Follow That Bird
- sydney's birding company

Trip Report
Dear Gypsy Point near Mallacoota
Green Cape Birders
To most birdwatchers, the words "Gipsy Point Lodge, Mallacoota" conjure up thoughts of great birding, especially seeing Glossy Black Cockatoos, good food and accommodation at the Lodge, and great experiences in the beautiful natural environments of Mallacoota Inlet and the Genoa River. To the participants of the Follow That Bird Tour to Gipsy Point Lodge, 18-23 October 2004, these were our experiences too although those pesky Glossies did not show this time! Our trip commenced during a period of very wet weather in Sydney which gradually extended south into Victoria bring good falls of rain to the far South Coast and Southern Tablelands of NSW and NE Victoria, something that was badly need everywhere in those localities! We all had a great time despite the rain, even managing two days without any rain but eventually if caught up with us!

The first night we stayed at Batman's Bay where we finally got ahead of the rain, and so in leafy Surf Beach, we had good views of 3 White-headed Pigeons roosting on a telegraph pole amongst the houses and a pair of Sooty Oystercatchers on the rocks. At our Motel, on the eastern side of the Clyde River Bridge, we found nesting Hobbies and White-faced Herons in two adjoining trees, the male Hobby bringing food to the female every 10-15 minutes who came off the nest to receive the food each time making a great racket! Pied Oystercatchers and Royal Spoonbills could be seen from the bridge. Next morning we stopped for a while at Narooma and at the high tide wader roost we counted 210 Bar-tailed Godwits, 6 Eastern Curlews, 2 Red Knots and 6 Pied Oystercatchers. Continuing south we stopped for Wedge-tailed Eagles at Waldrons Swamp & Brogo Hall and a White-necked Heron at Trunkettabella wetlands.We called in to the Bega Dairy Factory wetlands and located 5 Pink-eared Ducks, and while lunching at the Eden Wharf, 3 immature Pacific Gulls were seen. Two hours were spent at Greencape Light House, in Ben Boyd NP and we were thrilled to see Hump-backed Whales breaching right close to the point, about 30 Australia Fur Seals, numerous Australasian Gannets, a few Caspian Terns, at least 2 Shy Albatrosses, Short-tailed and Fluttering Shearwaters and a Sparrowhawk. We also watched in disbelief as three Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flew out to sea and kept going. We did not see them return to the coast while we were there!. (Any reports from New Zealand?)

We arrived at Gipsy Point at dusk, and next morning, and for the following two mornings, enjoyed early morning bird walks around the Point. Of course, you had to push past the King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas and Rainbow Lorikeets, waiting to be fed as you walked off around the Lodge but you did not have to go far before catching up with Satin Bowerbirds, Rufous & Golden Whistlers, Wonga Pigeons, Whipbirds, Rose & Yellow Robins, Rufous & Grey Fantails, Musk Lorikeets, Fantailed & Shining Bronze-Cuckoos and the like! One morning Ian, our host, led us on a boat trip up the Genoa River where we were able to see the nesting Sea-Eagles, Whistling Kites, Azure Kingfishers, Darter, Sacred Kingfisher, Night Heron & Lyrebirds etc not to mention some Gippsland Water Dragons with their prominent black-banded tails. .

Betka Beach
Betka Beach
In Mallacoota, the shallow waters at Captains Point, near the outlet, proved to be a good place to see Black-winged Stilts, Bar-tailed Godwits & more Red Knots, and on the inside edge of the main beach, really a sand spit, we had Hooded Plovers, nesting Red-capped Plovers, Ruddy Turnstone, Caspian Tern, many Pied Oystercatchers, Pacific Gull, Little Egrets and the usual waterbirds. In the parks and street trees of Mallacoota itself there were plenty of birds to see including New Holland, Scarlet & White-naped Honeyeaters feeding young. At Double-Creek Nature Trail we found Large-billed Scrub-wrens, Black-faced Monarch, Brown Gerygone, Olive-backed Orioles and Leaden Flycatchers. At the edge of the Mallacoota airport in some low heath, some of us were fortunate to see a Ground Parrot, Pipit and Tree Martin, while on the STW were Hoary-headed & Little Grebes, Hardhead and Grey Teal with ducklings. A trip out to Wangarabella, the west and upstream of Genoa, enabled us to see White-winged Choughs, Jacky Winter, White-eared Honeyeaters, Brush Bronzewing, nesting Whistling Kite, Swamp Harrier and Dusky Woodswallows. The food and the convivial entertainment round the table each night at Gipsy Point Lodge was most enjoyable.

Platypus Reserve
Platypus Reserve
Finally on a wet morning we farewelled our hosts Ian & Libby, and headed for Wingen Inlet, further to the south on the coast. Despite the wet morning, at the entrance to Wingen Inlet we had good views of Black-faced Cormorants, more Hooded Plovers, Pied Oystercatchers, Stilts and Godwits the usual bush birds including a male Rose Robin. We returned to Sydney via the Snowy Highway and stopped off at the Platypus Reserve, 3 km out of Bombala. Here a new viewing platform has been constructed over-looking the backed up waters of the Bombala River, and everyone had close up views of at least two Platypus, while the bird watching was good to with Southern White-faced, Goldlfinches, Clamorous Reedwarblers & Yellow-faced & White-eared Honeyeaters being encountered. Our final night was at Cooma and aourt final prolonged stop was at the Canberra Botanical Gardens where we were able to add Crescent Honeyeater & Gang gangs to our list and another Sparrowhawk was seen.

During the six days we saw 146 species of birds and close encounters with many of them, ensuring a good birding week for all.

Alan Morris guiding for FTB

Follow That Bird   Phone: 61 2 9973 1865
Fax: 61 2 9973 1875
3/59 Central Road
Avalon NSW 2107
Sydney Australia
- sydney's birding company  
Photos of Variegated Fairy-wren and Little Tern courtesy of Neil Fifer