Summary: Small patch of creekside bush worth a quick look if visiting the nearby Kumbartcho Sanctuary
Date of visit: Oct 8, 2020
Sargent Reserve is a rough patch of bush that straddles the South Pine River. A sports oval sits in the north of the reserve and at the very south where the river bends sharply is Bunya Crossing, which is popular for swimming and fishing.
I couldn’t find any decent walking maps for the area, so ended up parking at the very northern end on Draper Street, which isn’t the best spot. Depending where you’re coming from, you could park at Bunya Crossing (Dugandan Road), or on the oval’s car park off Bunya Crossing Road.
The “track” down from the oval towards the creek is more of a dirt road – and bizarrely, I saw a police vehicle traversing it when I was there. Eventually the dirt road narrowed into a walking path and wound around towards the little concrete bridge that crosses the river (which is, at this point, more of a narrow creek).
Not too many birds at this point: a Noisy Friarbird, Olive-Backed Oriole and Willie Wagtail being the only prominent sightings. After crossing the bridge and wandering around the paths and the clearing (at the south-west of the map) things got a little more interesting: a few Rainbow Bee-Eaters and Welcome Swallows patrolled the powerlines, and there were also quite a few Spangled Drongos around, their buzzy calls providing a more unusual backdrop to regular forest bird chirps.
It seemed worth lingering here for a while, but it was getting difficult to distinguish other bird calls from amongst the Spangled Drongo cacophony! Eventually a Lewin’s Honeyeater and a Pied Currawong were both glimpsed, and a trademark Whipbird call was also heard.
I proceeded down the path (the “main long path” in photos above) towards the Bunya Crossing Reserve, but was soon enticed by some overgrown side-trails leading down to the creek. It was here that I encountered some Red-Backed Fairywrens and Red-Browed Finches playing around in the tall grass; the morning sunlight streaming in made for some good photography potential. Tramping back to the main path also picked up a female Leaden Flycatcher, which was a welcome sight too.
I wasn’t enamoured of the location enough to linger much longer (I also wanted to get to Kumbartcho Sanctuary while it was still early morning), so I made my way back across the bridge and up towards the oval. When I hit the dirt road again, I spotted two Dollarbirds; after a while they flew off showing the circular white patches under their wings. Pretty cool; and then moments later a couple of Sacred Kingfishers were seen similarly perching at the top of bare tree branches. All in all I saw 14 species.
Sargent Reserve has a pretty rough feel in places, with a mixture of various types of paths, denser bush and open areas as well as a creekside vibe. It packs a reasonable punch for its small size, and I was happy enough to see the birds I saw there, but I wouldn’t say the place was ultimately satisfying when there are so many other great birding locations in Brisbane. The one big reason to go there would be to combine a visit with the nearby Kumbartcho Sanctuary, which is connected to Sargent Reserve along a very pleasant creekside path.
Checklist for this visit (13 species)
Hotspot: Sargent Reserve (Eatons Hill) – (82 species), Bunya Crossing Reserve (126 species)
Nearby: Kumbartcho Sanctuary (172 species), Bunyaville Conservation Park (various hotspots)
Pluses and minuses:
+ Decent birds for a small area
+ Long creekside paths can take you to Kumbartcho Sanctuary
– Generally unsatisfying areas and trails
– Fairly small