Bird-watching places in Queensland outside the South-East

The birding places are shown as two pages. This page covers the state outside South East Queensland. The other page covers South East Queensland.

The most important part is the directions as to how to get there - an UBD reference will do most of the work for the Brisbane area although we will try and expand the details as time permits.

Please email the with write ups of your favourite places for inclusion, or give some extra information about an area already covered.

Chinaman's Creek Reservoir, Cloncurry 20 42 53/140 28 38

Directions: From Cloncurry CBD proceed towards Mount Isa. Cross Cloncurry River bridges and 100m after the turn off to Normanton turn left. Follow signposts for 2.5km to the Recreation area.
An unmade track (suitable for high clearance vehicles only) continues for another 2.5km around the lake.

A good location for Black-necked Storks, Spinifex Pigeons. Pictorella Mannikins have been seen here.

The Cloncurry Sewage Treatment Plant and Ponds are at the northern end of Henry Street -- just near the Afghan cemetery. Bob Forsyth has visited the ponds several times and no one has been concerned by his presence.

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Clem Walton Park and Lake Corella  20 42 53/140 28 38

Directions: The Clem Walton Park sign is 6.4km east of the 60km Cloncurry sign and 9.1km west of the Corella Ck bridge. The sign is on the south side of the highway. Travel 1.0km on a gravel road to a junction. The lake is 0.6km to the right and the park is 1.8km straight on.

The dam wall is no longer maintained and the lake no longer holds a great amount of water .. but still supports a variety of water birds and on its day Brolgas and Black-necked Stork. The ponds at the park now dry out during the dry spells. But there is still a big pool of water below the dam wall. ( Walk .. don't drive to it !)

The area still supports Blue-winged Kookaburra, Grey-crowned Babbler, Spotted Bowerbird, Double-bar Finches, a resident Pheasant Coucal, Cloncurry Parrot Ringneck (we call them Buln-Bulns) The Kalkadoon Grasswren has been recorded on the approaches to the park.

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Frenchman's Gardens at Louie Creek (near Lawn Hill / Boodjamulla National Park)

Directions:

  • 0.0  From the Grid at the entrance to the park, drive towards Adels Grove
  • 4.2 4.2 Turn right (to the Sth) along road to Riversleigh (This junction is 2.1 km west of Adels Grove)
  • 5.5 9.7 Cross over Cattle Grid
  • 0.8  10.5 Cross Louie Creek causeway (normally flowing as artesian fed)
  • 0.8 11.3 Turn Right (to the West) onto an unmade track.
  • 2.0  13.0 Park vehicle in open area.

Good birding both up and downstream. I have found this area is a better birding location than the park .. except for a few odd birds such as Sandstone Shrike-thrush)

Purchase "How many grids to the Gregory" from the store at Adels Grove, for history of area. Sales go to the local CWA
Note: Adels has no apostrophe ! It is an acronym for Albert de Lestrang

O'Shannassey River

A further 43km South on the Riversleigh Rd, the causeway over Oshannassy River is worth a stop on your journey into or out of the area. It provides a variety of birds, especially finches, coming in to drink.

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Georgina River, Camooweal

Directions:Cross the Georgina River 1/2km west of Camooweal and almost immediately turn left (to the south) onto a gravel road to the lakes which start almost immediately. The first lake is Lake Francis which extends south into Lake Canellan. Total length of both lakes when full is 3-1/2km. There are plenty of shade trees and a nice place to have a cuppa while you check out the birds. I have counted 55 species in a few hours.

The area near the reeds connecting the two lakes support Green Pygmy-goose.

Sewage Pond specialists may find the Camooweal ponds 50m West of the Shell service station then over a cattle grid and 1/2km NW along the Rocklands Stn Rd

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Lake Moondarra East side, (Mount Isa)

Following are instructions to get to the Eastern side of Lake Moondarra, Mount Isa. This is the public access side.

  •  0.0  At the junction of the Barkly Highway and the Lake Moondarra Rd turn East and cross the Leichhardt River.
  •  1.0  Cattle grid and track via Bowhunters road to permanent pools. (Painted Snipe has been seen here)
  •  4.3  Concrete causeway (from now on numerous 4wd tracks lead to the River)
  •  7.6  On the left, Booster Pump Station.
  •  7.7  On the right, 5 metres from the bitumen a small pool (good for Honeyeaters, Finches, etc)
  •  9.8  On the left, 100 meters of bitumen road leading to a locked gate.
  •     Just before this gate a track leads 60 meters south to a bay. Usually good birding here.
  •     Sometimes good birding along fence leading north from the gate.
  • 10.8  On the left, turn off to the 6.3km scenic drive around part of the lake.
  • 11.5  On the left, another turn off to the scenic drive.
  • 13.7  Cattle Grid
  • 13.8  On the left, the North end of Scenic Drive.
  • 14.2  Picnic Ground (Tawny Frogmouths breed here)
  • 14.4  Grid
  • 14.8  Keep right (Lookout straight ahead)
  • 15.3  Warrina Park. Walk to the water holes under the overflow and downstream

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Lake Moondarra West side, (Mount Isa)

Directions:

The bays on the west side of L. Moondarra do not have an official designation. Bob Forsyth calls them from North to South

  • Stone Axe Ck Bay
  • Spring Ck Bay
  • Wide Bay
  • South Bay

Wide Bay, Lake Moondarra 

Following are instructions to find the "Wide Bay" Lake Moondarra, Mount Isa.
The lake access is not suitable for low clearance vehicles. Distances are in kms.

  • 0.0  At the junction of Barkly Hwy and the Lake Moondarra Rd drive north along the Hwy towards Camooweal.
  • 1.7  Continue north past the Airport entrance on the left.
  • 3.5  Continue north over Spear Ck bridge.
  • 11.5  Turn right at radio tower through a double gate onto a gravel road.
  • 14.0  Continue east past turn off (to the left, NE ) to Spring Ck Bay (2.7 kms)
  • 14.7  Continue east past turn off (to the right, SE) to South Bay & hard to find.
  • 15.7  Turn left (to the N) onto 200m of rough track.(just before the 2nd white marker .. a HT Power Tower is on right)
  • 15.9  Grassy area around bay. You can drive 1.4 to the right or 2.0 to the left. Identify the old tyres where you enter, so you can find your way out!

This bay is normally full of waterfowl, and during the migration season, shorebirds. Unusual sightings include Oriental Pratincole, Pacific Golden Plover, Painted Snipe, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Great-crested Grebe

Stone Axe Creek Bay, Lake Moondarra 

Directions: High clearance vehicles only (after turning off the bitumen)!(L = Left, R = Right, SO = Straight On, Lake M = Lake Moondarra)

  • 0.0   0.0 At the junction of Barkly Hwy and the Lake Moondarra Rd drive north along the Hwy towards Camooweal.
  • 1.7   1.7 Continue north past the Airport entrance on the left.
  • 1.8   3.5 Continue north over Spear Ck bridge.
  • 0.6   4.1 Grid
  • 2.3   6.4 Continue north (Gate on R to South Bay)
  • 5.2   11.6 Continue north (Gate on R to Wide Bay)
  • 1.0   12.6 Turn R (to the East) at an old hard to see "No Shooting" sign (As of 2018 there is a "No Entry" sign here, so access is uncertain)
Reset odometer
  • 0.1   0.1 Gate
  • 1.4   1.5 Spring Creek (a pool remains on the R for a while after rain)
  • 0.1   1.6 Ignore track on L (Area on R, frequently visited by Black-tailed Treecreepers)
  • 2.5   4.1 Washout (bad) and Gully
  • 0.1   4.2 Bob's Creek on R (UTM 0346572-7724916) (Excellent birding when lake full)
  • 0.5   4.6 SO (Track on R to Lake)
  • 0.9   5.5 SO (Track on R to Lake)
  • 1.0   6.5 Track on R (to mouth of Stone Axe Creek) During the wet season the upper reaches of the creek is a good location for Finches & Mannikins
  • 0.15   6.65 Keep L around fenced area
  • 0.15   6.8 Cross west branch of Stone Axe Creek UTM 0347344-7726776
  • 0.3   7.1 Cross east branch of Stone Axe Creek UTM 0347848-7726832 (Between the 2 branches is often a good area for Double-barred F etc)

Very rough track continues around Lake

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McNamara's Road (Carpentarian Grasswren Site), NWQ 

(20 16 37/139 08 53, 61.3km 144deg to (or 324deg from) Mount Isa

Directions:

  • 0.0 At the junction of Barkly Hwy and the Lake Moondarra Rd drive north along the Hwy towards Camooweal.
  • 1.7  Continue north past the Airport entrance on the left.
  • 30.3  Road on R (to Microwave Tower) (Kalkadoon Grasswrens found on top of hill)
  • 39.0   Gunpowder (85km) t/o on R (No access to most areas now)
  • 57.1  100km/hour sign
  • 57.7  Road narrows
  • 61.4  Turn Right into McNamara's Rd (Signposted 'CSC Lady Annie Operations')
  • 61.6  Gate
  • 69.1  Gully
  • 69.4  Cairn, visitors book and track on Rt. It is possible than mining road upgrades have changed some things.

A good area for Spinifex Birds, Black-tailed Treecreepers and if you are lucky the CGw.

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Mica Creek Kalkadoon Grasswren site, NWQ 

This is the site popularised by Thomas & Thomas (p105) for what was then identified as the Dusky Grasswren, race Ballarae. Schodde and Mason in "The Directory of Australian Birds" have given this race species status. They gave it the name "Kalkadoon Grasswren" Helen Horton who with husband Bill, first recorded the bird in 2/7/1966 prefer the name Ballara Grasswren (after the deserted town site near where it was first found). It is currently accepted as the Kalkadoon Grasswren, Amytornis ballarae (Condon 1969)"

Directions: From Mount Isa CBD travel South down Railway Ave towards Boulia (Hwy 83.)

  •   0.0km At the T-junction with 23rd Av turn right over the railway line.
  •   0.6km Turn left at T-junction (to the south)
  •   3.9km Turn right at cross roads (stay on Hwy 83)
  • 10.4km  Turn right off bitumen, 100m before the (unmarked) Mica Ck concrete causeway.

Park vehicle. Walk about 150m to the west and cross a shallow gully to a wrecked (blown up) vehicle. The Grasswrens have been seen from this wreck and also on the track 50 m west of the wreck. But they are more often found on the sides of the hills along the gully to the north.

This Grasswren has been recorded at least 7 places on the hills to the West of the bitumen road south from Mount Isa to Sybella Ck. Graham Chapman's photo of this bird in Wingspan Vol.6 No.1 March 1996 were taken at Sybella Creek, a further 6.9km further South towards Boulia. A young female specimen Q11011 (paratype) was collected at Sybella Ck Oct 1966. The species has now been recorded in many places centred on Mt Isa, and you should consult ebird for recent sightings. It is NOT an uncommon bird... just difficult to observe !

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Mount Isa Sewage Ponds

Directions: From the CBD at the junction of Camooweal and Grace Streets, travel north along Camooweal St and after a name change Sunset Drive for 2.7 km. Just before the Cemetery turn left into Enterprise Rd and immediately right into Commercial Rd. After a further 0.6 km turn right (to the NE) at a sign "Mount Isa City Council Waste Water Reclamation Plant & Effluent Disposal". The gate to the ponds is at the end of 0.7 km graded road. When the gate is closed there is a clear signage for birdwatchers to call Council employees for access. Access can then be arranged after a brief induction process.

Bob Forsyth has recorded 120 species at the Ponds and the adjacent horse paddocks. Recent sightings include ...Spotless Crake, Spotted Crake, Baillon's Crake Rail, Buff-banded Rail, Wood Sand-piper, Hoary-head Grebe, Painted Snipe, Gallinago Snipe. The most common waterfowl is usually the Pink-eared Duck which sometimes is counted in the 1000's.

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Tyto wetlands, Ingham

The wetlands are at 18 39 24S, 146 08 38E. You access them via Cooper St [off Townsville Rd / Bruce Hwy, about 500 south of the centre of town]. You can collect a brochure with a map of the wetlands at the rather flash information centre located at the intersection of Cooper St and Townsville Rd.

There are purpose-built tracks around the wetlands as well as viewing platforms and bird hides. The main bird hide is well designed and comfortable for adults to use. The wetlands provide habitat for both waterbirds, shorebirds and bushbirds. Typical birds include Crimson Finches, White-browed Robins, Green Pygmy-Geese, Bush Thickknees, White-browed and Spotless Crakes. There is also a dawn/dusk viewing platform for spotting Grass Owls.

Thanks to Laurie Knight for the information.

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Warrigal Water Hole (Painted Rocks)

Directions: (20 43 20 / 139 35 42, 10.7km east of Mount Isa)

  • 0.0  Travel towards Cloncurry on Barkly Hwy from the Overlander Hotel
  • 0.6  Continue past Argylla Caravan Park
  • 4.8  Continue past turn off to Microwave Tower (on the left)
  • 5.7  Turn right through gate at interpretive sign & TL immediately
  • 5.8  Keep right around washout
  • 6.0  Keep right
  • 6.5  Pass under power lines
  • 6.6  Kalkadoon Grasswrens have been recorded in gully on left
  • 7.4  Turn Left (ignore track straight ahead)
  • 8.2  Keep right around washout
  • 9.3  Park at bough shed
    For best viewing, walk up disused track to downstream end of water hole
    Sit on northern side of water hole

A good location (especially in the middle of the day) during the drier months for

  • - Painted Finches
  • - Diamond Doves
  • - Spinifex Pigeons
  • - Grey-headed Honeyeaters

Thanks to Bob Forsyth for his notes on the North West.

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