Summary: Small but pleasant and fruitful creekside nature area
Date of visit: Oct 8, 2020
Kumbartcho is a flora and fauna sanctuary six hectares in size, incorporating walking tracks, a public park, BBQ and playground. It advertises as being open from 7am to 7pm. There is also a Native Plant Nursery where plants can be purchased. It is operated by volunteers in partnership with Moreton Bay Regional Council, and is free to enter.
Entry is via the car park, or by the creekside walking track from nearby Sargent Reserve. I entered by the car park and started by checking out the lagoon and the various little themed garden areas to its west. I then kept heading west towards the “bridge” (see map). There were a few good bird noises around, and sightings were made of an Olive-Backed Oriole, Black-Faced Cuckooshrike and some Figbirds.
After crossing the steel bridge the path opened out into a grassy area and it became less obvious where to go, so I kept wandering in the same general direction. Dense bush lines the creek on one side, with private properties on the other, so I basically had to stay in the open area, though the paths here are barely discernable.
A Lewin’s Honeyeater briefly alighted on a wire fence, and I spotted another Olive-Backed Oriole as well as another Dollarbird (it was the third Dollarbird of the day, after my previous visit to Sargent Reserve!). A couple of Galahs popped in to one of the gum trees too.
Signs seen at the Sanctuary claim that you can walk to Yuraba, supposedly 4km away, but it looked to be the same sort of not-particularly-interesting terrain and creekside vegetation to me, so I opted to head back. On crossing the bridge again a Whipbird could be heard, and was soon after briefly seen too. An Eastern Yellow Robin made an appearance, and then more birds once I crossed the Suspension Bridge and kept walking east along the creekside trail.
This trail, which leads to Sargent Reserve (around 0.5km) and the Bunya Crossing area, yielded yet another Dollarbird (!), as well as a couple of Rainbow Bee-Eaters, a Sacred Kingfisher, more Lewin’s Honeyeaters, a male Rufous Whistler, and a Little Black Cormorant swimming in the water.
Moreover this area is quite pleasant in the morning sun. A few people were about, some walking dogs. A Willie Wagtail decided to get aggro on the Sacred Kingfisher, and I also spotted a Magpie-Lark on its mud nest. Walking back towards the sanctuary (after having gone maybe 200 metres), I saw a Grey Shrikethrush and one more Olive-Backed Oriole (hey, I’m not complaining, I love Orioles). A other few tantalising bird sounds emanated but the culprit birds couldn’t be seen.
A friendly sanctuary volunteer cornered me then and we had a chat about birds, then he explained there was a resident Owlet-Nightjar in a tree hollow at the bottom of the stairs near the Suspension Bridge. I followed him to where the bird was supposed to be but it must have been absent or sleeping in its hollow.
Kumbartcho Sanctuary is a small but pleasant nature area. I wouldn’t make a special trip just to go there; it would be better from a birding perspective to combine it with another hotspot or two. There are some steep stairs and dirt paths around, but nothing too hard to navigate. The eBird species frequencies for this hotspot is pretty impressive: Noisy Pitta, Spectacled Monarch, Rose Robin, Wonga Pigeon, Azure Kingfisher and the Owlet-Nightjar just to name a few less common species. Some of this variety is probably due to the high numbers of people birding here (many checklists), but is also no doubt partly due to the good mix of flora that has been rehabilitated in the area over time.
Somewhere here (or Sargent Reserve) I picked up a tick, so be warned about spending too much near grass or going off track in grassy areas.
Pluses and minuses:
+ Pleasant creekside paths
+ Friendly welcoming staff
+ Good variety of birds possible
– Quite a small area
– Trails to the west are obscure/unexciting
– I didn’t see any super-interesting birds here (your experience may differ…)