17 March 2010
What’s new on Lord Howe Island? Environmental Tours are now offering a North Head Natural History Tour to add to their existing Glass Bottom Boat and Snorkeling Tours. Dean Hiscox, who was a Ranger on LHI for many years, is now conducting a guided walk to North Head. The trip is scheduled twice weekly and leaves from the Environmental Tour’s boatshed. You travel by boat to North Bay via Settlement Beach. If you are lucky you may see a green turtle or two feeding on the sea grass beds there. Dean will take you on an informative walk along the beach to see the nesting seabirds and then continue up North Head. This is not a strenuous climb and no higher than Mt Eliza or Kim’s Lookout. You will have scenic views along the cliffs when you reach the top. When you return to North Bay, both beach and boat snorkeling opportunities are available. Trip duration is 3 hours. Dean also runs weekly guided tours up Mt Gower for those visitors to the island who want an extreme challenge.
The view to North Bay taking Mount Eliza looks just like a whale’s head!
17 March 2010
Libby, Lodge Manager| It’s March and the Providence Petrel is back on Lord Howe Island. The incredibly rare Petrel once bred in only two places on earth, LHI and Norfolk Island. The bird was named in 1790 after the Norfolk Island supply ship HMS Sirius sank. Norfolk Island’s population survived by eating more than 170,000 of these birds and ultimately wiped them of the face of the island.
Now LHI is the only place that they nest. They arrive every March to mate and breed on the slopes of Mounts Gower and Lidgbird. In the late afternoon you see hundreds if not thousands of birds forming a halo around the mountains. If you walk to Little Island (20 mins from Capella) you will see the birds on a mirror flight pattern just above your head.
Then (if no-one is around as you do feel a bit silly) you can ‘call the birds down”. Down from the blue come these wild and extremely rare petrels, literally dropping out of the sky to climb into your hands (or bite your shoelaces) with no hint of fear.
There’s no explanation for this behavior other than the birds’ natural curiosity. It’s an extremely rare and special interaction that doesn’t occur anywhere else in the world. I have noticed that once the birds have mated they are not as keen to come down- I wonder if it is a strange mating ritual!
Clive Wilson, a well known Islander is starting his Providence Petrel Tour on Monday15th March .
From Libby, Capella Lodge Manager:
Autumn has arrived at Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island. This morning I drove two of our guests into the ‘town’ for an around-island boat tour. When we left the Lodge it was sunny with a few puffy clouds hugging the mountain tops. When we arrived at the local jetty, 4 km away, it was bucketing down with rain! (who says it rains more down in the south!) No sooner had the trip been postponed than the sun was shining again and we had a beautiful LHI day! (see attached photo to prove it!). That’s life on a small island in the middle of the ocean. So, the day has turned into a typical LHI day, we have guests enjoying a BBQ on the beach, climbing Kim’s lookout and fish feeding at Ned’s Beach. The local wildlife is also enjoying the weather. On the short drive home there were countless endemic Woodhens in nearly every puddle along the airstrip road. Wood hens and the local Land Rails love to bathe in every puddle they find. I noticed also that the Golden Plovers have their dark breeding plumage and must be getting ready to head back to Siberia. At this time of year the adult Shearwaters (Muttonbirds) and all the island’s migratory birds are readying themselves for their long journeys to the northern hemisphere. So change is on its way and we are looking forward to those cooler evenings when we can settle in next to the fire in the Lodge with a glass or two of red wine.