Saturday, October 23, 2010


Pied Butcherbird @ Gordonbrokk Dam

It's taken a mite longer than I had hoped it would, three weeks to be more precise. Put it down to the trials and tribulations of the real world - work commitments, home chores and diabetes. However, here we are, the first South Burnett blog since our return from the UK [for which switch across to].

Gordonbrook Dam had been closed to the general public prior to our departure in September so we were pleased to learn, on our return to Australia, that it had been reopened. We couldn't go immediately, a trip to Noosa had already been scheduled into our diary, but this morning [Sunday 24 October] we finally managed a visit.

The first thing to hit us was the volume of water in the dam and a walk along the track soon revealed that at some stage in the past few weeks water levels had exceeded bank heights; the track was still soft underfoot. The next item of interest was the addition of a bird hide - and for those of you in the Western Palearctic reading this and wondering what's so special about a bird hide, please bear in mind that this is ... well more than Australia, more that just Queensland... this is country Queensland where the Greens, the environmentalists and assorted kith, can be akin to the devil himself.

Heartfelt congratulations to the South Burnett Regional Council on so ensightful a move. Our only suggestion would be that the entrance could be a little better disguised with simple wattle panels to conceal the approach of birders.

However, even before reaching the dam Fay and I took a moment to bird the corner of the Bunya Highway and Recreation Drive [leading to the dam]. We tallied 24 species, including a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Rainbow Bee-eater, Leaden Flycatcher and a Red-rumped Parrot. Other "ticks" included:

Willie Wagtail
Torresian Crow
Rainbow Lorikeet
Pied butcherbird
Sacred Kingfisher
Channel-billed Cuckoo
Striped Honeyeater
Brown Honeyeater
Australian Magpie
Striated Pardalote
Pheasant Coucal
Laughing Kookaburra
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Common Myna
Superb Fairy-wren
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Australasian Grebe @ Gordonbrook Dam

At the dam itself we recorded 43 species, including crackers such as Cotton Pygmy-goose [on nest] and the unexpected Radjah Shelduck! Other birds:

Masked Lapwing
Willie Wagtail
Australian Magpie
Torresian Crow
Striped Honeyeater
Pied Burcherbird
Bar-shouldered Dove
Magpie Goose
Little Pied Cormorant
Great Cormorant
White-breasted Woodswallow [seemingly very interested in an old tree hollow]
Common Myna
Striated Pardalote
Noisy Friarbird
Common Bronzewing
Eastern Great Egret
Australian Wood Duck
Superb Fairy-wren
Common Starling
Collared Sparrowhawk
Plumed Whistling-Duck
Purple Swamphen
Red-backed Fairy-wren
Golden-headed Cisticola
Noisy Miner
Black Swan
Pheasant Coucal
Brown Honeyeater
Grey Teal [very pale morph]
Australasian Grebe
Dusky Moorhen
Australian Pelican
Comb-crested Jacana
Grey Fantail
Eurasian Coot
Australian White Ibis
Pacific Black Duck
Plum-headed Finch
Little Black Cormorant

When the website Birds & Birding the South Burnett is eventually fully active, Gordonbrook will certainly merit a 3--birds "birdability rating." I recommend it to any within striking distance to visit here.

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