Often, when you think you’re alone at Blinky Beach or Little Island, something will move in the bush and it’s not the wind. After squinting at the place for a moment, the pattern will become clear. It’s a person in full camouflage gear with a huge camera and binoculars. Chances are they don’t speak English. Welcome to the world of bird watching. Lord Howe is one of the most amazing ‘birdo’ destinations in the world with 130 recorded species, and enthusiasts take it very seriously.
Migratory seabirds are the big drawcard. Birds including Noddy terns, White terns, Sooty terns, Flesh-footed shearwaters, Black winged petrels, Masked boobies, Providence petrels and Red-tailed tropic birds nest and breed at Lord Howe every year. Some of these birds are extremely rare, and you can stand a few metres away from a mother feeding her chick. It’s one of those unique and memorable Lord Howe experiences. Land birds are also worth a look. The most recognised is the Lord Howe Island Woodhen, a flightless and curious bird that was nearly extinct in the 1980s. After a successful breeding program, the woodhen is now everywhere on the island, including the Pinetrees verandah at meal times. They’re a funny bird and great entertainment for all ages – the more noise you make, the closer they come to you.
There are a number of ornithologists and guides on the island who can help you with access and interpretation. Why watch David Attenborough when you can see it yourself? Read the Locals’ Guide to Lord Howe Island to learn more about our best bird watching spots.