Part 1. Trip Report: NSW South Coast - East Gippsland - South Gippsland

Subject: Part 1. Trip Report: NSW South Coast - East Gippsland - South Gippsland
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Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 15:58:02 +0900

 PART 1.


TRIP REPORT; NSW South Coast - East Gippsland - South Gippsland - 26/12/08 - 2/01/09


Day 1. 26/12/08 Sydney - Depot Beach, Murramarang NP


Left Sydney, headed for Murramarang NP. On the way stopped at Lake Conjola where the obvious highlight was the Little Terns, lifer for me.

Upon arriving at a very windy Depot Beach and after setting up the tent I began having a look around. There were plenty of shearwaters out to sea, but the bush birds were keeping their heads down.

Later in the afternoon I heard an unusual call and found a Green Catbird moving around in a tree very close to our tent! This was a lifer for me and while watching it I also found Black-faced Monarch and Rufous Fantail.

That night 2 Southern Boobooks began calling at 2:00 and 4:00am from a tree right outside our tent.


Day 2. 27/12/08 Depot Beach, Murramarang NP - Bittangabee Bay, Ben Boyd NP


Before leaving Depot Beach I heard Gang-gang Cockatoos, Fan-tailed Cuckoo and a Cicadabird.

Our first stop of the day was at South Durras. At the inlet there were a few Pied Oyk's and about 2 Red-capped Dotterels. A bit further on we drove down Wallagoot Lane near Bega. At this time it was getting quite drizzly, but Ritchie's Lagoon still gave me a lifer - Musk Duck.

When we reached Eden we drove down to the wharf where the never-failing Pacific Gulls were easily found.

It was getting quite stormy by the time we reached Bittangabee Bay, so there were a few White-throated Needletails around. Some where very low down and I could actually here them calling.


Day 3. 28/12/08 Bittangabee Bay, Ben Boyd NP


On the Sunday morning Mum, Elliot and I went on the walk from the bay to Green Cape Lighthouse. Highlights consisted of: Crescent Honeyeater (Lifer! 2 females,1 male), Southern Emu-wren (Party of 5, 2 males, 3 females), Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Sacred Kingfisher (In low heath!?) and hearing Beautiful Firetails.

When we returned I found a Rufous Fantail and a Black-faced Monarch in the bush behind the campsite.


Day 4. 29/12/08 Bittangabee Bay, Ben Boyd NP - Wallagaraugh River Retreat


We said goodbye to Ben Boyd and ventured south for Wallagaraugh, which is north of Gypsy Point.

On the way we made a slight detour down to Cape Howe. The area was amazingly rugged and untouched and when we eventually reached Howe Flat it only took me 5 minutes to find Eastern Bristlebird (Lifer).

When we finally arrived at Wallagaruagh we were greated by 2 Wedge-tailed Eagles soaring over the river.

From Wallagaraugh we drove into Mallacoota. From Stephenson's Point I could see over 50 Little Terns on the sandbar. Other birds in the inlet: Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Pacific Gull and a Whistling Kite.


Day 5. 30/12/08 Wallagaraugh River Retreat


On Tuesday we had an all-weather-day, but it was sunny in the morning so I went for a walk along the southern end of Piesley's Rd. Highlights of the walk were: 2 Topknot Pigeons loafing in trees about 800m down from the campsite entrance, juvenile Brush Cuckoo being fed by female Golden Whistler and hearing Cicadabird and Black-faced Monarch.

When Mum, Dad and Elliot were ready we went to Double Creek. Although it wasn't raining the weather was very overcast at the Nature Trail. So the best I got was: Large-billed Thornbill, Brown Gerygone and a Koala. At Double Creek Arm on the other side of the road we found: Numerous Black-faced Monarchs, a female Rose Robin and a male Mistletoebird.

Dad then did some 4WDing west of Mallacoota and we eventually ended up at Genoa Peak. Later in the day we went to Bastion Point where the highlights included: 8 Royal Spoonbill flying over the beach, 1 Sooty Oyk and an Australasian Gannet out at sea.


Day 6. 31/12/08 Wallagaraugh River Retreat - Lakes Bushland Caravan Park, Nicholson


On the way to Nicholson we made a few stops. The first of these was Wingan Inlet. We walked down to the beach and along the way saw: Brown Gerygone, male and juvenile Rose Robin and Sacred Kingfisher. At the beach we

found a White-bellied Sea Eagle and out on the Skerries were 2 Black faced Cormorants (Lifer).

Our next stop was at the Bemm River Rainforest Walk. Here we saw another 2 male Rose Robins and a Rufous Fantail.

After passing through Lakes Entrance we stopped at the lookout where you can see the inlet.

From here we could seen down onto a rock wall which had all of Australia's cormorant species on it!

As soon as I stepped out of the car I knew we were in for a long night. Not just because of the NYE Revellers, but because of the huge colony of Bell Miners which had made the trees around the campsite their home. ;)

During our stay I observed: loads of Common Bronzewings, Restless Flycatcher and a Tawny Frogmouth.


Day 7. 1/01/09 Lakes Bushland Caravan Park, Nicholson – Foster


I farewelled the Bell Miners and we left Nicholson for Foster. On the way we made a very productive stop at McLeod’s Morass near Bairnsdale. In just half-an-hour I counted 34 species, the highlights being: 6 Blue-billed Ducks (Lifer! 4 females, 2 immature), 1 Spotless Crake (Lifer), 1 Spotted Crake, 2 Red-kneed Dotterels and 2 Latham’s Snipe (Lifer, finally).

We had a few smaller stops along the way; Mitchell River Silt Jetties and Lake Guyatt, but luckily I was able to convince Dad to drive out to Toora Beach Bird hide. The conditions at the beach were drizzly and very windy. Good birds here included: 15-20 Sanderlings (Lifer), 12 Eastern Curlew and about 8 Curlew Sandpipers.

We arrived at Foster and were just in time to put the tent up before the rain began belting down. Things weren’t looking good for Wilsons Prom…


Day 8. 2/01/09 Foster


Friday was very on and off for the weather, but we braved it anyway and drove down to the ‘Prom’. The start of the day was quite cold and windy but eventually the sun came out and the day turned out to be pretty good. Birding highlights for the day were: Brown Goshawk bursting out of low heath at Cotters Beach, pair of Australian Hobbies at Tidal River and Satin Flycatcher, Crescent Honeyeater, Grey Currawong, Varied Sittela, Rufous Fantail and 2 Brown Geygones all at the Lilly Pilly Gully Circuit. The Brown Gerygone pair were seen at the Lilly Pilly Rainforest Section and I thought that they were unusually far south and west. I can find no other reports of Brown Gerygones that far south let alone on the ‘Prom’. Any thoughts?



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