Paradise Riflebird

Binna Burra – 18 December 2018

It had been a long time since I had visited Binna Burra so I headed up early one morning. With a forecast for potential rain and an ever increasing fog as I got closer it was not looking that promising.

On arrival the skies cleared a little bit and I was able to see a few things around the bottom car-park starting with an Australian Bush Turkey who was putting on a good show.

Australian Brush-turkey
Australian Brush-turkey – Binna Burra, QLD

There were a few Satin Bowerbird darting around, along with Crimson Rosella, and of course the Green Catbird could be heard but not seen. An Australian Magpie was the only bird that would sit nicely for me.

Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie – Binna Burra, QLD

With the fog coming and going the light wasn’t great so I didn’t bother with any of the walking tracks instead I headed towards the safari tents where a male Satin Bowerbird was sitting nicely.

Satin Bowerbird
Satin Bowerbird – Binna Burra, QLD

A bird in a distant tree caught my attention and a long shot for ID purposes got the blood pumping. A Topknot Pigeon!, a bird I had wanted to photograph for ages. Aussie Bird Number 303. It took a bit of work to find a better closer angle, and I was restricted in how close I could get due to the bush, but stoked to get a new bird.

Topknot Pigeon
Topknot Pigeon – Binna Burra, QLD

With not a lot of other activity I headed towards the top carpark and the toilet block area. The fog had come in again so it got quiet dark. A couple of little brown birds got my attention but it was to dark to see clearly in the shadows. I am guessing they were Brown Thornbill. Another bird landed in the bush behind me and I couldn’t work out what it was so took a photo with a high ISO to see if I could get enough light to see.

Stoked to find it was another new bird and one at the top of my want to see list. A Paradise Riflebird (female). It was initially to close for a shot but soon moved to a better location and the fog cleared a bit so I was able to get a few better shots. Aussie Bird #304.

Paradise Riflebird
Paradise Riflebird – Binna Burra, QLD

It then went out into the full light and began hunting for food on a well exposed tree stump.

Paradise Riflebird
Paradise Riflebird – Binna Burra, QLD

I was pretty happy with two new birds for the morning, but things got even better when a Green Catbird decided to sit out in the open for me. I have been trying to get a decent shot of one of these for a few years now.

Green Catbird
Green Catbird – Binna Burra, QLD

Some noise in trees opposite the Green Catbird caught my attention with three Topknot Pigeons appearing in a great position to get some decent shots.

Topknot Pigeon
Topknot Pigeon – Binna Burra, QLD

Not thinking it could get much better, the male Paradise Riflebird proved me wrong. Initially landing in some thick trees I couldn’t get any decent shots, it then flew into the same tree as the Topknot Pigeon’s. There was a bit more drizzle about now so it wasn’t as good to shoot in, but was still happy to see this one.

Paradise Riflebird
Paradise Riflebird – Binna Burra, QLD

I had to sit and wait out the rain a little bit seeing White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, Brown Thornbill, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Green Catbird and Red-legged Pademelon but the lighting proved a bit difficult for any keeper shots.

About to head back to the car a couple of large Pigeons flew low overhead and landed in front of me. New bird number three for the day the White-headed Pigeon (Aussie Bird #305).

White-headed Pigeon
White-headed Pigeon – Binna Burra, QLD

A detour via the Safari Cabins on the way back to the car led me to a young Tawny Frogmouth on the ground and looking pretty miserable in the wet.

Tawny Frogmouth
Tawny Frogmouth – Binna Burra, QLD

A scan around didn’t reveal any parents (although they are really good at hiding). I was torn between trying to help it out and putting it on a branch for safety or leaving it alone so as not to shock it and potentially have its parents abandon it if they saw me handling it. In the end I decided to leave it be. A couple of other people had said they had seen it in a different spot not long before I got there so it could obviously fly a bit and without any domestic cats up there I felt it was the better alternative.

Around the safari tents another Satin Bowerbird posed nicely.

Satin Bowerbird
Satin Bowerbird – Binna Burra, QLD

A large Lace Monitor appeared on the path in front of me. I didn’t want to disturb it but had no other way past so had to get pretty close. It was not that worried about me at all and only moved far enough for me to get past.

Lace Monitor
Lace Monitor – Binna Burra, QLD

The rain set in a fair bit heavier so I decided it was time to head towards home. A pretty good return for only an hour in between fog and rain issues with 3 new birds and pretty good shots of them.


On the way back I decided to go a different way towards Canungra. A Common Bronzewing on the side of the road made me stop but just as I got close enough for a photo a car coming flying past and it took of into the trees. I was luckily able to locate it again.

Common Bronzewing
Common Bronzewing – Canungra, QLD

It took off and immediately two Brown Cuckoo-Dove arrived.

Brown Cuckoo-Dove
Brown Cuckoo-Dove – Canungra, QLD

A quick look around the Caungra Golf Course only provided me with a Straw-necked Ibis and a Galah.

Straw-necked Ibis
Straw-necked Ibis – Canungra, QLD
Galah – Canungra, QLD


I kept driving towards home but took another diversion towards Maudsland and found a couple of likely looking spots that didn’t really produce much. A Noisy Friarbird feeding was the best shot.

Noisy Friarbird
Noisy Friarbird – Maudsland, QLD

A nice little Eastern Water Dragon was good to see as these guys don’t seem to be as common around the Gold Coast as they were a few years ago.

Eastern Water Dragon
Eastern Water Dragon – Maudsland, QLD

Some of the paddocks had Eastern Cattle Egret in them but they were pretty shy, taking off as soon as I stopped the car.

Eastern Cattle Egret
Eastern Cattle Egret – Maudsland, QLD

Riverstone Crossing

Heading further down the road I decided to have a look at Riverstone Crossing, a place I hadn’t been to for a few years, it was certainly a lot bigger now with most of the housing blocks finished. The creek/park through the middle had a bit of water in it from the rain. On one of the larger ponds a lone Wandering Whistling Duck was an interesting sighting but to far away for a decent shot.

Following the flooded creek I located at least 5 Lathams Snipe who would take off as I got near. Lots of pretty bad in flight shots were taken to get a couple of OK ones.

Lathams Snipe
Lathams Snipe – Riverstone Crossing, QLD

There are a lot of Torresian Crow around at the moment.

Torresian Crow
Torresian Crow – Riverstone Crossing, QLD

Looking for the Lathams Snipe a Buff-banded Rail showed nicely.

Buff-banded Rail
Buff-banded Rail

There were a few Pacific Black Duck around and it was hard to resist a low fly-by shot.

Pacific Black Duck
Pacific Black Duck – Riverstone Crossing, QLD

Pacific Pines

My final stop on the way home was at Pacific Pines. There was not much of interest around but I did manage a nice shot of an Australian Wood Duck.

Australian Wood Duck
Australian Wood Duck -Pacific Pines, QLD

Along with a family of Magpie Geese.

Magpie Goose
Magpie Goose – Pacific Pines, QLD

Just exploring without any real plan is always something I love doing. It can be a waste of time with no success and other times you can discover new places and get some pleasant surprises.

  • World Bird Count:  450
  • Australian Bird Count: 305

Birds Photographed:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *