Flat Rock, Ballina – Birdlife

Last week I went for a lovely walk to Flat Rock near Ballina. I went to get some additional photos of some local flora for a new design based on the beachside flora of this area. I also went to take some extra photos of the bird life that gather there. It was an absolutely stunning Spring-like day.

On arrival I encountered as I have always know them, a Scrub Turkey. They are also known as Australian Brush Turkeys or Alectura lathami. Bold as brass he/she was! Strutting around almost posing for the camera!

Scrub Turkey 3

Scrub Turkey 1

I kind of like these odd-looking birds and their sense of entitlement and arrogance. I love their odd-looking scrawny heads and have been drawing up a new linocut of one of their heads – great colouring too!

Scrub Turkey 2

Flat rock is basically a rocky outcrop on the beach where at low tide the local sea-bird life gathers.

Birds in FLight 1

Birds in FLight 2

There is a sign as you approach the beach talking about the local sea birds.

BirdS of Flat Rock

I am very much an amateur bird watcher so fortunately today I managed to have  local birdwatcher there with his binoculars and he very kindly identified the birds for me. Some I knew already some I didn’t.

Bird watcher Flat ROck

There are Crested Terns seem to be the biggest colony there at the moment. They are white, grey and black and have a lovely ‘crest’ or tuft on the back of their heads.

Crested Tern 1

At one stage the birds took off rather spectacularly and the birdwatcher tells me is was a raptor overhead probably a Brahminy Kite. Unfortunately I didn’t see the raptor!!

Birds in FLight 4

Birds in FLight 3

In amongst the Crested Terns out towards the sea were Ruddy Turnstones which I managed to not get a photo of, but did get a rather distant photo of Red Necked Stints. They are the small brown birds in the middle of this photo of the surrounding Crested Terns.


There were also some Sooty Oystercatchers but didn’t get any worthwhile photos of them. A couple of Gull Billed Terns were there and although I didn’t get a worthwhile photo of them last week I did get one of them flying a previous photo of them back in April. They have the dark beaks.

Gull-Billed Tern

Silver Gulls – or Seagulls are very common and there were a couple of them out there as well with their distinctive red legs, beak and ring around their eyes.

Silver Gull

There were only two Little Black Cormorants there, this is one of them, but I had taken a photo of one flying there back in April as well.

Black Cormorant

Black Cormorant Flying

Only one Little Pied Cormorant was there that I could see.

Little Cormorant 2

Little COrmorant 1

But by far my favourite are the Pied Cormorants. They have a distinctive orange eye patch and bare throat skin. They also have large webbed feet.

Pied Cormorant 1

You often see them with their wings outstretched and drying which is just rather lovely.

Pied Cormorant 3

Pied Cormorant 2

And they can be quite graceful once in the air.

Pied Cormorants Three 5

These are a series of photos of took of them back in April. As the tide came in they made numerous small flight hops to the next rocks.

Pied Cormorants Three 3

Pied Cormorants Three 2

I can just imagine the conversations these three were having.

Pied Cormorants Three 1

Pied Cormorants Three 4

3 thoughts on “Flat Rock, Ballina – Birdlife

  1. Your photographs are quite striking: the intimate feeling of the groups of birds going about their daily lives with the power of the surf behind them.

  2. Isn’t Flat Rock a great spot? I’ve visited regularly and often find really interesting things, especially in the rock pools at low tide – shells and worms and nudibranchs and octopuses – when the pools aren’t covered in sand, that is. Have you walked from the car park north along the bush track? There are more birds, bush flowers and even mushrooms there in the right seasons. Not many people seem to go there, so it’s a good spot for exploring with a camera.

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