Sunday, 7 October 2012

A quick trip north

This weekend we decided to head up to Forster-Tuncurry. Both Matt and I love returning there as we both holidayed in the area as kids.

Geologically this part of coastal New South Wales sits in the New England Fold Belt (NEFB) which extends all the way up to the Central Coast of Queensland i.e. a really, really, long way. It is part of the Murray-Darling Basin. Within this Basin the Southern NEFB is divided into two sections which are separated by the Peel River fault system, the Tamworth Belt and the Tablelands Complex. The Tamworth Belt (which includes Foster-Tuncurry) contains sedimentary rocks, thought to be Cambrian to early Permian. I had read online that some fossils have been found around the cliffs near Forster, so I had a poke about the rock platform at Black Head. Sadly, no fossils, not even any rock that looked likely to contain fossils. But that was OK because frolicking off the beach was a small whale! It did a bit of tail slapping and blowing water out its blow hole then started to swim out around the headland.

We piled back into the car and whizzed around to the other side of the headland to try and get a view of the whale swimming over. We did eventually, although it was a fair way out, and saw it swimming slowly out to the horizon. There is always something special about seeing whales.

Black Head - there was a whale in this pic, unfortunately it was underwater at the time...

The car park where we had ended up was surrounded by bush, and as I walked over to check out a road cutting I saw out of the corner of my eye a Red-browed Finch. In fact there was a whole flock of them feeding on the grass seeds at the edge of the road. As a car drove past they would scatter, then re-collect. Turned out it was a mixed flock, utilising a tiny bit of water that was oozing down to the beach. Matt got a great view of an Eastern Whip Bird, which was part of a pair that we could hear cracking and responding. There was also a Lewins Honeyeater that I watched having a bath.

Red-browed Finch
Lewin's Honeyeater playing hide-and-seek
Bella doing some birdwatching from the car

As the light began to fade we headed back into Forster for Pizza by Wallis Lake, then home.

It was very enjoyable and I plan to do some reading up on the fossil finds to see if I can pin point where they were collected for next time!

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