Green Cape mid-week

Mon 09 October 2017 02:00pm

Sue Lashko, Peter Fullagar

For some time now, COG has visited Green Cape every second year to stay in the former lighthouse keepers’ cottages and enjoy the wonderful wildlife watching (birds and whales, in particular) in Ben Boyd National Park and in the surrounding seas.  There are only 14 places available for this trip.  The commitment is for a 4-night stay – no concession for shorter stays. Accommodation costs will be finalised once numbers are known. There is also a $7 fee per car per day to enter Ben Boyd National Park. This can be paid at a self-registration booth on arrival.  An alternative is a single park pass which costs $22 and is available online.


To register, email As with all COG trips, preference will be given to COG members.  More detailed information will be sent to participants closer to the date.

Post event report

On a clear, sunny day, 12 COG members, having driven down to this isolated tip of the NSW Far South Coast, moved into our comfortable heritage Green Cape Lightstation Keeper’s Cottages. Large numbers of Humpback Whales were moving south right past the Cape and putting on a great show. That evening we enjoyed the first of four delicious dinners preceded by nibbles and drinks around the dining table in House No. 3.

At 6.15 on Tuesday morning we gathered at the Cape for seabird spotting. Over a couple of days with the guidance of Peter Fullagar, we observed the seemingly endless stream of Short-tailed Shearwaters heading into the Southern Ocean. Other seabirds observed were Australasian Gannets, Shy Albatross, Crested and Caspian Terns, White-chinned and Giant Petrels, White-Bellied Sea-Eagles, Silver and Pacific Gulls, Eastern Reef Egret, Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers, and Great and Little Black Cormorants. Flocks of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters and some White-naped Honeyeaters would arrive at the Cape and cluster around the tip before heading west along the clifftop. I saw one flock of about 50 head straight out over the ocean and vanish from sight. I hope they made land at Nadgee or somewhere!

After breakfast some of us walked up the Green Cape Road where the highlights included Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos digging grubs out of Melaleucas, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, plenty of Little Wattlebirds, New Holland and Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters as well as Eastern Whipbirds putting on a show, and a brief view of a Southern Emu-wren (for a more extended view see David Rees’s video at the evening we enjoyed very couth car boot nibbles and drinks on the heath but no Ground Parrots joined us even though we waited in silence as the sun set.

On Wednesday morning our best wishes went with Peter and Helen who were called away for the birth of Helen’s first grandchild. The rest of us went down to Bittangabee Bay where the highlights were a Superb Lyrebird preening and calling in a gully, and a Scarlet Honeyeater. Four of us walked back to Green Cape and saw a Golden Whistler, Brown Gerygone, Brush Bronzewing, Large-billed Scrubwren and a Ring-tailed Possum just above our heads which observed us for a while before climbing into his drey. Jean saw a Swamp Harrier and David and Lyn saw a Beautiful Firetail.

Wednesday afternoon and Thursday were so windy that it was hard to hold binoculars steady to watch seabirds. One night was so blustery that we found a dazed and confused little bird on our verandah that we decided was a White-faced Storm-Petrel. On Thursday morning we went up to Saltwater Creek where it was much more peaceful. Here we added Wonga Pigeon (wandering around the car park!), Lewin’s Honeyeater and a Red-capped Plover. One lucky carload of us were on the way back (just 2.5 k from the Lighthouse) when Lia yelled “That’s a Ground Parrot!!” as she slammed on the brakes just in time for me to see a speckled parroty back end slipping into the low scrub. Libby in the back seat saw a flash of bright green. That’s all we saw or heard of Ground Parrots except for a treasured green feather found on the track near the cemetery.

We enjoyed the tour of the Lighthouse which was included with the accommodation. An astounding variety of wildflowers were noticed and photographed.  In addition to creatures already mentioned there were Fur Seals, Dolphins, Wombats, Short-beaked Echidnas, Bandicoots and various species of wallabies, snakes and lizards about the place. All too soon Friday dawned bright and windless and alas it was time to leave…

Sue Beatty

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