A pair of rare Black-breasted Button-quails (Turnix melanogaster) has been sighted in the resort grounds in recent days, the rarely seen Noisy Pitta (Pita versicolour) was photographed near the popular Sand Bar bistro and the moderately common Powerful Owl
(Ninox Strenua) has also made a cameo appearance.
Resort General Manager Ivor Davies said Fraser Island's coastal, wetland and rainforest habitats supported a rich abundance of bird and wildlife, with some 354 bird species recorded, including a number considered rare or vulnerable.
"Black-breasted Button-quails are listed as 'vulnerable' in Queensland and are usually found in dry undergrowth, typical of our region," he said. "We have now had five confirmed separate sightings of a pair in and around the resort – these are special sightings in the birding world and we're thrilled as this particular species was last seen four years ago, with not a single sighting until now."
Ivor and his team were alerted when a Villa Owner called reception to say they had the bird "mooching around" under their verandah. According to Ivor, he bolted fromhis office, with camera in hand, and was handsomely rewarded with a few pics of a
young female Button-quail. The remaining sightings have been in open Eucalypt forests near the major sand dune ridge line surrounding the resort.
Fellow guests on a stroll near the resort's Sand Bar Bistro also made a rare find recently when they spotted and photographed a Noisy Pitta. This bird is easily identifiable by its loud, tuneful whistle, green back and turquoise stripe on the shoulders.
"The Noisy Pitta is not an easy bird to observe as it stays just out of sight – and your best chance of spotting it is by walking quietly and slowly," Mr Davies said. "Again, this is a rare and special find."
And to top off an excellent month of birding there have been three separate sightings of the moderately common Powerful Owl in and around Kingfisher.
With a wingspan of 140cm, the Powerful Owl is Australasia's largest owl, but is seldom seen and populations are dwindling. The few sightings of this owl around the resort have bird lovers eager for more.
"Ranger-guided night walk participants are keeping their eyes peeled for the owl's 'home' tree, which can be found by searching for bones at the base of trees or by listening for the distinctive "hoo hoo" call as it's the only owl in Australia that hoots," he said.
Mr Davies said these rare sightings augured well for the upcoming Fraser Island Bird Week celebrations from May 9-16 and he couldn't wait to see what species would pop up next.
"This week has certainly given us something to crow about," he laughed.
For more information phone 1800 072 555 or visit birdwatching.kingfisherbay.com.