Yamba birdwatching

Subject: Yamba birdwatching
From: Susan Knowles <>
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 11:15:11 +1100
Some thoughts from my recent fortnight in Yamba, north coast of NSW. First a big thank you to the locals, Margaret & Dick Branch and Jill & Hec Doughty, who have provided a bird list for the lower Clarence area, available from the information centre on the highway at Maclean. This was very useful.

The best birdwatching place in Yamba is Hickey Island (which is not an island) behind Whiting beach. It includes a range of habitats, including mangroves, woodland, reeds etc. I include a list of the birds seen there at the end of the email. The first time we stopped there we were checking on some fairy-wrens over the road from the car park when my husband queried "What is that hawk in the dead tree?" and it was an Osprey (a lifer for me). I later saw it, or others, several times including perched on a yacht near Hickey Island.

The heath behind Pippi Beach is a good spot for red-backed fairy-wrens. The male obligingly seemed to be acting as lookout, perching on protruding branches. Some times other birds did this but mostly it was the male. Is this usual? I have not noticed it so obviously with other fairy-wrens.

The information provided last year on the list was helpful, but we could not find the road through the old fish farm ponds to Lake Wooloweyah. I suspect this was Carrs Rd which now goes through new houses; but while we reached Oyster channel the road was still too wet for us to see if it reached to the lake itself.

I can also recomment the Heritage Rainforest walk at Iluka (about 1/2 hr drive from Yamba). It is easy walking and a good range of birds (list follows), but with the recent flooding the mozzies were ferocious.

Another query - At a stop on the way in to Iluka we saw a bird run across the track into low scrub. Without having time to get the glasses on to it it looked like an Eastern bristlebird or similar but this is not on the local list. Is it possible? Any other suggestions? It did not look like a Pheasant Coucal.

HICKEYS ISLAND  (in no logical order)
Mangrove honeyeater
Spangled drongo
White-breasted woodswallow
Silver gull
Crested tern
Black-faced cuckoo-shrike
Superb fairy-wren
Willie wagtail
Pheasant coucal
Bar-shouldered dove
Brown quail
Golden whistler
Sacred kingfisher
Welcome swallow
Torresian crow
Brown gerygone
Brown thornbill
Little shrike-thrush
Plus the usual unidentified LBJs and waders

White-browed scrubwren
Large-billed scrubwren
Red-browed finch
Rufous fantail
Grey fantail
Brush wattlebird
Lewins honeyeater
White-cheeked honeyeater
Blue-faced honeyeater
Spectacled monarch
White-eared monarch
Torresian crow
Eastern yellow robin
Pale yellow robin (?)
Crested shrike-tit
Olive-backed oriole
Grey shrike-thrush
Little shrike-thrush
Eastern whipbird
Brown gerygone
Brown thornbill
Noisy pitta
Variegated fairy-wren
Golden whistler
Spangled drongo

Without having much luck with waders (and not being able to spend all my time birdwatching) I saw 95 species in the fortnight, including 10 lifers. A great spot (and we got in and out between floods).
Susan Knowles
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