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Friday, June 30, 2017

Tinchi Tamba Wetlands Reserve, Bald Hills, Brisbane QLD.

Tinchi Tamba Wetlands
While in Brisbane we dropped into Tinchi Tamba Wetlands Reserve. Love that name! At Deep Water Bend on the Pine River there is a boat ramp, fishing pontoon, toilets, picnic shelters with tables and BBQ's.

First we did the Island Circuit; a pleasant, easy, 1.8 km walk through mangroves and casaurinas with views over the Pine River.

Brisbane City Council Information Sign.
Boardwalk on the Island Track
A patch of samphire surrounded by marine couch.
There were a number of butterflies about. Mostly Common Crow, Yellow Albatross and Large Grass Yellows. Many of the Sheoaks (casuarinas) we passed were smothered by Monkey Vine which is a parasitic weed however, it is also a host plant for the Common Crow butterfly. 

Yellow Albatross, male and Large Grass Yellow.
It was a windy day but we still managed to see a few birds on the walk.
Grey Fantail and Striated Pardalote
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet and Rufous Whistler

After the Island Track we walked to the Bird Hide which overlooks Bald Hills Creek. This is an easy walk of about 1 km return. 

Bird Hide at Tinchi Tamba Wetlands
The middle of winter isn't prime time for shorebirds and the tide was out so we weren't surprised that we could only see a couple of birds in the distance. 

View from the bird hide.

Bird List: Brahminy Kite, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Grey Fantail, Noisy Friarbird, White-faced Heron, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Australian White Ibis, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Noisy Miner, Striated Pardalote, Silver Gull, Grey Shrike-thrush, Royal Spoonbill, Welcome Swallow, Caspian Tern, Rufous Whistler, Willie Wagtail.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Anstead Bushland Reserve, Brisbane, QLD.

Picnic area next to the car park at Anstead Bushland Reserve.
While in Brisbane recently we decided to drop into Anstead Bushland Reserve on our way home. There didn't seem to be much information about where to walk but we saw a man returning to the car park with his dog so we decided to head off in the direction that he had come from. We had a pleasant, easy walk around the park of about 2 km. The first surprise of the morning was a group of about 10 Apostlebirds. We only visit Brisbane from time to time and this is the first time we've ever seen Apostlebirds in Brisbane.

The second surprise, was a lookout over the Brisbane River and Sugars Quarry. There was information here about the history of Sugars Quarry.

Lookout in Anstead Bushland Reserve
It was a very windy day and we didn't see as many birds as we might otherwise have but there were lots of Monarch butterflies about.

We finished our short visit with morning tea in the picnic area.

Bird List: Apostlebird, Pied Butcherbird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Australian Wood Duck, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Grey Fantail, Lewin’s Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Straw-necked Ibis, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian Magpie, Noisy Miner, Crested Pigeon, Eastern Yellow Robin, Grey Shrike-thrush, Weebill, Eastern Whipbird, Golden Whistler, Willie Wagtail.

Details for Anstead Bushland Reserve:
Where: Hawkesbury Road, Anstead, Brisbane.
No camping.
Free access.
Facilities: Car Park, toilets, gas BBQ's, picnic shelters and picnic tables, walking tracks, lookout, information board. Dogs allowed on leash. Horses allowed on some tracks.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Coochin Creek Camping Area, Beerwah State Forest, Sunshine Coast QLD.

Coochin Creek Camping Area.
On the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, Coochin Creek campground is the only national park run campground anywhere near the Glasshouse Mountains. It is ideal for fishing and boating but be aware that at times the mosquito and sandfly numbers become overwhelming. We deliberately chose to visit in the middle of winter and on a high wind day so that we could enjoy a wander around the area. 

The terraced area for fishing and launching canoes at Coochin Creek Campground.
The unformed boat ramp and boat parking area 1 km from the campground.
There is a formed boat ramp 7 km away on Pumicestone Passage. Both ramps are referred to as Coochin Creek Boat Ramp which could understandably cause confusion.

Coochin Creek Boat Ramp on Pumiscetone Passage,off Roys Road.
While standing at the ramp an Osprey flew overhead with some nesting material. 

Not the best photo but we were impressed by the size of the branch this Osprey was carrying.
Pumicestone Passage has long been a favourite of ours for viewing shorebirds by boat but we saw quite a few just standing on the ramp.

Details for Coochin Creek Camping Area:
Where: 78 km, just over an hour, north of Brisbane. On the eastern side of the Bruce Highway. Take the Bells Creek exit to Roys Road and follow signs to the campground.
Access: Conventional vehicles.
Camping Type: 21 numbered sites. Each site designated for a particular type of rig. Limited space for big rigs.
Fees and Booking: Standard Queensland National Park fees: Adults $6.15 per night. Book online or by phone 13 74 68.
Facilities: Composting toilet, fire rings, non-potable water. We had Telstra phone reception.There is a Day Use Area adjoining the campground with tables and gas BBQs. There is a terraced area for fishing and launching kayaks. Small unformed boat ramp 1 km away. No hiking trails.
Prohibitions: No domestic animals. No generators.
Cautions: Mosquitoes and sandflies can be overwhelming.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Inskip Point, QLD. Part 2:

Sunrise at Inskip Point
We woke up to a beautiful sunrise and set off on foot to explore the western side of Inskip Point for quail. Inskip Point used to be an excellent area to spot rare Black-breasted Button-quail but we, and another birder we met, had no luck in finding any. Sadly, we didn't even see a single quail platelet.  

The ferry to Fraser Island pulled in after we rounded the point and returned to our campsite for a late breakfast.

Ferries to Fraser Island leave from Inskip Point.
We drove out to the Bymien Day Use Area. Next to the parking area there is a secluded picnic area, an information sign and pit toilets. The walk to Poona Lake starts from here. 

Freshwater Road is an unsealed 2WD Road into Bymien Day Use Area.
Bymien Day Use Area
Lace Monitor at Bymien Day Use Area.
First, we walked the Dundathu Circuit which is only 250 m but well worth the detour as it is an attractive piece of lowland rainforest and we saw both Bassian Thrush and Large-billed Scrubwren.

Russet-tailed Thrush
We proceeded along the Poona Lake Walk which is a Class 2, 4.2 km return walk. We met a fellow birder and blogger along the track and exchanged information. Robert writes the blog 9001 BIRDS and was particularly keen to tick the Black-breasted Button-quail box but as we had also dipped out we were not of much help. We enjoyed the walk through a variety of Kauri Pine, Hoop Pine, Strangler Figs and Piccabeen Palms. There were a number of interesting fungi growing alongside the track.

Poona Lake is picture postcard perfect and was well worth the walk in.

Poona Lake
On our drive back to the campground we stopped at the Drinking Water Depot and Dump Point on Clarkson Drive, just past Zircon Street. This is an excellent free facility provided by the local council for tourists as there is no drinking water available on the Inskip Peninsula.

Drinking water facility
There are no showers at Inskip Point but I enjoyed a swim in the tranquil ocean which wasn't too cold even at this time of year.

In the afternoon we went for a walk in a clockwise direction around Inskip Point. First we crossed the road to the beach on the western side of the point. Here we saw a pair of Beach-stone Curlews. They are listed as vulnerable in Queensland so it is always great to see them. We noticed that there were a lot of crabs on the sandbanks and they were providing an easy meal for a variety of shore birds including the Beach-stone Curlews, Sacred Kingfishers, Eastern Curlews and Bar-tailed Godwits. 

The western side of Inskip Peninsula
Beach-stone Curlews
Sacred Kingfisher
At the point we were delighted to see another pair of Beach-stone Curlews.

The second pair of Beach-stone Curlews that we saw.
 Mangrove Honeyeaters were common on the peninsula and in our campground.

Mangrove Honeyeater

Details for Camping at Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area:
Where: 252 km, about 3 hours 15 minutes, north of Brisbane. 80 km, 1 hour, north-east of Gympie. Sealed roads until the entrance to the campgrounds. There are five Campgrounds to choose from. 
Access: M V Sarawak Camping Area is usually 2WD accessible, S S Dorigo is mostly 4WD with some 2WD near the entrance, Natone, M V Beagle and The Oaks Camping areas are 4WD high clearance areas with no towing.
Facilities: Pit toilets. There are industrial bins near the entrance to each campground.There are no showers. No water in the campgrounds. Free drinking water is available from the Water Station in Clarkson Drive, Rainbow Beach. We had phone reception at M V Sarawak. No boat ramps.
Allowed: Dogs on leash. Fires: bring milled firewood, put fires out with water not sand. Low decibel generators allowed until 9 pm.
Prohibited: Other than dogs, no pets, including birds. No digging your own bush toilets. Portable toilets can be emptied at the Dump Point in Clarkson Road, Rainbow Beach near the Water Station.
Fees and Booking: Standard Queensland National Park Fees: $6.15 per adult. Maximum booking is 30 days. Book online, by phone 13 74 68 or at the Visitor Information Centre on Rainbow Beach Road. This is a very popular camping area. Book well in advance for peak holiday times and expect huge crowds.
Cautions: There are biting sandflies here please wear protective clothing or use insecticide. The pit toilets get overused and some are smelly. Be very particular about camp hygiene such as washing your hands.

Birdlist for the two day trip: White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Whistling Kite, Eastern Osprey, Australian Brush Turkey, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Pied Cormorant, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Beach Stone-curlew, Eastern Curlew, Torresian Crow, Australasian Grebe, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Spangled Drongo, Little Egret, Rufous Fantail, Australasian Figbird, Noisy Friarbird, Australasian Gannet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Silver Gull, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Mangrove Honeyeater, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Scarlet Honeyeater, Sacred Kingfisher, Magpie-lark, Masked Lapwing, Australian Pelican, Crested Pigeon, Eastern Yellow Robin, Large-billed Scrubwren, Little Shrike-thrush, Grey Shrike-thrush, Welcome Swallow, Crested Tern, Russet-tailed Thrush, Varied Triller, Little Wattlebird, Eastern Whipbird, Golden Whistler, Willie Wagtail, White-breasted Woodswallow.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Inskip Point Recreation Area, QLD. Part 1: Searys Creek and Rainbow Beach.

Beach in front of our campsite at Inskip Point.
Although I have been to the Great Sandy National Park, Rainbow Beach, Inskip Point and Fraser Island, there were still a couple of things I hadn't done in the area. I have long wanted to see The Carlo Sandblow and Lake Poona so in May we spent a couple of nights camping at beautiful Inskip Point Recreation Reserve with the specific aim of ticking these two attractions off our bucket list.

On the drive in from Gympie we stopped at Searys Creek Day Use Area. This is a popular area for swimming in the warmer months but was deserted while we were there. The water in Searys Creek is very clear and reminds me of Eli Creek on Fraser Island. There is a car park with about ten spaces directly off Rainbow Beach Road but it isn't suitable for RVs or long vehicles. There is a toilet block and information sign at the car park and it is only a short Class 2 walk along a boardwalk to the creek and swimming areas. We saw and heard many birds along the boardwalk. 

Boardwalk at Searys Creek
A catfish visible in the clear waters of Searys Creek.
Welcome Swallow at Searys Creek
There are several camping areas in the Inskip Point Recreation Area. We choose the M.V. Sarawak Camping Area as it is convenient for walking to the tip of Inskip Point and the birding areas we are interested in. We set up our tent in a campsite with dappled shade facing the beach. Vehicles are not allowed on the beach fronting the campgrounds which makes it a safe place for families. People camping near us pushed their dinghy out by hand and reeled in an enormous tuna.

Our campsite at Inskip Point.
After a quick set up followed by lunch we drove to the car park at the end of Cooloola Drive in Rainbow Beach and walked out to the Carlo Sandblow. This is a pleasant walk past magnificent Scribbly Gums. There are a few steps but the return walk is only about 1.2 km.

Scribbly Gums along the walk to the Carlo Sandblow.
Orange Ringlet
Words fail to describe just how stunning the sheer scale of the sandblow is and I highly recommend putting this easy to see natural wonder on your bucket list.

View of Double Island Point from the Carlo Sandblow.
We decided to take a walk along Rainbow Beach to the Coloured Sands as it was low tide.
We parked in Wide Bay Esplanade near the Surf Club and walked down the stairs to the beach.

Tempting offers at the Rainbow Beach Surf Club.
Walking at low tide turned out to not be the best decision because the Mudlo Rocks become passable by vehicles at low tide and although the 4WD's didn't cause us any problem there was a motor bike ripping backwards and forwards doing donuts in the sand alongside us as we walked. A better strategy for walking might be to go at half tide. We still managed to see a few shore birds.

Rainbow Beach, Mudlo Rocks at low tide, Coloured Sands in the background.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
Crested Tern and Silver Gull at Rainbow Beach
The Rainbow Beach Holiday Village fronts onto Wide Bay Esplanade opposite Phil Rogers Park which overlooks Rainbow Beach.

Rainbow Beach Holiday Park
Phil Rogers Park 
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo