Norfolk Island Trip Report (surprisingly long) Part 2

Subject: Norfolk Island Trip Report (surprisingly long) Part 2
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2005 20:38:51 +1000

1. Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula merula
As predicted, this was the first bird identified in the dawn chorus. Common
all over the island and probably the most common of the introduced birds in
the National Park. Two only heard on Phillip Island, but surely more were

2. Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris vulgaris
Anther common species around the settled areas, though less common in the
National Park (particularly on the boundaries). Relatively common on Phillip

3. Silvereye Zosterops lateralis lateralis
Surprising to see the Tasmanian race of this bird, considering Lord Howe
Island has its own subspecies that is quite different. First seen in the
garden of Daydreamer, and common in the settled parts of the island. Present
in the National Park, though less common than the Slender-billed White-eye.
Also present on Phillip Island.

4. House Sparrow Passer domesticus domesticus
First seen in the gardens at Daydreamer, and common in disturbed areas, and
often seen at picnic areas a reasonable way from human habitation (Anson
Bay). A large flock of at least 100 birds at the cemetery had at least one
female with white edges to the tail and a couple of birds with more white on
the scapulars.

5. Rock Dove Columba livia livia
A few birds flew over the gardens on the first morning. Surprisingly common
around the island, where it can bee seen nesting on the cliffs and offshore
islands. At places like Captain Cook?s Memorial and Anson Bay, a few birds
are present at the picnic areas. A number were also seen on Philip Island.

6. Grey (Norfolk Island) Gerygone Gerygone igata modesta
Depending on which taxonomy you believe, definitely the first Australian
tick (I have seen Grey Gerygone in New Zealand) and potentially the first
world one (some consider this to be a separate species). Definitely a
distinct subspecies with the general appearance much darker than birds in
NZ. First seen feeding on a Hibiscus opposite Daydreamer, then particularly
common in the Botanic Gardens and National Park. Often very approachable,
and very often in the undergrowth. Not common elsewhere, but occasionally
the very typical Gerygone call was heard at other parts of the island.

7. Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena neoxena
Common. First seen at Whispering Pines opposite the Botanic Gardens and seen
in most open areas, such as Kingston, Simon?s Water and Cockpit Waterfall.
Also seen commonly cruising over the canopy on Mts Pitt and Bates and also
present on Phillip Island.

8. Grey Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa pelzelni
First seen on the edge of the Botanic Gardens, this proved to be the
commonest bird in the National Park, with pairs evenly spread along the
walking tracks, and probably the most common native bird outside the Park.
Seen in patches of remnant bush and gardens, including Daydreamer, at
various places around the island. Very tame, often coming to within half a
metre and sitting quietly on the ground. It has very different markings to
Sydney Grey Fantails, with much less on face and tail, and an almost olive

9. European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis britannica
An uncommon bird, with an individual seen on the first morning near
Whispering Pines, a small flock at the turnoff to Captain Cook?s Memorial
(from Bullock Hut Road) the next day and another seen on Mt Pitt road
outside the National Park later in the week. Possibly heard elsewhere, but
appeared to be commonly mimicked as well.

10. Song Thrush Turdus philomelos clarkei
Much more common than on Lord Howe Island. First seen at the Botanic
Gardens, and individuals seen or heard at various locations around the
island. Occasional in the National Park, particularly around Red Rock Trail.

11. Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans elegans
?Red Parrots? were first seen around the Kakariki cage, this introduced
species was recorded at a number of locations around the island, including
within the National Park and at Kingston. Two sets of remains that appear to
be taken by cats were seen (one near Mt Bates and the other in Kingston).

12. Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis xanthoprocta
This female plumaged, island endemic subspecies proved to be common in the
Botanic Gardens and National Park. Elsewhere it was only heard occasionally
in patches of disturbed native bush, like on Prince Philip Drive at the
western edge of Cascade Reserve and at the intersection of J.E. and Selwyn
Pine Roads.

13. White Tern Gygis alba candida
First seen flying over the Botanic Gardens, this was a common species, often
seen in pairs or trios flying over the pine forests, and also common in
inshore waters offshore. We were too early in the year to see any eggs laid
on the bare branches of Norfolk Island Pines.

14. Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica chrysochlora
Common in small numbers at various places around the island. First seen at
the Kakariki cage, at least two were present in the Botanic Gardens the next
day, and others were seen on the road near Anson Bay (1), 100 Acres Reserve
(3) and Simon?s Water (1). A dead bird was found on the verandah of the
building next to St. Barnabas Church after flying into a window.

15. Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus norfolkiensis
A common resident, with a bird first seen at the junction of Anson Bay and
Mission Roads. Common in the cleared areas around the island, with birds
perched commonly on overhead wires. At least four were also present on
Philip Island, with one bird perched on the summit where we paused for a
break. A very dark bird which reminded me of the Collared Kingfishers on

16. California Quail Callipepla californica brunnescens?
This was another Australian tick (feral birds also seen in New Zealand), and
was not common and difficult to get good views of. About three were first
seen from the bus on the half day tour at the turnoff to Captain Cook?s
Memorial, one was seen at the same place the next day, about a dozen
disappeared into the National Park further down the road towards the
Memorial and about eight flew across the road at the intersection of Red
Road and Prince Phillip Drive.

17. Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus gallus
I had seen these early in the first day wandering around various gardens,
but I didn?t add this as another Australian tick until I had seen some
wandering around away from houses. Very common over most of the island, with
a number with chicks. In the National Park only really seen in the disturbed
areas at the bottom of McLachlans Lane.

18. White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae
Another common resident, with a bird first seen at the junction of Anson Bay
and Mission Roads. At least thirty birds present on the island with the
airport and Kingston (particularly the golf course) the best places to see
them. At least two were in trees in 100 Acre Reserve, suggesting this as a
possible breeding location. Also on Phillip Island where two acted as
sentinels standing on the cliffs as we climbed up the ropes at the start of
the day.

19. Mallard-Pacific Black Duck Hybrid Anas platyrhynchos x superciliosa
First seen at a swamp just west of 100 Acre Reserve (near where the rubbish
is burnt) and also common at the Stock Reserve, Watermill Dam and Kingston,
including the golf course. All were hybrids, with only one or two even
vaguely looking like Black Duck.

20. Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus
Another species seen at the swamp near the rubbish tip, and only otherwise
seen at Kingston, where it is common around the swamps near the gaol
buildings. Surprisingly, Buff-banded Rail does not appear to be on the
increase like on Lord Howe, and although I looked in this area a couple of
times, none were seen or heard.

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