Lady Elliot Island

To: Birding Aus Aus <>
Subject: Lady Elliot Island
From: Robert Hamilton <>
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2015 21:43:49 +0000
Hi Everyone,

I had a wonderful week on Lady Elliot Island with my family from 3rd to 10th 
October. Once almost completely defoliated by guano miners, and goats left for 
marooned sailors, it has returned to a "tropical paradise" with an abundance of 
breeding seabirds. Propogation of Pissonia and replanting is continuing.

While Black Noddies are all around, roosting and nesting in the shrubs and 
trees the real "in you face" birds are Bridled Tern, with a pair every couple 
of metres, lining the paths throughout the resort. We had to be careful not to 
tread on them, when returning from dinner to our units in the dark. Our son 
discovered the first one sitting on an egg, under a piece of playground 
equipment. Common Noddies chose to nest at both ends of the airstrip, seeming 
not worried by the landing of small planes throughout the day. There were 
plenty of Greater Crester and Roseate Tern with a few Black-naped arriving 
later in our stay.

Two pairs of Red-tailed Tropicbird had huge chicks under the small shrubs in 
front of one of the family units, and were not in the least worried by a 
constant stream of human admirers. They did however get quite upset one day 
when a fifth adult turned up for a look. There was an almost constant presence 
of Frigatebird, mostly of the Greater type, with a total of eleven the most 
seen at one time. We developed a ritual of watching the sunsets and the Brown 
Boobies coming in to roost on the anchored dive boats. One evening we saw the 
only Wedge-tailed Shearwater of our visit. They would be there in good numbers 
by now.

There was a nice selection of migratory waders mostly in small numbers. Godwits 
seemed to prefer to graze in the fairly short grass beside the runway. The 
runway and broad grassy area which led to the west of the island, was generally 
fairly well covered by good numbers of Buff-banded Rail, Ruddy Turnstone and 
Pacific Golden Plover. In the evenings many other birds moved there as well. On 
our last evening there was a group of 8 mixed Sand Plover, which we had only 
seen in one or twos around the island. Wandering were the most common Tattler 
seemed although I also identified Grey-tailed, hearing both types call. Mostly 
seen in ones and twos, I saw a group of a dozen or so one evening, too far away 
for positive identification. I also saw and photographed a Sharp-tailed 
Sandpiper, a rare sighting on the island.

A Rock Dove 80km offshore was a very odd sighting.

The snorkelling was excellent and I saw two Manta Ray this way. My wife, who 
dives, saw many more including one dive where six were encountered.

Here are my photos from our visit.


Rob Hamilton
Margate, Tasmania
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