My wife (not a birdwatcher) and I spent a week on Norfolk Island from 29
December 2011 to 5 January 2012. The island had received around 200 mm of
rain over 25-27 December but fortunately for us there was only occasional
light drizzle and short showers while we were there. We stayed at Endeavour
Lodge, near the end of Collins Head Rd, with views down to Emily Bay and
Nepean/Phillip Islands. White Terns and Black Noddies were breeding in large
numbers in the trees in the gully below where we were staying; watching them
while having breakfast on the back deck it was a great way to start each
I tried to arrange a trip out to Philip Island but from the combination of
public holidays and many days with strong south-easterly winds this did not
happen. Below is a summary of the birds I found.
California Quail: widespread; many small parties seen daily. I was surprised
to find one male in a tree about 3m above ground - it was calling and
perhaps this is a territorial behaviour - can anyone comment?
Greylag Goose: many at Kingston and at the wetlands near St Barnabas Chapel
(where someone is bringing them food). Hybrids with other geese were also
Red Junglefowl: seen everywhere, including many hens with chicks
Northern Mallard/Black Duck: many at Kingston and some at other lakes & dams
around the island. I only saw one bird which did not have orange legs.
Emerald Dove: 3 birds at 100 Acres on 2/1 and heard at the Botanic Gardens
30/12 and Palm Glen 2/1.
Common (Feral) Pigeon: a few birds seen daily, at locations all over the
Wedge-tailed Shearwater: many hundreds were feeding 30/12 in the straits
between Norfolk, Nepean and Philip Islands. Burrows at Rocky Point appeared
to be in active use.
Little Black Cormorant 9 birds at Kingston Common 31/12 and 1-2 present all
other days until 3/1 inclusive
Great Cormorant: 1 at Kingston Common 30/12 and at Slaughter Bay 2/1
Black-winged Petrel: lots of birds were present, and many pairs were doing
courtship displays at Cooks Monument, Point Ross, Stony Point, etc.
Red-tailed Tropicbird: about 20 birds at Cooks Monument and at least 50
birds were flying in Cascade Bay 2/1, some seen off Headstone Reserve,
Collins Head. One bird landed at a hollow at Rocky Point and I thought might
have a nest - it sat there for 20-30 minutes, with no obvious feeding of
young taking place, and then took off again.
Masked Booby: about 10 birds at Cooks Monument, and 10-20 on the nearby
islands (and probably nesting); many birds nesting or roosting on Nepean
Island. A juvenile bird was flying over Emily Bay 2/1.
White-faced Heron: 9 birds at Kingston Wetlands 1/1 and 2-5 birds all other
Nankeen Kestrel: 1 at the airport 31/12, and 2 near Burnt Pine 4/1
Purple Swamphen: 5-6 birds at Kingston Wetlands daily, occasionally seen
Whimbrel: 7 at Kingston Wetlands 2/1, and 10 birds there 3/1
Bar-tailed Godwit: 2 at Kingston Wetlands 30/12 - 2/1
Pacific Golden Plover: about 10 at the airport 31/12 and 1-5 birds at
Kingston Wetlands several times
Ruddy Turnstone: 26 birds together, moving between Slaughter Bay and
Kingston Wetlands. First seen on 31/12 and then seen daily for the remainder
of my time on the Island. On 4/1, I found 12 birds on Kingston Wetlands and
then 26 birds in Slaughter Bay - a bit later the two groups joined up and
fed in the Bay along with the two Pectoral Sandpipers and 4 of the Pacific
Golden Plovers. On 5/1, the flock of 26 birds were feeding together in
Slaughter Bay and another 5 birds were about 10m away.
Pectoral Sandpiper: 2 at Kingston Wetlands 30/12 and 4/1, and 1 seen there
3/1. Feeding at Slaughter Bay 4/1.
Common Noddy: 1 at Cooks Monument 31/12 and 2 there 1/1
Black Noddy: 1000+ birds all around the coast of Norfolk Island, on nests
and nest building (they were so intent on collecting dry grass for their
nests that it was possible to approach to within a few metres usually)
White Tern: 1000+ birds all around the coast of Norfolk Island. Some birds
were already feeding chicks; other pairs seemed still to be searching for
that special branch. On the walk to Rocky Point on 2/1, I twice had a bird
approach me and hover in front of me, less than a metre from my face, which
was a bit disconcerting. That bill looks like it could poke out an eye very
Grey Ternlet: there were about 50 birds on the islands off Cooks Monument;
some were roosting but some appeared to be on nests; also a few seen flying
at Rocky Point
Sooty Tern: 100+ birds around Cooks Monument; and with many birds on nests;
also looked to be nesting on Nepean Island. A few seen at Rocky Point and
off Collins Head.
White-winged Black Tern: A single bird (in non breeding plumage) was feeding
over the ponds at Kingston on the morning of 3/1.
Tasman Parakeet: I saw a group of 3 birds just near the Palm Glen carpark
31/12 and 1/1, and heard/sometimes saw several more on the walk from there,
which I did 3 times. I did not see/hear them anywhere else although I did
find a dead bird at Red Rd just outside the National Park
Crimson Rosella: pairs and small parties all over the island; 12 birds were
feeding on the Governor's House grounds 3/1
Norfolk Island Boobook: heard several birds (at least two, possibly four) in
the National Park but they were always a long way off and did not seem to be
interested when I played a mainland boobook call.
Shining Bronze-cuckoo: heard at several locations
Sacred Kingfisher: seen and heard all over the island
Welcome Swallow: flocks of 10-15 birds seen at several locations, including
daily at Kingston
Common Blackbird: abundant, seen daily
Song Thrush: quite a few around, seen daily
Grey Fantail: several at the Botanic Gardens 30/12 and in the NP
Pacific Robin: Several pairs on the Palm Glen Walk; a pair was within 50m of
the carpark and had 2 fledged young with them
Masked Woodswallow: not seen
Golden Whistler: plenty of these in the Botanic Gardens and the National
Norfolk Island Gerygone: plenty of these in the Botanic Gardens and the
National Park, also seen/heard in the gully below where we were staying and
at many other locations
Slender-billed White-eye: several of these in the Botanic Gardens and the
National Park; I found them to be far less common than the Silvereye
Silvereye: plenty of these in the Botanic Gardens and the National Park, and
many places elsewhere
Common Starling: abundant, seen daily
House Sparrow: widespread, seen daily
Common Greenfinch: 1-2 birds seen at Kingston and at Red Road 2/1, and in
Burnt Pine on 3/1.
European Goldfinch: 2 birds near Middlegate 31/12
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