Gorgeous parklands near central Brisbane with some reasonable water and bush birds.
Date of visit: Aug 21, 2020
There are a couple of ways to access Minnippi Parklands, both of which offer excellent car parking: from the north, along Stanton Rd West, or from the south, in the Preston Road Park area off Meadowlands Road or the Skate-Track Carpark off Kate St. The former is probably best and gets you straight onto the lake area, if that’s what you’re after.
Yep, this place has a decent sized lake with some water birds as well as Bulimba Creek running through it fringed with various bits of bushland. It really is quite a nice spot.
There’s a basic circuit you can do which goes around the whole lake area, which is what I did. The cutest sighting of the day was first up: a baby Swamphen and its parent walking across the path. Swamphens are generally one of those obliging photographic subjects: they don’t fly off straight away when you get too close, and they’re rather photogenic and visually interesting. (Other birds in this category that come straight to mind are Magpies, Kookaburras, Dollarbirds, and – to some extent – Eastern Yellow Robins).
On the west side of the lake I came across a female Leaden Flycatcher, fairly low down in a large but exposed tree. I was entranced by this bird for quite a while (and yes, also trying to get a good shot amongst all the branches). What’s not to love about all members of the Flycatcher and Monarch bird family?
You get Torresian Crows nearly everywhere in South East Queensland, but this park has a LOT of them. There is a picnic area with an unusual playground and a huge fig tree in which I saw plenty of Figbirds, but there were also plenty of crows. They won’t outright swoop down and steal your lunch, but you can tell they’re thinking about it.
Nearby the picnic area I saw a Magpie-Lark strutting along the grass, a Black-Faced Cuckooshrike and, in the grassy area on top of the hill, a rather tame Galah pecking around on the ground. In fact, many of the birds I saw here didn’t seem overly concerned with humans in the vicinity – they must be well used to it.
Onto the lake area. There is a boardwalk-style viewing area which is excellent for resting one’s camera on as one attempts to take the world’s best Black Swan photo. Seemed like a few varieties of water birds here – domestic ducks (cute-looking, but supposedly feral), Hardheads, Wood Ducks, Wandering Whistling Ducks, Pacific Black Ducks, various Cormorants and – sitting on the “island” in the middle, a large Great Cormorant (a lifer!). An Intermediate Egret also lurked along the edge of the lake, snapping up a lizard from the reeds.
On the way back to the car I came across a couple of Tawny Frogmouths (actually, another birder gave me a tip-off!) which provided a lovely finish to the whole experience.
There are some slightly strange side-trails in this area: along the north-west by the creek, and on the east side towards the highway, in particular. Subsequent explorations of these didn’t yield too much of interest, and they’re rather rough unmarked paths. If you do want to venture slightly further from Minnippi, there is a good bikeway network, as well as the creek which is quite long and has walkways along some of its length (especially down towards Carindale), plus there are more reserves around like Cannon Hill Bushland Reserve (though you probably can’t access it by foot directly from Minnippi), and, depending on where you’re coming from, you can tack on a visit to Minnippi on the way back from somewhere like Sandy Camp Wetlands, too, for example.
In summary, Minnippi Parklands isn’t a top 5 Brisbane birding spot by any means, if you’re purely concerned with bird species diversity, but it is definitely one of the nicer parklands to visit.
eBird hotspot: Minnippi Parklands (191 species)
Notable nearby eBird hotspots:
eBird checklist for this visit: https://ebird.org/australia/checklist/S72640405
Notable species/close encounters seen in this visit:
- Tawny Frogmouth
- Great Cormorant
- Leaden Flycatcher
- Common species: Australian Wood Duck, Black Swan, Black-Faced Cuckooshrike, Crested Pigeon, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Magpie-Lark
Pluses and minuses:
+ Lovely spacious parklands and lake areas with good facilities and extensive pathways/bikeways
+ Decent birds to be seen
+ Proximity to other hotspots
– Quite busy at times (esp. weekends)
– Not much shade or seating etc except in playground area
– Better bird diversity elsewhere