Which way. Although the map will show them their migratory route the mutton birds know instinctively which way to go. The female lays her eggs in a ground nest made of twigs and grass. The female sits on her eggs for a couple of months in summer until hatching takes place. She then cares for her young for about three months when she leaves them in mid-April to fend for themselves. The chicks follow knowing which way to go instinctively, heading on their long migration to South East Asia. They will return in August, often to the same burrow to begin the cycle over again.
Mutton Bird Island is found at Coffs Harbour and is possibly the only accessible island for viewing not only the mutton birds, but also white-faced storm petrels and black winged petrels (who also nest on the island) and a large number of reptiles, and a vast wealth of indigenous history. The island has dreamtime stories attached to it about the moon falling into the sea. Only the elders were permitted to go there and the people believed that the moon man-guardian sent the mutton birds to provide food for the people.
Which way to the island is not a problem. A jetty extends from the mainland to the island making access very easy.
Rugged rocks, sparse vegetation is the impression as you near the island.
Where island meets sea beauty and life abound.
I’m looking for a nest. Perhaps this is one?
The views are wonderful.
What kind of reptile lurks here?
Thankfully only a blue tongue lizard.
On the island it is very clear which way you are to go.
Finally a bird. But no, it is not the Puffinus tenuirostris or short-tailed shearwater otherwise known as the Mutton bird.