Sunday, 11 April 2010

Lord Howe Island

I have just spent a week on Lord Howe Island; birding, walking and snorkeling. The snorkeling was wonderful; easy as there are bays or lagoons on either side of the island so there is always somewhere to go unaffected by the wind.

The Lord Howe Island woodhen which was once restricted to breeding on the summits of the high hills can now be met foraging around the picnic spots on the headlands - a measure of the successful breeding programme.

The summit of Mt Gower is often covered with cloud/mist forest and epiphytes such as these orchids are abundant. Out at sea is the striking rock of Ball's Pyramid.

Mt Gower is also the main centre for the breeding providence petrels which breed only on Lord Howe Island. Tens of thousands nest in burrows and they can be called in, landing with fluttering wings at one's feet.

Providence petrels continually fly around the sky between Lord Howe and Ball's Pyramid.
Most of the birds had finished breeding for the season while I was there, although there were still large chicks in a some of the red-tailed tropicbirds' nests. I could spend hours watching these marvelous birds from the cliffs of Malabar hill.

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