Tall pines, sumptuous food, friendly staff, white beaches with lush foliage and divine White Terns calling and fluttering never endingly; with Emerald Doves busying around your feet made the coral, birds and mountains of Lord Howe an unforgettable experience.
The highlights were: The oh so fortunate Balls Pyramid Boat Trip which yielded the most White-bellied Storm Petrels dancing over the light swell that Ian Hutton has ever seen. And such long close views of this darling bird the size and weight of a canary. As was the Grey Ternlet delicately holding court with a hundred plus others, like angels completely at home in such a turbulent environment .
Yes and on the way down there was the fantastic Red-tailed Tropicbird right over the boat carrying a small fish in his beak, great views and then straight over the top of me and then Patricia and then over Barry the bird drops the little fish right into the boat at
Barry's feet, missing his coffee cup by a centimeter. Certainly Barry has a way with the birds, and the fish at Ned's Beach loved him and he loved them. Last to leave the water - only when the bus arrived for the pick up did he stagger up the beach.
Ladies on their way to Balls Pyramid
Lucky the computer oil brought the birds to the back of the boat.
Clear Place took our breath away with so many birds soaring at eye-level. Black-winged Petrels in burrows which Ian held for us to stroke and gurgle at and Barry being targeted again in the flight patterns of many of the birds. What is it about that man?
Sooty Terns endeared us at the top of Mt Eliza obligingly leaving their roosts to let us past and then returning with their juveniles to settle for the feed. The jewelled beatles mating, feeding and sparkling in the hot sun that didn't stop us from reaching the summit to marvel at the exquisite views of the island and the Tropicbirds in flight.
Woodhens aplenty scrapping over territory in the tropical forest and the pastures and golf course. I saw my first woodhen within the hour of arriving; under the dining tables at Pine Trees! Completely unafraid and intent upon its foraging.
Tunnel Ball at the Foundation Day Races night was a tight fiery heat for the Female Birds but not wanting to sit down at the end for fear ''the grass was wet'' meant we were disqualified, and lucky as another couple of heats may have done us in ! Palm Climbing to marvel at and sooo much laughter for the Slow Bike Race. Good to see wiry little children trying so hard to win as were the Mums and Dads - a wonderful evening's entertainment.
LHI Currawongs calling at dusk as the soaring ''first of the season'' Providence Petrels danced over Mt Lidgbird proved so good we were back again next evening - earlier to confirm another 14 silhouettes. Sunset into the sea and the boadshed for drinks and birdlist - ideallic really, why did we leave?
On the Path to Clear Place
All birds listed were sighted on many occassions except the Masked Owl and Little Shearwater, not on the island at that time of year.
Soaring Red-tailed Tropicbird
Contact us for an itinerary for 2005.