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.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Rock Warblers & Lyrebirds: South West Rocks to Woy Woy

Rock Warbler
Excellent encounters with Rock Warbler, Superb Lyrebird and Glossy Black Cockatoo were the highlights of a just completed trip to coastal NSW. We kicked the sojourn off with a three-night stay in the Seabreeze Hotel in the scenic Central Coast tourist town of South West Rocks. Pleasant scenery was the order of the day here, with a nice mix of habitat including coastal heathland, beaches and freshwater wetlands.
Glossy Black Cockatoo female

Arakoon Reserve & South West Rocks
We did a circuit walk through woodland and heath between Little Bay and the historic Ɓrakoon Jail, encountering Glossy Black Cockatoo on three occasions in the large stand of Allocasuarina littoralis in the Arakoon Reserve. There were a total of 8 birds: three pairs, with two pairs accompanied by begging juveniles.

Hat Head National Park
The lighthouse south of Arakoon is also worth visiting, with fine views over Hat Head National Park.

Double-banded Plover
A party of 4 Double-banded Plovers was on the beach near the hotel.

Black-necked Stork

Pink-eared Duck & Chesnut Teal
A short distance inland from the town, some nice wetlands line both sides of Boyter's Lane. Both Little Grassbird and Tawny Grassbird were present. Good numbers of ducks included a sprinkling of Pink-eared Duck and Australasian Shoveler. An adult female Black-necked Stork was unexpected. Quite a few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers were about along with several Latham's Snipe and Red-kneed Dotterels.

Superb Lyrebird

Superb Lyrebird
We moved on to Gosford for a three-night stay with our friend Kathy Haydon, where entertainment from the back veranda including some very tame Eastern Water Dragons.

Eastern Water Dragon
From here we visited Woy Woy and Brisbane Water National Park. We checked out the area around the Warrah Trig Trail and Pearl Beach area, enjoying a very nice encounter with a male Superb Lyrebird along the fire track between the lookout at the end of the Trig Trail and the delightful resort village of Pearl Beach.

Warrah Trigg Lookout
Cunningham's Skink
The lookout offered stunning views over the Hawkesbury River and sandstone cliffs, along with an engaging Cunningham's Skink (Egernia cunninghami).

Rock Warbler

Rock Warbler
Several sites were searched unsuccessfully for Rock Warbler (thanks to Cameron Ward for those tips) before finally connecting with this charismatic bird at the northern extremity of the sandstone woodland along Patonga Drive. I had 4 birds hopping about the rocks in close proximity, about 150m south of the road and close to the sea cliffs. Not having seen Rock Warbler since I lived in Sydney in the mid-1980s, it was almost as good as a tick.

Yellow Thornbill

Speckled Warbler
We headed inland along the New England Highway for our journey home, stopping in  Tamworth at the Almond Inn Motel. Birds at the nearby Oxley Lookout included Yellow Thornbill and
Specked Warbler.

Rock Warbler