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Published December 3rd 2017
Go birding with a field guide here
Inside the top level of the blind
Bird watching, or "birding" as the most avid enthusiasts call it, is the observation of birds in their natural habitat. Some people like ticking off birds they have spotted in their bird guides and will travel across Australia just to tick off more species.
There are a variety of Australian bird field guides and any will do in a pinch. However, if you are after a really good guide with clear drawings and descriptions, including common names, I can't recommend Pizzey and Frank enough.
So, armed with our field guide, some binoculars, and kids in tow, we headed out to Hasties Swamp National Park. The Nyleta Wetland here boasts a variety of birds on any given day. Unfortunately for us, we went out when it was dry, and so didn't see the abundance of wildlife that would have been present with more water present.
Birding at the Nyleta Wetland
We did see some bird species though, swamp hens, egrets, larks, honeyeaters, curlews and even a brolga that flew off once the kids started their excited shrieking.
The highlight of Hasties Swamp is the birding blind that was constructed overlooking the wetland. It is a two-story blind with beautiful wood seating, large open-air windows, and information posters giving the history of the area. Also outside the windows, are mounted displays that identify several bird species common to the Nyleta Wetland.
As with most National Parks, you need to bring your own drinking water and food, and ensure that you take away all rubbish with you. Signs warn visitors to not feed the birds as this changes their natural behaviours and pollutes their habitat. There is also a toilet block on site.
We took some fish and chips there with us, bunked down on the top level and waited for the kids to eat and quiet down. Then we all took turns spotting birds with the binoculars and looking them up in the field guide. Some birds came pretty close to the branches around the blind once we were quiet, and we got some up-close looks.
The Hasties Swamp birding blind
Our phones were not good enough to capture decent photos of birds as they were quite uncooperative with staying still for photos as birds are wont to do. It would be nice to revisit the area with a good camera.
To get there, turn onto the Hastie Road from either the Kennedy Highway or the Atherton-Herberton Road. Drive along til you find Koci Road and turn off onto that. You will see the birding blind on the side of this road. It is about 10 minutes out of Atherton, regardless of which direction you approach it in.