Lord Howe Trip Report (plus the trip to and around Sydney)

To: ? birding-aus <>
Subject: Lord Howe Trip Report (plus the trip to and around Sydney)
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2013 21:18:13 +1000

Recently got back from a week on Lord Howe Island helping
celebrate my wife’s birthday with family and friends. This was my third trip
there but I still had a couple of species to tidy up, but unlike other recent
visitors, I was really only up for one pelagic. We stayed at Blue Lagoon (next
to Thompson’s Store) which was perfect for our family (near many of the
facilities and within walking distance of others) and mixed between restaurants
(Arajilla and Malaysian night at Pandanus were highlights) and cooking
ourselves (BBQ at Ned’s Beach and freshly caught kingfish were both great) – as
expected most food and tours were expensive, but it was a special occasion so
we didn’t much care. Non-birding highlights (particularly for the kids) were
turtles and Galapagos Whalers on snorkelling trips, the fish feed at Ned’s
Beach and climbing Mt Gower – we lucked out big time on the weather with only
the last day windy (in fact the last flight of the day was cancelled due to the

Saw 39 species in the week, with nothing totally unexpected
(though four cormorant species was I think two more than I had seen
previously). Daily log follows (number at ends indicates the number of species
seen that day), with notes on individual species afterwards (* indicates on
seen on LHI on this trip – see list for rest of trip at end).

6/4 – Arrived on the island and spent about half an hour at
the airport before heading to our accommodation. Spent the rest day around the
settlement and the Lagoon trying to organise the rest of the week. 25

7/4 – Once again the morning was spent around the settlement
and in the afternoon did a boat trip with Jack Shick – this was the key thing I
wanted to do as I needed to see a couple of seabirds and we were blessed with
amazing weather and managed to get right around the amazing Ball’s Pyramid.
Amazing site of hundreds of Providences Petrels at height above us and though
no rarities were seen, the two targets species (White-bellied Storm-petrel and
Kermadec Petrel) were. 24

8/4 – A family trip to North bay including turtle spotting
and snorkelling. In the afternoon did the Kim’s Lookout/Malabar loop to meet
the family at Ned’s Beach for a BBQ in the evening. 29

9/4 – The day with the least bird watching, a snorkelling
trip to the southern area with the kids and reading (with the odd spot of bird
watching) around the accommodation. 13

10/4 – Did the Mt Gower trip with Dean Hiscox – an amazing
day far harder than I recall last time (though that was 17 years ago).
Providence Petrels crashing the foliage after being called in is still an
amazing site. 21

11/4 – A relaxing day after the climb the previous day –
took the kid’s to the Clear Place and Ned’s Beach and generally took it easy.

12/4 – Decided I needed to do a bit more exercise and
climbed to the Goat House – the one walk I hadn’t done on previous visits
(though the bike ride down and back was the part that nearly killed me). The
afternoon was spent relaxing around the settlement area. 24

13/4 – Departure day and the wind was up, got caught in a
heavy downpour while doing the Stevens Reserve loop and spent the afternoon
waiting for the flight. 24

1. Mallard* - Thankfully the only sightings of these
horrible hybrids were a pair near the (dry) Airport Swamp o arrival and a
single bird feeding on the shore at North Bay.

2. Providence Petrel* - Seen every day but didn’t count the
tiny specks circling the southern mountains each day. Amazing views of hundreds
of birds at all heights on the boat trip, birds in the hand at Mt Gower,
distant sightings from the Goat House and one flew low over the airport while
waiting for the plane. A walk to Little Island in the late afternoon would give
good sightings for those not up to the Gower climb as theer appear to be many
birds now nesting around the Far Flats.

3. Kermadec Petrel* - A few birds (mainly dark phase) on the
trip out to Ball’s Pyramid – maximum of two at any time around the boat.

4. Black-winged Petrel* - Only seen at Neds Beach where one
or two birds came in to nests in the late afternoon. Possibly my favourite bird
on the island.

5. Wedge-tailed Shearwater* - Only definitely seen on the
Ball’s Pyramid trip but shearwaters that appeared to be coming in to Blackburn
Island in the afternoon on a couple of occasions may have been this species.

6. Flesh-footed Shearwater* - Good sightings (at the back of
the boat) on the Ball’s Pyramid trip, with the other sightings at Ned Beach
(coming in after dark on one day and a couple just offshore late on another).

7. White-bellied Storm-petrel* - Up to about 9 on the boat
trip to Ball’s Pyramid – all light-bellied.

8. White-faced Heron – The first species seen on the island
and seen every day.

9. Red-tailed Tropicbird* - First seen at the airport after
landing and seen most days when along the coast. Small numbers stuill breeding
on the northern cliffs and a chick still in the nest at the Goat House.

10. Masked Booby* - First seen on the boat trip with the odd
one seen around the coast and even a couple at North bay. Many of the birds
were this season’s young with dark heads.

11. Little Pied Cormorant – One seen on the first day flying
past the jetty was the only sighting.

12. Little Black Cormorant – The commonest cormorant and
seen every day, including in the Lagoon, at Ned’s Beach and the largest group
(about 6 birds) on rocks near the start of the Mt Gower walk.

13. Pied Cormorant* - Three birds seen at North Bay were the
only ones seen.

14. Great Cormorant* - An individual bird seen on three
occasions –North Bay, Ned’s Beach and at the airport on the last afternoon.

15. Australian Kestrel – Individuals seen at the airport (on
arrival and departure) and at Malabar were the only sightings.

16. Lord Howe Woodhen* - Seen (or heard) every day with
records at the airport, Blue Lagoon gardens, Mt Gower, Soldier’s Creek and
Capella Lodge. The best spot was the walk to the Clear Place where three pairs
(two with dependant young) were seen. Most were banded, but a few (including
one pair) were not.

17. Buff-banded Rail* - Abundant in the settlement area and
seen every day.

18. Purple Swamphen – Common and seen every day except one –
largest numbers in the paddock behind Settlement Beach.

19. Masked Lapwing – Seen most days with most sightings
around the airport or at Settlement Beach.

20. Pacific Golden Plover*- First seen at the airport and
quite common with other sightings at North Bay and Ned’s Beach.

21. Double-banded Plover* - A few seen at low tide on North
Bay and a single near Airport Swamp on the ride to the Goat House were the only

22. Whimbrel* - A single bird seen on the Golf Course on the
morning of the Gower walk and another (or the same bird) near Capella when
returning from the Goat House walk a couple of days later.

23. Bar-tailed Godwit* - Common at the airport and at North

24. Ruddy Turnstone* - Again common at the airport and North
Bay, and feeds at Ned’s Beach on any of the fish food that manages to wash back
to the shore.

25. Sooty Tern* - Amazingly the only birds seen were about 4
adults and one begging young at North Bay – given how common they are in
November I couldn’t believe this was the only sighting.

26. Common Noddy* - Seen nearly every day though some early
sightings may have been the next species. A number appeared to be roosting in
trees on the Lagoon shore.

27. Black Noddy* - One of the significant changes since my
last visit (in 1997) is the increase in Black Noddies breeding on the island at
North Bay (up to 600). First definitely seen at this location, and when I paid
attention to them afterwards at least some of the birds seen flying around were
also this species.

28. Grey Ternlet* - Only seen on the boat trip with
sightings near Gower Island and around Ball’s Pyramid.

29. White Tern* - Common, large chicks present and recorded
every day.

30. Emerald Dove* - Again common with sightings every day.

31. Sacred Kingfisher* - Seen most days, with up to 4 on
rocks at the Jetty the highest number.

32. Golden Whistler – Common, though took me 3 days to see

33. Magpie-lark – Common, seen every day.

34. Pied Currawong – Recorded every day, though usually only
heard in the settlement area. Young birds present in the northern hills and on
Mt Gower.

35. Eurasian Blackbird – Unfortunately abundant and seen
every day.

36. Song Thrush* - One only seen at the airport before I had
even spotted a Blackbird.

37. Common Starling – A few at Settlement Beach and a couple
in the settlement a few days later were the only ones seen.

38. Welcome Swallow – Common and recorded every day.

39. Silvereye – Abundant and recorded every day.

Of course coming from Mildura, the trip to Sydney to get to
Lord Howe also yielded a few species. The list below is a summary of the
species seen on the rest of the trip, notes are only provide for significant
species – codes as follows:

D – The drive from Mildura to Sydney on 29/3 (yes I drove
1000+km in one day with three kids)

S – Various trips around Sydney including Pennant Hills,
Lane Cove NP and football games at Cronulla and the Football Stadium

PX – My in-laws farm at Payne’s Crossing between Broke and
Wollombi in the Hunter Valley on the 2-4/4 (including the drive up)

R – The return trip to Mildura on 14-15/4.

* Indicates only seen on one occasion.

1. Emu D, R

2. Australian Brush-turkey*S – Lane Cove NP

3. Brown Quail* PX

4. Black Swan D, S, R

5. Australian Wood Duck D, S, PX, R

6. Pacific Black Duck D, S, PX, R

7. Grey Teal* PX

8. Chestnut Teal S

9. Hardhead* S

10. Australasian Grebe D, PX, R

11. Australian White Ibis D, S, R

12. Straw-necked Ibis D, PX, R

13. Royal Spoonbill* R

14. Yellow-billed Spoonbill* R

15. White-necked Heron D, PX, R

16. Great Egret PX, R

17. White-faced Heron D, PX, R

18. Australian Pelican D, R

19. Little Pied Cormorant D, S, R

20. Little Black Cormorant D, S, PX, R

21. Darter D, S

22. Australian Kestrel D, PX, R

23. Brown Falcon* D

24. Peregrine Falcon D, R

25. Black-shouldered Kite D, PX, R

26. Black Kite* R

27. Whistling Kite D, R

28. White-bellied Sea-eagle* PX

29. Spotted Harrier* D – Hay Plain

30. Brown Goshawk S, PX

31. Collared Sparrowhawk* D

32. Wedge-tailed Eagle PX, R

33. Little Eagle R

34. Purple Swamphen PX

35. Dusky Moorhen S

36. Eurasian Coot S, PX

37. Masked Lapwing D, S, PX, R

38. Silver Gull S, R

39. Crested Tern* S

40. Rock Dove D, S, R

41. Spotted Turtle-dove* S

42. Common Bronzewing D, R

43. Crested Pigeon D, PX, R

44. Wonga Pigeon PX

45. Glossy Black-cockatoo PX – At least 4 at Payne’s
crossing and a loose flock of about a dozen birds near the crossing of Wollombi
Brook travelling back towards Wollombi.

46. Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo* PX

47. Galah D, S, R

48. Long-billed Corella* S

49. Little Corella S, R

50. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo D, S, PX, R

51. Cockatiel* R

52. Rainbow Lorikeet S, R

53. Little Lorikeet* PX – At least one pair flew over

54. Australian Ringneck D, R

55. Crimson Rosella D, S, R – Both Yellow and Crimson races

56. Eastern Rosella D, PX, R

57. Red-rumped Parrot D, R

58. Australian King Parrot S, PX

59. Superb Parrot* R – A pair at Tombullen Storage

60. Shining Bronze-cuckoo* PX

61. Powerful Owl S, PX – Apparently called every night while
we were in Sydney but only heard one night (at 4AM) at Payne’s Crossing and the
last morning before we left Pennant Hills

62. Southern Boobook PX, R

63. Laughing Kookaburra D, S, PX, R

64. Superb Lyrebird PX

65. White-throated Treecreeper S, PX

66. Brown Treecreeper* R

67. Superb Fairy-wren PX, R

68. Variegated Fairy-wren S, PX, R

69. Spotted Pardalote S, PX, R

70. Striated Pardalote PX, R

71. Speckled Warbler* PX – Had to hunt hard this time to
find a pair

72. White-browed Scrubwren S, PX

73. Weebill* R

74. Brown Gerygone S

75. Brown Thornbill S, PX

76. Chestnut-rumped Thornbill* D

77. Yellow-rumped Thornbill PX, R

78. Yellow Thornbill PX, R

79. Striated Thornbill S, PX

80. Yellow-faced Honeyeater S, PX

81. Singing Honeyeater D, R

82. White-eared Honeyeater PX

83. Yellow-tufted Honeyeater PX

84. White-plumed Honeyeater D, R

85. Lewin's Honeyeater S, PX

86. Bell Miner PX

87. Noisy Miner S, PX, R

88. Blue-faced Honeyeater D, PX, R

89. Brown-headed Honeyeater PX

90. White-naped Honeyeater PX

91. Noisy Friarbird PX

92. Striped Honeyeater* PX

93. Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater D, R

94. Little Wattlebird S

95. Red Wattlebird D, S, R

96. New Holland Honeyeater* S

97. White-cheeked Honeyeater* S

98. Eastern Spinebill S, PX

99. White-fronted Chat* D – Hay Plain

100. Eastern Yellow Robin S, PX

101. Jacky Winter PX

102. Rose Robin* PX – a nice male

103. Grey-crowned Babbler PX, R

104. Eastern Whipbird S, PX, R

105. Spotted Quail-thrush* PX – Fantastic views of a pair of
this species that I have been expecting at this location for years

106. Golden Whistler S, PX

107. Rufous Whistler PX

108. Grey Shrike-thrush PX

109. Grey Fantail S, PX

110. Willie Wagtail D, PX, R

111. Magpie-lark D, S, PX, R

112. Leaden Flycatcher* PX

113. Grey Butcherbird D, S, PX, R

114. Pied Butcherbird D, PX, R

115. Australian Magpie D, S, PX, R

116. Pied Currawong D, S, PX

117. White-breasted Woodswallow* R

118. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike D, PX, R

119. Australasian Figbird* S – In figs at the SCG.

120. Little Raven D, R

121. Australian Raven D, S, PX, R

122. White-winged Chough D, PX, R

123. Apostlebird D, R

124. Satin Bowerbird PX

125. Eurasian Blackbird D, R

126. Common Starling D, R

127. Common Myna D, S, PX, R

128. Welcome Swallow D, S, PX, R

129. Fairy Martin D, R

130. Tree Martin D, PX

131. Silvereye D, S, PX

132. Mistletoebird D, S, R

133. House Sparrow D, S, R

134. Red-browed Finch S, PX

135. Double-barred Finch* PX


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