Last Sunday my wife and I had a birding date in the city of North Wollongong. After a lovely lunch at the popular Diggie’s beach-side cafe we did the Puckey’s Estate Nature Reserve walk past Puckey’s Lagoon. This is a very popular recreation area, well catered for by the local council. Many families were out enjoying the last day of sunshine before the next 2 weeks of rain. This coastal forest contains rare and endangered trees, and is adjunct to the Wollongong Botanic Gardens which is several kilometers away.
We enjoyed the pleasant walk through tree covered trails which follow the coastline of pristine Fairy Meadow Beach (east) and Towradgi Arm Creek (west), which flow into the lagoon on North Wollongong surf beach.
We were again surprised by the very low numbers of birds present. This is partly due to the Autumn bird changeover that takes place each year as migratory birds depart and basically move northward to escape the colder weather. Sadly, the devastating fires of last year, and the unprecedented rain of this year have had some impact on bird movements. This makes for another brief post. Our first sighting was a Eastern Spinebill, which is a honeyeater which at present is heavily reliant on the Banksia integrifolia flowers (known also as Coastal Banksia) for nectar, as I mentioned last week, due to this pre-winter period. I loved this Banksia flower that caught the sunlight and lit up beautifully.
Coastal beach areas on the East coast of NSW feature large Banksia forests, which are great for honeyeaters and also Cockatoos, which feed on the Banksia seed cones which remain after Summer. The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo come down to the coast from the mountains to feed on these during the winter months, though there were none present during our visit. We hope to see a flock locally in the coming months. Below id video from a previous occasion showing them feeding on the Banksia cones.
The other honeyeater found commonly in the coastal Banksia is the New Holland Honeyeater, which I features last week. These very resilient and active little honeyeaters are in large numbers along the coastline of NSW. I finally after much effort managed to capture a distant shot of one in the sunlight against a blue sky, something we have not seen much of this year. This honeyeater is known to rest after a very busy morning of feeding, high above the surrounding bush on a tree top or dead branch and survey its territory, in a similar way to raptors.
There are 5 subspecies of New Holland, being found mainly in southern parts of Australia, including NSW coast, southern Queensland coast, Tasmania and SW WA. We were also surprised to find a Red-whiskered Bulbul sitting high in a tree. These birds usually migrate further north in winter, but we have noticed due to climate change, many are remaining as our summers extend longer into winter.
That’s all for this week, sorry it is so brief, as the weather has not been kind to birders, and most of our walking tracks have been flooded and are still nonnegotiable in our national parks due to the excessive rain periods. Have a wonderful week and stay safe, dry and warm. If this is your first visit to my blog, please check out my pages on birding information and tips, and become a Follower to receive a weekly email as each blog post is issued.
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As this is the time of year our introduced northern hemisphere trees loose their leaves, I was reminded on a revisit to this place, of this video I made some years ago, which received some appreciation, and I share it again:
“He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds,
crushed because of our sins;
he endured punishment that made us well;
because of his wounds we have been healed,” – Isaiah 53:5 (NET)