Aqua Promenade, Nov 2020

Summary: Compact creek/lake location with some interesting birds

Date of visit: Nov 15, 2020

Aqua Promenade is the name of a road that loosely follows the upper reaches of the Currumbin Creek on the Gold Coast. In this post I’m also including Robert Neumann Park which is at the northern end of the road, though that is listed as a separate eBird hotspot. It is easily possible to visit both spots together as they are adjacent and neither are very large areas.

I started near the southern end, pulling onto the side of the road as there isn’t any dedicated parking here. I noticed some grassy swathe of terrain that borders what I’ve called “Lower lake”, but there’s no real trails to explore here, just wandering along the mown sections of grass. At the north end of this Lower lake there is a single, scrappy trail that goes into a little bit of the surrounding bush, and I say “scrappy” because there was a few drifts of inorganic rubbish lying about.

Never to mind, I was after all looking for birds, and the first bird of note was a beautiful Azure Kingfisher. Not long after I saw a second, which was even closer, and then – much further away, on the trees on the other side of the lake – a Forest Kingfisher. Nice!

I wandered north along the roadside (there is a paved pedestrian path the whole way), peeking into the brush on the left, and saw a Brown Cuckoo-Dove – probably the most suburban setting I have ever seen this bird (there are basically houses on the other side of the road!)

Descending a little towards the concrete causeway that links the two bodies of water, was the morning’s highlight: a White-Faced Heron, looking intent in the golden light bouncing off the water. It let me get close enough for some great shots and I found myself really appreciating its quiet, purposeful beauty.

Further up the path led me to the Robert Neumann Park section, where there is some playground equipment and a few bench seats, and expansive views across the water (I’ve named this Upper lake on the map).

Here there were a couple of Figbirds, and then I spotted a regal White-Bellied Sea-Eagle right at the top of a tree. It stayed there for quite a while.

A Black-Faced Cuckooshrike, a Spotted Dove, and a few Magpie-Larks all featured in this part, before I meandered back down the path, again keeping alert for birds in the bush. I was rewarded with the sight of a White-Headed Pigeon – I would think sort of unusual in this setting, though I have just checked my eBird species list and found that I’ve seen this bird only in two main places: in the rainforest, and in Gold Coast parks (Schuster Park and nearby Eddie Kornhauser Reserve). Interesting!

An unexpected Channel-Billed Cuckoo flyover was next, then I was back at the Lower lake and taking a closer look there. But not before ducking into the concrete causeway to see if the White-Faced Heron was still there (it was).

Pacific Black Ducks, Swamphen, Coots and Dusky Moorhens, a Darter were all present, and the final encounter of the day was a Kookaburra grabbing a worm from the grass and flying off with it.

The Aqua Promenade lacks trails through the bush (around the Lower lake area), which is frustrating, and in terms of pleasant surroundings I’d lean towards other hotspots like Schuster Park, which is also easier to get to and park at. But it punches above its weight in terms of birds, for being basically a roadside path with some creek and lake action.

Checklist for this visit (27 species)
Hotspot: Aqua Promenade, Currumbin Valley (132 species)
Nearby: Schuster Park (166 species), Eddie Kornhauser Recreational Reserve (128 species)

Pluses and minuses:
+ Surprising number of interesting birds for a suburban location
+ Compact and easy to get around
– Water, grass and bush sections
– Single, mostly roadside path
– Not a very large area to explore

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