First stop was the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary. Ethan was quite insistent that we get there as early as possible. As a legacy of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Queensland has never been a participant in daylight saving time hence it is one hour behind the rest of the east coast [and half an hour behind South Australia - doesn't that make sense!] thus the sun rises at 5am at the summer solstice. This means the 5 or 6 resident Pacific Koels [and Kookas and magpies] start up about 4.30am as the sky lightens in the east. We were at the sanctuary at 6! Believe it or not, being in the usual environment of the Koel and hearing a mob of them calling each other around the neighbourhood sounded quite normal and not at all intrusive. I actually enjoyed them - unlike the one lonely resident in Sale with his plaintive, repetitive "ko-el, ko-el".
Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary is a very nice piece of environmental real estate between the outskirts of Bli Bli and the South Maroochy River. You park your car in a small carpark by the entrance to a soft fruit farm and the visitor centre. The first part of the path takes you through a small section of rainforest then a boardwalk goes through some open forest, mangroves and pockets of casuarina to the riverside. Ethan and Eliane had been here with a local birder, Russell, earlier in the month so Ethan had a good idea about what was present. He could hear a Spectacled Monarch calling as well as fig birds, fantails, crows, magpies, honeyeaters etc. We hadn't gone two yards before we were ambushed by Rufous Fantails. Just as Gouldiae has to sweep Eastern Yellow Robins out of the way, we had to sweep the Rufous Fantails out of the way as well as the Lewins Honeyeaters! We also spotted a Shining Flycatcher as a highlight and the Spectacled Monarch on our return via the rainforest.
|Australian Figbird Sphecotheres viridis|
|Lewin's Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii|
|Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons|
This is the first decent image I have taken of this beautiful species which I only saw for the first time at Nangara Reserve near Drouin last year courtesy of Gouldiae. Before that I had neglected to even recognise that the species existed. I think it is a delightful little bird. Here are some more images of it.
|Spectacled Monarch Monarcha trivirgatus|
Both the Fantail and the Monarch were in the rainforest section so it was pretty dim in there. High ISO and a bit of Photoshop manipulation for these images. More later.