The ultimate birdwatcher’s guide to Ipswich

Pack your camera or binoculars and head outdoors to spy some of the many bird species Ipswich is home to.
Shane Allwood, Photographer

Nature

How many of Ipswich’s 277 birds have you seen?

If you have a love for birds, Ipswich is the definitely a place to visit, boasting 277 recorded species, from Willy Wagtails that are regular visitors to the backyard gardens to raptors soaring high above.

 

Cotton pygmy-goose. Photo: Shane Allwood

There are two very special birds that live in the Ipswich area. Although not exclusive to Ipswich, these two birds, the cotton pygmy-goose (pictured above) and the speckled warbler are very uncommon in other areas of SE Queensland.

The cotton pygmy-goose, can be seen swimming around at Spring Lakes – Springfield Lake. You will see them feeding as a pair and it would be a very special moment for Ipswich if this pair were to breed. It is a small surface-feeding duck with a goose-like bill. The male has a white head, neck and underneath, with dark glossy green back. The females are duskier and have a dark stripe through the eye, with a white eyebrow.

The speckled warbler, Ipswich, Queensland. Photo: Shane Allwood

Although the cotton pygmy-goose was once found from North Queensland to the Hunter River in NSW, it is now only a rare visitor and considered uncommon in Queensland.

The speckled warbler (above) is another rare and uncommon bird that can be seen on occasions at White Rock Conservation Area.

Keep your eye on the ground for these small birds as they prefer to feed on the ground, probing the leaf litter for insects and will also eat seeds. If you are lucky, you can see them in pairs or even small parties up to six in number.

The dark red eye is prominent in the pale face. The back is mottled dark brown but the underparts are cream with bold black streaks.

The best birdwatching places

Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve

Located only two minutes from the city centre, Denmark Hill Conservation Reserve is a great place for a lunch time walk and perfect for seeing the wonderful range of parrots that reside in Ipswich.

There are 54 recorded species of birds at Denmark Hill, including the stunningly beautiful Australian king-parrots, rainbow lorikeets, pale-headed rosellas, scaly-breasted lorikeets and little lorikeets.

Open from 6am – 6pm
800m from Ipswich city centre
Click here to view map

 

Ipswich Nature Centre

Golden whistler. Photo: Shane Allwood

The Ipswich Nature Centre is a wonderful place to visit with the children. It is a place where you get to see up close, not only birds, but a broad range of Australian animals, such as quolls, bilbys, tree kangaroos, monitor lizards, Tasmanian devils, non venomous snakes, oh and a wombat…if he ever wakes up!!  Then there is the walk in the bird aviary which is a haven for the birds and they are well cared for by their providers.
As you walk through the aviary you will see golden whistlers (pictured), emerald doves, bush-stone curlews, wonga pigeons, glossy ibis, tawny frogmouth, princess parrots, Australian king-parrots, peacocks, cockatiels, satin bowerbirds, plus a few more.

Open Tuesday to Sunday – 9.30am – 4pm. Free Entry (although a gold coin donation goes a long way to help look after the animals.)
1.3km from Ipswich city centre.
Click here to view map

 

Kholo Botanical Gardens

Rufous fantails. Photo: Shane Allwood

Less than a 15 minute drive from Ipswich City the Kholo Gardens is located along the banks of the Brisbane River, with barbecue facilities and lush green lawns for picnics, there are also several ponds that attract many varieties of dragonflies.
This is also a great place to spend the day looking for birds with 151 recorded species here. You should see the rufous fantails (above), eastern yellow robins, Lewin’s honeyeaters, yellow-faced honeyeaters, blue-faced honeyeaters and on a good day you will also see the azure kingfisher (below) and rose robins.

Azure kingfisher. Photo: Shane Allwood

Open 6 am – 6pm daily
7.4km from Ipswich city centre

Click here to view map

Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve

 

White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: Shane Allwood

If you are looking for water birds and raptors then a trip to Colleges Crossing is the place to go. Set on the banks of the Brisbane River, here you will see the Australian pelicans, great egrets, royal spoonbills, Pacific black ducks, Australian wood ducks, sacred kingfisher, little pied cormorants, little black cormorants and then of course… the raptors… whistling kites, black kites, grey goshawks, Nankeen kestrels and the magnificent white-bellied sea eagle (above).

9.2km from Ipswich city centre

Click here to view map

Pan Pacific Peace Gardens

Great egret. Photo: Shane Allwood

Pan Pacific Peace Garden is a well-kept secret, in a majority of cases you will go there and be by yourself, with only 44 birds recorded here, although I believe there are a lot more than that, yet to be discovered.

Pan Pacific Gardens is another great spot to see water birds. I have seen ducky moorhens, Australian swamphens (aka purple swamphens), Pacific black ducks, royal spoonbills, intermediate egrets and great egrets (above) all around the ponds area.

Walking further towards the top of the gardens, you will most likely see the scarlet honeyeaters (below), they are normally up quite high in the trees but will come down lower when the bottlebrush flowers are out, looking for the nectar.

You will also see, what I call, traditional Aussie birds….the Australiana magpies, pied butcherbirds, pied currawongs, willie wagtails and magpie-larks (aka Peewee’s).

Scarlet honeyeater. Photo: Shane Allwood

Open 6am to 6pm
13km from Ipswich city centre

Click here to view map

White Rock Conservation Reserve

Rainbow bee-eater. Photo: Shane Allwood

This is the premier location to see Ipswich’s most diverse range of Ipswich’s bird life.

White Rock Conservation Area has 138 species of birds that can seen here on a seasonal basis, every time you go you there is always something new to see.

Some of the harder to find birds are the spotted pardalotes, rainbow bee-eater, white-throated treecreepers, rose robins, speckled warblers (rarely seen anywhere else in SEQ), mistletoebirds, striped honeyeaters, eastern spinebills, brown quails, rainbow beeaters (above), eastern yellow robins, and scarlet honeyeater.

All three species of fairy-wrens that live in the south-east of Queensland, can be seen here at White Rock, the superb fairy-wren, the red-backed fairy-wren, and the variegated fairy-wren (below).

 

Variegated fairy-wren. Photo: Shane Allwood.

Open 6am – 6pm everyday

15.1km from Ipswich city centre
Click here to view map

 

Spring Lakes – Springfield Lakes

Comb-crested jacana. Photo: Shane Allwood

Springfield Lakes is the home to the pair of cotton pygmy geese, it is well worth the trip to see these beautiful uncommon birds.

Other special visitors to the lakes are the comb-crested jacanas (above) and royal spoonbills. At times you will see the elegant Australian pelican gliding by on a fishing trip, escorted by the little black cormorants, little pied cormorants, and on occasions, the great cormorant, all hoping to catch a fish or two Spring Lakes is also a host to a large number of other ducks and their young, the Australian wood ducks with their young family (below) are a regular sighting. You will also get to see the hardheads (aka white-eye duck).

Always Open
20.3km from Ipswich city centre
Click here to view map

Shane Allwood Photographer
Shane Allwood is a wildlife, social media and events photographer who has spent countless hours capturing Ipswich’s bird life and thus knows a thing or two about the best places to find them. www.shaneallwoodphotography.smugmug.com

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