Last weekend we flew up to Port Macquarie to visit my daughter and family, and to have a restful Easter weekend by the Hastings River. We always love to visit Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, a place where my wife and I have fond memories when courting. We took my daughter and grandson Jesse along though little Pippa was sick and her daddy stayed at home with her. On arrival my grandson soon found that Pa’s book was quite visible with its bright blue cover. This was one of the first places to sell my book, and they sell very well here.
It is actually a declared NSW National Park and houses some of the last remaining subtropical coastal rainforest, with extensive elevated boardwalks for easy access, and very good cafe where we later celebrated my daughter and wife’s birthday with lunch. However, the long dry and very hot summer has had its toll on the usually lush green forest. Click on photo to enlarge it.
One of the first birds one might see in coastal rainforest due to its year round territorial presence making it predictably discoverable, along with its curious nature, is the Eastern Yellow Robin. Yes, and it was the first bird we saw there. This insectivorous robin will sometimes follow or lead you down the track.
We were amazed as we walked along the boardwalk, how quiet it was, as we were accustomed to hearing the constant sound of bird song from many species, but now, just an occasional sound, it was just too dry, and there was little native fruit present. We were occasionally excited when we heard the sound of the elusive Green Catbird, but never saw it, though it would have seen us. I did record its sound for you.
One of the few birds we did see was this immature Grey Butcherbird which sat on the side wire and allowed us to get very close, as it had not yet developed fear of our presence.
This was a great opportunity to teach my grandson about the forest and birds, and highly recommend you grandparents do the same, as we need to show them there is a beautiful world outside of their technology devices. One bird which brought a moment of excitement was the very fast moving Crested Shrike-tit, a true rainforest bird though small, uses its powerful small beak to dislodge bark from trees to uncover underlying insects and grubs. You discover this usually quiet bird by the noise of falling bark. I was only able to get a few pics before it saw us and left.
Probably the most heard bird in the forest the whole time we were there was Lewins Honeyeater, a classic rainforest honeyeater for the east coast of Australia. Its
The White-throated Treecreeper is another bird often difficult to spot as it climbes the tree trunk on the dark side under the canopy. This is a female (see the orange spot on face). It makes it call as it climbs the tree in search of insects.
The last birds we heard and saw was the Satin Bowerbird male and female high in the tall tree canopy, but it was difficult to photograph them, only a female was clearly visible.
You will often hear the scratching of the Australian Brush Turkey as it lifts the lesaf litter in search of insects, in a similar way to the lyrebird which sadly was not found in this forest area. This female was actauly well adapted to searching through the bags of picnicers in the beach nearby while unattended.
After lunch I wanted to show Jesse the huge Lace Monitor goannas that haunt the picnic ground down on Shelly Beach (part of the national park), but they were not present. This is what we had seen the day before.
This family of monitors was checking out the picnic of a family of humans who were watching with feet up on chairs as they checked for any food scraps. These goannas are notorious for robbing picnic tables while no one is watching.
The Little Wattlebird is common find in the coastal forest, we saw this one in the back yard of my daughters new home.
As we left the park we spied these rainforest birds high up in a huge eucalypt tree some distance way, and they seemed quite curious to us, as to what these two bird species were doing. The common Rainbow Lorikeet were checking out the not so common Scaly-breasted Lorikeets who just happened to be in the neighborhood.
We stayed at a boutique resort by the river, where we saw many waterbirds. We also saw this Brown Honeyeater enjoying nectar from the beautiful Bird of Paradise flower by the pool. You can see here how the curved beak assists in getting deep into the flower base to retrieve nectar.
My wife enjoyed the pool on the unusually hot autumn days, I soon learned that I needed to have my camera ready by the pool as bird stuff was going down all the time we were there. The most notable bird activity was the noise flock of Little Corella moving too and fro across the bay, feeding from pine cones and grass seed.
Every so often there would be a sudden flurry and cry of the flock as they flew all over the sky. I thought ‘look up, must be raptor in sight’, and sure enough this Brahminy Kite was doing the rounds, but was against the sun and a fair way up so my shots are bot pristine.
The comical Australian Pelican was doing its preening from the top of the lamp post, which is a common site here at Port. Lo and behold, should your car be parked beneath such a post, you would not believe what these birds could do to your car when they defecate.
While all this drama is taking place, this lone White-faced Heron fishes quietly along the shores. We saw it in the same area each day.
Each day after everyone had finished using the swimming pool this pair of Australian Wood Duck came flying in and felt quite at home swimming in the pool and camping beside it for the night. The male has the dark brown head.
The last birds we saw as we drove to the airport to fly home after a wonderful weekend away, was this small flock of Straw-necked Ibis working this grassy paddock.
One of the features of the Port coastline is the many small rock islands and formations along the many beaches, and this large rock seemed to host hundreds of gulls and terns. What makes one rock more homely than another? Maybe its the company of others…
These rocks receive a constant buffeting from the ocean, which caused me to ponder the following as I watched the waves crash…
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NLT)
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
Have a wonderful week exploring this amazing planet of ours. Check out my website for more birding information and helpful hints.
NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018