South West Rocks

Just a few hours further north along the coast we made camp at South West Rocks. We have a lovely grassy campsite with big trees nearby and plenty of space around us. Dollarbirds chatter to each other at various times of the day, Rainbow Lorikeets noisily feed on blossom while a resident family of Laughing Kookaburras have occasional bursts of insomnia. Gentle rainfall on the day we arrived has ‘greened’ the grounds and given all the vegetation a much needed drink.

A visit to Boyters Lane artifical wetlands was first on the agenda. This area is tidally influenced and has been subjected to various natural and man-made modifications over a number of years. Kempsey Shire Council instigated a draft management plan more than 10 years ago with an aim to restore the natural conditions to prevent further die-off of Mangroves and to treat water run-off from a proposed sports ground.

Mangrove Gerygone in River Mangrove (Avicennia marina)

A bird hide adjoining the car park looks across Mangroves to a shallow pond with extensive muddy surrounds. A Mangrove Gerygone foraged about in front of the hide while White-headed Stilts hunted in the shallows.

White-headed Stilt

This restoration project has created some very pleasant walks around Teal Lagoon and on to the Saltmarsh with plenty of bird activity. While at times we did feel the bird population was dominated by Noisy Friarbirds we did find a number of other species.

Teal Lagoon – without Chestnut Teal

After a restorative coffee we returned to the bird hide where Allen managed to get a good photo of a Little Grassbird. It rather obligingly gave us a few opportunities although not long in any one place!

Little Grassbird from Boyters Lane bird hide

We returned later in the afternoon for another short stroll about and spent a while trying to find Cicadas. Allen managed to find and photograph a few individuals as well as an interesting Brush Cuckoo.

Brush Cuckoo – barred morph at Boyters Lane
A handsome Cicada making a very loud noise. EDIT: Identified by Dr Roger Farrow as Psaltoda plaga which is showing the intersegmental membranes (yellow stripes) in expanded mode when resonating.

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