Norfolk Island Trip Report (surprisingly long) Part 3

Subject: Norfolk Island Trip Report (surprisingly long) Part 3
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2005 20:39:30 +1000
21. Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroides cenchroides
Individuals were seen at a number of locations over the cliffs around the
island, with the first seen at Headstone Reserve. A pair at Captain Cook?s
Memorial was set upon by Grey Ternlets and two were also seen on Phillip

22. Feral Goose Anser anser
Technically not on the Australian list and so probably shouldn?t be
considered, but a large flock of this species are living at the ruins in
Kingston and are obviously not owned by anyone. Another flock at the Stock
Reserve may also similarly be independent, though there are more farm houses
in that area.

23. Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda
Common around the cliffs, and first seen flying over the coast at Kingston.
Seen from various cliffs around the island, including Cascade, Captain
Cook?s Memorial and Point Blackbourne. A number of chicks were still being
fed on Phillip Island.

24. Masked Booby Sula dactylatra fullagari
Another seabird that still had large chicks present. First seen nesting on
Nepean Island, and others were seen at Bird Rock, where a number of birds
were surprisingly sitting on the main island ? obviously the hills were
steep enough to deter potential predators, Captain Cook?s Memorial and on
Phillip Island. Also seen soaring along the coast from various other
clifftop lookouts.

25. Slender-billed White-eye Zosterops tenuirostris tenuirostris
My return to the Botanic Gardens in the afternoon led me to my first world
tick for the trip. A couple of birds were seen feeding in planted trees
opposite the Botanic Gardens, and this proved to be the only sighting of
this species outside here or the National Park. Easy to recognise on call,
it proved regular in the Gardens and by far the commoner White-eye within
the National Park. Seen as low as 50 centimetres above the ground it was
usually seen in pairs or small flocks (up to twelve) slowly moving through
the foliage, probing bark, flowers and fruit (one was seen to have pecked a
hole in a ripe Melodinus baueri or Big Creeper which has a five centimetre
fruit that remains hard until ripe). Most easily seen on the Summit walk,
other locations included Red Rock Trail before the carpark and between Bird
Rock and Captain Cook?s Memorial.

26. Norfolk Island Kakariki (Red-fronted Parakeet) Cyanoramphus
(novaezelandiae) cookii
I visited the ?Green Parrot? cage at around 7AM on the first day with no
luck. Visited again on Thursday at around 8AM and found it slightly
disappointing to tick this Australian (and depending on taxonomy world)
species with a male sitting on the cage feeding a female inside. I also saw
probably this same bird on every other visit, including at 10AM and 5PM.
Thankfully I also saw this species at a few locations in the National Park.
Three were seen (including a juvenile) and at least two more heard in the
short distance between the entrance to the National Park at J.E. Road and
the carpark at McLachlans Lane. A single bird was seen flying down the
valley from the start of the Palm Glen walk, showing the spectacular blue
primaries. Another was seen and at least two more heard on the saddle
between Mts Pitt and Bates and another was seen on the Mt Bates track. Both
the birds seen were trying to crack the fruits of the Big Creeper.
Definitely larger and easier to get good views of than its New Zealand

27. Pacific (Scarlet) Robin Petroica multicolor multicolor
After Dion Hobcroft?s dire prediction and not seeing this species on the
first day I was wondering how hard it would be. In the end, it turned out to
be widespread and once the call learnt an easy species to track down. One,
maybe two, males were first seen at the bottom of the Botanic Gardens and in
various places around the National Park: a pair in the gully near Captain
Cook?s Memorial, a male on the road to this last site, at least three pairs
around the intersection of Mt Bates track and the Mt Pitt Road, and two
pairs on the saddle between the two mountain peaks. This was the best site
with these four birds seen twice and regularly coming out into the open and
perching on the ground. With the new taxonomy this was both an Australian
and world tick.

28. Black Noddy Anous minutus minutus
I had seen this species on Lord Howe, amongst all the Common Noddies, but it
was good to have the ID confirmed on Norfolk where this is the common
species. First seen at Bird Rock and Captain Cook?s Memorial, it proved to
be generally common offshore all around the island, with a number also seen
around Phillip Island. A number of birds were seen flying among pine trees
in 100 Acres Reserve, but breeding probably hadn?t started yet.

29. Grey Ternlet Procelsterna cerulea albivitta
This beautiful bird proved to be relatively common, first being seen on the
Northern Islets around Captain Cook?s Memorial ? about thirty were present
here, particularly on Mo-oo Rock, but they weren?t always visible. Much
better views were obtained around Phillip Island, where some were roosting
on rocks as close as about three metres.

30. European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Uncommon with only two definite sightings. One bird flew off the road near
the entrance to the National Park on Captain Cook?s Memorial Road, and a
pair was amongst the pine trees behind Emily Bay. Possibly more common, but
most small birds I stopped to look at (vain hopes of a Chaffinch) turned out
to be House Sparrows.

31. Cattle Egret Ardea ibis coromandus
A flock of at least 28 birds was amongst cattle at the Stock Reserve on
Anson Bay Road on the 2nd. No cattle were present at the same location the
same day, so this vagrant was not seen again.

32. Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Five birds were seen on the airport from Captain Quintal Drive on the 2nd.
Not seen again.

33. Little Shearwater Puffinus assimilis assimilis
While watching the Mutiny on the Bounty Show a single pale-bellied
Shearwater was attracted to the lights and circled for a few minutes. This
was assumed to be this species. The Australian and world tick was confirmed
when a number of birds were seen about 200 metres offshore of Phillip
Island. None were seen from land on Norfolk.

34. Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus
No live birds were seen but remains were seen at 100 Acres Reserve of a
number of birds, including one that looked like it had been eaten by a cat
(only wings remained). When the colony was revisited at night most of the
carcases were being fed upon by large (native?) cockroaches. Our guide to
Phillip Island said the last chicks had fledged about two weeks before.

35. Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus variegatus
A flock of twelve was on Cemetery Bay Beach while doing the Convict Tour.
They were not seen again, despite repeated visits, and their roost was not

36. Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica baueri
A single bird was present with the Whimbrels on Cemetery Bay Beach.

37. Morepork (Southern Boobook) Ninox novaeseelandiae undulata x
This species was not seen, so can?t technically count as an Australian tick
(if you believe this is same species as in New Zealand and not Australia),
though I also reckon owls should have different rules. From owl surveys that
I do for work I know that unlike most other owls around Sydney, Boobooks do
not call much in winter (their main breeding season is in spring) so I
wasn?t keeping my hopes high. Also not having a tape of the call, I was
mainly hoping to flush a bird during the day. This did not happen but I
managed to hear a single bird just after 6PM on the road to Captain Cook?s
Memorial on the 3rd, and at least two (possibly three) were calling at a
similar time along the Red Rock track on the 6th. None were heard in the
National Park around Mt Pitt, though I was never there just after dark.

38. Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres interpres
Five were seen on a reef just offshore of Phillip Island.

39. Swamp Harrier Circus approximans
A single bird was seen hunting over the Red Road on Phillip Island.

40. Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incana
After scanning various rocks from lookouts and walking around Point Hunter a
number of times, a single bird was seen on the 6th feeding on the exposed
reef at Slaughter Bay virtually at the low point of the tide. Where this
bird was roosting was also unknown.

Of other animals, a rat (probably Rattus rattus) was seen running across the
road near the Botanic Gardens on the first night, and another was seen
squashed on Mt Pitt Road in the National Park, a feral Cat was seen at
Headstone Reserve, and a single gecko (Christinus guentheri) was found
living in the hut on Phillip Island.

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