I have just got home from watching the cape Gannet that Ruth and Paul
found. Access is easy as far as the main car park at the end of the road.
Turn off to Point Danger and drive under the huge metal pipe going to the
refinery. About 500 m past the pipe is an intersection with an arrow saying
"Gannets". Take that road and go down to the carpark; this section is ok
for 2 wheel drive cars. Past the car park, 4X4 of Subaru size or more is
required for the last 500 metres to the viewing platform. The road is
flooded so keep to the right of the track going in (left coming out
obviously), especially at the second puddle, or you may fall in a deep tyre
hole and spoil your whole visit. There was a little Ford Focus bogged in it
when I went in this morning but luckily a big Nissan Patrol pulled it out
just as I got there.
If you don't want to drive the last 500 metres leave your car at the car
park then walk the track and get your feet a bit wet or walk down a mown
track that leads from the ocean side of the car park. When the bird is
there it is easily seen from the viewing platform with a scope. It is too
far away for just binoculars. I watched it mating with an Aus Gannet so it
may stick around for a while. They seem to be setting up home on the
extreme left and closest to you, when looking from the viewing platform,
and it is very obvious - it has an all black tail and even when preening
the gular strip is very obvious. Sadly the birds on the rookery all seem to
face west, into the wind, so you may have to watch for a while until it
turns its head. Find the all black tail first. Oh, and don't worry that you
can't see the birds on the right side of the colony from the platform, I
doubt it will be there.
As Paul said it seems that the non-brooding birds go fishing first thing in
the morning and start returning at about mid day so an early arrival is not
necessary. If the bird is not there when you arrive you may just have to
wait until it has finished eating. Talking of eating, Mac's Hotel is where
we stay for pelagics. They have not expensive motel rooms out back and very
yummy meals. Rooms in the main hotel part are expensive. Here is a bit of a
diagram that may or may not work. The "X" are Aus Gannets, all mainly
sitting on nests. "CG" is where the CG hangs out.
Cliff edge and Ocean
X CG XXXXX
No birds, just bare ground
Fence near birds
Fence with locked gate
Oh, and bristlebirds were bouncing around and calling when I was there at
0800 this morning.
I will put some photos on my blog after I finally wake up tomorrow, it has
been a long weekend. My thanks to Chris Lester for organising the pelagic
which, as usual was great fun.
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