Southern Highlands & Jervis Bay Trip Report (long)

Subject: Southern Highlands & Jervis Bay Trip Report (long)
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2005 11:22:43 +1100

My girlfriend and I spent 3 days in the Southern Highlands-Jervis Bay area over New Years. We got to do quite a bit of birding as the area is rich in birdlife.  Here are the highlights:

DAY 1 (31 Dec)
The trip started off well with 2 Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring low over Lake George. A quick stop at Roses Lagoon showed it was bone dry with minimal birdlife. Our first main stop was in the Bundanoon Section of Morton NP where we saw Black-faced Monarchs (1 also seen in dry eucalypt forest), Superb Lyrebirds (within metres as always on this walk), and Rufous Fantails among others on a Rainforest trail. At Fitzroy Falls also in Morton NP we watched Lewin's Honeyeater, Black-faced Monarch, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, and Red-browed Finches. Lisa got quite a shock from almost stepping on a White-lipped Snake at 'The Grotto' at Fitzroy Falls. But it seemed more afraid of her. We watched a pair of Sacred Kingfishers entering a tree hollow at Fitzroy Falls, as a Mistletoebird called and several Varied Sittellas foraged nearby.  I also heard a Crested Shrike-tit at Bundanoon. A nice walk around Robertson Nature Reserve (with Possumwood, Coachwood and Sassafras trees) provided us with views of Brown Gerygone, Large-billed Scrubwren, Whipbirds, Rufous Fantail, Satin Bowerbird, Lewin's Honeyeater and Black-faced Monarch.
While we were standing at Jamberoo Lookout admiring the view a Peregrine Falcon decided to come in to check us out. Some 10 minutes later we saw another Peregrine Falcon in Robertson township.
A leisurely stroll for 3 kms along Barren Grounds NR provided a quick glimpse of a Beautiful Firetail and good views of a Eastern Bristlebird as well as Variegated Fairy-wrens. As we stood up high at Mannings Lookout in the Barrengarry Section of Morton NP we could hear the calls coming up loud and clear from below of Crescent Honeyeater, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Superb Lyrebird and Lewin's Honeyeater. While beside us in heath regenerating after the fires we saw Flame Robins, New Holland Honeyeaters and King-Parrots. We then checked into our accommodation in Kangaroo Valley and listened to no less than 70 noisy Little Corellas trying to find a roost for the night.

DAY 2 (1 Jan)
Sitting on our balcony in the morning we watched the local birdlife - Grey Butcherbird, Satin Bowerbird, White-faced Heron, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, King-Parrot among others.
We then ventured up the Upper Kangaroo Valley along the majestic Kangaroo River. Stopping at the suspension birdge I looked up in time to see a magpie harassing a gliding white morph Grey Goshawk. We drove up Cambewarra Mountain for the view and the abundant butterflies which always seem to be there. Along one ridge we had great close up views of Large-billed Scrubwrens and Rufous Fantails while Whipbirds and Lewin's Honeyeaters called.
While Lisa relaxed on the beach I wandered the White Sands Walk from Hyams Beach to Vincentia - a Sea Eagle plus Gannets offshore. A Spotted Turtle-Dove in town and a Leaden Flycatcher male as well as a host of the usual coastal species. Variegated Fairy-wrens were common in most areas we visited in Jervis Bay. After not getting the chance to see Booderee NP last year because it was closed due to the bushfires, this time we drove around but were shocked to see what must be over 90% of the park had been burnt, at least the parts we visited were devastated but some areas were growing back nicely. At Huskisson we saw several Little Corellas in the town centre. This species is really expanding its range here, as i see them regularly in Batemans Bay and Ulladulla as well.
We finally were able to flush out 2 Eastern Bristlebirds at Hyams Beach by making squeaking noises. We walked the Jervis Bay Wetland Mangrove boardwalk but didnt see much apart from Chestnut Teal.

DAY 3 (2 Jan)
We headed for Beecroft Peninsula and Point Perpendicular hoping that the heath there was still in good health and not ravaged by fire like Booderee NP. And I hadnt been there before. After passing through a military checkpoint where they record your name and rego basically we drove to the lighthouse. There are several beautiful white sandy beaches here too. Over the heath we watched a pair of Swamp Harriers and near the cliffs a pair of Kestrels. The usual coastal heathland birds were there too. We then drove to Currarong and walked the Wreck Walk in Abraham Bosom's Reserve - a truely spectacular reserve with awesome scenery. Here we watched an Echidna cross the path, in rich heathland, patches of littoral rainforest ,and along a little creek, we watched many birds including Variegated Fairy-wren, Brown Goshawk, Brown Gerygone, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. There were many mallee trees in the plateau heath too. Offshore many Shearwaters and Gannets were visible as we walked to the wreck of the SS Merimbula.
As we turned off the Princes Hwy and into Turpentine Rd we scattered some 8 Common Bronzewings. As it was getting dark we didnt see much birdlife along the Nerriga Rd but stopped at Tianjara Falls in Morton NP (Superb Lyrebirds, Whipbird, Lewin's HE, Kestrel, Spinebill etc) and the Bulee Lookout where we heard more Lyrebirds. At Sassafras we saw many Red-necked Wallabies and near Corang Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos.


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