Our fourth joint activity in 2023 with Toowoomba Bird Observers club, for the bird survey of private properties of members of Lockyer Uplands Catchments Inc., was planned for an early start in case of hot weather. As it turned out, we had overcast conditions all day with low cloud, mist and periods of light rain!
However, the birds at our host’s Iredale property remained active and the ten observers (in two teams) generated a large list, 80 species, adding about 17 to the list from two previous LUCI surveys. (The landowner and other observers have recorded additional species, over about two decades.) Part of the reason for the rich bird fauna is thought to be the diversity of habitats on this large, relatively flat property: grassland, woodland, thickets, scrub, open-forest, two spring-fed creeks, and small farm wetlands. Today our survey included 14 species of waterbird, nine honeyeaters and five cuckoos.
Among the presumed resident species were three small parties of Grey-crowned Babbler and two pairs of Speckled Warbler; both are focal species in BirdLife’s conservation action plan for woodland birds, due to widespread decline in southern states. Also, three fairy-wrens—Red-backed (19 individuals), Variegated and Superb. Brown Goshawk was suspected to be breeding locally. Horsfield’s Bushlarks were singing at the grassland edge. After evidence of their presence in the earlier surveys, today a pair of Painted Button-quail was sighted, albeit briefly, in woodland dominated by silver-leaved ironbark—with fresh feeding scrapes some distance away.
North-south migratory species recorded on this survey included Dollarbird, Cicadabird, Brush Cuckoo and Koel. Two bronze-cuckoos were encountered: Little and Horsfield’s. The latter seems to be mainly a spring visitor in our region; likewise White-winged Triller, with three recorded as well as Varied Triller.
Although the wetlands on this valley property are quite small, a substantial number of waterbird species has gradually been documented. On this occasion, a party of Plumed Whistling-Ducks—perhaps thinking about nesting when the grassland melon holes get wetter—and one or more Royal Spoonbills were listed.
|Australian White Ibis
|Australian Wood Duck
|Eastern Yellow Robin
|Little Black Cormorant
|Pacific Black Duck
The LUCI bird survey project has been running for three years with 20 properties visited, most of them two to three times and in both cool and warm parts of the year. Significant differences between hill properties and valley properties in the bird fauna are emerging and may be explored further in a report on the project results to date, due out early in the new year.