• SulphurCrestedCockatoo (Custom)
    • 20130223_Epicoma melanosticta-900
    • lab9
9 Feb: Bald Hills Raptor Watchpoint

Never heard of the Bald Hills Raptor Watchpoint? That’s not surprising, I only minted the hotspot today. The spot, along Buckle Road near the northern border of Brisbane has an amazing panoramic view over a very wide area, and I reckon it’s surely one of the best places to scan for soaring raptors in all of Brisbane. Noticing it as I drove past this morning, I pulled up and spent 20 minutes scanning the skies. In that short time I had 2 Brown Goshawks, 1 Osprey, 1 Whistling Kite and a Brown Falcon. The falcon was a year tick, and I was after that species in particular, having seen it at the nearby Gravel Pits on Linkfield Road last year. A splendid Glossy Ibis was present on the gravel pits today, and I was pleased to have made the effort to look there – the short grass and muddy edges among the horses and camels (yep, camels) looked really good for a rarity of some sort, a Yellow Wagtail maybe. Although that wasn’t to be, I’d enjoyed searching anyway.

Despite having a national distribution all across Australia, Brown Falcon is a scarce bird in Brisbane, perhaps because there isn’t that much truly open country. It is seen on just a few percent of outings. Curiously there is a distinct winter peak in its reporting rate, and I’m not sure if this is associated with breeding, or whether its a winter influx into Brisbane.

I spent the early morning at Sandy Camp looking once again for Black Bittern, and once again without success. I think I’ll give up on that species for a while. It is resident, so I don’t need to see it urgently.

Deb Metters found a Barred Cuckooshrike at Gold Creek Reservoir today, and I’m going to head there early morning with Mat Gilfedder to look for it. We’re going to arrive pre-dawn and have a look around for nocturnal species before searching for the cuckooshrike.

With one year tick today, my year list at the end of the day clicked up to 223 species. I spent 3 hours 30 minutes birding, walked 4.491 km and drove 107.6 km.

Map of Brown Falcon sightings in Brisbane – red flags are sightings in the last month.

The reporting rate of Brown Falcon each month of the year in Brisbane (reporting rate is the % of complete eBird checklists in each month in which the species has been reported). There seems to be a winter peak, but I don’t know why this is.