Grey storm clouds at Bulli Pass suggested a challenging weekend. Yet within minutes 40+ White-throated Needletail swifts swooped past and a Peregrine, catching the updrafts on the escarpment, set the tone for what proved to be a weekend of great company and great birding.
Bernice Loving Birdwatching
Our next stop was Barren Grounds and there were high expectations of seeing Eastern Bristlebird, Beautiful Firetail and Ground Parrot. None of these are guaranteed, especially the Parrot. But we had excellent views of several honeyeaters, pardalotes, whistlers, heard the distinctive call of the Pilotbird and enjoyed great views of several Firetails and one obliging Bristlebird. The atmosphere was very buoyant!!
As we headed to the coast we saw a Hobby, both Long-billed and Little Corellas and Yellow-tailed Cockatoos and the excitement built as we arrived at Black Head, Gerroa. Offshore the Gannets and Short-tailed Shearwaters gave a magnificent display and on the rocky headland were Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, along with Crested Terns, various cormorants and of course Silver Gulls. We were hoping to see a Long-tailed Skua. Up to two had been reported in the previous weeks but the odds were long. Just as we were about to board the bus a cry of 'SKUA' had everyone's binoculars up and looking at a single LTS. Very exciting.
Pied Oystercatcher by Nevil Lazarus
At Shoalhaven heads the list steadily built and included Swamp Harrier, Gull-billed Terns, Red-necked Stints, Double-banded Plovers, Curlews and Bar-tailed Godwits among others. At the Bomadaerry Water Treatment Plant we spotted Yellow-billed and Royal Spoonbills, a Darter and Great Egrets. The general consensus over dinner that evening was that we had enjoyed an excellent day of birding.
And then the mother of all storms broke and dropped record breaking amounts of rain all over the Shoalhaven.
Ever Cheerful Chris our Driver
So the early morning walk along the Shoalhaven River was not fully subscribed to! Those that went though picked up Black Duck for the weekend list - the only one we saw!! Blackbirds were busy pulling worms from lawns and probably 100+ White-throated Needletails worked the sky. On the Bomaderry bank what initially appeared to be a lone Sulphur-crested Cockatoo turned out to be a stunning white-phase Grey Goshawk and another day kicked off well.
We headed out to Lake Wollumboola, via Greenwell Point where we picked up Whistling Kite. At the lake we had just set up the scopes and the heavens opened up again. But we did get good views of Little Terns, Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Caspian Terns and many other waders. We also got wet!
We rounded off the day at Currarong and Point Perpendicular and added White-cheeked Honeyeaters, more Swamp Harriers (must have been the rain!), an Eastern Reef Egret. As we headed back north through Berry a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles capped off a wonderful, if slightly wet, weekend. The final tally was well over a hundred species and a thoroughly good time was had by all!
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