Les Atkinson Park, Brisbane

During a couple of recent trips to Brisbane for 4WD training evenings, Joe and I filled our days with visits to local parks and nature reserves. Of these, I think Les Atkinson Park proved to be the most productive for bird species.


Please find the photos from this trip in the gallery below the text.


We visited Les Atkinson Park on three occasions in July 2016. For a reserve that is constantly being traversed by people picknicking, exercising, performing tai chi, walking to and from the nearby station, or exercising their dogs this park has retained an astonishing variety of bird species.

White ibis, and little black cormorants were busy around the duck pond while swallows circled overhead. A little pied cormorant in a tree above the pond was completely unperturbed by blue-faced honeyeaters that, for some unknown reason, wanted to hunt it away. Black ducks, which are ubiquitous and usually quite placid and boring, treated us to a mating ceremony and a spectacular display of aggressive behaviour on the pond.


Over the creek purple swamphens had found a natural water channel to paddle in. Nearby where the three paths joined, brown honeyeaters foraged noisily in casuarinas and callistemons, joined occasionally by yellow-faced and scarlet honeyeaters. A group of blue-faced honeyeaters flew into a tall dead tree that was a popular resting spot for a number of species of birds including figbirds, olive-backed orioles, a spangled drongo, black-faced cuckoo-shrikes and rainbow bee-eaters.


Kookaburras were nesting in a hole in a termite mound on the side of a hollow branch, and a pair of pale-headed rosellas was inspecting the hollow trunk of a long dead, burnt out eucalypt, with an eye to raising their young there. These rosellas were aggressive towards all other birds that landed on the dead trees nearby, hunting them from their perches. Even during their temporary absence a great egret that made the mistake of alighting there was hunted by blue-faced honeyeaters, and further pursued by an aggressive currawong.

Silvereyes, and golden and rufous whistlers foraged in the trees above the creek, and a striated pardalote was busy collecting bark from the paperbark trees to line its nest hollow. On an earlier trip we had photographed pardalotes at their nest hole in the creek bank just next to the bridge. Sadly the whole bank is gone now and the water channel has been concreted. Clearly the pardalotes were still nesting in the park, but I don't know where.

Closer to the ground and in the grassy areas, grey fantails and willy wagtails, along with variegated, superb and red-backed fairy-wrens searched for insects, while red-browed finches and chestnut-breasted mannikins, looked for seeds.

The only mammals that we saw were grey-headed flying foxes, sleeping restlessly in the trees overhead.

There is an amazing number of parks containing a wealth of wildlife in southern Brisbane, perhaps because housing is relatively recent. For how long can this array of species continue to exist in people-busy reserves like Les Atkinson Park?

White ibis
Having a little scratch!
Little black cormorant
Little pied cormorant
A little pied cormorant being mobbed by a group of blue-faced honeyeaters. I have no idea why honeyeaters would see this aquatic-feeding bird as a threat.
Black ducks
Aggression on the duckpond! The aggressor had just mated with a female (his wife, presumably) but seemed to think this other duck had his eye on her.
Purple swamphen
Brown honeyeater
A brown honeyeater indulges in a bit of beak-wiping.
Yellow-faced honeyeater
Male scarlet honeyeater
Female scarlet honeyeater
Blue-faced honeyeaters
Male fig-bird
Female figbird
Olive-backed oriole
Peeping out from between the leaves, red eyes and a red beak distinguish these fruit-eating birds.
Spangled drongo
Black-faced cuckoo-shrike
Rainbow bee-eater
Flipping the bee around so that it can be swallowed. These birds catch bees in flight, hence the name!
Termite nest
Kookaburras and kingfishers often nest in termite nests high up in trees. The kookaburra in the previous photo was seen entering the hole in the front of this termite-built mound of mud.
Great egret
This egret made the mistake of landing on the tall dead tree. It was promptly hunted away first by blue-winged honeyeaters, and then was pursued by a currawong.
Pale headed rosellas
A pair of pale-headed rosellas examining a potential nest hollow. The male (right) attracts the female to the hollow, but she examines it and makes the decision.
Male golden whistler
Female golden whistler
Note the buff colouring beneath her tail, and lack of breast striations, which distinguish her from female rufous whistlers.
Rufous whistler
A male rufous whistler hunting in a Casuarina.
Striated pardalote
Striated pardalote collecting nesting material. Pardalotes nest in tree hollows, or holes in banks of soil, such as along the edges of creeks.
Grey fantail
Willy wagtail
Male variegated fairy-wren
Female variegated fairy-wren
Male superb fairy wren
Female superb fairy-wren
Male red-backed fairy wren
What could be more spectacular than this little ball of fluff?
Red-browed firetail
Joy is being able to sit on your food!
Chestnut-breasted mannikin
This bird was spotted by Joe, but I caught only a glimpse of it before it departed. I missed a great shot, apparently!
Grey-headed flying foxes
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