Eden (Far South Coast) - 20-22 July

Subject: Eden (Far South Coast) - 20-22 July
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2006 09:37:25 +1000

We spent 2 nights in Eden on the Far South Coast of NSW last week staying in a unit perched high above Twofold Bay. Although we had perfect warm sunny weather while we were down there it had rained heavily in the previous few days which had turned most dirt roads in Ben Boyd National Park to impassable wet clay tracks. So Green Cape was off the itinerary.

On the first day (Thurs 20 July) we watched 4 Albatross close to shore from Tathra Headland. They were either Shy Albatross or Black-browed Albatross in my opinion. Later that day I watched about 20 Albatross following a returning fishing boat at Eden. Again one or both of the 2 species mentioned above? Can anyone tell me how you can tell these species apart from land? The birds seen had dark upper wings which stretched over the body in a line. The underwings were mainly pale/white with a thin dark edge.

A stop on the Bega floodplain at Jellat Jellat on Thursday afternoon produced 4 Black-winged Stilts and 2 Australian Shelduck among the over 1,500+ Black Swans! Also at Rutherford Creek in South East Forests National Park on Thursday I heard a Pilotbird and at Bull Creek in Ben Boyd NP on Friday there were several Crescent Honeyeaters.

Another highlight was watching a Wedge-tailed Eagle diving at full speed past our car near Tilba. By the time I had got out and peered down the hillside it was making off with a still alive Cattle Egret! from among the cattle followed by a pair of magpies. It landed nearby obviously having a little difficulty flying.

At Wagonga Inlet on Saturday we were amazed to find an Azure Kingfisher along the Mill Bay Boardwalk. It sat quietly on a jetty by the channel with plenty of noisy fishing boats passing by. Other birds here included 9 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Caspian Terns, a Whistling Kite and Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers.

At Trunketabella Creek on Saturday there were 2 White-necked Herons. All the recently dry wetlands were now full of water including Long Swamp by Bermagui.

Of the birds seen from our unit in Eden the highlights were a Collared Sparrowhawk hanging around the whole time chasing the resident 30+ Sparrows. At one point while we were sitting on the balcony I felt a rush of wind and heard a whooshing sound which turned out to be the aforementioned Sparrowhawk making a pass, it then turned back towards us and shot past again metres away. And a flock of 8 Varied Sittellas. On Saturday morning a grey morph Grey Goshawk flew past affording great views. A few hours later I saw another Grey Goshawk disappear into trees by Merimbula Airport.

At Mogareeka Inlet by Tathra on Saturday I noticed among the many Crested Terns and 2 Caspian Terns resting on a sandbank at least 4 smaller terns. They were a fair way off so I couldnt positively ID them. Any suggestions on the likelihood of them being either overwintering Little Terns (what i think) or another species? They had black caps and were about half the size of the Cresteds. Plenty of Double-banded and Red-capped Plovers here too.

In Eden Harbour and in Twofold Bay at least a dozen Pacific Gulls of which only 2 were adult birds. On every visit to Eden there is always a single Great Egret hanging around the fishing boats, this trip was no different. Several were seen harassing Albatross behind a fishing boat and later a flock of 50 Gannets. An early morning walk along the Lake Curalo Walkway produced a pair of Whistling Kites, 2 Royal Spoonbills and an Olive-backed Oriole among others.




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