It was brought to my attention that I tend to go birdwatching alot. So here is my attempt to document my outings and sightings. I also hope to show photos of as many of my ticks as possible.

Monday, March 15, 2010

North Coast Year Tickin...Dec 09

My intention was to leave Maitland very early Saturday morning and head up the coast mopping up some year ticks I’d missed on previous visits. My plan was shot to pieces when I had a few too many schooners at the work xmas drinkies the night before but by 5am I felt well enough to head off.
After a quick brekkie in Kempsey I headed west up the Macleay Valley to the rainforest clad hills near Willi Willi. What a great spot. I’m usually not a great fan of birding in this habitat but by sticking to the road I managed to see most of my targets utilising the more ‘open’ habitat. First tick was a cute little Pale-yellow Robin who sat up nicely in the forest gloom and gave a few quick calls before darting off again. Also at this patch I saw/heard both Monarch, Large-billed Srubwren, Whipbird and Wompoo Fruit-dove.
A pair of Painted Button-quail crossed my path as I continued further up the road. A Wonga flushed from the side and Regent Bowerbirds were busy in the lantana. A Brush Cuckoo could be heard in the distance and after a quick blast of the playback I soon had my second tick for the day. The poor cuckoo was soon set upon by Bell Miners and made a hasty retreat.
The day was pushing on so I started to make my way back down the hill, stopping at a large fig tree on the way. A bird flew up into a small tree in front of me and thinking it was a figbird I almost didn’t raise my binoculars. Luckily birders instinct kicked in and I was rewarded with lovely views of a Barred Cuckoo-shrike! I’ve only seen this species 3 times before so this was a real highlight. Also at this spot I saw 4 Emerald Dove, Topknot Pigeon, Wonga Pigeon, Wompoo Fruit-dove and heard a Noisy Pitta in the distance. I left Willi Willi a very happy man.
Next stop was Jerseyville near South West Rocks where I ticked up the Lesser Yellowlegs. At first I was only seeing Marsh Sandpipers and some doubt crept into my thoughts about being able to ID the bird but as soon as it was spotted it was obvious. Latham’s Snipe, Mangrove Gerygone and Tawny Grassbird were all common here.
Illuka was my next planned stop as dark storm clouds rolled in and the light started to fail. Its amazing the difference between highland and coastal rainforest. The call of Rose-crowned Fruit-dove filled the air, as did the mozzies, and Varied Triller and Spectacled Monarch showed themselves in the gloom. A familiar little whistle (and my brilliant whistling) lead to my last tick for the day, a White-eared Monarch. Such a chirpy little chap, full of life and not afraid of the big bad birder gazing up at him.
I then jumped in the car and raced around to Yamba hoping for enough light to see a Mangrove Honeyeater but didn’t make it in time so I spent the night in town hoping to tick one off first thing the next morning. Waking up early I found myself gazing out at the same storm I’d fallen asleep too. The clouds were low and dark, the wind was howling and the rain driving. I briefly attempted searching for the honeyeaters but the weather got the best of me and I soon gave up, after seeing Pied Oystercatcher, Whimbrel and Pacific Golden Plover. My first real dip for the trip.
I searched the heath around Red Rock, just north of Coffs, in the vain attempt of flushing a Ground Parrot, which of course failed to show. I did however see Brown Quail, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Southern Emu-wren, and one of the highlights of the trip.....male Superb, Variegated and Red-backed Fairy-wrens all within 200m of each other.
I then decided I’d had enough of north coast birding and made the decision to head back to the Hunter. I dipped on Beach Stone-curlew at Red Rock and Old Bar, and Russet-tailed Thrush at Wingham Brush. The afternoon wasn’t going too well.
It was roughly 3pm when I pulled into Copeland (near Gloucester) with my spirits waning. This location is another rainforest spot which has a good variety of birds with easy walking paths and plenty of open patches for those canopy species. As I wandered around I found more Pale-yellow Robins, scrubwrens, monarchs, Catbird, Wonga Pigeons and an Emerald Dove. A Wompoo Fruit-dove gave great views as it fed in the huge fig tree and Topknot Pigeons circled above the canopy. A quiet little Thrush like call led me to having great views of a Russet-tailed Thrush, my 460th species for the year!! My other target, Logrunner, failed to show but I was rewarded with excellent views of an adult Noisy Pitta on the track and a very cute juvenile perched nearby.
I then called it quits and heading back home. I saw 6 year ticks which I’m stoked about and recorded 141 species during the trip including some I don’t see very often.
Thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment