Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Yuraygir & Bundjalung National Parks, Northern NSW

Southern Emu-wren, male
Southern Emu-wren, male
After visiting Border Ranges National Park (following post) we visited the coastal national parks of Yuragygir and Bundjalung. We spent three nights at the seaside camping ground/caravan park at Brooms Head and two nights at the Woody Point camping ground near Iluka.

Southern Emu-wren, female
I found several pairs and parties of Southern Emu-wren in low heath in Yuraygir National Park along a sand track heading north just before Brooms Head township. The emu-wrens were often in the company of Red-backed Fairy-wrens.

Southern Emu-wren, female

Southern Emu-wren, female
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
In the same area of heath I saw several Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters. This species is close to the northern limit of its distributional range here. Among the Tawny-crowneds was a newly fledged youngster. White-cheeked Honeyeater was also common in the heath.
Quite a few bronzewings were about but they turned out to be Common, not Brush as might be expected in this habitat.I had a flock of 100+ White-throated Needletails feeding over the heath and among them were a few Fork-tailed Swifts.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater

Yuraygir is one of the few places in coastal NSW where emus are to be still found. We saw a distant party not in the national park but in cane fields between Maclean and Brooms Head.

Short-tailed Shearwater
At both Brooms Head and Woody Head and all along the coast, large numbers of Short-tailed Shearwaters were battling strong winds offshore, with numerous birds on the water and beach, dead or dying. At one point they were literally falling out of the sky, with birds on roads and footpaths, in gardens and parks - all over the place.
Short-tailed Shearwater
Similar spectacles were evidently unfolding elsewhere along the NSW coast in what clearly is a very large wreck of young shearwaters returning to their south-east Australian breeding grounds for the first time. Among the numerous Short-taileds offshore were small numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. A single Streaked Shearwater was also seen off Woody Head.

Short-tailed Shearwater
Ruddy Turnstone
Waders around the rocky headlands at Brooms Head included a pair of Sooty Oystercatchers  and good numbers of Ruddy Turnstone. Eastern Reef-Egret was also present.

Sooty Oystercatcher
Eastern  Reef-Egret
Grey-tailed Tattler
On mudflats at Sandon, a short drive from Brooms head, several Grey-tailed Tattlers were present, along with Common Greenshanks and a few other waders.

Common Greenshank
Lake Arragan, Yuraygir National Park
A few scenic shots. The image above is looking inland over Lake Arragan from dunes north of Brooms Head.
Red Cliff, Yuraygir National Park
Red Cliff in the same area was impressive.

Clarence River, Iluka
We visited the delightful pub at Iluka, where this image was taken of the Clarence River.

Bundjalung National Park
The coastline in Bundjalung National Park was equally impressive - this is the beach south of Woody Head.

Red-necked Wallaby
Swamp Wallaby
Macropods included large numbers of Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Red-necked Wallaby, and a couple of frisky Swamp Wallabies.

Olive-backed Oriole
An Olive-backed Oriole showing nicely.

Pelicans at Brooms Head
A fish-cleaning bench at Brooms Head.

Blue-faced Honeyeater
This honeyeater is well-named.
Plenty of Ospreys about.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale
Offshore, quite a few Humpback Whales were seen splashing about in the rough seas.

White-eared Monarch
We visited the remnant rainforest at Iluka Nature Reserve, where I had no trouble getting on to White-eared Monarch, here at the southern end of its distributional range. Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove and Regent Bowerbird were plentiful here.


  1. Fantastic set of photos, the Humpback Whales, Osprey and Clarence River in particular! I spent the day on Nth Stradbroke and was shocked at seeing hundreds of dead Shearwaters on the beaches. Is this a common thing each year or is it more severe this time around?

  2. Thanks Christian. No it does not occur every year but only from time to time, always at this time of year, as young shearwaters return to their breeding grounds from furthern north and conditions are too rough to allow them to feed.