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






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