Monday, 7 December 2009

Queechy Lake Birding

A visit to Queechy Lake in Launceston on the weekend produced a few birds which I do not get to see here in the north-west. Best by far were the three Royal Spoonbills, common in some parts of Australia but quite a rare visitor to Tasmania.

I also had good views of a
Clamorous Reed Warbler but as soon as it saw my camera it took to hiding among the reeds (where else would a Reed Warbler hide). I eventually got a photo when it landed in some Crack Willow but it is still half hidden by foliage. Another more common bird, but one I don't see in my local area, was the Australasian Shoveler.

There is a small island in the middle of the lake which can be seen in the second photo below. Among the trees on the island were at least 14 roosting Great Cormorants including a couple of juveniles and many empty nests. There were also Little Pied Cormorants and at least one Little Black Cormorant. The spoonbills also roost on this island.

Royal Spoonbills in Tasmania

Michael Sharland in "Birds of Tasmania" says the first ever recording of Royals Spoonbill in Tasmania was on 7th May 1957 at Kingston Beach, south of Hobart. A flock of nine was also regularly reported near Little Swanport (East Coast) at around this time. More recently Alan Fletcher's blog reports several sightings of Royal Spoonbill in the Sorell / Orielton Lagoon area in 2006 to 2007. The spoonbills at Queechy Lake have been reported regularly on Birdline Tasmania since December 2008.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Queechy Lake at Launceston

Small Island on Queechy Lake at Launceston

Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)

Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)

Clamorous Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus)

Female Australasian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis)

All up 22 species were seen in a relatively short visit. The full list is shown below. I'll have to return some time for an early morning visit and spend a little more time there. There have been 70 species recorded at Queechy Lake as shown here.

  1. Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)
  2. Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides)
  3. Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata)
  4. Australasian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis)
  5. Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)
  6. Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)
  7. Hardhead (Aythya australis)
  8. Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia)
  9. Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos)
  10. Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)
  11. Australasian Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae)
  12. White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)
  13. Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus)
  14. Tasmanian Nativehen (Tribonyx mortierii)
  15. Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
  16. Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles)
  17. Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo(Calyptorhynchus funereus)
  18. Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus)
  19. Forest Raven (Corvus tasmanicus tasmanicus)
  20. Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena)
  21. Australian Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus australis)
  22. Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)


  1. It sounds like an interesting place to visit and a very good place to see some waterbirds. I like the way you have caught the light shining through the wings of the in-flight spoonbill.

  2. Thanks Mick - Yes it seems a good spot. I'll go again next time I'm in Launceston. Meanwhile I've found that according to the BirdData site, Spoonbills have been seen in the Smithton area so I may yet find one closer to home.

  3. Great place to visit. Great photos.

  4. Thanks Neil - Not so sure on the great photos. I hope to improve on them one day.

  5. Beautiful shots of the Spoonbill particularly. The light shining through those white feathers is gorgeous! Looks like a great place. I'll look forward to another post from here soon

  6. Thanks Jenny - I don't get over that way very often but when I do, Queechy lake will be on the itinerary.