Trip Report – February 2005
DAY 1: We couldn’t wait to get birding so walked to the Botanical Gardens early in the morning to see some of the more common species. We weren’t disappointed – racked up 17 species all of which were life birds. Highlights had to be the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Buff-banded Rail, Masked Lapwing and Australian Magpie – all of which we would see thousands of times but the first sighting is always the best! Night at Hotel Sebel.
DAY 2: Decided to try our luck in Royal National Park so left town early and drove out to the park. We had studied the bird book and thought we should be able to identify most things (!!!) but within 10 minutes a mixed flock hit us and we were in a complete mess – we did manage Willie Wagtail, Satin Bowerbird, Crimson Rosella, Red-browed Finch, Eastern Shrike Tit, Superb Fairy Wren and Varied Sitella but there were a number that got away!
We retreated to the car to look through the book when there was a knock on the window and a man asked us if we would like to join him and some friends that were doing a bird walk! This was amazing because he is THE expert (Steve Anyon-Smith) in the park and we added 25 life birds – most of which we would have missed – including the most amazing Superb Lyrebird. Wonga Pigeon, Brown-cuckoo Dove, Laughing Kookaburra, Yellow-throated, White-browed and Large-billed Scrubwrens, Brown Gerygone, Brown and Striated Thornbills and on and on. What a great morning.
Drove on to Kiama and found Galah, Australian Pelican and White-faced Heron down by the water. Night in Kiama.
DAY 3: Drove up to the Barren Grounds National Park and parked at the Bird Observatory. We were overwhelmed once again with the birds just in the car park let alone on the walk. Despite getting a bit frustrated about the ones that got away we added Eastern Spinebill, Variegated Fairywren, White-throated and Brown Treecreepers, Eastern Bristlebird, Eastern Whipbird, Southern Emu Wren, Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Bassian Thrush and both New Holland and White-cheeked Honeyeater.
Onto our accommodation at Peppers Manor House where we added Crested Pigeon in the grounds.
DAY 4: Drove to Fitzroy Falls which is an impressive park and quite birdy – many of the species we had already seen but we were thrilled to add Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Australian King Parrot, Red-browed Treecreeper and Australian Raven. Night at Peppers.
DAY 5: Steve Anyon-Smith from Day 2 had agreed to take us back into Royal National Park to explore some different areas so we left out hotel at 4.30 am and drove down to meet him. We spent the day in the park going to a number of different spots and the birds kept adding up.
Rock Warbler, Golden Whistler and Topknot Pigeon were at our first stop. Then on the Mount Bass Trail we added Beautiful Firetail, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and Brush Bronzewing.
Then on the Bonnie Vale campground to add Eastern Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet, Nankeen Night-heron, Asian Koel, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Butcherbird and Eastern Spotted Turtle Dove.
Lunch by the water produced Wedge-tailed Shearwater and White-throated Needletail. Back to Sydney. Night in the Shangri-la.
DAY 6: Up early to drive to Rose Bay for a pelagic trip. This was a spectacular day but we had to travel a fair distance to reach the birds and there was a reasonable swell so seasick tablets were a definite requirement.
The guides were amazing and we saw some great dolphin species as well as Little Penguin, Crested Tern, Fluttering Shearwater, Australian Gannet, Artic Jaeger, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Blue Noddy, Great-winged Petrel, Pomarine Jaeger, Black Petrel, Wandering & Shy Albatross and Providence Petrel. Definitely worth the trip. Night at the Shangri-la.
DAY 7 – 11: We flew up to Airlie beach to pick up a catamaran for a trip around the Whitsundays. While waiting to board the boat, a quick walk around Arlie Beach allowed us to pick up Mangrove & Dusky Honeyeaters, White-breasted Woodswallow, Peaceful Dove and Varied Triller.
The boat trip itself was not focused on birding but we did pick up Little & Eastern Curlews, Red-capped Plover, Beach Stone Curlew, Sooty & Pied Oystercatchers, Eastern Reef-egret and Little Shrike-thrush. Finished the trip with a couple of nights on Hamilton Island and then caught the ferry back to Airlie Beach.
DAY 12: The day was spent flying down from Airlie Beach to Melbourne. Arrived around 5.30 pm and went straight to our hotel. Hotel Como, South Yarra.
DAY 13: We had contacted a Birding Pal, Dave Torr, who was kind enough to spend the day taking us to Werribee Treatment Works. This place is incredible – we listed 80 (too many to mention here – see list below) species that were new for the trip and a bunch of others we had already seen – it really was incredible – definitely recommend this spot. Hotel Como, South Yarra
DAY 14 -17: Took time to drive back to Sydney before heading home – not a great deal of birding along the way but we had had a great first trip to Australia and we know we will be back!
Sebel Hotel – Sydney
Peppers Manor – Sutton Forest, NSW
Shangri-la – Sydney
Guides & Resources
Steve Anyon-Smith – Ausbird
Pelagic Trip – Sydney Pelagics
Dave Torr – Birding Pals
Field Guide to the birds of Australia – Pizzey & Knight