I've just spent an incredible week on Lord Howe Island with my family. It
was my first time on the island and I was blown away. The place is a bird
mecca, the scenery is spectacular and the locals are very welcoming. I
believe march is a good month to have been there, all the summer and winter
species are on the change over and all present. I found it pretty easy to
see all regular birds the island has to offer, and was lucky enough to get
a few extras too. On the Friday a South Island pied Oyster (later confirmed
by photo) arrived at the airport swamp Mid-Morning and was seen until dark,
then not seen again! The Balls Pyramid trip with Jack Shick and Ian Hutton
is a must and produced great birds including a White-necked Petrel which I
believe is uncommon. I walked to Kim's Lookout, plenty of Red-tailed
Tropicbirds with large chicks. There was no sign of the Red-billed
Tropicbird as was expected. The islands birdlife seems in great shape. I was
told some species (like Little Shearwaters) are returning to breed on the
island rather than only offshore now that Cats have been gone for almost 10
years. Rats and mice are still present and baiting seems extensive so
hopefully they can say goodbye to them too. They're looking into the
successful methods that New Zealand uses at present.
As always, thanks to those that have posted trip reports in the past. They
make life much easier and contain brilliant information. Below are the
species I saw and rough localities. I hope they are of some use and
interest. Apologies for the length of it.
South Island Pied OysterCatcher- Ian Hutton had seen the bird earlier in the
day. When I arrived at the swamp in the late afternoon the bird wasn't
there. Within the next 5 mins the following happened. Unbelievable! I found
it on the airstrip a couple of hundred metres away from the swamp. No sooner
had I spotted it a plane took off and the bird took flight and landed on the
road 20m from me. Almost instantly a car came past and it flew back to the
swamp, then some cows scared it and it flew over Blinky beach and wasn't
seen again. The poor bird was probably looking for a rest and wasn't having
much luck. I managed to get a few pics but very nearly missed it altogether.
Swamp Harrier- Vagrant. Seen flying over Ned's beach very early morning.
Channel-billed Cuckoo- Vagrant. Heard not seen. Ian Hutton confirmed one has
been seen recently.
Little Shearwater- Night-time only at colony near Blinky beach
Bar-tailed godwit, Pacific Golden Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Whimbrel- All
common on airstrip. Some in Great breeding colours.
Double-banded Plover- Two seen only once on airstrip
Masked Boobies- Common on all offshore islands. The only spot to view them
well on Lord Howe itself is at Mutton-bird point. Seen flying past Ned's
beach most days. Any boat trip will get you right up close.
Red-tailed tropicbird- seen flying over most of the island at times. Very
easily seen at Malabar/Kim's lookout
Sooty tern- Common and breeding
Black-winged Petrel- Very easy to see at Ned's beach, Sth end in the
afternoons, 5-10 visible at most times. Also seen on Balls pyramid trip.
White tern- Common in all settlement areas. Still some chicks around.
Black Noddy- Easy to see at the colony in the pines at north beach. A new
colony has started on the Lagoon beach (near the pro dive shop) just
recently and is easier access than Nth Beach.
Brown Noddy- Common in all places flying over water. 10-20 birds sitting on
Ned's beach each morning.
White-bellied Storm Petrel- 10-15 seen on Balls Pyramids trip in burley
White-necked Petrel- Possibly two birds. Seen on the way to and from Balls
Pyramid. Probably the same bird. Came in very close only for a short time.
Kermadic petrel- 5-10 seen in berley trail near Balls Pyramid.
Grey ternlet- 50+ on the Nth and Sth cliffs of Lord Howe. Heaps More in
flight on Balls Pyramid Trip
Providence Petrel- Common on Balls pyramid trip. We also walked the Little
island track in the late afternoon. The birds come in at 5.30. They fly past
you at head height. There's an estimated 30 000-40 000 of them. It was
Wedge tailed shearwater- common in afternoon everywhere. Seen at night in
burrows at Signal Point. Great place to watch the sunset too.
Flesh-footed Shearwater- Common at Ned's beach flying in late afternoon.
Well worth a night-time walk to see them at the breeding colony in the
forest behind Ned's beach.
Woodhen- Easiest to see near golf course or on the Little Island walking
track in the palm forests. Most active at dusk.
Lord Howe Currawong- Heard in most areas. Easiest to see in the Sth of the
Lord Howe Golden whistler- Common in all areas. Unlike mainland whistlers
they spend an unusual amount of time on the ground or very near to it.
Lord Howe silvereye- Common in all areas. Groups of 10 common
Song Thrush- I found this bird the hardest to see. They were very quiet
and to my surprise up quite high in the trees. I had expected them to be on
the ground. I saw them in two different spots. Firstly near the cemetery
behind Ned's beach, and secondly at Steven's reserve/track.
Common Blackbird- Disappointingly everywhere!
Northern Mallard- Airport swamp, 10 or so.
Emerald Dove- Common in all settlement areas.
Great Cormorant- Seen flying across lagoon most afternoon in small groups.
White-faced Heron- Up to 10 seen at airport swamp.
Kestrel- Birds seen at lagoon beach and again on the start of the track to
Buff-banded Rail- Common in all settlement areas..
Masked lapwing- Airstrip and airport swamp.
Purple swamphen- Common.
Welcome Swallow- Malabar Lookout.
Sacred Kingfisher- Common in most open lowland areas.
Magpie lark- Common.
Rock Dove- Couldn't be sure, think I had a quick glimpse of 4 near lagoon
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