Cranley Escarpment Park

 Pacific baza (Aviceda subcristata) Photo: David Simons

An unusually warm winters day, after a cold start, and lovely clear skies after recent rain made for a perfect morning’s birding at Cranley Bushland Reserve.

Cranley Escarpment Park is almost 45 hecatres on Toowoomba’s north western side. The park is composed of mainly ironbark eucalypt forest with extensive infestation of lantana and prickly pear trees. Note in the case of lantana this is not necessarily a bad thing per se, as the lantana provides great coverage for small birds, which were abundant on the day we visited. (The trick when removing lantana is to replace it with a native alternative, so as to maintain the ecological role that it was providing.)

Photo: Scot McPhie

A group of 10 set out and completed one 500m radius survey, and two 2 Ha/20 minute surveys. The route for these two surveys were recorded and will be used again in future visits. The park has a series of wide grassed walking tracks, more akin to a firebreak, and has a gentle gradient with a slight rise at one end.

Photo: Scot McPhie

In total 44 species were sighted. The individual surveys can be seen on birdata – and the total list is as follows:

Australasian FigbirdSphecotheres vieilloti
Australian King-ParrotAlisterus scapularis
Australian MagpieGymnorhina tibicen
Australian Wood DuckChenonetta jubata
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina novaehollandiae
Brown Goshawk/Collared Sparrowhawk spp
Brown ThornbillAcanthiza pusilla
Cattle EgretBubulcus ibis
Crested PigeonOcyphaps lophotes
Double-barred FinchTaeniopygia bichenovii
Eastern WhipbirdPsophodes olivaceus
Eastern Yellow RobinEopsaltria australis
GalahEolophus roseicapilla
Golden WhistlerPachycephala pectoralis
Grey ButcherbirdCracticus torquatus
Grey FantailRhipidura fuliginosa
Grey Shrike-thrushColluricincla harmonica
Little Pied CormorantMicrocarbo melanoleucos
Masked LapwingVanellus miles
Musk LorikeetGlossopsitta concinna
Noisy FriarbirdPhilemon corniculatus
Noisy MinerManorina melanocephala
Olive-backed OrioleOriolus sagittatus
Pacific BazaAviceda subcristata
Pale-headed RosellaPlatycercus adscitus
Pied ButcherbirdCracticus nigrogularis
Pied CurrawongStrepera graculina
Rainbow LorikeetTrichoglossus moluccanus
Red-backed Fairy-wrenMalurus melanocephalus
Red-browed FinchNeochmia temporalis
Red-rumped ParrotPsephotus haematonotus
Rufous WhistlerPachycephala rufiventris
Satin BowerbirdPtilonorhynchus violaceus
Scaly-breasted LorikeetTrichoglossus chlorolepidotus
SilvereyeZosterops lateralis
Speckled WarblerPyrrholaemus sagittatus
Spotted PardalotePardalotus punctatus
Straw-necked IbisThreskiornis spinicollis
Striated PardalotePardalotus striatus
Sulphur-crested CockatooCacatua galerita
Superb Fairy-wrenMalurus cyaneus
Torresian CrowCorvus orru
Variegated Fairy-wrenMalurus lamberti
White-browed ScrubwrenSericornis frontalis

The highlight of the day was a pair of Pacific baza being mobbed by Noisy miners (despite being no threat to them), and a large groups of Silvereyes – many of which would be winter visitors to the area.

Pacific baza (Aviceda subcristata) Photo: Tony Bond
Brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) Photo: David Simons
Red-backed fairywren (Malurus melanocephalus) Photo: David Simons
Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) – Photo: Tony Bond
Olive-backed oriole (Oriolus sagittatus) Photo: Tony Bond
Spotted pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) Photo: Tony Bond
Satin bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) Photo: Tony Bond
Grey fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) Photo: Tony Bond
Torresian crow (Corvus orru) Photo: Tony Bond
Brown thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) Photo: Tony Bond
White-browed scrubwren (Sericornis frontalis) Photo: Tony Bond
Noisy friarbird (Philemon corniculatus) Photo: Tony Bond

With the TMR recently announcing plans to develop a new connection road between Geham and the western side of Toowoomba, this whole area could be under threat and is one thing we will be watching very carefully.

Photo: Scot McPhie