Lord Howe Island trip report Dec 2010

To: "" <>
Subject: Lord Howe Island trip report Dec 2010
From: Rohan Clarke <>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2010 11:10:16 +1100
Hi All,
In addition to the Red-billed Tropicbird that I provided an update on last week (I've heard no positive news since), I had some other great birding on Lord Howe Island during a short visit 2nd to 4th December 2010.

Most of my time was spent in the Malabar Hills and Kim’s Lookout area. However in my one full day and two half days on the island I also managed a ~5 hr pelagic trip to Ball’s Pyramid with local guide Jack Shick, some time along the foreshore to the lagoon, a bike ride to the more southerly access roads on the island below Mt Lidgbird and a quick look at the shearwater colony behind Ned’s Beach after dark. As I often find annotated lists useful for trip planning purposes here is one for my Lord Howe Island visit.

Wandering Albatross: A single with plumage consistent with the gibsoni form near Ball’s Pyramid.

Kermadec Petrel: A highlight of the trip. At least 50 observed around Ball's Pyramid with up to 15 in sight at one time. A huge variety of plumages observed. Also one close inshore to Lord Howe on our return and a single from Kim's Lookout over the sea below. With the exception of a tiny population at Phillip Island off Norfolk, Ball's Pyramid is the only breeding site in Australia. Photos of the birds whilst at sea (and of Ball's Pyramid) are here:

Black-winged Petrel: Up to five flying around the Kim's Lookout area on each day, mostly in the afternoons and 4 on the trip to Ball's Pyramid. Some nice photo opportunities.

White-bellied Storm-Petrel: Another highlight. About 9 on the trip to Ball's Pyramid with several close approaches whilst berleying just south of the pyramid. Lord Howe is the only known breeding site in Australia. A few photos here:

Short-tailed Shearwater: A single was seen near Ball's Pyramid. A rarely reported species for Lord Howe (but probably annual in numbers).

Wedge-tailed Shearwater: Large numbers visible from Kim's Lookout each day. About 15 on the Ball's Pyramid trip. I didn't visit any nesting colonies but they do occur on the main island.

Flesh-footed Shearwater: Abundant. Many on the ground at night in various colonies around the township. Easily seen from Kim's Lookout over the sea below and about 50 on the Ball's Pyramid trip.

Masked Booby: Ones and twos flying past Kim's Lookout regularly. Hundreds visible on Roach Island as white dots. About 7 on the Ball's Pyramid trip.

Grey Ternlet (Noddy): About 10 seen distantly from Kim's Lookout flying low over the sea below. About 60 including many close approaches at Ball's Pyramid.

White Tern: Common in the township area, especially so in the Norfolk Island pines adjacent to Lagoon Beach. Ones and twos seen in flight at most other sites visited.

Sooty Tern: Abundant. Breeding at many sites, including paddock edges, dune tops at various beaches, slopes adjacent to Kim's Lookout.

Black Noddy: A few seen from Kim's Lookout. About 10 around Ball's Pyramid.

Common Noddy: A few seen from Kim's Lookout. About 20 around Ball's Pyramid.

Red-billed Tropicbird: the single well publicised bird near Kim's Lookout on the 2nd December.

Red-tailed Tropicbird: Abundant on the northern cliffs, a few at sea and around Ball's Pyramid. Kim's Lookout is a good vantage point from which to watch these birds, as is Malabar Hill. As I spent many hours up here a few nice photo opportunities presented themselves. The only challenge is that the tropicbirds are most active between about midday and 2 pm meaning the light for photography is quite harsh.

White-tailed Tropicbird: A single bird flew past Kim's Lookout once on Friday 3rd Dec. I heard it calling from Kim's Lookout the following day but couldn't locate it. A vagrant to Lord Howe Island. It was presumably this individual that was first reported by Brian Johnston in early Nov.

Purple Swamphen: Fairly common in paddock areas, especially behind Old Settlement Beach.

Buff-banded Rail: Common and widespread, with ones and twos being seen in all lower lying areas.

Lord Howe Woodhen: Island Endemic. One around Broken Banyan apartments in the settlement, several just to the south of Capella Lodge in rough paddocks. A few pics here...

White-faced Heron: 1 at Old Settlement Beach.

Nankeen Kestrel: 1 at Kim's Lookout each day.

Bar-tailed Godwit: About 15 in total. Feeding on low tide at Old Settlement Beach. Mostly roosting on high tide at the airport.

Whimbrel: 2 at the airport.

Ruddy Turnstone: About 40 seen: near the jetty, at low tide on Old Settlement Beach and at the airport. One was sporting a leg band from the USA but I wasn't able to read all of the digits.

Pacific Golden Plover: About 50 seen. Much as for Ruddy Turnstone, but small numbers also distributed across various paddocks and the golf course.

Masked Lapwing: 3 or 4 pairs with sightings in paddocks behind Old Settlement Beach, at the airport, the golf course and south of Capella Lodge.

Domestic Pigeon: 3 or 4 from Kim's Lookout. A flock of about 20 in the settlement.

Emerald Dove: Endemic subspecies. Small numbers in all areas with a bit of woody cover.

Sacred Kingfisher: Ones and twos throughout.

Magpie Lark: Perhaps 10 pairs scattered across the more open areas on the island.

Golden Whistler: Endemic subspecies. Common in both the settlement and in forested areas.

Silvereye: Endemic subspecies. Common in both the settlement and in forested areas.

Pied Currawong: Endemic subspecies. A couple heard at the northern end of the island and one or two seen in flight. About five below Mt Lidgbird towards the southern end of the island.

Common Blackbird: Common everywhere.

Song Thrush: A single bird in the settlement near Blue Lagoon apartments.

Welcome Swallow: Small numbers throughout.

European Starling: Three or four around the settlement and two at the airport.


Rohan Clarke


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