We proceeded further east, with the cold blustery weather we have had too much of during this trip resuming after a respite of a few days.
|Australian Fur Seal|
Further east we spent the next night at Mallacoota, where huge numbers of terns were roosting in the estuary at low tide. The great bulk were Crested Terns (2000+) but among them were a sprinkling of about 50 White-fronted Terns.
|Red Knots & Bar-tailed Godwits|
The waterfowl at the town's Watergarden were most approachable.
Then it was on to the Australian Capital Territory coastal enclave of Jervis Bay, a hotspot for the endangered Eastern Bristlebird.
|Booderee National Park burnt out|
We were dismayed to see that a fire last month had devastated much of Booderee National Park; well-known bristlebird sites such as Murrays Beach, Cape St George and the Munyunga Waraga Trail had been burnt out.
It seemed extraordinary that park authorities had no management regime in place to contain a fire of this magnitude in a site of such importance to the bristlebird and other rare animals such as Eastern Ground Parrot. Once lush wet gullies of sedge and fern were reduced to char.
It seemed extraordinary that park authorities had no management regime in place to contain a fire of this magnitude. Park signs say the habitat is carefully managed with patch control burns, but extensive and destructive fires last month and this time last year paint a different picture. In times of global warming it seems that September is not an appropriate time for control burning.
|Under surveillance by the Navy|
The rangers told us to look for bristlebirds along the busy Wreck Bay Road which we did, but we were promptly buzzed by a Chinook helicopter from the nearby Australian naval base. They called in security guards who told us the Navy did not like “people with binoculars and cameras”. This seemed somewhat bizarre given we were birdwatching on a public road in a national park, at a time when most of the good tracks were closed due to the above-mentioned fire.
Two or three bristlebirds were heard and seen briefly along the road and eventually an obliging bird showed well on the main road. The next morning I found a nice pair feeding along a track off Wreck Bay Road. I estimated from calls there were 8-12 birds in this area.
|Green Patch Beach, Jervis Bay|
|Coastal cliffs, Jervis Bay|
The beaches (supposedly with the world's whitest sand) and coastal scenery of the national park are nonetheless something to behold.
|Humpback Whale calf breaching|
An adult and calf Humpback Whale performed nicely off Governor Head, with the calf breaching.
A total of 6 Echidnas were encountered.
|Glenn & friend, Green Patch|
Swamp Wallabies and Eastern Grey Kangaroos were common about the delightful Green Patch camping ground, our base for 3 nights.
Oystercatcher and White-bellied Sea-Eagle were among the birds about.