Birding Down Under: Yamba to Brisbane

brahminy-kite_yamba-nsw-australia_lah_0779It was our final day on the coast of New South Wales, and I wanted to see shorebirds.  We had stayed in Yamba, so after breakfast we headed for the beach. It  was empty. No people. No birds. Just wind, and plenty of that.

Discouraged, I started to head back to the car when a large, blunt-headed black bird flew overhead, then landed in a near-by tree. I rushed over, camera in one hand and binoculars in the other. Yes, there it was—a  Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo! It gave me an indifferent look, then went back to munching on the flowers while I clicked away.


Birding Down Under: Fernbank Creek Road

red-browed-finch_fernbankcreek-qld-australia_lah_9901f(This post continues my series on birding in Australia; choose “Birding Trips” in the Category box at right to see my previous posts.)

The strip of coastline between Sydney and Brisbane is full of national parks. With some notable exceptions, Australian national parks are not as developed as the ones in the U.S., and could better be compared to our national forests. While Australia is similar in size to the United States, much of it is desert. There is a lot of pressure to develop the arable land along the coast, and the national parks play an essential role in preserving the natural environment. They also provide plenty of opportunities to pull off the road and look for birds. Using a combination of Australian birding sites and eBird lists, we picked a fairly random assortment of likely looking destinations and headed in their direction. (more…)

Birding Down Under: Coastal Wetlands

(This post continues my series on birding in Australia… choose “Birding Trips” in the Category box at right to see my previous posts.)

I woke the next morning as soon as it was light and headed out the door, surprising several grazing kangaroos. I snapped their picture as they bounded away. Several Noisy Miners lived up to their name, making a racket in the early morning stillness. A pair of raptors landed on the top of a tall tree nearby. Pulling out my binos for a good look, I realized they were Ospreys—familiar birds. It seemed strange to see them so far from home.


Birding Down Under: North from Sydney

lah_7828You can’t go to Australia and skip the beach. It would be unthinkable! That’s why, after spending a wonderful week in the Blue Mountains, we decided to drive north along the coast to Brisbane. Determined to allow plenty of time for birds and beach stops, we allocated three whole days. We could easily have spent a lot longer.


Birding Down Under, Part 2

(Don’t miss Part 1, which I posted last Monday.)

It wasn’t difficult to find birding hotspots to explore. During a visit to the town of Katoomba, I took a short trail leading from Wentworth Falls to the “car park” and turned up an assortment of species, including a Golden Whistler (above, left) and an Eastern Spinebill (above, right). (more…)