Trip Report - Coffs Harbour 6-11 July 2006

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Subject: Trip Report - Coffs Harbour 6-11 July 2006
From: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2006 22:08:07 +1000
I spent a few days up at Coffs Harbour last week as a short break during the
school holidays.  Despite it being a family trip, I am always able to get
some birding in as (luckily) my wife and kids are keen on walking and
getting to places where the birds are (or perhaps they just tolerate me!)  I
used the local "Bird Routes of Coffs Coast" guide which can be downloaded
off the Coffs Coast website as an e-brochure, plus experience/memory from
places I went on a prior visit 5 years ago

Best sightings for me were:

Whale Watching trip on 7 July - as well as several Humpbacks flinging
themselves out of the water and a pod of 50 Common Dolphins, I saw 1 Fairy
Prion (right in with the whales, as a whalebird should be!), 2 Great Skua, 1
Providence Petrel, 1 Shy Albatross, and loads of Yellow Nosed Albatross -
there were lots of immature birds.  There were several large rafts of
loafing YN Albatross about 3 or 4kms offshore - I counted 60 birds in 1
raft, 50 in another.  (Do the immatures go a bit further north - I cannot
recall seeing such large rafts when I have been on winter pelagic trips out
of Sydney.)

The next day there was a Giant Petrel just off Muttonbird Island, but too
far away to ID whether North or South

Urunga (South of Coffs) on 8 July - on the mudflats in Urunga Lagoon, 4
Whimbrel, 6 Bar Tailed Godwit, 4 Golden Plover, 1 Striated Heron.  In the
trees surrounding the lagoon 1 Striped Honeyeater, nesting Striated
Pardalotes, 1 Mangrove Gerygone

The local Ospreys have built their nest on the rail bridge that crosses the
Kalang River and can be seen as one drives along the Pacific Highway.

Dorrigo NP on 9 July - fairly quiet, perhaps because it has been a cold
winter and the birds that leave the high country have already done so -
great views of Large Billed and Yellow Throated Scrubwren, 1 Logrunner,
Forest Raven and several Superb Lyrebirds (one ran across the track so close
to my wife that she could have plucked out the tail feathers), plus 2
Pheasant Coucal near Bellingen on the way home.

Red Rock (North of Coffs) on 10 July - on the mudflats 2 Beach Stone Curlew;
2 Eastern Curlew, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Red Capped Plover, 1 Gull Billed Tern in
with lots of  roosting Crested Terns at the river mouth, a few Wedge Tailed
Shearwaters drifting about offshore, 3 White Necked Heron flew over, 1 Reef
Egret on the rocks to the south of the river mouth

The tern roost included a few White Fronted Terns and one tern that looked
smaller than the White Fronts - the head pattern was the same, but I
couldn't see the wings very well, so I couldn't see whether the tail and
primaries were dark, so I don't know whether it was a Common, or just a
smaller white front.

Smiths Lake (between Coffs and Woolgoolga) on 10 July - 3 or 4 Jacana, 2
Musk Duck, 30 Wandering Whistling Duck

Around Coffs generally were plenty of Sacred Kingfisher, Spangled Drongo,
lots and lots of Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike, plus 2 Little Shrike Thrush in
some of the scrubby areas behind Sawtell Beach, and 1 (female) Regent
Bowerbird in the scrub at the northern end of the beach.  Lots of good
sightings of Osprey and Brahminy Kite (with and without fish) and lots of
Gannets offshore wherever I looked out to sea.

On the way up, I saw a Varied Triller at Kempsey and a small but very dark
plumaged kingfisher near Nambucca Heads - possibly a Forest  (I only saw the
back), plus plenty of raptors including Brown Falcon, Hobby, Whistling Kite,
Kestrel, Wedge Tailed Eagle

We stopped at Sea Acres NR in Port Macquarie on the way home - this was also
very quiet - 1 Green Catbird, 1 Crested Shrike Tit and 1 Pale Yellow Robin
were the best birds.  Had afternoon tea at the Mountain Forest Park in
Bulahdelah, where there was a flock of 40+ White Winged Chough.

Tom Wilson


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