Down the coast pre-winter...

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Subject: Down the coast pre-winter...
From: "Shaun Bagley" <>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2008 21:45:13 +1100

Camping at Bittangabee Bay in S. Ben Boyd NP near Eden before the cold came in (i.e. Tue-Thurs) just like the wave of Easter migrants I passed on the way home to Canberra (why is it people with horse floats must choose the afternoon/evening to wind their way slowly down the King’s Highway?). Most of the usual suspects, ornithologically that is. A few highlights, mostly on a walk to Green Cape and back:


n  Ground parrot flushed twice in succession along Light to Light trail in the heathland between Pulpit Rock and the GC Lighthouse. Fleeting, green and unexpected.

n  Many calls of Southern Emu Wrens only rewarded a couple of times with the tan colour being the main memory.

n  Watching Welcome Swallows combing same heathland sweeping down to sea, surprised by rushing wind over feathers sound as Forktail Swift scythed by just a few metres away.  Stood and experienced several do this, noise almost preceding bird, as they hurtled towards the sea.

n  Must have been a good breeding season for Fantail Cuckoos amongst the Little Wattlebirds as several juveniles in varying plumage seen in tea tree/banksia areas of trail.

n  In the forest between Bittangabee and Pulpit,  Beautiful Firetail put in fleeting appearance at rocky creek crossing, Sitellas quite frequent, both Rufous and Grey Fantails in company with other small birds such as Striated Thornbills and Yellow Robins.

n  2 juvenile Rose Robins with accompanying female almost collided with me on track.

n  Pair of Lyrebirds, foraging female unconcerned alongside trail, vocal male much more concerned, almost as if challenger in the way he accompanied me off the premises (I may be single but really...)

n  Lace Monitors, several on walk but largest in camp ground, pretending to be the “useless dog” of recent TV coverage by slumping to ground once eye-contact made.  Obviously faring well on human leavings given size. Komodo came to mind...

n  Lead-footed Wallabies, aka Swamp Wallabies, unbelievably heavy over the ground sounding as if they are deliberately thrashing the earth, unlike the Eastern Grey Roo I almost tripped over in the dusk on my way to the toilet.  Reading description of the Swampies understand this thumping is actually an alarm behaviour. Observed later that when seen at close quarters the wallabies had this nervous tick when being watched that amounted to a little sideways jump/shuffle. However that does not do justice to the noise they make in hasty retreat, Eastern Greys being ballerinas by comparison.

n  Saw a fair number of seabirds off the coast, Crested and Caspian Terns closest to shore, further off a few Gannets mostly immature and, once “flushed” Shearwaters of some sort, given my inexperience with this tribe, my best guess would be Short-tailed but really too far to identify for a first timer.





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