Summary: Agreeable place well set-up for birding, with lots of Pelicans
Date of visit: Sep 14, 2020
The Berrinba wetlands are man-made, created in an area of sand and mining operations after World War II, which remained largely untouched since the 1990s until Logan City Council started rehabilitation. Now the place features a large lake and several very good walking tracks. The longest outer circuit “Greater Wetland Walk” is 2.8km.
On my visit here I parked near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Leatrice Street. Note that the south portion of Fifth Avenue and the north portion ONLY connect up by bikeway, not car! You could more conveniently park on Wayne Goss Drive, but as I intended to walk the whole lake it was easier to park there than going around.
The first bird I saw was a plain old Crow getting hassled by Noisy Miners – they were really having a go at him. A couple of Kookaburras watched on from the powerline. I then heard some bird noises which I wasn’t overly familiar with at that point, and eventually tracked down a Little Friarbird.
The first glimpse of the lake yielded a couple of Magpie Geese, one of which was standing on an exposed tree branch, which made for an awesome photo. Other common species including Pacific Black Duck and White Ibis could be seen too.
I then had a lovely sunlit encounter with a White-Browed Scrubwren who was hopping around on the trees on the side of the path.
The tracks are a little confusing at first but you can’t really go wrong.
I then came to the main Viewing platform, which is excellent – though the morning sun does cut in across the water quite strongly.
There was a little mud island out on the water which housed quite a few Pelicans – close enough to get great shots, especially when a cheeky Darter clambered up one end and was yelled at by the resident Pelicans. A Whistling Kite could also be seen above. I counted 50 Pelicans in all, including the ones on the other side of the lake, not bad for a small suburban wetland.
I made my way further west (clockwise) around the outer circuit walk, discovering a rather unofficial but intriguing narrow dirt trail to the right. I followed this for much longer than I expected and found Variegated Fairywrens and a Chestnut-Breasted Mannikin in the long dry grasses. At this point I could also see the majority of the Pelicans had taken to the sky and were soaring randomly above. Probably they were enjoying the thermals.
Following the whole circuit right around wasn’t as fruitful, with mainly Crows and Magpie-Larks, except for another unofficial little side trail where I found an Eastern Yellow Robin and somehow managed to take a good photo of a Yellow-Faced Honeyeater (for some reason I can never seem to get good images of these birds).
Coming right around the northern end of the lake I got a little closer to the Whistling Kite, but it wasn’t until I reached the the eastern side that I started to see interesting birds again. Here there is a bikeway bridge which is quite high and well-constructed. Just south there are a few spots (including a little bird hide) you can see the lake from – where I nabbed good photos of another Magpie Goose, a Eurasian Coot, and a Darter drying itself off on a small rock.
A Black-Faced Cuckooshrike flew past as well. In this area is also a curious group of stones that Google Maps proclaims as “Stonehenge”.
In all I managed to see 32 species in the three hours I was there, with a bit more variety than I would have expected. The Pelicans were a highlight, as were the couple of smaller paths which added a little more exploratory interest. For some reason it also seemed to be one of those days where my photos came out well. Perhaps it was the bright sunshine.
The facilities here are all great, not just the paved pathways and viewing platforms; there are electric BBQs, fitness stations, picnic shelters and tables, and plenty of bench seats too. Really goes to show what can be done with a formerly disused piece of land!
Checklist for this visit (32 species)
Hotspot: Berrinba Wetlands (153 species)
Nearby hotspots: Karawatha Forest, Greenwood Lakes
Pluses and minuses:
+ Great paved paths and facilities
+ Decent birds
+ Pelicans. Many, many pelicans.
– Not a very big area
– A bit hit and miss around the entire lake circuit