Seven Hills Bushland Reserve, Nov 2020

Summary: Small area in suburbia with mostly unremarkable dry forest birds

Date of visit: Nov 28, 2020

Seven Hills Bushland Reserve is 52 hectares of forest trails, sandwiched into suburbia on Brisbane’s southside about 9km drive east of the CBD. There are a range of different paths and access points to start from. I picked D’Arcy Road, as it provided a reasonable amount of roadside parking space and a good way into the guts of the bushland.

The reserve is predominantly dry eucalyptus forest and – as per the “seven hills” moniker, does have a lot of ups and downs. You might call the trails strenuous depending on your fitness level. You can string together the outer trails into a loop (marked as “Seven Hills” circuit on the map), which totals a little over 2km, or wander haphazardly on the many tracks, as I seemed to be doing (I did have a map, so I more or less knew where I was at all times).

Being a dry forest, I wasn’t expecting anything too exotic, and that’s pretty much what I got: a few Noisy Miners and Kookaburras, a frog which was probably a toad and a nice orange moth, until I finally happened upon a Black-Faced Cuckooshrike on the “Ridge Track” section, as well as (poor views) of a Noisy Friarbird, Pied Currawong and Blue-Faced Honeyeater.

A Grey Butcherbird followed soon, chortling several times to the sky, then an Olive-Backed Oriole (always a pleasure) and a Rainbow Lorikeet. With the morning sun shining in strongly, things looked like they were picking up!

The highlight of my trip came very soon after, when I spotted a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets adorably preening each other just off the path. Although the sun was shining mostly to the side of the birds, I nevertheless managed to snap some nice pics of their behaviour.

As is the case with many patches of suburban bushland – Toohey Forest comes to mind here – it seems that Noisy Miners hold sway on the periphery of the forest; the more interesting birds are perhaps to be found in the more interior areas.

This was the case when I saw a mob of Noisy Miners hounding a poor Kookaburra; there were at least half a dozen surrounding the Kooka and squawking loudly at it. The Kooka waited it out and eventually the Miners gave up and one by one flew off.

Walking around towards Gully Track and the eastern section of the reserve, the bushwalking is quite lovely, with glimpses of the city and surrounds from various high points, seats to plonk down on, and the occasional sign to orient you; despite it’s small size, I can imagine getting easily confused by the many trails and junctions here and lack of prominent landmarks – I was checking my map several times.

Even when taking plenty of time to complete the circuit back to D’Arcy Road, the only bird I found of note was a Sacred Kingfisher. You know you aren’t getting a lot of birding satisfaction when you resort to photographing crows…

Seven Hills Bushland Reserve is mostly unremarkable from a birding point of view, and hard to justify visiting except to sate one’s curiosity or give the legs a good workout on the steeper sections of track. More of a “go for a bushwalk and any bird sightings are a bonus” sort of place. The forest reminds me of Toohey Forest (and has a very similar species count), but is much smaller in area. I’d be tempted to head to high quality sites nearby like Minnippi Parklands and the Bulimba Creek waterway, or Whites Hill, rather than back here again, unless, of course, I could somehow guarantee seeing Rainbow Lorikeets preening at close quarters 🙂

Hotspot: Seven Hills Bushland Reserve (105 species)
Nearby: Minnippi Parklands (193 species), Whites Hill Reserve (158 species)

Pluses and minuses:
+ Up and down trails are good for fitness 🙂
+ Pleasant trails with some bird life
– Mostly only dry forest birds, with lots of Noisy Miners
– Better sites nearby

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