After a feast of bird sightings on our big 3 month trip to Northern Australia in 2015, we received a last minute treat. While stopping off in Yamba two days from home, we came across an Eremaea report of a sighting of a pair of Regent Honeyeaters (Anthochaera phrygia) at Lake Cathie, just south of Port Macquarie. This spot was just a short distance from our planned route down the Pacific Highway the next day. So we decided to try our luck at sighting these birds. We had no great hopes of success as sightings of the Regent Honeyeater are few and far between. There are thought to be fewer than 400 of these Critically Endangered birds in the wild.
We found the location in the Eremaea report quite easily. But it didn't look particularly promising - a walking track heading into a disturbed piece of bushland from the edge of a residential area. But after walking for just 20 metres along the track we struck gold! Kerri looked up into the canopy of a tall Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta) and uttered rather incredulously "There it is!".
Two Regents proceeded to fly down to the lower branches of another eucalypt within 6 metres of us and treated us to an extended viewing session as they fed on the blossom. They are not a shy bird, with a jizz somehow reminiscent of Rainbow Lorikeets!
What a stunning bird it is! Sadly, there are very few left in the wild. We may not come across them ever again.
Interestingly, neither of the birds we sighted were banded. We found this encouraging somehow ...