pale-yellow Robin, Rufous Fantail, Spectacled and Black-faced Monarch, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, Brush and Fan-tailed Cuckoo and Rose Robin, and there was plenty of fruit eating pigeons such as Rose-crowned and Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald Dove and Topknot and White-headed Pigeon. A few years ago (after a tip from local birder Barry Davies), I had seen Rufous Scrub-bird in the grassy areas along the Coomera Track (thanks again for that Barry). Despite looking for them again this time, unfortunately I had no luck. Back at Binna Burra, around the picnic area, there were Regent and Satin Bower, Green Catbird and Australian King-Parrot. 

Sanderling Shiraz – the QANTAS wine purchased on the plane home. The bottle  was smaller than the bird!

Summary
SEQ must surely be one of the Australia’s best birding regions, not just the well-known birding sites, such as Lamington National Park, but also lesser known areas such as Great Sandy and Conondale national park. You could not cram more environmental diversity into a 300 km strip of coastline if you tried.

I had planned to visit Fraser Island, mostly to just have a look around, rather than go birdwatching (sure). However just prior to the ferry, there’s a big sign that reads “No hire cars beyond this point!”  Typically I was still tempted, but I was not sure the X-Trail would have actually made it to the ferry, let alone drive around the sandy island. I must go back and have a look soon though, very soon. It would be a great place for a family trip, so another time. Tanya and the boys will love it.

On the return flight back to sunny Melbourne I ordered a small bottle of wine (very small) to have with dinner. To my surprise, the wines name was Sanderling Shiraz. Not the most likely contender for a featured bird on a bottle of wine, I would have thought. (Although I do know of a winery called Sandpiper.) The label read, “Australia has a history of migration. The first people walked here. The Europeans sailed here. Like most of us now, the Sanderling flies here.” It’s a pity I didn’t see any real Sanderling on this trip – they’re occasionally recorded at Inskip Point.

Regent Bowerbird. Lamington National Park.

One thought on “Great Sandy National Park, Inskip Point, & some others SEQ areas

  1. Pingback: Great Sandy National Park, Inskip Point, & some others SEQ areas | Tim Dolby Bird Tours

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