Jul 17: Birding the frontier – Changing Mountain Bushland

Louis Backstrom has been birding the frontier of Brisbane LGA, and yesterday discovered a new area that looks to show great potential for birding – a hotspot that we have provisionally named Changing Mountain Bushland (following the lead of a hiking map and pending further information from Brisbane City Council). The area is located between Stumers Rd and Lake Manchester Rd in Kholo. Best accessed via Stumers Rd (see map below), there are apparently numerous trails that wind around the hillsides in this area.

Louis takes up the story, “Here’s a trace of the route that I took this morning. Travelling anti-clockwise, the first section up until the northward turn is quite flat and was where I had much of the best birding – it follows a gully and there are pockets of denser vegetation which had scrubwrens, whipbirds etc. in it – this is where I had the Speckled Warbler. The habitat is quite similar to much of Enoggera in parts – there’s even a moderately-sized patch of Lantana with thick undergrowth (dare I say potential BBBQ habitat!).

After the northward turn the vegetation opens up into your typical SEQ scrub – basically identical to much of Manchester and Shelley Road (which is unsurprising given it’s only about 5km as the crow flies) although it felt better to me – I think it could be a spot for honeyeaters and swift parrots too. I’d stop and pish whenever I heard a group of birds and generally I was able to call in 5 or so species of honeyeaters very easily, plus whistlers, fantails, pardalotes etc. The elevation rises steadily to the fork (about 110m at the highest point I got to) and is quite similar to Sugarloaf Mountain Break in that regard.

There are many more tracks everywhere, and I passed plenty of forks that I could have taken had I had more time”.

As Louis points out, there are huge swathes of the country on the very SW extreme of Brisbane county that seem totally unbirded and could hold a number of interesting species. The area enclosed by Lake Manchester, Mt Crosby and Kholo Roads and the River has essentially no eBird records/hotspots inside it but looks every bit as good as the more well-known sites around.

Brisbane City Council list a couple of other council bushland reserves in Kholo that might be worth exploring: Dandys’ Range Bushland, and Kholo Bushland Reserve. Also Skyline Drive Park looks to be worth exploring, a map of which I append below.

I didn’t get out birding today, and with no year ticks today, my year list remained on 290 species. I spent 0 minutes birding, walked 0 km and drove 0 km. Jolly poor show. My chronological year list is here.

The first foray into Changing Mountain Bushland, by birding pioneer Louis Backstrom. There seems to be little doubt that further investigation of accessible sites in the SW corner of Brisbane will turn up a number of new birding spots, and exciting species! We will create eBird hotspots as these sites are discovered and begin to be birded.

Skyline Drive Park is a Brisbane City Council park by the Brisbane River off Skyline Drive in Kholo. Well worth checking for birding potential I reckon.