Eden-Wilderness Coast-East Gippsland Trip

Subject: Eden-Wilderness Coast-East Gippsland Trip
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2005 11:50:21 +1100

We spent 4 days ( 29 October - 1 November) touring the extreme south-east corner of Australia visiting Eden, Ben Boyd National Pk, Wonboyn Lake and Nadgee Nature Reserve, Mallacoota, Point Hicks and Croajingalong NP, Cape Conran and Marlo, and Ninety Mile Beach, then Errinundra National Pk and Snowy River Country.

Highlights were the numerous migrating Humpback Whales, females and calves, in Twofold Bay (Eden) and off Green Cape Lighhouse (Ben Boyd NP). At one of my favourite spots in South East Forests National Pk (between Cooma and Bega) we saw/heard Black-faced Monarch, Olive Whistler, Rufous Fantail, Pilotbird, Satin Flycatcher, Crescent Honeyeater, a flock of 20 Gang-gang Cockatoos and an immature Collared Sparrowhawk in dense temperate rainforest thicket. This is the same spot I saw Pink and Rose Robins over Easter. Pilotbirds were also heard along Bonang Road (Errinundra Plateau) and at least 3 in coastal scrub by Point Hicks Lighthouse (Croajingalong NP) and a possible Olive Whistler heard from the car along Pt Hicks Road. The profusion of Gippsland Waratah in flower on the Errinundra Plateau was spectacular too.

Eden Harbour had the usual Pacific Gulls plus White-bellied Sea-Eagles and Whistling Kites fishing metres off the jetties. Single Cattle Egrets were seen in weird spots such as circling over Eden Harbour and over Green Cape Lighhouse looking lost, but probably migrating.

On our travels we counted 13 separate Bell Miner colonies (including one inside the motor inn grounds at Orbost). We saw a flock of 6 Little Corellas at Bega, Cattle and Great Egrets and Royal Spoonbills were seen at various sites and Sea-Eagles, Wedge-tailed Eagles, Kestrels, Black-shouldered Kites, Whistling Kites and Swamp Harriers were all seen. Large flocks of Bar-tailed Godwit and Eastern Curlew at Lake Curalo and Mallacoota Inlet. Tawny-crowned Honeyeater at Green Cape and Southern Emu-wren at the Mallacoota Heathland Walk. A Rose Robin at Mallacoota Foreshore Reserve by Betka Beach and Wonga Pigeons were common roadside along Bonang Road below the Errinundra Plateau and at several other sites. A Jacky Winter at Lake Tyers Beach. Fairy Martins nesting near Delegate River as well as an Australian Shelduck flying overhead.

At beautiful deserted Secret Beach (Mallacoota) we found a Hooded Plover, a pair of dark morph Eastern Reef Egrets and a pair of Chestnut Teal on the beach. Another pair of Hooded Plovers were later seen at the Betka River Estuary with Pied Oystercatchers. Shining Bronze-Cuckoo in thicket at Mallacoota Heathland Walk (among others), Brush Cuckoo at Bull Creek (Ben Boyd NP) and Fan-tailed Cuckoos everywhere.

Brown Gerygones and Lewins Honeyeaters were present in every patch of warm temperate rainforest we visited including Double Creek Nature Trail (Mallacoota), Bemm River Rainforest Walk and Drummer Rainforest Walk (near Alfred NP).

Marnix Zwankhuizen
Ngunnawal ACT

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