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.

Puckey’s Lagoon

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.

I am in the process of reviewing and editing my third book, which I hope to publish early next year. If you have not already purchased my books please check them out, they will enlighten you as to our beautiful and unique Australian birds as well as enlighten you to ways to improve and assist your life. Click here to find out more.

If you would like peruse these books before purchase you can find them at one of over 50 stores in NSW, ACT and QLD. New stores are constantly being added. Several new stores of Harry Hartog Bookseller have been recently added to my list.

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)


    • Thanks Deborah, yes the Spinebill is probably the most classic looking of all our Honeyeaters with its long curved beak which enables it to draw nectar from tubular flowers also, which many of the others are not able to easily do. I love that I caught that moment with the eye watching. I would have liked more shots but it was quite elusive and the sun was not on it, as these birds are beautiful in sunlight. We have about 4 species of Black Cockatoo in Australia. The Yellow-tailed, Red-tailed, Glossy (which also has a red tail) and the now very rare and endangered Carnaby’s (white-tailed Cockatoo). found only in a small area in WA..

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo tail is beautiful, enjoyed the video, Ashley. We’ve had lots of rain and winds too; still windy but I decided to go out birding yesterday and today, I couldn’t wait any longer, migration is in full swing over us. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna, Yes the Yellow-tails are a treat for us birders. Everyone gets excited when they hear them and run to the spot. I have heard it is very windy up there, so we are both experiencing unusual weather patterns this year. We are having constant rain with just very occasional pockets of brief sunshine. It is pouring as I write this, and the mold is a problem in every household, as well as down stairs flooding. Hope the weather improves, it is difficult birding in the wind as many birds go to ground, or the ones that are out and about are obscured by moving branches. At any rate it is challenging, and that is one of the enjoyable features of birding. Enjoy my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely spotlight photo of the banksia flower, it looks lovely lit up and with the blue sky background. There are some banksias in flower at the reserve across the road from me so I will be ready and waiting for the yellow tailed black cockies to visit soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue, I loved how the light illuminated only the Banksia, it caught my attention, as simple as it was, I love catching those moments. I do hope you get a visit from the Yellow-tails when they go on the scrounge for seed cones, It is always exciting to discover them unexpectedly in a park, usually they draw attention when you hear their iconic call. I see them almost every time at my local national park, but usually as they fly over from one mountain to another. Enjoy your week.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Ashley.
    Any day out with the birds is a good day. 🙂
    This is a tough time of year just about everywhere around here. Even the spots that we’d expect to find good numbers is somewhat light on.

    The Spinebills are such beautiful birds, but are somewhat nomadic here and never close to home. We do live in hope.

    Glad you enjoyed the day out together and that the ravages of covid have not been too hard on you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, yes it appears that everywhere we go at present bird numbers are low, not much to showcase at present. The Spinebill is a beautiful bird in the sunlight, but very shy of us. If we stand watching a Banksia long enough we usually see one. Thankfully they stay in our national park most of the year as they usually nest there in spring, but less numbers this year. The Yellow-faced Honeyeaters have returned for the winter and can be heard calling in the national park, becoming the main honeyeater for the next few months. We had a lovely day out, which we really needed, having been cooped up because of the rain. It feels like Covid lock-down sometimes, so we relish any sunny day we can get. We are glad we have recovered from Covid, but still wear masks, as several variants are circulating and one lady had Covid 3 times. We are looking forward to July when we do our top end tour, and hope to see some lifers there. Enjoy your week.


  4. Weather is a factor here as well. The high winds are non stop. I have never seen anything like it. Occasionally I will see one bright colored bird stop by for a brief second. I am glad I get to see that on occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, yes it has been a very challenging year for us all with torrential rain, erratic weather and Covid together. Last year it was drought, fires and smoke with Covid. We are blessed for what we do get to see.


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