• Strez1
    • lab5
May 26: One of my favourite Australian birds

Since I’m going to be off birding all day tomorrow on the Sunshine Coast pelagic trip (yipppeeeeee!) I spent most of today morning with the family. About 1.30pm I decided to duck out and head up to Shorncliffe Pier – the easterly winds were blowing reasonably strongly and a few squalls were rolling in off the Pacific; a good chance to look for Australasian Gannet and Brown Booby in Moreton Bay. But while I was driving up the M1, Ged Tranter phoned and said he’d just found two Jacky-winters (or is it Jackies-winter?) at the corner of Kholo Rd and Lake Manchester Rd, just SE of Lake Manchester.

This is one of my favourite Australian birds – it has a beautiful melodious song, vaguely reminiscent of Common Nightingale, and is a characteristic species of drier country. It’s very rare in Brisbane, with only 20 previous records, but I wonder if it might be a scarce resident in the drier western parts of the LGA. I had one in January 2016 along the perimeter track NE of Lake Manchester, and haven’t been back to that area since to see whether there are still birds there.

I had a brief argument with myself about what I should do. With two birds present, they seem likely to stick around, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are still there in two months’ time. Good conditions for looking for seabirds in Moreton Bay are scarce, and this was a good opportunity. In the end I decided to chase the known rarity, rather than look for new ones. The adrenalin racing, I turned around and sped towards Lake Manchester, taking advantage of the toll roads to expedite my arrival. The showers were scudding through and the weather was looking decidedly dicey. But as soon as I screeched to a halt at the corner of Kholo Rd and Lake Manchester Rd and raised by bins to scan the fenceline I could breathe a sigh of relief. The birds were still there!

And one of them posed very nicely on a signpost. Absolutely spellbinding stuff! After admiring them for half an hour or so, and wandering up and down Kholo road birding, I headed toward home with a very nice unexpected species added to my year list.

I’m super excited about the pelagic tomorrow! The weather conditions are about as good as they get, with sustained SE/E winds over the last week or so, and projected to continue tomorrow.

With one year tick today my year list edged up to 271 species. I spent 49 minutes birding, walked 1.461 km and drove 133.4 km. My chronological year list is here.

Jacky Winter – one of my all time favourite birds! With only 20 previous eBird records in Brisbane, this remains a very scarce species.