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Gavin reports from Queensland and New South Wales, Part 2

October 28: Gavin reports from Queensland and New South Wales, Part 2

The second half of our Eastern Australia kicked off on the idyllic Lady Elliot Island, on the southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef.  Here we marveled at nesting Black Noddies just feet from our lenses, as well as a host of other seabirds and a wide array of marine life, including several gorgeous reef fish like Lagoon Triggerfish.

A stop in at Inskip Point a bit to the south of Lady Elliot revealed some very cooperative Beach Thick-Knees and stunning Blue-faced Honeyeaters that were busily eating winged ants that were emerging from the ground in a small city park. A little to the south around the famous O’Reilly’s Lodge the birds are almost tame, and forest birds often come to investigate your shoelaces.  Normally shy Eastern Whipbirds, Crimson Rosellas and gorgeous Regent Bowerbirds are common visitors around the lodge, where they look over (or from) your shoulder for any dropped tidbits.

After O’Reilly’s we flew down to Sydney where we spent some time in the stunning and large Royal National Park that lies just a little to the south of the city. This park provided a great and scenic backdrop for our final day and a half, with a family group of Powerful Owls on a day roost and a repeated and excellent views of the aptly named Superb Fairywren.  Our pelagic was unfortunately cancelled this year, but we spent the day well, birding around Sydney and connecting with our first Australian Reed-Warblers and this handsome Eastern Blue-tongued Skink.  We finished the Eastern Tour with an impressive 281 species, and an amazing 413 species for the two tours combined.  It is always with a touch of sadness that I board the plane to leave this amazing continent, and I very much look forward to next year’s duo of tours!

Australian Reed Warbler

Beach Thick-knee

Black Noddy

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Eastern blue-tongued skink

Eastern Whipbird

Lagoon Triggerfish

Powerful Owl

Regent Bowerbird

Superb Fairywren

Posted: October 28, 2022