Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Along the Brisbane River

A day spent along the Brisbane river, from Teneriffe in the east to Fig Tree Pocket in the west. I started off having a sail along the river on the Brisbane CityCat, much too fast moving for any serious birding but a quick, cheap and easy way for me to see the city without spending all day at it. Even so I added a few species to my trip list so far, Australian darter, gull-billed tern, lesser crested tern and white-face heron.

On returning to the city centre I caught the bus to Fig Tree Pocket and the Lone pine koala sanctuary.  I'm not really one for spending a lot of time in zoos, captive animals don't do a lot for me, but in this case it seemed worth a visit. Quite apart from the fact that the grounds and gardens attract many wild species, I don't think that it's possible to see some of these Australian specialities even in zoos outside of Australia. For example I don't know how many platypus there are in zoos across the world, but I bet it's not many, if any. The aussies seem as keen to keep Australian things in the country as they are to keep foreign things out. Pity they didn't think of that 250 years ago.....

Even the least interested person couldn't fail to notice that there are a lot of parrots, lorikeets, cockatoos, cockatiels, budgies and rosellas in Australia. They may look like escaped pets but they are all  wild, endemic and native. They can also be difficult to see well and even more difficult to photograph. For example I've been seeing scaly-breasted lorikeets at several places over the past couple of days but always silhouetted, half hidden or high up in flight, and usually all of those!

However the Koala sanctuary has two "wild lorikeet feeding times" when they put food out and these wild birds respond like whooper swans at Martin Mere. Except that they sit on your head and any other available part of your body! One even landed on my camera whilst I was taking photos of another! Anyway, the mainly green looking bird in the photo above is scaly-breasted, all of the others are rainbow lorikeets. Other parrots seen today were sulpher-creasted cockatoos and galahs.

Where's that bloody scaly-breasted lorikeet gone?

Grey butcherbird.

Pied butcherbird

Laughing kooaburra

Royal spoonbill at Biami Yumba lake.

Australian swamphen, originally considered a race of our European purple gallinule, it's now classed as a seperate species.

Likewise this is an eastern cattle egret.

Intermediate heron.

You really wouldn't think I was so close to Brisbane, just a short bus journey.

Biami Yumba lake, Fig Tree Pocket. One of the highlights here was a fly over white-bellied sea-eagle, one of the largest eagles in Australia.

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