Trip Report: Sundown National Park (Australia), January 25-27 1997

Tom and Marie Tarrant, Lot 4 Dayboro Rd, Rush Creek, Dayboro, Queensland 4521, Australia;

G'day Chatters from down-under,

Just thought you might like a trip report from our weekend at Sundown National Park, near Stanthorpe, Queensland. We spent 3 days at an almost empty campsite over the 'Australia Day' long-weekend.

The park is quite large (14000 hectares) and the majority of the area 4 wheel-drive only, however the campsites are situated at the western corner, and are accessible by 2 wheel-drive vehicles... here the fauna and flora of the park is rather different to the rest and appears richer, more representative of western Queensland and New South Wales (whose boundary runs along that of the parks)

On Saturday we spent most of the morning setting up camp and drove up to the nearby Glenlyon Dam to get ice and near the park entrance saw Southern Whiteface, Red-winged Parrot, Rufous Songlark, White-winged Triller and some White-browed Woodswallow, unusual in that there were only small numbers as in other areas they normally flock in thousands.

We decided to go on a short walk in the early afternoon, we had only just set off when we saw a party of our target birds, the White-browed Babbler, a rare bird in Queensland which I last saw there nearly 10 years ago! Young Dusky Woodswallows and Jacky-Winter were everywhere and another uncommon bird in South-East Queensland, the Red-capped Robin was abundant but none appeared in the beautiful male plumage. Small birds such as Speckled Warbler, Weebill and Yellow-rumped Thornbill were easily 'pished' into view. During the evening we sat round the camp-fire and enjoyed a meal and a glass of Port and listened to Boobook Owl, White-throated and Owlet-Nightjar calling while parties of Eastern Grey Kangaroo grazed nearby.

An early start the following morning took us to a large area of Silver-leaved Ironbark in search of Painted Button-Quail which were known to be fairly common, but usually difficult to see (a 'lifer' for half of the group of six). We flushed up to 5 in different locations but the views were pretty fleeting. However we also managed to get the handsome Turquoise Parrot (a park speciality) Diamond Firetail and Fuscous Honeyeater (uncommon in SE Queensland).

After a heavy shower in the afternoon we walked up to the permanent waterhole, where several people indulged in a swim, whilst I stayed dry and continued birding, seeing the handsome Azure Kingfisher, similar to the Common Kingfisher of Eurasia but a more vivid royal-blue on the upperparts. The following morning brought four of the party back to the same area of Ironbark to search for button-quail which they saw again... disappearing into the distance!

At the same time I decided to see if I could do some photography and managed to get some nice shots of a pretty Nobby Dragon (an agamid lizard). On return I was almost upon the campsite when I found what may have been the bird of the trip, a female Spotted Quail-Thrush, much sought after by overseas birders and possibly not recorded before in the park. Shortly after there was another heavy shower and we decided to leave and return to Brisbane. Stopping at the park entrance, which often seemed to produce interesting birds we were watching a Little Eagle being mobbed when I noticed small numbers of the rare White-backed Swallow... this was a great ending to an excellent weekend and the final species count ended on 113 (not bad when most species were 'bush' and very few water birds)

Species List

  1. Australian Little Grebe
  2. Australian King-Parrot
  3. Australian Magpie
  4. Magpie-Lark
  5. Australian Owlet-Nightjar (H)
  6. Australian Raven
  7. Australasian Pipit
  8. Azure Kingfisher
  9. Bar-shouldered Dove
  10. Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike
  11. Blue-faced Honeyeater
  12. Brown Falcon
  13. Brown Honeyeater
  14. Brown Quail
  15. Inland Thornbill
  16. Brown Treecreeper
  17. Buff-rumped Thornbill
  18. Cattle Egret
  19. Cicadabird
  20. Common Bronzewing
  21. Common Starling
  22. Crested Pigeon
  23. Crested Shrike-Tit
  24. Australian Darter
  25. Diamond Firetail
  26. Dollarbird
  27. Double-barred Finch
  28. Dusky Woodswallow
  29. Eastern Rosella
  30. Eastern Yellow Robin
  31. Fan-tailed Cuckoo
  32. Fuscous Honeyeater
  33. Galah
  34. Golden Whistler
  35. Grey Butcherbird
  36. Grey-crowned Babbler
  37. Grey Fantail
  38. Grey Shrike-Thrush
  39. Hooded Robin
  40. Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo
  41. Jacky-Winter
  42. Laughing Kookaburra
  43. Leaden Flycatcher
  44. Little Eagle
  45. Little Friarbird
  46. Little Lorikeet
  47. Little Woodswallow
  48. Maned Duck
  49. Masked Lapwing
  50. Mistletoebird
  51. Noisy Friarbird
  52. Noisy Miner
  53. Olive-backed Oriole
  54. Pacific Black Duck
  55. Pacific Heron
  56. Painted Button-Quail
  57. Pale-headed Rosella
  58. Peaceful Dove
  59. Pied Butcherbird
  60. Pied Currawong
  61. Rainbow Bee-eater
  62. Rainbow Lorikeet
  63. Red-browed Firetail
  64. Red-capped Robin
  65. Red-rumped Parrot
  66. Red-winged Parrot
  67. Restless Flycatcher
  68. Rufous Songlark
  69. Rufous Whistler
  70. Sacred Kingfisher
  71. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
  72. Scarlet Honeyeater
  73. Shining Bronze-Cuckoo (H)
  74. Silvereye
  75. Southern Boobook (H)
  76. Southern Whiteface
  77. Spangled Drongo
  78. Speckled Warbler
  79. Spotted Quail-Thrush
  80. Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
  81. Spotted Pardalote
  82. Striated Pardalote
  83. Striped Honeyeater
  84. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  85. Superb Fairywren
  86. Tawny Frogmouth
  87. Torresian Crow
  88. Tree Martin
  89. Turquoise Parrot
  90. Variegated Fairywren
  91. Wedge-tailed Eagle
  92. Weebill
  93. Western Gerygone
  94. Welcome Swallow
  95. White-backed Swallow
  96. White-browed Scrubwren
  97. White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
  98. White-browed Woodswallow
  99. White-browed Babbler
  100. White-eared Honeyeater
  101. White-faced Heron
  102. White-plumed Honeyeater
  103. White-throated Gerygone
  104. White-throated Needletail
  105. White-throated Nightjar
  106. White-throated Treecreeper
  107. White-winged Chough
  108. White-winged Triller
  109. Willie-wagtail
  110. Wonga Pigeon
  111. Yellow-faced Honeyeater
  112. Yellow-rumped Thornbill
  113. Yellow Thornbill


  1. Eastern Grey Kangaroo
  2. Red-necked Wallaby
  3. Wallaroo
  4. Wild Pig
  5. Fallow? Deer
  6. Rabbit
  7. Unidentified insectivorous bats


  1. Nobby Dragon
  2. Laced Monitor

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This page served by Urs Geiser;; March 25, 1997