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.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

South-East Oz Part 6 - Lakes Entrance to Jervis Bay

Eastern Bristlebird
Following our visit to Terra Bulga (see following post) we headed south-east to Lakes Entrance in East Gippsland, a place I last visited in the mid-1980s to tick a vagrant White Wagtail.

Lakes Entrance
 We had 3 days at this delightful spot, visiting Lake Bunga and Lake Tyers, where a Hooded Plover was present along with a few Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Curlew-Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints. It was annoying that so many people walking their dogs ignored signs making it clear they had to be on leashes..

Hooded Plover
Pacific Gulls were common along the foreshore but nothing else of interest was noted.
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. 

Pacific Gulls
We called in on Lake Conrad, where a baby Australlian Fur seal on the rocks was nice to see.

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.

White-fronted Tern

White-fronted Tern
White-fronted Tern
Small numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits and Red Knots were among the terns.

Red Knots & Bar-tailed Godwits
We crossed the NSW border and travelled north through Eden and Bermagui to the delightful seaside town of Batemans Bay for a 2-day stay. Musk Lorikeets were abundant along the foreshore here. 

Batemans Bay
The waterfowl at the town's Watergarden were most approachable.

Chesnut Teal
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.

Eastern Bristlebird

Eastern Bristlebird

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.

Sooty Oystercatcher
Sooty Oystercatcher and White-bellied Sea-Eagle were among the birds about.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

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