Jervis Bay & Surrounds Trip Report

To: <>
Subject: Jervis Bay & Surrounds Trip Report
From: "Tim Dolby" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 15:15:49 +1100
Jervis Bay & Surrounds Trip Report

For the same report with images see

A coastal zone with stunning white beaches, reportedly the the whitest in the 
world, complex floristic biodiversity which includes rainforest and coastal 
heath, and a rich variety of birds - what more could you ask for! I've just 
returned from family beach holiday to Jervis Bay (approx 150 km south of 
Sydney) on the central south coast of NSW. During the trip I visited a number 
of sites in the area including Booderee National Park, the heathland behind 
Hyams Beach, Bomaderry Creek Regional Park near Nowra, Berrara and Conjola 
National Park.

Bomaderry Creek Regional Park

I'll start with Bomaderry Creek Regional Park, mainly because it was the site I 
visited first in the Shoalhaven area. Bomaderry Creek is a really interesting 
bushland reserve situation only a couple of km from downtown Nowra. There's a 
nice variety of bushland habitats including remnant rainforest, Spotted Gum 
bush and what's often described as a 'secret' gorge, with sheer sandstone cliff 
faces and rock walls with overhangs and caves. To get to Bomaderry Creek from 
Nowra travel north over Shoalhaven River Bridge to 2nd roundabout, about 2 km, 
and then turn left into Narang Road. After about 300 metres you come to the 
reserves carpark and the Narang Road picnic area on your left .The 6 km gorge 
walk (down and back) is spectacular and the birding is really diverse. There's 
also a shorter 1km walk also, crossing the creek near the main gorge lookout.

It is perfect habitat for Rockwarbler with Bomaderry holding one of the most 
southerly populations of this wonderful little bird. The best place to look is 
the areas with sandstone boulders and ledges. I found the best spot for them 
was at the clifftop lookout about 500 metres down the south side of the main 
walk (just before the 1st loop intersection). Here I found 4 Rockwarbler in the 
area just behind the look out; scurrying around on a path that leads up the 
hill (sth).The view from the lookout is perfect for birding, giving good view 
across the gorge, giving you the chance to check out any birds that may fly up 
and down or across the creek. I just sat here and did precisely that for an 
hour or so - relaxed, watched birds and enjoyed the view - and the birdlife was 

Aside from the Rockwarbler I recorded Cicadabird, Olive-backed Oriole, Satin 
Bowerbird, Black-faced Monarch, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Channel-billed Cuckoo and 
along the track wonderful mixed flock made up of Varied Sitella (a somewhat 
blended ssp of white- and dark-headed), White-throated Gerygone, Striated 
Thornbill, Eastern Spinebill, honeyeaters such as Yellow-tufted, Brown-headed 
and Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Variegated Fairy-wren, White-throated Treecreeper, 
Leaden Flycatcher, Rufous Whistler. Also seen was a single Australian Hobby and 
the common corvid was Australian Raven. The best spot I found for rainforest 
gully birds was an area named Fern Glen (of course), which is about 3/4 of the 
way down the south side of the walk. Here I saw 3 scrub wrens in one binocular 
field of view - Yellow-throated, Large-billed and White-browed. I just love 
Yellow-throated Scrubwren; coming from Victoria it's always a really treat to 
see these colorful little birds. Also seen here were Black-faced Monarch, Wonga 
and White-headed Pigeon, Brown Gerygone, Eastern Whipbird, Bassian Thrush, 
Rufous and Grey Fantail, Azure and Sacred Kingfisher and Scarlet Honeyeater. 
Bomaderry Creek also has a healthy population of Yellow-bellied Gliders, 
suggesting that it may be a good site for forest owls such as Masked and 
Powerful Owl. Copper-tailed Skink and Eastern Water Dragon were also fairly 
common along the walk.

Back in Nowra Little Corella was common. Interesting virtually all the 
available Australia field guides suggest that Little Corellas are not found on 
the NSW south coast, so it seem a review of maps by these texts is necessary. 
Dollarbird was also a common street bird.

Another good walk in the area is Ben's Walk. A good place to start is the 
Hanging Rock Lookout near the Nowra showgrounds. Like Bomaderry, this walk is a 
good place to see Rockwarbler on the clifffaces along the main track. There are 
also some nice areas of grassland, where you can find Southern Emu-wren.

Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay National Park

One bird I was particularly targeting in the area was Eastern Bristlebird. This 
was a bird I'd seen quite a few times elsewhere, such as in Victoria at Howe 
Flat (where it is possibly that states rarest breeding resident bird), however 
I hadn't see it at Jervis Bay, said to be easiest place to see this endangered 
and highly cryptic species. I found the best spot to find this bird was in the 
heathland area at the back of the township Hyams Beach, particularly along 
Kallaroo Rd (sometimes called Hyams Rd) - specifically 1km stretch between 
Jervis Bay Rd and the township of Hyams Beach.

The coastal heath and scrub in the area is wonderful to look at. The common 
heath species are Heath-leaved Banksia (Banksia ericifolia) and Saw Banksia (B. 
serrata), Dagger Hakea (Hakea teritifolia), Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), 
Grass Trees (both Xanthorrhoea resinosa and X. australis), Scrub She-Oak 
(Allocasuarina distyla) and Coastal Tea tree (L. laevigatum).

The other area which was really productive for Eastern Bristlebird was at the 
intersection of Erowal Bay Rd and Jervis Bay Rd. Particularly the walk east 
from the corner of the Erowal Bay Rd and Jervis Bay Rd up to the Water Tanks, 
about 1.5 kms (thanks Bob Cook for the tip). This track for some reason is 
marked down on Google maps as St George Ave - perhaps in anticipation of future 
housing development - although it certainly not an avenue but a rough walking 
track. Getting onto bristlebird here was relatively straightforward along. Also 
seen here was a flock of about 6 Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Beautiful Firetail, 
Southern Emu-wren, a distant calling Eastern Koel, and overhead a large flock 
of about 50 White-throated Needletail. Honeyeaters were in good numbers, with 
Lewin's, White-cheeked, New Holland, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Eastern 
Spinebill, and Red and Little Wattlebird all common, and there was also Eastern 
Whipbird and Rufous and Golden Whistler.

Booderee National Park

Another good spot for Eastern Bristlebird was the Cape St George Lighthouse, a 
ruin at the end of Stony Creek Road. I had a bristlebird run across the road 
just before the carpark, and there were several birds calling along the walk 
from the carpark to the lighthouse. Also seen here were Variegated Fairy-wren 
and Tawny-crowned Honeyeater. The lighthouse is also (not surprisingly) an 
excellent place for seabird watching. For example I got onto Black-browed 
Albatross, a Jaeger (possibly Pomarine), Australasian Gannet, Short-tailed 
Shearwater and Crested Tern.

The story of the lighthouse is quite interesting: the reason that it's no 
longer used as a lighthouse was because it was erected in the wrong place. For 
a start it was not the most easterly point along that part of the coast and 
therefore actually caused shipwrecks rather than prevent them! The lighthouse 
was later moved to Point Perpendicular on the northern side of Jervis Bay, 
which, as you can tell by the name, is the most easterly point.

Another bird I was keen to track down in the area was Ground Parrot. I didn't 
get at either Hyams Beach or the Lighthouse, so I tried an area of heath 
located on the small road to the Jervis Bay Airport (it the turnoff just before 
Wreck Bay Rd, and borders Jervis Bay Rd). My first impression of the heath here 
was that it looked perfect for Ground Parrot; in parts it was it was knee high, 
similar to the heath at Shipwreck Creek in Croajingolong (Vic), where I see 
Ground Parrot regularly. After some struggle I also managed to flush a single 
Ground Parrot, tramping for an hour or so through this heath. I also flushed 
several Brown Quail. It was also really nice to see a couple of Square-tailed 
Kite at Jervis Bay. I saw them at 2 places: one circling above Southern 
Mahogany (Eucalyptus botryoides), Blackbutt (E. pilularis) and Bloodwood (E. 
gummifera) forest between the information centre and the turnoff to township of 
Jervis Bay, and the other much closer to the Princess Hwy, over bushland on 
Island Point Rd.

Of interest I also heard a single Eastern Bristlebird in the heathy area near 
the start of Cave Beach Rd - the road to the Booderee Botanical Gardens, and 
there were areas here that looked perfect for Ground Parrot - such as the 
heathland on the northern border of the gardens. I had a bit of a look here, 
seeing Brush Bronzewing and Southern Emu-wren, but ran out of time for a decent 
look for Ground Parrot. Booderee Botanical Gardens is also worth a visit, with 
wide selection of plants and bushland birds. The Gardens are the only 
Aboriginal owned botanic gardens in Australia, jointly managed between the 
Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council and the Australian Government's Director 
of National Parks. The area around the Murray Boat ramp is also interesting, 
and a walk to Governor Head is worthwhile. Here I recorded White-bellied 
Sea-Eagle, and there was an Eastern Reef Egret feeding on the rocks.

Berrara and Conjola National Park

The final area I that I birded in the Shoalhaven area was around the township 
of Berrara, the towns where we rented a cabin. Berrara is a very pleasant 
township, with excellent beaches, a logon and creek that's surrounded by the 
eucalypt forests and coastal vegetation of Conjola National Park and Nature 
Reserve. On the beach between Berrara and Bendalong there was a pair of Hooded 
Plover. As far as I know this is the northern most breeding population of this 
species. There was also Caspian and Crested Tern and Pied Oystercatcher. Around 
our actual cabin (located overlooking the lagoon on Berrara Rd) I ended up with 
a pretty good bird list. Channel-billed Cuckoo and Eastern Koel were regularly 
seen and heard, as were Rainbow Bee-eater and Dollarbird. There were resident 
little wattlebird, Eastern Spinebill, Eastern Whipbird, Satin Bowerbird and 
Kookaburra. Parrots were doing well in the area including King Parrot, Crimson 
Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet, occasional Musk Lorikeet and Galah. A pleasant 
surprise was seeing an Osprey, which circled just above our cabin, as did 
occasional White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Whistling and Black Kite (I didn't think I 
would see them here) and flocks of about 50 White-throated Needletail. The 
creek provided ideal habitat for a variety of water birds including Azure 
Kingfisher, Nankeen Night Heron, Great and Little Egret, Chestnut Teal, Great 
and Little Pied Cormorant, and White-faced Heron. Other birds included a single 
Grey Goshawk, Scarlet Honeyeater, and Sacred Kingfisher.

Finally, while staying at Berrara the NSW ABC news announced that 11 Hooded 
Plover had successfully been reared on the NSW south coast - a very fitting 
news story considering where I was staying. Thanks to Bob Cook and Charles 
Hunter for exchanging information about Jervis Bay, both of whom had just 
visited the area before I'd got there.


Tim Dolby

This email, including any attachment, is intended solely for the use of the 
intended recipient. It is confidential and may contain personal information or 
be subject to legal professional privilege. If you are not the intended 
recipient any use, disclosure, reproduction or storage of it is unauthorised. 
If you have received this email in error, please advise the sender via return 
email and delete it from your system immediately. Victoria University does not 
warrant that this email is free from viruses or defects and accepts no 
liability for any damage caused by such viruses or defects.

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU