Tropicbird at Kim's Lookout

Wednesday November 17, 2010

It was quite a hike to the spot where the Red-billed Tropicbird resides. It's near Kim's Lookout, on the northern tip of the island. The walk is almost to the summit, which commands amazing views of the whole of Lord Howe Island and Mt Gower to the south and stunning seabird breeding cliffs to the north. This is one of the biggest concentrations of Red-tailed Tropicbirds in the world! On the way to the top we heard and saw numerous Lord Howe Golden Whistlers as well as the Lord Howe race of Silvereye .

From the top of Kim's lookout, we were immediately treated to a single Black-winged Petrel that sailed past at head height. Unfortunately for Dave Mitford, who needed this bird, he had foolishly left his scope downhill after a brief rest=stop, he missed this encounter as he was walking back down to retrieve it. Would this be the down fall of the day, we on to find out! Also from the summit were Sooty Terns , Common Noddies and a few Grey Ternlets . A pair of Nankeen Kestrels also appeared briefly to mob a juvenile Masked Booby .

It took a couple of hours to see the Red-billed Tropicbird . Some were lucky enough to see it on the ground, with the help of Ian Hutton and Hank Bower but the bird took to the wing soon and everyone got great views of it in the air, with its long sinuous white tail-streamers.

Following this, we headed back downhill and close to Ian's house, came across a single Lord Howe Island Woodhen, some Song Thrushes and a smattering of waders on the beach. For Dave's sake, we headed to Ned's beach in search of Black-winged Petrels. About 80 pairs breed here between about November and March and can be regularly seen in the afternoon, flying along the cliffs and entering burrows. We didn't see one! So it was time to head out for our PELAGIC TRIP with the help of Ian Hutton and Jack Schick.




Written by

Simon Mustoe

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