• lab26
    • SouthernLeafGreenTreeFrog (Custom)
    • lab17
    • Jas Big Red
Jan 7: “I’ve never seen so few birds here”

With all of the available rarities under the belt, I decided to put in a big morning at Gold Creek Reservoir, one of Brisbane’s premier bushland birding sites. Centred on an 1885-built reservoir at 95 m above sea-level, the area supports extensive eucalypt woodland interspersed with gullies containing rainforest vegetation. This variety has given it a decent bird list of 198 species so far.

I set the alarm for 0300 and jumped straight in the car, arriving on site at 0345 to listen for nocturnal species, primarily hoping for White-throated Nightjar. Sadly I heard no nightjars, logging only the common Southern Boobook and Tawny Frogmouth for my efforts. As dawn broke I birded the approach road to the reservoir, often the birdiest part of the area. I was pleased to hear a White-eared Monarch, which is a highly localised species around Brisbane, and here at one of its most reliable spots. A couple of Noisy Pittas were calling to each other across the road, and they are presumably now breeding at this site perhaps in part due to rainforest restoration efforts. Just after 0500, Hugh Possingham and Jaramar Rosas arrived as planned. We added Spectacled Monarch to the tally, amongst other common species, and began to walk around the reservoir, noting a couple of calling Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves below the dam. While we were scanning for waterbirds on the dam itself, Hugh picked up a cuckoo flying overhead – it had striking black and white patterned underwings and bars underneath – a splendid Oriental Cuckoo. Only the second record for the site – Chris Burwell had one on 15th Jan 2017.

We were stoked by this and full of excitement for what lay ahead. The excitement proved totally misplaced as there were extremely few birds present along the track around the reservoir. Bell Miners and Eastern Whipbirds dominated, and very few birds were seen or heard – the tally stalled at 59 species. Hugh heard a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, but I didn’t hear it, which was disappointing as it’s a scarce bird and one I’m keen to catch up with. We checked a couple of spots for Painted Button-quail but to no avail. I will come back one morning for a serious effort for that species.

My year list at the end of the day was 170 species. I spent 6 hours 2 minutes birding, walked 7.767 km and drove 67.6 km.