Monday, December 26, 2016

NORFOLK ISLAND - Part 2




The island is a top place for some sea-bird watching, with numerous cliff edge viewing spots and hundreds of birds of various species vying for our attention.


View from lower lookout, Captain Cook Monument




We saw a total of ten sea-bird species all up, six of which were lifers for me. Many of the birds were into their breeding seasons including some boobies that were nesting on the rocky islets (pictured above) along the north coast.



Masked Booby



Masked Booby




From the lower viewing platform at Capt Cook monument , we sighted a striking Black-winged Petrel circling before flying into its nest burrow out of sight in the cliff below.




Black-winged Petrel - image courtesy of  Ian Mongomery:
http://www.birdway.com.au/index.php



A lone female frigatebird was spotted but too distant to identify as Great or Lesser.



Frigatebird sp.




Anson Bay




One of the highlights was observing the tropicbirds and their spectacular nuptial aerial displays. A group of eight of these surprisingly bulky birds were seen hovering, fluttering, gliding and even flying backwards over Cemetery Bay.



Red-tailed Tropicbird




Red-tailed Tropicbird




R.T. Tropicbird on nest




Our favourites were the ethereal White Terns, beautiful birds to observe, especially in an aerobatic display of tandem flying, twisting and turning in perfect unison above the blue waters. They have the unusual habit of laying and incubating their eggs on the bare branches of Norfolk Pines. It seems to work fine although stormy weather would have to cause some casualties.   



White Tern & chick








Scoped views were had of a close relative, the Grey Ternlet, roosting and possibly nesting on a rocky islet along the north coast.



Grey Ternlet - image courtesy of Ian Montgomery:
http://www.birdway.com.au/index.php




Walking through the Hundred Acres forest in Rocky Point Reserve was a surreal experience as we watched a Black Noddy flitting only metres above our heads, possibly searching for a suitable nesting place in a tree. The individual in the photo below was probably searching for some nesting material. These birds were much more numerous than the very similar Common Noddies, which differ in being a ground nesting species.



Black Noddy




Sunset from Puppys Point




Distant rafts of shearwaters were seen on the water from Puppys Point before flying in on dusk, back to their individual burrows along the open grassy banks above the cliffs. On a more sobering note, some headless carcasses of these ocean wanderers were seen besides burrows at Rocky Point Reserve. Probably the depredations of one or more of the feline inhabitants here, this phenomonen was hopefully being investigated by the appropriate authorities.   



Wedge-tailed Shearwater



A few Pacific Golden Plovers, a northern hemisphere migrant, were loafing around the airport looking for a feed in the grassy verges along the road and runway. It's always worth looking out for the various wader species or vagrants that visit Norfolk Island, especially over summer.   



Pacific Golden Plover




For more information on this fascinating island, visit this excellent and informative nature blog by an anonymous author who is currently residing there: http://naturalnorfolk.com/wp/

Our accomodation, peaceful, spacious and central was self booked through:

A list of the birds we saw and identified during our stay on the island is shown at the end of this post.  



Quality Row




Crank Mill











Cheers & Happy Birding





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Monday, December 12, 2016

NORFOLK ISLAND - Part 1





Clare and I had the opportunity of spending some time on Norfolk Island last month, two hours flying time east of Brisbane, but a world away from the hustle and bustle of that metropolis. My main focus (as always) was birdwatching on this Pacific Ocean gem and we had a week to enjoy the beauty of its seascapes and natural features, as well as contemplating its rich but sometimes brutal, colonial history.


Upper lookout at Captain Cook Monument



Cresswell Bay


We had agreeably mild weather during our stay and the birding started from day one in the backyard of our comfortable holiday house Fe-awa (Forever) with views to match.







When I wasn't looking up to watch the White Terns and Sooty Terns flying overhead, the bush birds were keeping me entertained with their antics.


Silvereye


Norfolk Gerygone (endemic)


Grey Fantail



Grey Fantail



Crimson Rosella


A wander down the road next morning after awakening to the beautiful dawn chorus, had me onto the more open country birds, including some of the many introduced species on the island.


Sacred Kingfisher


Red Junglefowl (Feral Chicken)

Song Thrush

Eurasian Blackbird



Crimson Rosella



The Botanic Gardens were well worth a look, with a good little visitor centre (un-manned) and excellent walking tracks.



Emerald Dove



Golden Whistler



We did a several walks in the National Park over successive days, an outstanding area of remnant forest and a great example of what much of the island must have resembled, pre-European settlement.



Norfolk Island National Park




Norfolk Robin - female (endemic)



We observed the female above feeding her young charge below, and had good views of a brilliantly coloured male along another track. Alas no photo. 



Norfolk Robin - juvenile




We did sight the endemic and endangered Slender-billed White-eye here too, with small groups working their way through the mid to high canopy.



Slender-billed Whiteye - image courtesy of Ian Montgomery:
http://birdway.com.au/index.php




The highlight on our second visit to the National Park was observing the elusive Norfolk Parakeet.



Norflok Parakeet (endemic)



After first hearing the distinct call of this much sought after bird, one flew over our heads displaying it's emerald green plumage and red crown. Not long after, while walking a different track, we came across this character feeding nonchalantly on pine seeds beside the walkway. Having been on the brink of extinction a few years ago, there is now a healthy population of 250 plus, after some concerted conservation efforts. Still, they were the only two we saw during our visit.









While walking the Mt Pitt to Mt Bates track we crossed paths with a pair of these introduced but charismatic quail, fairly common throughout the island but quite wary. 



California Quail




Moreton Bay Figs, New Farm Road










Cheers & Happy Birding






Thursday, December 31, 2015

KUREELA KAPERS




After living at our abode at Kureelpa (see previous post) for just over a year now, we have built up a nice list of 100 species of birds seen or heard, from the property.

One of the highlights was a pair of Black-shouldered Kites that nested in the top of a tall hoop pine out front, raising two chicks to fledging stage before dispersing.  



Black-shouldered Kite - adult



Black-shouldered  Kite - juveniles


We occasionally hear their contact calls or see them hunting in the distance over the surrounding paddocks.










A pair of frogmouths spent a morning trying to roost un-obtrusively before, I suspect, being moved along by a Magpie-lark that had alerted me to their presence with his noisy alarm calls.



Tawny Frogmouths



This particular pigeon is a regular, recognizable by the distinct, patchy plumage around the head and neck. 


White-headed Pigeon


One of the seven species of cuckoo on our list, posed nicely on the back fence. We only hear it's mournful call for a short while at certain times of the year, before it moves on.


Fan-tailed Cuckoo



This triller, a rare visitor to the area turned up one day, searching for invertebrates among the wilting flowers of a silky oak in the backyard. A bird I've only seen on a couple of occasions in over 15 years of living on the Sunshine Coast, it was a thrill to see one at home and so close, albeit for only a short time.



White-winged Triller







Raucous flocks of these large cockatoos fly by, sometimes landing in the flowering grevilleas for a poke around before heading off down to the coast or up to the ranges. You can fully appreciate the size and character of these wonderful birds from close range.


Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo



The Restless Flycatcher is a resident bird that usually lives up to it's name, but in this instant bucked the trend and sat still for more then five seconds.


Restless Flycatcher - at rest




And restless!



This lorikeet, a casual visitor to the garden was searching for sustenance in the form of nectar from a grevillea flower.


Scaly-breasted Lorikeet



As was a Dusky Honeyeater, a regular here that competes for food resources with it's more prolific cousin the Brown Honeyeater.



Dusky Honeyeater



Another highlight was couple of  visiting Little Lorikeets. An uncommon species I have only seen a couple times up this way, that flew in with a small flock of Scalies amongst which they can easily be overlooked.
 





Another of our seasonal visitors are the Silvereyes, which I always delight in hearing and seeing as they pass through in busy little groups. Sometimes I am privileged to hear a solitary bird quietly mimicking other bird species, a trait not commonly known of this diminutive migrant.



Silvereye



A lone White-necked Heron that flys in regularly to a small dam on the neighbours property, is one of the few members of this family we see from here.



White-necked Heron



Our raptor count is quite impressive with ten species, but no decent images of any seen from here except the temporarily resident B.S.Kites. I had the pleasure of observing a Spotted Harrier flying past quite closely one day, but with no camera handy. I have included a photo of one taken this year from another location here on the coast.    


Spotted Harrier - Bli Bli 





Cheers & A Happy (Birding) New Year!






Bird list, Kureelpa: 17/12/14 - 31/12/15
Seq. Species Scientific Name Date Location Comments
1 Australian Brush-turkey Alectura lathami
2 Brown Quail Coturnix ypsilophora heard
3 Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata heard
4 Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata
5 Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa
6 White-headed Pigeon Columba leucomela
7 Brown Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia amboinensis
8 Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica heard
9 Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes heard
10 Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis
11 Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus regina deceased (14-09-15)
12 Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides
13 White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus
14 Little Pied Cormorant Microcarbo melanoleucos
15 White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica
16 Eastern Great Egret Ardea modesta
17 Cattle Egret Ardea ibis
18 White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae
19 Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca
20 Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis
21 Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris
22 Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata
23 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
24 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
25 Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus
26 Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus
27 Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis
28 Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax
29 Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroides
30 Brown Falcon Falco berigora
31 Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
32 Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa heard
33 Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
34 Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus
35 Galah Eolophus roseicapillus
36 Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea
37 Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
38 Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
39 Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus
40 Little Lorikeet Glossopsitta pusilla 22/02/15 - 2 birds in silky oak
41 Australian King-Parrot Alisterus scapularis
42 Pale-headed Rosella Platycercus adscitus
43 Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianinus
44 Eastern Koel Eudynamys orientalis
45 Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae
46 Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo Chalcites basalis heard
47 Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chalcites lucidus heard
48 Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis
49 Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus heard
50 Southern Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae heard
51 Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae
52 Forest Kingfisher Todiramphus macleayii
53 Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus heard
54 Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus
55 Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
56 Red-backed Fairy-wren Malurus melanocephalus
57 Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla heard
58 Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus
59 Lewin's Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii
60 Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala
61 Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera
62 Dusky Honeyeater Myzomela obscura
63 Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta
64 Brown Honeyeater Lichmera indistincta
65 White-cheeked Honeyeater Phylidonyris niger
66 Blue-faced Honeyeater Entomyzon cyanotis
67 Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus
68 Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis
69 Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus
70 Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae
71 Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris
72 White-winged Triller Lalage sueurii 9/11/15 - single bird in silky oak
73 Varied Triller Lalage leucomela
74 Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis
75 Little Shrike-thrush Colluricincla megarhyncha heard
76 Australasian Figbird Sphecotheres vieilloti
77 Olive-backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus
78 White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorhynchus
79 Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus
80 Pied Butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis
81 Australian Magpie Cracticus tibicen
82 Pied Currawong Strepera graculina
83 Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus
84 Grey Fantail Rhipidura albiscapa
85 Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys
86 Torresian Crow Corvus orru
87 Restless Flycatcher Myiagra inquieta
88 White-eared Monarch Carterornis leucotis heard
89 Spectacled Monarch Symposiarchus trivirgatus heard
90 Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca
91 Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis heard
92 Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis heard
93 Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis heard
94 Silvereye Zosterops lateralis
95 Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena
96 Common Myna Sturnus tristis
97 Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum
98 Double-barred Finch Taeniopygia bichenovii
99 Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis
100 Chestnut-breasted Mannikin Lonchura castaneothorax