Friday 24 August 2012

Oxley Creek Common, Brisbane, Aug 2012

This post carries a big thank you to Mat Gilfedder. His eBird submissions caught my eye and prompted an enquiry about Oxley Creek Common. Mat replied with an extensive site report that completely sold me on the idea of a visit.
As promised, the early arrival was rewarded with a view of the White-bellied Sea-eagle returning home with its catch, mobbed in its flight by Torresian Crows.

The Red Barn at Google Earth ref; 27°32'8.61"S 152°59'33.56"E is an obvious feature to assure first-time visitors that that they are in the right place. Referred to as Area 1 in Mat’s guide the grassy approach and mound brought my first lifer of the day in the shape of an Australian Pipit. This was a bird that I had known in its previous incarnation as Richard’s Pipit, but taxanomic adances and a change of governing body, brought a fanfare from my listing software (does eBird give you fanfares? I think not!).

Two visits have been heated, folded and beaten back into shape as a single post. The pipit was seen on the first exploratory sneak peak, but I had use of a car on that occasion and had to return by public transport to qualify the sightings for my 10,000 Birds Year List. The pipit was seen by the barn during the first visit, but missed until much later in the day on the qualifying trip.
The trees around the barn brought the first Brown Honeyeater of the day as well as Blue-faced Honeyeaters and assorted Australian “black and whites”.

The path leads through a gate and into Area 2 which is characterised by the tree line bordering the cattle meadows on the left, with the tidal creek to the right. Lewin’s Honeyeaters, Silver-eyes, and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes were seen in the trees while the meadows produced Tawny Grassbird, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin and Golden-headed Cisticolas

Brown Quail crept along the fence line separating the two habitats. 

The bird that I had really hoped to see here was found at the first dip. An unmistakeable male Red-backed Fairywren was accompanied by a much duller female in the short grass by the dried stream. Without the male, I would have had to refer to the field guide to separate the female from the also present and similar Variegated and Superb Fairywrens.

As I continued on, the strident call of the Brown Honeyeater could be heard almost constantly. More tuneful were the Golden and Rufous Whistlers.

A path leads off to the left toward Jabiru Swamp. Willie Wagtails flitted up and down from the fence posts and Cattle Egrets diligently followed the large bullocks through the long grass of the meadows. A pair of Australian Kites roosted in the shade in a large gum to the left of the track and a White-faced Heron flushed from the seepage from the larger pond to the right. Three Black-fronted Dotterels flew in and it seemed that two preferred to be together and kept chasing the third one away. They moved towards me. feeding as they went. They reached forward with their legs and wriggled their toes in the mud in the manner of an egret probing for food and approached to within 5 meters. I have never been close enough to see the chestnut wing patch before.

Black-winged Stilts, Australian Grebe and Pacific Black Ducks were seen on the pond with a single male Chestnut Teal on the far bank.

Further along was Pelican Lagoon with one Australian Pelican roosting on the island as if to prove that names are not just pulled out of a hat. Dusky Moorhen, Australian Grebes and Welcome Swallows were plentiful on the lake, with White-eyed Duck, Black Swan and Fairy Martins at a closer look.
I returned to the path by the creek and continued towards “The Neck and the “Secret Forest”. More Quail flushed from the fence line and a Pheasant Coucal flew off in a panic when I surprised it by appearing suddenly on the skyline as it explored a damp gully. Some charming Double-barred Finches were seen just before I reached the furthest point and turned to head back.

On the return walk I was pleased to find the Grey Shrike-thrush that I had seen on the first visit, but almost missed on the second. It was accompanied by a Spangled Drongo, but neither would sit for a picture.

Bird seen; 64

Black Swan 4, Maned Duck 2, Pacific Black Duck 15, Grey Teal 8, Chestnut Teal 1, White-eyed Duck 1, Australian Brush-turkey 8, Brown Quail 8, Australian Grebe 20, Little Black Cormorant 5, Little Pied Cormorant 4, Australian Darter 1, Australian Pelican 1, Great Egret 1, Intermediate Egret 1, White-faced Heron 2, Australian Ibis 20, Straw-necked Ibis 1, Australian Kite 2, White-bellied Sea-Eagle 1, Brown Goshawk 2, Australian Kestrel 1, Dusky Moorhen 30, Eurasian Coot 4, Masked Lapwing 2, Black-fronted Dotterel 3, Pied Stilt 12, Caspian Tern 1, Crested Pigeon 8, Bar-shouldered Dove 6, Galah 8, Rainbow Lorikeet 4, Pheasant Coucal 1, Red-backed Fairywren 9, Superb Fairywren 3, Variegated Fairywren 6, Lewin’s Honeyeater 10, Noisy Miner 4, Brown Honeyeater 30, Blue-faced Honeyeater 3, Eastern Whipbird 2, Grey Butcherbird 6, Pied Butcherbird 12, Australian Magpie 6, Pied Currawong 1, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike 8, Golden Whistler 2, Rufous Whistler 4, Grey Shrike-thrush 2, Australian Figbird 1, Spangled Drongo 1, Willie Wagtail 30, Grey Fantail 12, Magpie Lark 4, Torresian Crow 40, Welcome Swallow 15, Fairy Martin 8, Australian Reed-warbler 1, Tawny Grassbird 1, Golden-headed Cisticola 8, Silver-eye 20, Australian Pipit 2, Double-barred Finch 10, Chestnut-breasted Finch 12

For other posts from the Brisbane area, follow the links below;

Visit the dedicated Australia page for other posts from the region including sites in Sydney such as Royal National Park and North Heads.

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