Road trip with lighthouses (and birds!) #3: Crowdy Head

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

With no good weather news coming in, we decided to make a dash for Sydney. Lunch was cooked, luggage was packed; the car was loaded and moving by 0815. As we moved further south the skies cleared but the winds increased and could be felt buffeting the car.

But I couldn’t resist the idea of visiting another lighthouse (and anyway everyone agreed it was time for lunch), so I took the turnoff to Crowdy Head.

We drove through a newish residential development and stopped at the town of Harrington to eat in the car — it was too cold and windy to use the picnic tables.

And then it was time to investigate the flock of pelicans resting along the foreshore.

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), Harrington Beach

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), Harrington Beach

That ridge of downy feathers on the back of its neck must be really soft.

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

A pelican braces in anticipation of catching a flying piece of bread.

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Pelicans in flight are beautiful and graceful creatures.

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

While having lunch we’d noticed the presence of a bird of prey (russet shoulders and black or dark brown wingtips) and its harassment by a noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala). It had moved away by the time we’d finished, and I was caught off-guard when another bird appeared: a juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) flying slowly by with a large struggling fish in its talons.

By the time I had my camera in my hands (with the wrong lens, damn it!) it had disappeared from view and I thought I’d missed my chance.

A juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) with its catch

But it made a big, leisurely loop around the bay and came around again for another flyby. There wasn’t enough time to change over to the long lens, and I had to be content with the 18-135mm.

Juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

Juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

Juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

I thought at first the fish might be a bream, but I’m now fairly sure it is a luderick/blackfish (Girella tricuspidata).

Crowdy Head Lighthouse

Crowdy Head Lighthouse (S 31° 50.7′, E 152° 45.3′) is about 226km from Coffs Harbour, 6km from Harrington and 356km from Sydney. It is still active.

Crowdy Head Lighthouse

Crowdy Head Lighthouse

Crowdy Head Lighthouse

We saw whales breaching and tailslapping a long distance away. No opportunity for photos, unfortunately.

The weather closed in again shortly after we left Crowdy Head, and we had rain and buffeting winds all the way back to Sydney. We arrived at 1803; the distance travelled on the day was 588km.

Other lighthouse-related posts:

Road trip with lighthouses #1: Port Macquarie and surrounds

Road trip with lighthouses #2: Coffs Harbour and surrounds

Seaside Lights
Seaside Lights: Kiama

Useful sites:

Lighthouses of Australia, Inc.

Date: 12 October 2012
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens 1: Pentax smc DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR
Lens 2: Pentax smc DA L 55-300 mm f/4-5.8 ED
Ambient light only.
Conditions: Sunny with increasing cloud; strong winds.
Hand-held only.
Cropping and resizing in Irfanview.

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