Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ben Boyd National Park - Another Day and A Big Walk

Early up for a big one! Having only 4 days off for a road trip is a bit short, having already decided to split the trip between two National Parks makes it even more important to get out of bed early and go exploring hard! Otherwise it can easily end up in just a lot of driving and very little looking around.

Having to cover an entire National Park in one day, we simply had to cheat a bit and make the walks one way only by utilizing a bit of clever car pooling. We started out by driving all the way down to the south-eastern most point of the park: Green Cape, where the lighthouse was the starting point for our exploration up along the coast, back to the campsite.

Around the lighthouse we had some of the best seabirding I have ever experienced! A fantastic amount of shearwaters were constantly on the wings passing by - unfortunately the action was just outside of binocular range ... and being about one month behind with my blog posts it will be a while before I have the time it takes to sit and examine what goodies the bigma picked up :-)

Pushing up along the coast we had put our top-bird-spotting-scout, Adelle, in front and boy did she deliver!! Soon after having left the lighthouse she managed to bag the best spot of the long weekend - an owl! Unfortunately it is not 100% clear what type it was. My initial guess while standing there and seeing it take off was that it was clearly a Barn Owl. Doing a bit of research after coming home easily narrowed the possibilities down to either Barn or Masked Owl - the Grass Owl does not live in the south eastern end of NSW. A look at the NSW wildlife atlas, however, reveals that only Powerful, Masked and Sooty have been reported in BBNP - no Barn Owl ... hm ... will have to chat to Adelle and hear what she ticked it as before I decide on that one .. ;-)

It was a great walk, we were taken through a variety of habitats in only about 10 kilometers and with the weather improved quite a bit while we were making our way back towards the campsite we were quite ready for the next bit of exploration.

After a great early start to the trip we started getting slightly worried, in reality there was no confirmed bird ticks and with the uncertainty surrounding the owl (and the fact that I have already seen a Barn Owl) means that we had used nearly 2 days without seeing anything new ... best catch of the Bigma was probably the pair of Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters below - not a tick for yours truly, but still a good catch.

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