Bird-watching Day-tour

Male satin bowerbird offering a flower to the female: we watched this during a tour to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
Australian brush turkey (a megapode, not really a turkey) sunbaking

We specialise more in watching behaviour and learning about the ecological relationships of the birds with other fauna and flora and the ecosystem in general than adding to life-lists, but with such a diversity of birds in our region and the variety of habitats we visit, we do see quite a diversity of species.

Our small-group tours are flexible to the needs of our guests and can cater for novice birdwatchers, experienced ornithologists, photographers, general nature-lovers, environmental science students, families and others.

Royal spoonbill
Royal spoonbill, often seen at Eagleby. We sometimes also see Australia’s other species, the yellow-billed spoonbill, here as well.
Brahminy kite
Brahminy kite, often seen at Eagleby and also on our Coochiemudlo tours.

Although we very much encourage families to enjoy birdwatching with us, we realise that not everyone wants children to accompany the tours they join. Hence the first person to book for a particular day can choose whether they prefer one without children that day.

The first person to book for the day also gets to choose the pickup time (anywhere between 5.30am and 9.00am)

We can customise the following itinerary if our guests have already been to our usual places (although some of our return guests enjoy repeat visits).

Our first stop is usually Eagleby Wetlands, which harbours and ever-changing variety of waterbirds, plus forest birds, grassland birds and often raptors.  

Black-necked stork (Australia’s only stork)
Pied stilt, a regular visitor, but nomadic, so sometimes they’re absent for a while
Glossy ibis – all three species of ibis in Australia can be seen here, the glossy less often than the others.
Magpie geese at Eagleby. The strange-shaped head

We can’t guarantee any species for any particular day, but regulars amongst the waterbirds tend to include black swan, Pacific black duck, Australia wood duck (also known as maned duck), hardhead duck, grey teal, Australian pelican, little pied cormorant, little black cormorant, pied stilt, Eastern great egret, Australian white ibis, straw-necked ibis, royal spoonbill, white-faced heron, Australasian swamp hen, dusky moorhen, Eurasian coot and Australasian grebe. From time to time we see the black-necked stork towering above all the other birds, magpie goose (not really geese – they are in a family of their own), pink-eared duck, Australian darter, red-necked avocet, back-fronted dotterel, red-kneed dotterel, marsh sandpiper, Latham’s snipe, buff-banded rail, comb-crested jacana, whiskered ten and many others. Even freckled duck – Australia’s rarest waterfowl – have very occasionally been sighted here (although not yet by us).

Birdwatching at Eagleby
Watching birds at one the the lagoons at Eagleby Wetlands
Scarlet honeyeater
Scarlet honeyeater, one of our smallest honeyeaters, feeding on tea-tree nectar
Golden-headed cisticola. We often hear their thin calls as they forage under the grass, and now and then one will reward our patience by choosing to sit for a minute or two above the grass.

Eagleby Wetlands also has wooded and grassy areas that we walk through (very gentle walks – no hills). Throughout the year we see kookaburra, rainbow and scaly lorikeets, pale-headed rosella, little corella, brown honeyeater, striated pardalote, tawny grass bird, golden-headed cisticola, black-faced cuckoo shrike, three species of fairy-wren and many others. When the tea trees flower in winter we see the beautiful scarlet honeyeater, and in mid-spring the koel, dollarbird and channel-billed cuckoo arrive. From time to time we also see mistletoe bird, noisy friarbird, brush cuckoo and others.

It’s often a good site for raptors also, above the lagoons, grassland or river. We quite often see Brahminy kite, white-bellied sea-eagle, whistling kite, black kite, wedge-tailed eagle and black-shouldered kite, and occasionally a swamp harrier.

White-bellied sea-eagle
White-bellied sea-eagle, hunting for fish, turtles or waterfowl
an optional part of our O’Reilly’s visit – the (very safe) canopy walk.
Wompoo Fruitdove , an important disperser of seeds

We then head to Lamington National Park, usually O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat but sometimes Binna Burra, to look for rainforest birds, also looking for open forest (bushland) birds along the way.

Our regulars are Australian brush turkey, crimson rosella, king parrot, log-runner, three species of scrubwomen, brown gerygone, brown hornbill, eastern yellow robin, Lewin’s honeyater, pied burrawong and satin bowerbird.

Female Albert’s lyrebird near O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
Logrunner, part of a family of only three species, in Australia and New Guidea.

One bird we’re always excited to see is Albert’s lyrebird. Lyrebirds are so different to other songbirds hey have a family all to themselves, both species being confined to Australia. They are probably the world’s best mimics, perform a wonderful courtship display, and have anatomical features that helped scientists deduce that he ancestors of all the world’s songbirds evolved here in the Australia/ New Zealand part of Gondwana. Finding a paradise rifle bird – the world’s only bird of paradise outside the tropics – is another treat.

If you would like a second day of birdwatching, you may opt for a day exploring other sites, including coastal habitats. Ronda, the usual guide for this tour, has conducted field research on birds for several decades, so as well as seeing and hearing birds and offering opportunities for photography,  this tour provides insights into the behaviour and ecology of the birds we see and hear, and you will also learn more about how and why Australian birds differ from other world regions. There are plenty of bird photgraphy opportunties. Tell us your interests and your preferred starting time (whoever books first for the day gets to choose the starting time).

$330.00 including all travel and guiding,  lunch, refreshments, checklist and GST