Trip Report - Lord Howe

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Trip Report - Lord Howe
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 2009 09:16:48 +1100
I have just spent a week (Nov 29 to Dec 6) on Lord Howe with my non-birding
wife - so serious birding was limited, and a hip problem meant we could not
tackle any of the more difficult walks. Ian Hutton's book "Birds of Lord
Howe Island" is recommended reading.

Contact Ian before you go to find out about trips to Ball's Pyramid and
register at the Museum as soon as you can on arrival. Even this did not help
much - I got on a trip only by luck and lots of last minute rushing around,
so make sure you also contact both Ian  and Jack
(the Captain -  and chase things several times.
Trips run roughly once a week if the weather is good.

The island is suffering from drought and the swamp at the end of the airport
mentioned in many reports is totally dry.

I managed to see the following 34 species (and a pair of English birders in
the next apartment added Brown Skua at Clear Place.)

Kermadec Petrel. Very common (in all morphs) on Ball's Pyramid trip.

Black-winged Petrel. Moderately common at east end of Ned's Beach and off
Middle Beach and Clear Place.

Wedge-tailed Shearwater. A few on the Ball's Pyramid trip and off Lagoon

Flesh-footed Shearwater. Large numbers in the late afternoon at Ned's Beach.
Very common on Ball's Pyramid. Great spectacle at dusk at the west end of
Ned's Beach as they all fly in to their burrows.

White-bellied Storm-petrel. Around 6 seen on Ball's Pyramid trip.

White-faced Heron. One seen at Ned's Beach, one flying past Old Settlement
Beach and another on the walk to Little Island.

Red-tailed Tropicbird. Moderately common - good views from Clear Place
lookout. Large numbers over the cliffs seen from the boat trip.

Masked Booby. Seen flying past most beaches and lookouts and nesting on some
of the closer islands.

Nankeen Kestrel. One seen hunting over Clear Place.

Lord Howe Woodhen. Semi-resident pair at the apartments where we stayed,
although most days we only saw the male (my 700th Aus bird!). One in the
school grounds, two at Clear Place and three in a garden at the SE corner of
the Golf Course, and heard in other places. Apparently they are common on
the Mt Gower walk.

Buff-banded Rail. Very common. Some with very young chicks.

Purple Swamphen. Colony of 15-20 birds at the Plane Wreck site, and odd
birds seen in other locations.

Masked Lapwing. 3 seen at airport and in adjacent "swamp". (2 apparently
were killed recently in a collision with a plane! 3 plus a chick below the
radio beacon at the start of the Clear Place track.

Pacific Golden Plover. Plentiful at airport and golf course.

Bar-tailed Godwit. A few at the airport at high tide. Did not see many
waders at low tide - many beaches are quite hard to get to and I suspect
many waders were out on the reef as well.

Whimbrel. A few at the airport at high tide.

Ruddy Turnstone. Plentiful at airport and a few at Old Settlement beach at
high tide.

Sooty Tern. Very common. Big colony with many chicks on sand dune at Blinky
Beach (end of airport runway)

Common Noddy. Moderately common off all beaches and headlands.

Black Noddy. Moderately common off all beaches and headlands.

Grey Ternlet. A few at Clear Place and one seen at Ned's Beach. Very common
at Ball's Pyramid.

White Tern. Very common.

Rock Dove. 2 flew over us on Ned's Beach Rd one day.

Emerald Dove. Moderately common in wooded areas.

White-throated Needletail. One flew over our apartment one morning.

Sacred Kingfisher. Moderately common in open country.

Pied Currawong. Common

Australian Golden Whistler. Very common

Magpie-lark. Common - large numbers at airport

Welcome Swallow. Common

Silvereye. Very common.

Common Starling. Uncommon - saw a few (max 4 at any one time) around the

Common Blackbird. Very common.

Song Thrush. Uncommon. One resident at cemetery on Ned's Beach Rd and one or
two elsewhere in settlement.

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