Green Cape NSW trip report, July 2007

To: birding birding-aus <>
Subject: Green Cape NSW trip report, July 2007
From: David Stowe <>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 23:15:54 +1000
Trip Report - Green Cape - Far south coast of NSW

Firstly thanks heaps to all the helpful people that assisted me with my RFI for Green Cape. Left Sydney along with my wife, 6 month old daughter and all the proud grandparents on Thursday night and stayed overnight in Quenbeyan. Got almost no sleep as our baby decided that a thinly-walled motel room was a great place to wake every hour or less and scream!

Got up relatively early to visit Philip Veerman who had conveniently arranged for a vagrant White-fronted Honeyeater to hang around for a couple of weeks until we were able to get there!! Many thanks to Philip for getting up early on a cold Canberra morning to show us this gorgeous bird. We only needed to wait for about 2 minutes until the bird dutifully flew into the bush that Philip said was it's favourite! Surely the easiest "twitch" i have ever been on! It was only 5 minutes out of our way and seen almost instantly! Tick #1! Nice morning light and a new camera borrowed from Canon resulted in a few shots that i was really pleased with. From there we headed down through Cooma and Brown mountain and into Eden for a late lunch at the wharf. The Silver Gulls there obviously get alot of food from tourists and were among the most aggressive and brazen that i have ever seen! Still the highlight was seeing 2 Black-faced Cormorants through the scope on a barge (Tick #2) and then 3 Pacific Gulls fly over repeatedly (an almost full adult plumage bird and two younger brown birds) - Tick #3.
Both species exactly where i had been told they should be!

Arrived out to the Lighthouse at Green Cape in the late afternoon. We stayed in one of the cottages there which had the most awesome views/ location. Even my supposedly non-birding father-in-law spent alot of time peering through the scope which was set up almost permanently on the verandah for the weekend. Friday afternoon was fairly blowy from the SE and we saw Shy, Black-browed, and Yellow-nosed Albatross, as well as countless Fluttering Shearwaters, Gannets, White-fronted and Crested Terns, and Sea-Eagle. In fact you could almost guarantee seeing all of these species at any time over the weekend - even on Sunday when the weather had dropped off to a perfectly blue-sky and northerly winds.

Saturday morning was spent wandering around the heath and rocks immediately around the lighthouse. Silvereyes, Tawny-crowned HE, New Holland HE, Little Wattlebird, Brown Thornbill, Superb fairy Wren, White-browed Scrubwren and Welcome Swallow were the birds seen. Later in nearby denser heath we saw Golden Whistler, Eastern Yellow Robin, Australian raven.
Also frequently saw fur-seals just off the cape too.

In the afternoon we went to Saltwater creek to try and look for Hooded Plover. First bird seen in the campground was a Wonga Pigeon. Other birds in the bush were more scrubwrens and superb wrens, plus Kookaburra, Pied Currawong, Rainbow Lorikeet, Crimson Rosella, Eastern yellow Robin. Heading onto the beach we all split up to look at different things. I went straight out to the surf beach scanning the sand for my plover. Dad went up along the creek and returned a few minutes later. Holding his digital camera up for me to see the screen he calmly said: "is this it?" Sure enough he had snapped a Hooded Plover! Very shortly after that i was up the creek laying in the sand trying to gently edge my way closer to what turned out to be a very compliant bird that was no- where near as skittish as i imagined. Tick #4! When i had taken more than enough photos (also saw Pied Oystercatchers) we headed back out to the beach and witnessed a pair of Sooty Oystercatchers mating. (Female had a band on the right leg). Saw another Pacific Gull fly overhead and also photographed a Wallaby that i am unsure of the species. As the late afternoon light came good i took yet more Hooded Plover images this time with the surf as the background.

Sunday saw more of the same species wise with the addition of Fan- tailed Cuckoo around the lighthouse. Despite alot of dawn/dusk wandering around the lighthouse we never saw or heard Ground Parrot which was a shame but I wasn't really complaining.

Late afternoon i went out and sat in the shorter heath back up the road from the lighthouse for an hour. Highlights were a pair of Southern Emu-wren which was awesome. I have only seen these birds obscured through bushed before so i was very excited by the photos i was able to get. Next highlight was a Crescent honeyeater - also a bird i had only ever seen fleetingly before. But the biggest highlight was a Striated Fieldwren calling from a bush nearby! Tick #5!

Monday morning saw us pack up and head home for Sydney via Batemans bay and Braidwood.

Raptors seen over the weekend were: Sea-Eagle, Wedgie, Whistling Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, nankeen Kestrel, Brown Falcon and Aus Hobby.

All in all a fantastic weekend away at a sensational spot. Definitely recommend staying at the lighthouse. I'm sure that people like Edwin and Keith etc would have seen (read identified) more seabirds but it was great even for a pelagic amatuer like myself. 5 new species plus some better photos/views of species was a great rewarding experience. Especially as it was also relaxing and never about trying to see as many species as possible. I managed all but one of my serious targets (Ground Parrot) so i was stoked.

I have started to put the better/more interesting photos on my website for those that are interested. To make it easier i have started a new gallery from the home page purely of photos from this trip. I will leave it up for a month or so before sorting the images into the appropriate species pages. Happy to be corrected on my Albatross ID too.



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