Trip Report - Merimbula District NSW 16-18 March 2007

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Subject: Trip Report - Merimbula District NSW 16-18 March 2007
From: "alan morris" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 22:18:25 +1100
Camp-out at Merimbula 16-18 March 2007, Leader: Alan Morris.

20 adults and 2 young children made up the group that ventured to the Sapphire Coast Caravan Park, Merimbula for our autumn weekend camp. We had warm sunny days and rain over-night on two occasions and prior to out visit there had been plenty of rain so that the area was lush green and many wetlands were filling up. The camp was held at the same time as BIGnet was being organised by the South Coast Birdwatchers Group at nearby Manna Park Resort. Barbara Jones from the SCBW had organised for our members to receive all the appropriate pamphlets and Bird Route Guides to ensure our Camp was a success. Our first stop for the trip was at Pamboola Wetlands at Pambula. A community run wetland and flood plain reserve, which provides walking trails to explore the many wetlands and natural area re-vegetation and tree plantation sites. Kestrels and Black-shouldered Kites were soon found, Needle-tails swooped overhead and Black Ducks and Chestnut Teal were the common ducks. Next stop was Eden Wharf where Pacific Gulls patrolled the fishing fleet, Black-faced Cormorants were busy passing to and fro, and a Reef Egret was roosting on the breakwall. From here we were off to Green Cape Light House in Ben Boyd National Park. Unfortunately as were arriving at the Cape a rainsquall was arriving too and eventually we were forced to leave. Pity because we were starting to see a few interesting birds including a pair of Pacific Gulls, a Pomerine Jaeger, Australian Gannets, Sea-eagles, plenty of Short-tailed Shearwaters and a Shy Albatross. After lunch when the rain stopped we spent some time on the nearby coastal heaths hoping to sea Ground Parrot and or a Striated Fieldwren, but we did not see those target birds but we managed to find Emu-wrens and Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters. A visit to Saltwater Creek produced a pair of Hooded Plover and a pair of Double-banded Plover on the beach, Sooty Oystercatcher, Wonga Pigeon, Sittellas & Satin Bowerbirds in the car-park area, 4 people saw a White-cheeked Honeyeater, and Lyrebirds on the way out.

On Saturday morning we headed for Kalaru and completed Bird Route No2 along the Wallagoot Lane that takes you past Jellat Jellat Swamp. There were plenty of birds to see, including 4 Australian Shelducks, many Whistling Kites, a male Musk Duck, White-necked Herons & Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets and Straw-necked Ibis. In the adjoining fields were Brown Falcon, Swamp Harrier, Kestrel and at least 3 prs of Sea-Eagles, while bush birds were good along the road including Scarlet & Yellow Robins, Jacky Winter & Cicada-birds, Golden & Rufous Whistlers, a White-winged Triller and Orioles. In the afternoon we visited Haycock Point and Severs Beach, in Ben Boyd NP where more Emu-wrens were found, an Arctic Jaeger was located and there were more Double-banded Plovers and a Striated Heron. That night we joined the BIGnet members in a combined BBQ at the Manna Park Resort.

Sunday morning saw us exploring the Mantini Resort before morning tea and Manna Park after. Mantini Resort is the site of a research programme investigating eucalyptus die-back possibly caused by Bellminers. Here during the past 18 months, 1600 Bellminers have been removed and there none to be were seen during our visit but some were heard. We had a birdlist of 36 species in little over an hour where later at Manna Park, where Bellminers reign supreme we only had half that list! Best birds were White-headed Pigeon, White-naped & Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Musk Lorikeet and Sittellas.

Sunday afternoon we headed for Bird Route No2 based around the lightly timbered and rolling hills of Bemboka. Again we picked up Whistling Kite, Kestrel and Brown Falcon, finally found a Grey Goshawk along the Bemboka River, Double-barred Finch, Striated Pardalote, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Black-faced Monarch, watched Dusky Woodswallows seeing off a Collared Sparrowhawk, Sacred Kingfisher and more White-throated Needletails. We finished the day at Mogareeka Inlet, Tathra, where we managed to find Eastern Curlew, Whimbrel, Royal Spoonbills, Double-banded & Red-capped Plover, Pied Oystercatchers and Caspian Terns. Altogether we had a very pleasant time, the Caravan Park had good facilities for happy hour and evening meals, not to mention a fine covered-in swimming pool! We saw 136 species during our 4 nights, 3 days and everyone had a good time! Many thanks to Barbara Jones and members of the FSCBG for their assistance.


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