Thursday, 11 July 2013

Rainbow Beach - Great Sandy National Park - Fraser Island - Queensland

We have spent a few days in and around Rainbow Beach with a day trip to Great Sandy NP located immediately to the south of Rainbow Beach and three days on Fraser Island. The geological histories and resulting habitats are similar in both Great Sandy NP and on Fraser Island, which include typical near coastal habitats found along the northern Australia eastern seaboard, and further inland, Eucalypt woodlands and rainforest, plus freshwater lakes and paperbark swamps.
Mantaray barge - one of two barges providing access to Fraser island from Inskip Point.

Beach driving on the east coast is the only way to access much of Fraser Island. 
Travel on the beach must be planned around the tides. From Hook Point at the southern end of Fraser Island there is about 100km of beach driving to reach Waddy Point in the north which is still 30km south of Sandy Cape, the northern tip of Fraser island - it is the biggest sand island in the world.
Pandanus Palms and Casuarina are typical species along the coast.
Recent cyclones have carved sand from the beaches.

Eucalypt woodland - the sandy track is typical of most tracks on Fraser Island.
High clearance 4WD is required.
Looking south from Middle Rocks to Indian Head - East Coast of Fraser Island 
towards northern end.

Looking north up the east coast from near Dundubara camp ground. 
Note 4WD vehicles on beach.

Inland track through a patch of rain forest.
We are continuing to encounter birds not normally found in our East Gippsland Victoria patch. Birds such as Brahminy Kites, Torresian Crows (no crows in Victoria apart from Little Crows around Mildura and odd vagrants), Figbird, Varied Triller, Bar-shouldered Dove, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Mangrove and White-fronted Honeyeater, Variegated and Red-backed Fairy-wrens and Beach Stone-curlew to name a few. Oh and Brush Turkey – I just looked out the caravan window to see one scurry by – they are very common here. 

Here are photos of some of the birds seen in this area over the last few days.

A Mangrove Honeyeater feeding on the fruits of a Beard Heath.

A White-throated Honeyeater in a flowering banksia. 
This species can have a blue crescent over the eye or in this case white. 
Similar species found here are White-naped and Black-chinned Honeyeaters.

This juvenile Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove spent 15 minutes feeding on fruits and resting in a tree at our Dundubara camp site. I am looking forward to photographing the spectacularly coloured male.

The aptly named male Red-backed Fairy-wren, one of two species of fairy-wren found in this area. They are common along the northern NSW and Queensland coast.

Same bird as above - he had just finished a bath and was preening when I caught up with him.

I was lucky to find this partially nocturnal and usually wary bird resting by a Casuarina shrub on 
the beach near Waddy Point camp ground on Fraser island. I walked through a shallow pond to 
get close to the bird. When it became aware of my presence it slowly walked away flicking its tail down and issuing a "chwip - chwip" alarm call. However it did not fly. It eventually walked out onto the open beach where I left it. A little later it was still there and when two 4WD vehicles 
drove close by, the bird did not move. This is a busy area so this bird would be used to lots of human activity.

The Beach Stone-curlew with tail dipped down - an alarm sign.

I took this ruffle of the feathers to be a sign the bird was relaxing a little.

The Stone-curlew was once called a "thick-knee" - I am no expert on bird anatomy however I guess it does have rather thick knees?
Rufous Whistlers are summer migrants to Victoria. We are finding plenty of these birds up here - like us they have gone north to avoid the Victorian winter. 
This female was being wooed by the male below.

This male Rufous Whistler entertained us as he repeatedly flew from the female's tree to a nearby tree and back again. When he arrived at the female's tree he executed a number of graceful bows. There was much calling on both bird's parts as this courting ritual progressed. 
Was this a lead up to breeding?


  1. G'day J&P,
    Nice to see some different birds - I'm really enjoying your trip! Just thought I'd let you know, it's -2degrees here this morning and the greens are covered in frost.

  2. Looks like you are having a great time around Rainbow and Fraser Island. Beautiful photos.