Which birds are winging their way through the Coffs Coast this winter

Australasian Gannet Morus serrator – a winter visitor.


GANNET Spotting season has just begun with birders sighting their first Australasian Gannet Morus serrators over the weekend (June 12 -13).

“As the seasons pass and we move into winter there’s a whole new range of birds to be spotted.

“There’s always a lot of focus on the spring and summer migrants but we tend to forget that we also have winter visitors too,” Pete Rundle, a local twitcher in the Bellingen Birder group told News Of The Area.

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“One that comes to mind is the Australasian Gannet Morus serrator which can be seen flying low above the ocean this time of year – already spotted last weekend.

“It is a large bird, about half the size of a Pelican and easily recognisable as, like many terns, it plummets headfirst into the ocean when feeding.

When using binoculars, the bright yellow head of the Gannet is unmistakable.

“So, when looking out for whales, also look out for Gannets,” Pete said.

“Sometimes after bad weather juvenile Gannets may be found on the shore where they may be mistaken for Albatross although these are considerably larger.

“If someone finds one then they should call WIRES and keep the bird safe from children and pets.

“They will have an excellent chance of recovery if looked after by a wildlife rescue operation.

“There are other winter visitors too such as the Noisy Pitta, Flame Robin and Scarlet Robin but Gannets are so much easier to see,” said Pete.

Richard Jordan, one of the Bellingen Birder Group leaders loves winter birding for the changing behaviour of our resident feathered friends.

“This is the time of the year when the Superb Lyrebird is at the peak of its dancing and mimicry-rich displays – and the females will be getting down to building their big domed nests and laying a single egg.

“Some of our members have been heading into New England National Park to hear the calls and hope to spot a display.”

If you are interested in joining a birding outing, email Richard Jordan at: [email protected].



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