Little Forest Plateau near Ulladulla

Tue 23 June 2015 12:00am

Kathy Walter and John Goldie

Tues 23-Thurs 25 June – Little Forest Plateau near Ulladulla

This trip was scheduled for the June long weekend but due to other commitments the leaders are now offering it asa mid-week trip. Over the 3 days we will focus on birdwatching in the heathland of Little Forest Plateau and reserves near Ulladulla. We will stay at Ulladulla Headland Tourist Park (ph 4429 8982) which has cabins and campsites. Please book your own accommodation. Be aware that the road to Little Forest is gravel and car pooling is encouraged for the drive to the Plateau.

We hope to find a variety of heathland birds including Beautiful Firetails and Southern Emu Wrens as well as spending time at the lighthouse looking for seabirds. The walk at Little Forest Plateau will be an easy/moderate grade.

Please book a place on this outing with Kathy Walter or John Goldie by email The trip will be restricted to 20 participants and filled on a first reply basis. More detailed instructions will be provided closer to the day.

Post event report

A group of 14 COG members really enjoyed this recent excursion, as usual, very capably organised and lead by Kathy Walter & John Goldie. It was particularly pleasing to meet new members Irene & Harry Bluhn in their first participation with our travelling birders family, to coin a phrase.  (Another interesting aspect worth mentioning is that the Turner Powerful Owl continues to attract publicity and awareness to our general benefit.  After several visits the Bluhns eventually located this bird with the kind assistance of other COG. members leading to their renewed interest and eventual membership of our club.)

Most of us stayed in comfortable cabin style accommodation at the Ulladulla Headland Holiday Park. It is being named specifically as it identifies the location where Variegated Fairywrens occurred and, more importantly, provided close up views of a family of 5 Glossy Black-Cockatoos. This was surely the highlight of our trip!

At the nearby lighthouse at Warden Head despite the blustery weather conditions, aided by a telescope, we were able to identify many seabirds including a single Black-browed AlbatrossAustralasian Gannets,  terns, and gulls.  Down below on the foam-swept, rocky ledges were Sooty Oystercatchers, cormorants and a single Eastern Reef Egret.  Several fur seals including an injured specimen attracted our attention whilst dolphins and migrating whales made regular appearances.

Unfortunately the weather gods were not particularly kind to us at the start of the Wednesday outing to Little Forest Plateau which was our main objective. Indeed the forecast was far from promising as it was already very cold, windy and decidedly overcast as we set out.  For this humble scribe struggling through the thick undergrowth on a slippery pathway supported on my bush stick amidst the wind whipped branches proved something of an ethereal experience.  For some strange and unaccountable reason, the words of a long-forgotten school-learned poem, Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, came to mind: “Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink”.

Perhaps the connection was the unusual activity of the abundant bird life as there was a profusion of honeyeaters of all descriptions frequenting this obvious wintering ground.  Everyone noticed, however, that they were in constant motion, rapidly flitting around in groups landing only momentarily on most occasions. Viewing and identification through binoculars proved quite difficult under these circumstances.  To some degree, I suppose, to a birdwatcher it was a frustrating experience but nevertheless the 6km walk through this high country heathland was a really truly exhilarating experience. Towering sandstone rock formations, rugged gorges bathed in sunlight, panoramic coastal views were all features long to be remembered. Not to forget the historical perspective also, for there on the near horizon was Pigeon House Mountain first sighted and named by Lt. Cook in 1770 in his voyage of discovery.

Getting back to birds, of the target species, Rockwarblers, Beautiful Firetail and Southern Emu-wrens, only the latter was recorded by most of the group.

Over the three days, no less than 12 Honeyeaters were observed and, with the exception of Brown Headed & Noisy Miners, nearly all were contained in the plateau land form – Little and Red Wattlebirds, Lewin’s, Yellow-faced, White-naped, White-eared, White-cheeked, Crescent and New Holland Honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills.  The total bird count was a very respectable 80, from a number of locations,  including several local nature parks and the very productive Burrill Lake on our final day.

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