Lord Howe Island
Sunday February 12, 2012
[From the trip Lord Howe Island]
A week on the island gave us ample time to explore. Our accommodation was wonderful, with Lord Howe Woodhens wandering the grounds, a Tasmanian Masked Owl hunting around on the hill above us, and most of the landbirds in easy walking distance. Everything else on the island was accessible by bicycle. The snorkelling was amazing, with hundreds of species of fish, octapus, Galapogas Sharks, and much more. Breeding seabirds on the island were everywhere. Black-winged Petrels buzzed overhead in pairs, getting ready to stake out nesting burrows and lay their eggs. White Terns were getting ready to fledge their young, and Sooty Terns already had, but the juveniles were hanging around learning how to fly and fish. The Malabar was a must see at this time of year, with thousands of Red-tailed Tropicbirds flying around as far as the eye can see. Mt Gower was a challenging hike, but it was fascinating to see the place where Lord Howe Woodhens had clung to life until the eradication of feral cats and pigs gave them a second chance.
The main highlights of the trip were the pelagic boat trips. We saw so many White-bellied Storm-petrels I lost count. We had light and dark Kermadec Petrels, Grey Ternlets, basically everything you could hope for at this time of year. And to top it off, we had a Tahiti Petrel, which we believe was only the third record for the island!