Norfolk Island trip report 12-19.12.01

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Subject: Norfolk Island trip report 12-19.12.01
From: "Dion Hobcroft" <>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:55:41 +1100
Lise, Grace and I spent seven nights on Norfolk (12-19.12.01) staying at
Castaways. I was able to visit Phillip Island and join a half day fishing
trip but a week of strong south east winds made it difficult to get out to
sea and I was lucky to get out twice. Recorded 50 species of bird, 2
reptiles and 2  feral mammals (Black Rat and House Cat). Useful contacts
were Mike Simpson to visit Phillip Island and Advance Fishing for charter.
The Mount Pitt Road is closed to the public until September 2002. Lester
Semple who used to run Cyathea Lodge (advertised in Wingspan) sadly recently
died and the Lodge is no longer operational. Owen Evans and Margaret
Christian welcome contact with birders and records can be left on the card
index system in Nature World or with Margaret at Environment Australia Parks

Red Junglefowl: common, recorded daily
California Quail: moderately common, recorded daily
Feral Goose: 30 at Kingston daily
Mallard-Pacific Black Duck hybrids: 30 at Kingston daily, Chapel Swamp and
other widespread locations on the island including pools on the Northern
Isles. No real pure birds of either species seen.
White-necked Petrel: a pair in a burrow on Phillip Island 15.12.01. Single
17.12.01 12 km N of Cascade on fishing trip which allowed excellent
photographs to be obtained.
Black-winged Petrel: common, seen daily all over the island with much noisy
display flight behaviour often sweeping within a metre of observers from
various lookouts. Visiting burrows on Phillip Island.
Wedge-tailed Shearwater: common offshore visiting nest colonies at night
including 100 Acre Reserve and Cook's Monument.
Red-tailed Tropicbird: common including a few pink birds. Nesting on Phillip
Island and many ledges sites on Norfolk cliffs.
Masked Booby: moderately common, seen daily with nesting in full swing on
all islets and islands.
Little Black Cormorant: single bird seen at The Chord, scoped from Cook's
Monument on 14 and 18.12.01. Vagrant.
Great Cormorant: single bird with same plumage seen daily at Kingston,
Cascade and Watermill Dam 14-18.12.01. Vagrant.
White-faced Heron: maximum of 10 including immature at Kingston. Single on
Philip Island. Seen daily.
Nankeen Kestrel: a pair seen most days around Kingston.
Purple Swamphen: 20 plus at Kingston Common with chicks seen.
Latham's Snipe: single bird seen nearly every visit to Kingston Common
13-18.12.01. Vagrant
Bar-tailed Godwit: pair at Kingston every day.
Whimbrel: maximum of 3 birds at Kingston Common.
Common Greenshank: single at Kingston Common everday.
Wandering Tattler: up to 3 at low tide Slaughter Bay and 2 scoped from
Cook's Monument on Northern Isles.
Ruddy Turnstone: up to 24 at Kingston Common at high tide, 6 at Phillip
Island and 2 at Northern Islets.
Pectoral Sandpiper: single bird present at Kingston Common 14-15.12.01.
Pacific Golden Plover: up to 72 birds present at Kingston Common and over 30
on Airfield. Recorded in other paddock sites in small numbers.
Sooty Tern: moderately common, nesting on Phillip Island.
Common Noddy: a few nesting pairs on Northern Islets and Phillip Island.
Black Noddy: common with nesting colonies in 100 Acres Reserve and Phillip
Grey Ternlet: fantastic photographic opportunities at Phillip Island. Seen
from any landfall with time with great views also at Cook's Monument.
White Tern: abundant-probably the most common bird with much nesting action.
Rock Dove: moderately common, widespread.
Emerald Dove: moderately common, widespread.
Crimson Rosella: moderately common, widespread.
Norfolk Island Kakariki: seen six times (singles or pairs) in National Park
and Botanic Gardens including around the aviary early in the morning. Sound
recorded. Recently split on genetic analysis it is a large form and a great
NZ Shining Bronze-Cuckoo: single seen and heard near Botanic Garden 18.12.01
and heard at Highlands Lodge on 19.12.01.
Southern Boobook: up to 5 heard in National Park at both Red Road and Palm
Glen and also NP boundary on Cook's Monument road. A local also reported
them from Highlands Lodge.
Sacred Kingfisher: common, widespread including single on Phillip Island.
Norfolk Island Gergone: moderately common, widespread. Numerous fledgelings.
Pacific Robin: Is this bird seriously declining? Robinson estimated 400-500
pairs in 1988 (Threatened Birds of Australia 1993 Garnett). I found four
birds in three locations in a week. There was an immature male and adult
female in gully of Botanic Gardens 14.12.01, same female in BG on 18.12.01,
an adult female at Palm Glen 19.12.01 and an adult male at the park boundary
on the Cook's Monument Road 18.12.01. As a split from Scarlet Robin it makes
perfect sense with its long bill, short tail, lack of white frontal spot in
female, warm cinnamon tone in female plumage and that it lives in rainforest
on Norfolk Island. No breeding behaviour or song were recorded. It may be
wise to do another survey and reassess its conservation status depending
upon results.
Golden Whistler: all female plumaged race is moderately common and
widespread and highly vocal.
Grey Fantail: moderately common in Botanic Gardens and National Park.
Masked Wood-swallow: about 10 birds heard and seen early on 13.12.01 at
Castaways was the only record.
House Sparrow: common
European Greenfinch: moderately common, recorded on Phillip Island.
European Goldfinch: moderately common.
Welcome Swallow: up to 6 at Kingston Common.
Fairy Martin: at least 2 birds at Kingston Common 13-19.12.01. First record.
Tree Martin: single at Kingston Common 14.12.01 flying with Fairy Martins
very close repeatedly. First record.
Silvereye: common
Slender-billed White-eye: quite common at Palm Glen and Red Road attracted
to White Oak flowers. Seen once in Botanic Gardens. Distinctive call also
heard once at Restaurant near 100 Acres Reserve which was only lowland
record outside National Park. Distinctive large white-eye which forages like
a Large-billed Scrubwren.
Common Blackbird: common
Song Thrush: common
Common Starling: very common.

Norfolk Island Gecko: several seen on Phillip Island
Green Turtle: one sea watched from Cook's Monument

Black Rat: three seen in day and night at Palm Glen and Red Road with a few
roadkills also examined.
House Cat: flushed a hunting tabby in National Park and saw several others
getting around at night.

Happy birding


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