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In perfect birding weather, Margaret Lacey showed us her favourite birding spots in beautiful Coogoorah Park.

We were pleasantly surprised to reach a total of 51 species. Two of them were new, and several rarely seen by one of our party who lives next door! We started in the marshy areas near the car park with several Great Cormorants sitting in a nearby dead tree looking quite unconcerned by our party of 13 birdwatchers. The highlight here was several secretive Latham’s Snipe darting around in their distinctive zigzagging flight, defying us to actually get a good look.

Across the bridge Margaret showed us a small pond with one resident Hoary-headed Grebe, plus many ducks.

hoary headed grebeHoary-headed Grebe

However, for may of us, it was a skulking plain brown Little Grassbird which was our focus of interest, as it obligingly hopped around grasses on the opposite bank. Many of us had heard its mournful call at marshy areas but had never seen it, as it is another very secretive bird. In the marshy area nearby were our two main Dotterels, with the Red-kneed being a new bird for several of the group.

red kneed dotterelRed-kneed Dotterel

The Black-fronted, with its distinctive markings on its front, proved to be almost invisible with its back turned, which of course it did most of the time.

black fronted dotterelBlack-fronted Dotterel

The walk back through the treed areas gave us many more species including a pair of scuttling Satin Bowerbirds, several parrots, and calling cuckoos and a Sacred Kingfisher. As we moved over to the picnic area for morning tea we disturbed a nursery of immature Wood Ducks who looked as if they were being minded by three Black Ducks, as there was a group of adult Wood Ducks quite a distance away on the grass.

woodduck nurseryWood Duck nursery

When leaving for our cars a large flock of 32 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike flew over…a most unusual sight.

We then drove around the other side near Coalmine Road. We all had very good sightings of a pair of Satin Flycatchers which appeared to be building a nest, and a Dusky Woodswallow nest.

female satin flycatcherFemale Satin Flycatcher

male satinflycatcherMale Satin Flycatcher

I was the only one to glimpse a Crested Shrike-tit with its unmistakeable black and white head, as it briefly landed. White-naped Honeyeaters, Silvereyes and total of 20 species were identified in this area, and we were pleased to add four new species to our main list.

white naped honeyeaterWhite-naped Honeyeater


One bird species which continuously called in both areas was the ever delightful Rufous Whistler. As we were leaving a large brown raptor flew off before we had time to identify it. Fortunately Alison and Phil saw it over their car round the corner, and were able to identify it as a Brown Falcon. It was a most memorable morning, and great to know that such good birding can be found on our doorstep.

The next bird walk will be in February next year, apart from the combined flower and bird walk at the Christmas barbecue in December.

Below are all the birds identified:

  1. Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
  2. Fan-tailed Cuckoo
  3. Brown Falcon
  4. Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
  5. Gang-gang Cockatoo
  6. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  7. Crimson Rosella
  8. Red Wattlebird
  9. New Holland Honeyeater
  10. White-eared Honeyeater
  11. White-naped Honeyeater
  12. Dusky Woodswallow
  13. Crested Shrike-tit
  14. Gray Shrikethrush
  15. Rufous Whistler
  16. Gray Fantail
  17. Satin Flycatcher
  18. Eastern Yellow Robin
  19. Silver-eye
  20. Red-browed Firetail
  21. Maned Duck
  22. Pacific Black Duck
  23. Gray Teal
  24. Chestnut Teal
  25. Hoary-headed Grebe
  26. Spotted Dove
  27. Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo
  28. Dusky Moorhen
  29. Eurasian Coot
  30. Australasian Swamphen
  31. Red-kneed Dotterel
  32. Black-fronted Dotterel
  33. Latham’s Snipe
  34. Great Cormorant
  35. White-faced Heron
  36. Laughing Kookaburra
  37. Sacred Kingfisher
  38. Blue-winged Parrot
  39. Satin Bowerbird
  40. Superb Fairywren
  41. Spotted Pardalote
  42. Brown Thornbill
  43. Australian Magpie
  44. Pied Currawong
  45. Black-faced Cuckooshrike
  46. Willie-wagtail
  47. Magpie-lark
  48. Little Raven
  49. Welcome Swallow
  50. Little Grassbird
  51. Eurasian Blackbird

Ellinor Campbell

All photos by Margaret Lacey except the Wood Ducks nursery