A strange multi-use spot with a small but awesomely bird-rich patch of bush.
Dates of visit: Aug 17 and Aug 30, 2020
Mudgeeraba Hinterland Regional Park is an anomalous 62 hectares of land with a bit of a mix of vegetation. There’s some open grassy areas, some swampy paddock-style areas, and an excellent patch of bird-rich dense bush.
Of course, I didn’t know that on my first visit, so I trooped off into the northern section of the park, seeing a few birds (Kookaburras and Red-Backed Fairywrens) but nothing too interesting. There was some adjoining farmland where I saw a Straw-Necked Ibis, and the “not formally defined” (horse-riding?) trail marked on the Council map seemed inaccessible due to creeks and general bogginess.
It turns out that the northern part of the park and the two dog parks are very much frequented by dog walkers; as time went on more and more dogs turned up and more than one came yapping aggressively at me. I don’t know about you, but I find this sort of thing pretty annoying, especially when I’m just chilling out placidly looking at birds.
As it transpires, there’s a dogs-prohibited section of the park accessible basically straight from the car park, which is not only free of canine intruders, but is absolutely where the keen birder should direct their attention to – see the yellow-coloured area on the map. In this area I had the pleasure of close encounters with a Mistletoebird, a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, as well as several Silvereyes, Red-Browed Finches and Superb Fairyrens. I do enjoy the challenge of trying to nab a photo of a Silvereye, they are such quick flitty little birds. The finches were foraging on the ground of the grassy path for quite a while which made for some light entertainment; then on rounding the back of the “Rainforest Track” I came upon a flowering pink bottlebrush tree (I think that’s what it was, I’m no botanist) with a few active Scarlet Honeyeaters – both male and female. In the bright sunshine they made for great colours in photos.
Continuing to the end of the Rainforest Track and onto the “Glossy Black Trail” yielded a mysterious flapping which I had to track down. Eventually I saw it was a Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo. Black Cockatoos are always a pleasure to see, and a Yellow-Tailed is of more interest to me than a Glossy Black, as I’ve been spoiled by Toohey Forest in that regard.
I liked this patch of bush so much I came back a couple of weeks later, and had an equally great time. I zeroed straight in on the dogs-prohibited area, and fairly soon (after spending a little time with a Brown Honeyeater), came across a White-Cheeked Honeyeater – first time I have ever seen this bird (and, pretty uncommon in general in the Gold Coast/Brisbane I would think). It wasn’t very close, but was in a spiky dead tree so was at least quite visible and identifiable. Silvereyes and Superb Fairywrens then kept me entertained as did a pair of Lewin’s Honeyeaters racing each other through the trees. This time I walked further in, finding the Callistemon Trail (true confession: I hadn’t really consulted a map the previous visit, or this one…), and explored that creekside area, which didn’t yield much of interest except some more Superb Fairywrens and a raucous crow on a fence post. Oh, there was a Tawny Grassbird there too.
Upon returning to the Rainforest Track, I had an extended and very close encounter with a female Rufous Whistler – this little bird seemed unafraid, in fact was incredibly curious, and apart from simply enjoying the moment, I was able to get several amazing photos to commemorate our mutually intriguing meeting.
Kudos to the “active bushcare group” who take care of this special patch of birding paradise, and shout out to this guide to the Hinterland Park written by John Reynolds and Matt Gilfedder.
There’s plenty of parking (though do watch out for the unnecessarily high speed bumps!) and a small but pleasant picnic area right next to the chief area of birding interest. If you hadn’t picked up on it by now, the Hinterland Regional Park area is not very large, and has only a couple of tracks, but it’s pretty awesome.
eBird hotspots: Hinterland Regional Park (180 species)
Nearby eBird hotspots: Franklins Flats Parklands (71 species)
Notable species/close encounters seen in these visits:
- Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo
- Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
- Scarlet Honeyeater
- Red-Browed Finch
- White-Cheeked Honeyeater
- Rufous Whistler
- Common species: Brown Honeyeater, Grey Shrikethrush, Tawny Grassbird, Grey & Rufous Fantails, Red-Backed and Superb Fairywrens, Figbird, Crow
Pluses and minuses:
+ Small but amazing patch of bird-filled bush
+ Plenty of car parking, picnic tables, park area
– Not a very large area for birding overall
– Dog areas which are often very busy with said canines