Friday, 17 August 2012

Mount Coot-Tha, Brisbane, Australia. Aug 2012

To the east of Brisbane is a forested hill that tops out at around 250 meters and goes by the name of Mount Coot-Tha. It looked like an easy ride from Paddington, but the suburbs around Brisbane are not quite as flat as Google Earth would have you believe. Access to the forest from the foot of the hill can be had at  JC Slaughter Falls, Google Earth ref; 27°28'15.15"S 152°58'15.25"E,or Simpson’s Road, 27°27'57.29"S 152°57'54.86"E.


The Summit Trail leads from the car park and picnic area at JC Slaughter Falls. Despite its preciritous sounding name, the track is gently inclined with a few steps at the top and a few early morning walkers chatted easily as they climbed towards the Summit Restaurant at Google Earth ref; 27°29'6.01"S 152°57'32.53"E.


Galahs perched on dead snags near to the entrance and the air was rent by the raucous calls of the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Torresian Crows


In the car park, an Australian Scrub-turkey had commandeered a pile of bark chippings meant for re-surfacing the path. Maintenence workers had not finished spreading the chippings on Friday afternoon and returned to work on Monday morning to find this male, Top o' the Heap, with 3 females laying in his ready made nest-mound.


The picnic area at the base of the slope provides forest edge birding habitat with tree-top birds visible at a feasible angle. Striated Pardalotes were seen high in the eucalypts with Pale-headed Rosellas closer to the ground.
A party of birds including a Lewin's Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, and a Grey Fantail were seen at the beginning of the path where a small stream passes through. The stream opens up a little further on. The flow was minimal which may explain why I missed the eponymous falls. A White-faced Heron stalked through a shadowy pool before coming out into the light for a picture.


Grey Fantails often herald a party of birds and each feeding group that I encountered this morning had at least one of these fidgety birds at its heart. Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Golden Whistlers and Silvereyes were also present, though the Noisy Miner seemed to thin out a little inside the forest.
The track runs for just over two kilometers to the top of the hill where a restaurant and coffee shop command a wonderful view across Brisbane to Stradbroke Island in the distance.


Birds seen; 25
Maned Duck 2, Australian Brush-turkey 8, Australian Grebe 1, White-faced Heron 1, Dusky Moorhen 2, Galah 35, Sulpur-crested Cockatoo 20, Rainbow Lorikeet 15, Pale-headed Rosella 2, Laughing Kookaburra 8, Lewin’s Honeyeater 1, Yellow-faced Honeyeater 3, Noisy Miner 60, Brown Honeyeater 3, Spotted Pardalote 3, Striated Pardalote 3, Australian Magpie 3, Pied Currawong 10, Golden Whistler 5, Australian Figbird 4, Gray Fantail 3, Torresian Crow 10, Welcome Swallow 6, Silver-eye 6, Mistletoebird 1.