Birding club based in
Wollongong, affiliated with Birdlife Australia
Our Illawarra Birding Region encompasses the council areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven and Wingercarribee. It is a stretch of wonderful coastline, west to an escarpment 800m above sea level, and everything in between. We are blessed with beaches, wetlands, and a variety of rainforest, bush, heath and gardens encompassing habitats with more than 300 bird species.
For visitors passing briefly through the region, the following three locations cover a variety of our habitats and bird species.
Wollongong Botanic Garden: Located in the suburb of Keiraville, adjacent to the University of Wollongong campus and close to the city centre, the garden covers 27 hecatres and is an urban gem. There is a large pond with native waterbirds, and foraging Australian Brush Turkeys are a common sight along the several kilometres of paths meandering through extensive lawn and forested areas. It is a great place to see Green Catbird, Satin Bowerbird and White-headed Pigeopn; but nearly any local bush bird can turn up here at any given time. Spending a couple of hours birding here is always fruitful. Admission is free. Opening hours are 7am to 5pm, though this is extended during summer. There is a car parking area in Murphys Avenue, Keiraville.
Jerrara Arboretum: Driving south out of Wollongong along the M1 motorway, south of Albion Park Rail, take the exit ramp to Riverside Drive, but at the junction turn right into Swamp Road. Follow this winding narrow road for several kilometres. When it ends turn right onto Jamberoo Road and after 200m turn left into Jerrara Road. At a junction where Jerrara Road goes left go straight ahead into Mount Brandon Road. Follow this over a small concrete bridge then when you reach an open area after a section of road forested on either side the gate into the arboretum is on the left. If the gate is closed then there is plenty of room to park outside and it is permissable to walk in. If open drive through the gate then after 200m there is a small park in the picnic area. Adjacent to the arboretum is the now unused Jerrara Dam, which is never abounding in water birds. It is, however, much more fruitful to wander slowly along the paths through the forested area around the creek. Over time, this location has accumulated the largest bird species list in our region. It is not a large area but try to spend as much time as possible. Lewin's Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Brown Gerygone, and seasonal Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Rose Robin and Rufous Famtail are common here; but so many species can turn up here. This is a highly recommended location if you are in the region briefly. [BIRDLIST]
Lake Wollumboola: If you have not visited Jerrara Arboretum then south of Wollongong keep driving along the M1 motorway to the town of Nowra. From the arboretum drive east along Jamberoo Road into the town of Kiama and follow the directions to Nowra which will eventually bring you back to the M1. From Nowra turn left at a major intersection into Kalandar Road and follow the directions about 20km to the small town of Culburra Beach. Having driven through the main part of the town, turn right into The Lake Circuit and at its end park in the small car park. There is a viewing platform overlooking Lake Wollumboola adjacent to the car park; a great place to set up a spotting scope if you have one. It is also possible to walk out across the sand banks of the lake, which is home to many and varied species of resident water birds. During spring to autumn (September to May in Australia), it also accommodates migratory waders from the northern hemisphere, including Bar-tailed Godwit, Red-necked Stint and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, often in large numbers; with smaller numbers of several other species of Sandpiper, Knot, and Tern, among others. White-bellied Sea Eagle are also common, and occasioanlly other birds of prey. It is also a location where several vagrant species have turned up. In recent years these have included White-rumped and Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit and Banded Stilt. [BIRDLIST]
Our Birding region includes an area where it is possible, though difficult, to see the Eastern Ground Parrot, Eastern Bristlebird, and Pilotbird. Two locations, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve and Budderoo Plateau Road, a few kilometres apart off Jamberoo Mountain Road, provide opportunity to see these rare species. It is best to be present at dawn or dusk. Ground Parrot can be heard in the thick heath close to the car parks at either location. Near the gate blocking vehicle access to Budderoo Plateau Road is especially good for Bristlebird at dawn. Although you may be lucky to hear or see these species close to the car parking areas, both these locations also have extensive walking tracks you can traverse all day, and abound in species of honeyeater in spring and summer. Also good locations for Beautiful Firetail and many other species. But dawn or dusk close the car parking areas are the best bet for the three rare species.
If you live in the region or will be visiting for an extended period, the following are some of the sites regularly visited by the Illawarra Birders. They can all be found on Google Maps or similar. If you require assistance or advice email email@example.com. You can also see where we may be holding future trips on our Activities page.
|Mt Keira||An extensive series of tracks from the short track at the summit to longer tracks are always fruitful for a variety of species, including Superb Lyrebird|
|Staffords Farm Track||A very wide and easy track. Good array of species including Crested Shrike-tit and Rufous Fantail in summer. Also good for spotlighting for nocturnal birds|
|Bellambi lagoon||Pretty suburban waterway with areas of sand dunes and bush|
|Mangerton Park||An extensive heavily forested park in a suburb close to the city, maintained a bushcare volunteers. Powerful owl occasionally roost here.|
|Integral Energy Park||A mostly open area of extensive walking trails with pockets of bushland|
|Croom Sports Complex||A very easy walk through bush trails adjacent to the sporting complex. A great birding location in suburban Albion park. Locked at night but open all day. [For those interested in the flora it is the home of the Illawarra Green Hood]|
|Lake Illawarra||Extensive waterway bordered by parkland, beach and suburban areas. Resident waterbirds abound and a migratory wader habitat from spring to autumn. Located in southern Wollongong and Shellharbour.|
|Location||Description||Bird List||Killalea Lagoon||A 3km walk around the lagoon. On days when it has been wet you can stick to the high side and when the weather has been dry you can walk around the lagoon.|
|Pelagic tours||Southern Ocean Seabird Study Association [SOSSA]|
|Spring Creek||A suburban oasis with a short walking track to a bird hide over a waterway|
|Shoalhaven Heads||Similar to Lake Wollumboola though a little harder to access. Resident water birds, migratory waders and birds of prey|
|Bomaderry Creek||Located just north of Nowra. A walk through bush which is difficult in places and includes a dam. Good location for Superb Lyrebird|
|Bargo River||The walk follows the river eventually reaching a dam. Track in and out the same way so you can choose how long you wish to walk for. A good track to see Rockwarbler|
|Boxvale Track||A Walk nearly 10km in and then return. End of the track is a picnic area overlooking a valley.|
|Moss Vale Ponds||Located adjacent to cattle sale yards off Berrima Road. A place to set up a spotting scope and and observe waterbirds, including several species of duck. [Don't go through any gates or jump fences. You are looking over private land.]|