My wife’s parents have a beautiful property on Tamborine Mountain, in the Gold Coast hinterland of South East Queensland, which they call Noonameena, “Resting place in the bush.” The house overlooks Tamborine National Park, Queensland’s first national park, and on a clear day you can see all the way to Moreton Bay and Brisbane. The park protects a unique mix of habitats, from subtropical rainforest to wet eucalypt forest to open eucalypt forest and woodlands, and a diverse assemblage of wildlife. A search of the Queensland’s Governments WildNet database lists 4 species of fish, 30 species of amphibians, 45 mammals, 47 reptiles, and 190 species of birds within 5 kilometres (~3 miles) of the house.
Certainly, the most conspicuous critters on the mountain are the birds. Sitting on the verandah at Noonameena with a cuppa (cup of tea in American English), listening to a chorus of birdsong, and watching the colourful birds zoom through the valley below, is one of my favourite pastimes. Even after numerous hours of observation and countless cups of tea, there are still songs I have a hard time matching with a species.
My In-laws use part of their house as an Airbnb (The Cottage@Noonameena), hosting visitors from around the world. Almost all the guests comment on the amazing birdlife and many ask about what they are seeing and hearing. I thought a simple pocket guide featuring some of the most common birds at Noonameena would add something to the guests’ stay by helping them to better appreciate their surroundings. It was also a great way for me to combine my passions of wildlife biology and photography.
The Birds of Noonameena: A Guide to Common and Notable Species features 14 bird species commonly seen or heard on the acre of land surrounding Noonameena. It covers some basic natural history of each species (habitat, voice/call, and diet), but I also include specifics about where on the property the bird is likely to be found, as well as an interesting fact about each species, which I called Twitcher Trivia. Twitcher is a somewhat derogatory, but mostly harmless, term for a fanatical birdwatcher who travels long distances to see rare birds and add them to the list of birds they’ve identified.
The 14 birds covered in this guide barely scratches the surface of the 190 species that may be found in the area. It also doesn’t cover other taxa, like amphibians and reptiles or mammals. I would like to put together similar guides, like the Herpetofauna of Noonameena or Mammals of Noonameena, but I still have many species to identify and photograph. Putting together a hyperlocal guide like this has helped me appreciate the amazing biodiversity that can be found in one’s own back yard. I will continue exploring Noonameena and documenting what I find. I would also love to help others put together something similar, focused on the unique biodiversity of their own properties. If you are interested, please contact me through the form on my Contact page.