A visit to a royal place
2007 New South Wales trip report #27
We left Artarmon a little later than we had planned. I was sad leaving our son and daughter in law; we see them so infrequently. We took the Harbour Tunnel and then the eastern distributor motorway, passed the airport and headed south towards Wollongong.
I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take much notice of the birds along the way; I was too busy navigating for my wife who was driving. Being from a relatively small country town we are not used to driving in large cities like Sydney.
We turned off into the Royal National Park as planned. The last time we had visited this park was in 2000, and that visit was only for an hour or so. Again we were not able to stay very long. We drove into Audley and had morning tea in one of the many picnic areas by the Hacking River. I was soon adding a list of species to my bird note book. One of the first birds I heard was a Fan-tailed Cuckoo calling incessantly all through morning tea. I failed to catch sight of the bird in question. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos seemed to be everywhere, but not in huge numbers.
A number of Australian Wood Ducks and Pacific Black Ducks were either on the river or approaching us for some little scrap to eat. They were unlucky. Dusky Moorhens frolicked in the water and a lone Purple Swamphen was seen strutting around the picnic table of another group of visitors to the park. I heard a Willie Wagtail but didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see it; strange. Another bird heard but not seen was an Eastern Whipbird, once only metres from where we stood.
Along the river we saw both Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants resting on fallen branches over the water. Several Laughing Kookaburras were seen and heard in the picnic grounds but these were more polite and didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sit eyeing off our food like so many others of this species we had seen in recent days. Welcome Swallows were seen swooping low over the water in the river and then soaring high over the tall eucalypts.