Norfolk Island Trip Report

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Norfolk Island Trip Report
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 15:59:04 +1100
I have just returned from a week on Norfolk Island (arr late on the
12th Nov, leave early on the 19th) with Ken Baker, where we found 44
species (counting a few dubious ferals that have been on most other
trip reports). We had a package from Melbourne (only one flight a
week) staying at Seavista where we had a spacious but fairly basic
apartment. As with just about all packages a car was included – we had
to pay $15 a day for insurance and fuel was $2.20 a litre – about a $
more than current Melbourne prices. Despite the small size of the
island we did about 350 km in the week.
We met 3 other birders on our fist day who had been there for nearly a
week without finding the Parakeet. Indeed our first  brief glimpse was
late on the second day and we only got good views on the third day.
We thought we had a arranged a Phillip Island trip before we went but
this got cancelled in favour of a fishing charter and one of the other
birders we met had had a similar experience, so we ended up booked on
a standard “round the islands” tour on our fifth day – nothing was
available before then. Unfortunately whilst conditions were good for
the early part of the week the seas were too rough for boating by the
time we were due to go out, so we dipped on a few sea-birds – we tried
from the cliffs but they were too far out to identify.
We visited most of the birding spots at least 3 times and walked in
the National Park most days – finding mid-mornings to be more
productive than earlier. You could probably have a reasonable trip –
especially if you were lucky with boats – in 3-4 days.
We failed to find Goldfinch or Shining Bronze-cuckoo. We spent one
evening at Mt Pitt listening for the owl with no luck at all – was low
cloud at the time.
Thanks to all who posted previous trip reports or who responded to my
RFI, and also to Margaret Christian who was very helpful both before
and during our stay – anyone planning a visit should contact her.
California Quail. Brief views late on 14th only at 100 Acres and we
thought they were rare – but after that we saw them in many places,
including two families with young chicks at Mt Pitt on 15th and a
family with chicks on Mt Bates track on the 19th,
Red Junglefowl. Common everywhere but not very “red”. Most were
clearly feral though and we did see a couple that looked almost like
pure ones..
Greylag Goose. Common at Kingston and Mission Swamp. Again not very
pure. Apparently declining as some recent migrants (of the human kind)
are eating them!
Mallard. A range of Mallard hybrids at Watermill Dam outside Kingston
and some slightly better specimens on Kingston Common. On most farm
dams as well. Nothing that looked 100% Black Duck.
Wedge-tailed Shearwater. Two at Ball Bay on the 15th. One at Puppy's
Pt on 16th. Several seen (and many heard) at dusk on 17th at Anson Pt.
One at Slaughter bay on 18th and 2 at Simon's Water the same day. 10
or so off Slaughter Bay on 19th.
Little Shearwater. Margaret Christian showed us a number of headless
bodies early in our stay – they fly in at night and get stuck in
cattle grids in Quality Row, Kingston, and something eats the heads.
Not exactly tickable! But after a couple of evenings checking the area
on the evening of the 18th we saw a bird on the ground near the back
gate of the Governor's mansion – a Little Shearwater in a very
dangerous position. We moved it to (hopefully) a slightly safer place.
Australian Grebe. One in thick weed at Mission Swamp on 16th – was
probably there on the 15th but we missed it. Also seen on the 18th and
19th but not the 17th.
Royal Spoonbill. One very grubby specimen at Mission Swamp about half
the times we visited – was very stained and our first thought was
Cattle Egret! (Mission Swamp is not marked on the island maps, but
lies both side of the west coast road between Douglas Drive and
Mission Road.).
White-faced Heron. Moderately common on rocks in various places and at
Kingston Common and Mission Swamp.
Red-tailed Tropicbird. Common at Captain Cook, Cascade Bay, Ball Bay
and Rocky Pt and indeed just about any lookout point.
Lesser Frigatebird. One female at Captain Cook on 14th. There were at
least 3 frigatebirds present but not able to check the others.
Greater Frigatebird. At Simon's Water on the 16th we had one juvenile
Greater, along with 2 unidentified – maybe the same bird as only ever
one visible at once. On 18th we had an immature and a female at
Captain Cook..
Masked Booby. Common at Captain Cook and Rocky Pt and on Nepean Island
from Slaughter Bay.
Nankeen Kestrel. One at Burnt Pine (from our balcony) on 14th, one at
Airport on 17th and one at Simon's Water on 18th.
Purple Swamphen. Usually around Kingston Common and Mission Swamp.
Pacific Golden Plover. Half a dozen at Kingston Common and on rocks in
Slaughter Bay and also at the airport most days. 66 at airport (on the
runway) on 17th
Bar-tailed Godwit. 2 at Mission Swamp on 16th and 17th and 1 on 18th and 19th.
Whimbrel. One on rocks at Slaughter Bay on 15th and 1 at Kingston
Common on 18th – later seen on the rocks.
Wandering Tattler. One on rocks at Slaughter Bay on 14th.
Ruddy Turnstone. 6 or so on rocks at Slaughter Bay on 15th. 2 at
Airport on 17th. 5 at Slaughter Bay on 18th.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. 3 at Mission Swamp on 15th and 16th and 2 on
17th and 1 on 18th.
Sooty Tern. Several from our balcony most mornings – common on coastal lookouts.
Common Noddy. Small numbers at Captain Cook
Black Noddy. Good numbers at Captain Cook, Slaughter Bay and Rocky Pt
Grey Ternlet. Good numbers at Captain Cook and Rocky Pt
White Tern. Everywhere.
Common Pigeon. Moderately common – including one on the rocks at Captain Cook
Emerald Dove. Common in Botanic Gardens and 100 Acres. One at Bumboras
on 17th One at Simon's Water on 18th. One crossing Mt Pitt Rd on the
Norfolk Parakeet. Two flew over Red Rd Track in the National Park on
the 15th. Two seen well on Mt Bates track on 16th, with 1 or 2 others
calling. 1 on Mt Bates track on the 19th.
Crimson Rosella. Everywhere. None in the green juvenile plumage –
apparently this is very rare locally.
Sacred Kingfisher. Common in open country.
Norfolk Gerygone. Moderately common in Botanic gardens, 100 Acres and
National Park.
Masked Woodswallow. One from our balcony on 15th, and one later that
day on Summit Track in National Park.
Golden Whistler. Common in National Park (Summit and Mt Bates tracks)
and Botanic Gardens.
Grey Fantail. Very common in Botanic Gardens, 100 Acres and National Park.
Pacific Robin.  One immature seen on Rainforest Boardwalk at Botanic
Gardens on 14th. One female on Red Rd Track on 15th and one on Mt
Bates Track on 16th and 2 immatures on Mt Bates Track on the 19th. Not
a male to be seen!
Welcome Swallow. Moderately common.
Silvereye. Widespread. Most seemed to be Tasmanian race, but some were
paler on the flanks.
Slender-billed White-eye. Fairly common at 100 Acres and National Park
(Summit and Mt Bates tracks)
Common Starling. Too many
Common Blackbird. Too many
Song Thrush. Moderately common on roadside verges – quite a few at 100 Acres.
House Sparrow. Too many.
European Greenfinch. Two seen at Emily Bay on several occasions, also
one from our balcony on a couple of occasions and one at Captain Cook
on the 18th.

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