One Morus for the list

Towards the end of a ridiculously busy week at work, I decided to duck out after lunch and grab a couple of hours in nature. After all, even small doses are good for our health. I headed first to Kedron Brook Wetlands in the vague hope of connecting with a Black Falcon, but never really expected to see one. My low expectations were fulfilled, but I was pleasantly surprised to see two pairs of Australasian Shoveler there.

I then moved on to Nudgee Beach, and scoped out into Moreton Bay from the car park at the end of Fortitude Street. I was looking for Australasian Gannet, and after about 5 minutes, I saw a presumed adult very distantly flying north in front of Moreton Island, and then about 15 minutes later an immature bird was quite a bit closer in, moving slowly south. With the main quarry in the bag, and not much else going on, I stopped in at Tuckeroo Park on the way back to the motorway, to scope the sand bar that was exposed at the mouth of Kedron Brook. There was a mixed flock of shorebirds, gulls and terns, but nothing unusual with them (I was hoping for Lesser Crested Tern, which surprisingly hasn’t yet shown up in Brisbane this year). Beyond the island a flock of 40 Little Black Cormorants was voraciously fishing, and an immature Australasian Gannet, presumably the same one I’d seen off Fortitude Street, was floundering about in the water not far beyond the sand bar, trying to swallow a large fish. Eventually it succeeded and took off, flying north.

Australasian Gannet is a winter visitor to Brisbane, but there are very few records – only 29 between 2005 and 2017. A reminder to us all to scope Moreton Bay every now and then – I suspect gannets are around pretty much all winter most years, and maybe also at other times of year. Another species to look for in the Bay at this time of year is Fluttering Shearwater, but I didn’t see any of those today. In fact I’ve seen them off Bribie Island, but never in Brisbane – I bet they occur inside Moreton Bay with some regularity, and would surely be seen on a winter Moreton Island seawatch. Talking of winter Moreton Island seawatching, conditions look interesting for 9th or 10th of June, with strong onshore easterlies…

With one year tick today (Australasian Gannet), my year list edged on to 277 species. I spent 2 hours 8 minutes birding, walked 0.739 km and drove 46.6 km. My chronological year list is here.


Australasian Gannet is a winter visitor in small numbers to Brisbane, but Moreton Bay and the coastal waters beyond Moreton Island are severely underwatched, so the occurrence pattern must be considered tentative.

Australasian Gannet records vary from year-to-year, with many in 2010, and far fewer in other years since 2005.