May: Songbirds Sweeten Every Fraser Visit

The bird life in and around Kingfisher Bay Resort is bustling at the moment and, as we move towards cooler seasonal weather patterns, we’ll start seeing our semi nomadic species like the White-breasted Woodswallows (Artamus leucorynchus) and autumn/winter migrants such as the Rufus Fantails (Rhipidura rufifrons) and the Cuckoo family using the pristine habitats of Fraser Island as a home base, if only for a short while.

A Blue-faced Honeyeater blending in to the Wallum
Whether you’re on a Ranger-guided tour, or just taking a relaxing stroll around the resort grounds, you can’t help but notice the sensational symphony of amazing bird calls.  In particular, while walking around our Sand Bar bistro (near the western beach) and Wallum board walks leading from our Centre Complex and hotel buildings towards the shores  of the Great Sandy Strait, one of the bird calls that is most frequently heard is a loud and repetitive ‘woik weet weet weet’.

This is the call of the Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis - pictured right) - an agile bird with olive-yellow colouration which blends very well in its chosen habit in our Wallum heath. Adult Blue-faced Honeyeaters have an identifiable light blue patch around the eye so you will be able to differentiate them easily from their juveniles, which predominately have yellow or green facial markings.

DID YOU KNOW that the Blue-faced Honeyeater is one of the first birds heard calling in the morning, often calling 30 minutes before sunrise?
Birds in Backyards' White-breasted Woodswallow
Another Fraser regular, the beautiful White-breasted Woodswallow, is a species that is often found around woodlands, wetlands and close to water and is the only one of the woodswallow species with no white colouring on its tail.

This species’ distinctive features include a white chest which contrasts strongly with their definitive black cap and navy blue beak.

White Breasted Woodswallows are quite social, and twitchers on Fraser Island have spotted these small flocks diving near the waters of the Wallum mirror lakes whilst feeding. Being an insectivorous species – that is they have diet which consists chiefly of insects and similar small creatures - they are extremely agile in flight which provides some spectacular aerial manoeuvres.  They are nomadic, moving northwards during the autumn and travelling south during the spring.

More than just  a splash of colour in the bush
This month, guests participating in our Ranger-guided Segway 'green machine' sessions along the beach have been fortunate enough to observe a gaudily coloured small bird chirping and flitting from branch to branch in the golden afternoon sunlight.

This bird is one of our favourites in this blog, the Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus - pictured right) and is identified by its lovely green back, beautiful blue rump and jet black tail.

A really interesting fact about these birds is the way they nest - the male makes a burrow in the dune cliff face by hovering over one spot and scratching the sand away with his claws. If the female doesn’t like the burrow she will reject that site, which forces the process of construction to begin again for a successful mating to occur.

As we head towards winter we look forward to gorgeous sunny days on Fraser, cooler nights and plenty of fantastic bird watching on Fraser Island. Who knows, we may just spot the 355th species of bird on the island – watch this space. And if you're interested in reading about some of our largest migrating visitors, head over to our Life on Fraser blog.  Until next time, happy twitching folks.