South Coast Weekend Trip Report
At our first stop at the Bulli Lookout few birds were braving the very blustery conditions. A snappy looking Grey Butcherbird was tempted in with some of Janene’s home baked cake and then came back for more. On that recommendation we all tried some and it was very yummy. Spirits lifted we headed down the hill to the Tallawa Ash Dams.
Alan & Bob- the Muscial
The dams were busy – Black Swans, Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes, large rafts of Hardhead and around the edges many White Ibis, Stilts, Swamphens and a jittery flock of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. This may have been due to the regular appearance of a Whistling Kite and a juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle. We could hear Reed Warblers but they were low in the reeds sheltering from the wind. In contrast large numbers of Pelicans were having a ball soaring around the sky.
Next stop was Black Head at Gerroa where the strong offshore winds were providing another playground for hundreds of shearwaters. Most were Short-tailed and Fluttering and watching them and glistening white Gannets work the winds and waves was awe-inspiring. We stopped for lunch at Bomaderry Creek and were greeted by beautiful Tufted Honeyeaters and Variegated Wrens and a very confident Kookaburra who had received earlier news about Janene’s cake.
A stroll along the creek turned up Dusky Woodswallow, Sacred Kingfishers, Black-faced Monarch, Rufous and Grey Fantails, and two active nests of Leaden Flycatchers and Yellow Robins. The calling Lyrebird remained elusive but we enjoyed superb views of a Bassian Thrush.
Great Egret by Neil Fifer
In the heath at Shoalhaven Heads were New Holland Honeyeaters, Superb Wrens, White-browed Scrub-wrens, Little and Red Wattlebirds and a loud, but unseen Eastern Whipbird. On the beach we planted our telescopes in the sand to watch the constant stream of shearwaters. Windy conditions it difficult to identify all the species but good views of a fast moving Hobby kept us happy and by the end of the day we were happily surprised to discover we had seen over 85 species.
Early morning on Day Two saw three brave souls taking a wet walk along the river banks. We were rewarded with very close views of a White-breasted Sea Eagle, a flock of Little Corellas, a wind-assisted Blackbird and some very cooperative Silvereyes. After breakfast we headed to Greenwell Point along the way spotting Intermediate Egret, Goldfinch and a field full of Fairy and Tree Martins.
At the Crookhaven River Bar-tailed Godwits prodded the sandy shoreline, Little Terns patrolled the open water and Pied Oystercatchers and Royal Spoonbills rested on the oyster beds waiting for the tide to fall. By the time we arrived at Lake Wollumboolla the wind was easing and the sun was making an effort. Water levels were high but we did spot a pair of Red-capped Plovers, a flock of Little Terns, two on nests in protective cages, a busy Whistling Kite and another Sea Eagle and three species of Cormorant. But the highlight was a bold and beautiful Buff-banded Rail taking escorting two fluffy black chicks back into the reeds.
Sooty Oystercatcher by Neil Fifer
On the beach at Abraham’s Bosom we found a dead Short-tailed Shearwater which offered the less squeamish a really good anatomy lesson of the only shearwater of the trip to keep still for a moment! Four Ruddy Turnstones and a pair of Sooty Oystercatchers worked the rocky shore. In the trees Red-browed Finches, White-headed Pigeons, Olive-backed Oriole, Lewin’s Honeyeater and Brown Thornbills kept us busy. But the most exciting discovery was of a Weebill. This is a challenging bird to find and identify and it polished off a very fine weekend of birding – 110 species – in the company of a very friendly and talented bunch of birders. Thank you.
By Bob Ashford guiding for FTB