Lord Howe Island is one of those places that calls you back – like the deserts, the far north and the Werribee poo paddocks.
Watching Red-tailed Tropicbirds from the top of Malabar Hill was a highlight of the trip as they negotiated the air currents. Weather conditions on the island could change rapidly, from balmy sunshine to tropical showers complete with rainbows.
This exquisite bird is a Providence Petrel. David Attenborough once commented that they are “extraordinarily friendly to human beings” as they respond to calls and flutter to the ground. It is definitely an extraordinary sight but I’m not sure that it is based on friendliness. My feeling is that it relates more to protecting their territory and that their extreme clumsiness on the ground meant that early settlers could enjoy an easy meal. They were ‘hunted’ to extinction by early settlers on Norfolk Island and almost suffered the same fate on Lord Howe.
Lord Howe Island Woodhens are flightless birds that are only found on the island which is about 700km east of Port Macquarie. They faced extinction in the 1970s with only 30 birds surviving but an ambitious and comprehensive conservation program has proved successful and several hundred birds now inhabit the island. I saw them out in the open but also hidden in near darkness as they foraged amongst the leaf litter. There are other bird species that are endemic to the island including the Lord Howe Island Golden Whistler, Currawong and Silvereye. I photographed all those species but my equipment at the time didn’t cope well with low light conditions (or my lack of experience).
I’m not much of a landscape photographer, as you can see, but here is an idea of the view from the jetty. In 2013 I wrote several lirralirra posts about Lord Howe Island, one of which includes images taken by David (of me crazily perched on a cliff) along with my images of Red-tailed Tropicbirds. Here is the link: Lord Howe Island Tropicbirds
I’m hoping to join photographers David Burren and Michael Snedic on a trip to Lord Howe Island which is being planned for the first week in October. I’m keen to see the terns and noddies, and hopefully more Masked Boobies. If you’d like to know more about the trip check David’s website: 7 Day Lord Howe Island Birds and Nature Photography Odyssey – it’d be great to see you there!
Happy birding, Kim
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