Keen birdwatchers Eric and Margaret Wheeler enjoyed a birdwatching experience in Norfolk Island last November.
Last November Margaret and I attended Norfolk Island Week which was hosted by local identity Margaret Christian, author of "Norfolk Island - the Birds ", and Derek Ball, CEO of conservation organisation "Wildmob".
|The Birdwatchers Photo: E Wheeler|
During the week the 50 birdwatchers roamed the tracks in the rainforest, attended talks on the island's wildlife, visited seabird colonies, went on bus tours and boat excursions and enjoyed social occasions.
Norfolk Island, like most islands, has a sorry history of bird extinctions but much work is being done now to prevent further losses. The many sightings we had of Norfolk Parakeets were a sign of a conservation success. This once common parrot was reduced to fewer than 15 pairs in the 1980s but now there are about 250 birds. This is mainly due to protection of nesting hollows from cats, rats and introduced Crimson Rosellas. During this year it is planned to establish another population of Norfolk Parakeets on nearby Phillip Island on which a massive re-vegetation program has occurred. Another bird coming back from near extinction is the Norfolk Island Morepork (Boobook) which is now up to 32 birds.
|Norfolk Parakeet Photo: E Wheeler|
In the forest we saw Norfolk Island species and sub-species such as Norfolk Parakeet, Norfolk Island Gerygone, Pacific Robin, Slender-billed White-eye, Emerald Dove, Sacred Kingfisher, Grey Fantail and Golden Whistler in which the male and female are brown but with golden underparts.
|Golden Whistler Photo: E Wheeler|
Seabirds included Great Frigatebird, Red-tailed Tropicbird, Sooty Tern, Brown Noddy and Grey Ternlet. Nesting in the grounds of Margaret Christian's house were numbers of Masked Booby, Wedge-tailed Shearwater and Black-winged Petrel. For this to occur, she and her neighbours are diligent in rat and cat eradication.
|Black Noddy Photo: E Wheeler|
|Black-winged Petrel Photo: E Wheeler|
We stayed in the very comfortable Endeavour Lodge where, besides lovely ocean views, we overlooked a breeding colony of White Tern and Black Noddy in the Norfolk Pines.
Further information on the plan to re-locate 30 fledgling Tasman Parakeets (Norfolk Is. Green Parrots) to Phillip Island to establish another population of this endangered bird: A crowd-funding appeal has raised $86259 from 699 donors in 3 weeks to finance this ambitious project. We will up to date on the progress of the re-location.
- Eric and Margaret Wheeler