Lord Howe Island – Day 3

Saturday 10th October 2020

We had brekky then based on the recommendations of our neighbours Margaret and Andy, we decided to hike to Goat House Cave located on the eastern side of the island, near Mt Lidgbird.

In green is some of the itinerary we did that day.

On the way there, we bumped first into a buff banded rail and then also saw on our way some cut dog and lots of banyan trees.

Then we saw the endangered woodhen.

This bird is quite special because it nearly got extinct too and only got saved from extinction in the eighties thanks to an expensive rehabilitation program. From the fifteen bird species spotted in 1788, nine went extinct within 200 years, some within a few years of humans arriving there as they simply ate all of them very quickly, and some because of the rats of the Makembo. Makembo was a steamship which got grounded during a storm for 9 days on the island near Ned’s Beach on 15th June 1918. It allowed black rats to leave the ship and go ashore on the island, where they caused an environmental disaster. The endemic species of thrush, gerygone, starling, fantail and robust white-eye went extinct. The Tasmanian masked owl was introduced to catch the rats but is suspected to have caused the extinction of the endemic boobook, another type of owl which is endemic to the island. The rats also caused the extinction of the endemic lizards, land snails and beetles as well as the phasmid, or stick insect which got rediscovered on Ball’s Pyramid in 2001.
Extract from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Howe_Island

Here are three books I had picked up at the library before to go to Lord Howe Island that are worth a read for anyone interested in Lord Howe Island. The first one is a novel of an American bird drawer who comes to Lord Howe Island to draw birds and falls in love with a local woman and stays. The second is a children’s book about the phasmid and the last one is about the woodhen but is also about all the other bird species of Lord Howe Island which got extinct as well as about the island itself, it is an incredibly exhaustive book filled with incredible history and love from its writer, you can tell Clifford B. Frith spent hours writing it and is very passionnate about the island.

We continued our walk alongside the road, passed the lagoon and the airport and got to the beginning of the trail where we were greeted by a currawong and climbed up to the top of Goat House Cave, in the hot sticky tropical weather, following the orange arrows and using ropes when needed.

On the other side, we could see the majestic Ball’s Pyramid 20km away, rising at 562m high in the distance, where the stick insect was found in 2001 although it was believed it was extinct.

The view from the top was really pretty so we had pic-nic there before to head back down and throw Transit Hill to Joy’s shop where we looked up the books, bought some food and learnt more about the island.

Then we went back, grabbed our freediving gear and headed to Old Settlement where we freedived in the shallow with a green turtle and a blotched fantail ray as well as the hit and run benny taking shelter in the heart urchin shells, a moray eel and some more catfish.

In the evening, we went out for dinner at the Anchorage this time, instead of our pasta and rice!

Next day, chilled day at North Bay and off to Blinky Beach.

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