Environment at Norah Head Lighthouse

(Extract from Department of Land & Water Conservation, Norah Head Lightstation Conservation Management Plan, August 2000)

From a survey conducted so far, and the information available on the wildlife atlas records, a number of threatened species listed on the Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1995 occur in the area. Those species are:

Syzygium paniculatum Magenta Lilly Pilly: Trees of this species occur on the northern slopes in the remnant littoral rainforest. About 30 trees are present with more trees located to the west outside of the study area. This species is listed on schedule 2 and further detail on the ecology of this species can be read in Payne (1996).

Crinia tinnula Wallum Froglet: The Wallum Froglet was heard calling from the small soak dominated by a reedland of Bau mea juncea in the tall shrubland. This species is known from the nearby endeangered ecological community site and is listed on schedule 2. The habitat is typical for the Wallum Froglet.

Diornedea melanophrys Black-browned Albatross: This species is a circumpolar migrant which will migrate to the southern continents in Winter-Spring. It will mainly occur in Southern Australia in Winter. The habitat of this albatross is the marine waters and will rarely fly over land. However, it breeds in steep rocky broken terrain of the subantarctic and Antarctic islands. Listed on schedule 2 as vulnerable.

Pterodroma solandri Providence Petrel: The Providence Petrel is listed on schedule 2 and is a regular visitor to the offshore waters. It is transequatorial migratory and dispersive species mainly from Lord Howe Island but is known to occur in Australia in all months. Its habitat is the pelagic waters of the south west Pacific Ocean but it nests in burrows or rock crevices on Lord Howe Island.

Calidris alba Sanderling: The Sanderling is listed on schedule 2 and occurs on sandy beaches, tidal flats and lagoons. The species is a transequatorial migrant to Australia between September and May.

Sterna albifrons Little Tern: The Little Tern is also an inhabitant of sandy beaches where it nests and feeds. This species is under severe threat because of disturbance and predation during the breeding season and loss of breeding habitat. It is listed on schedule 1 as endangered.

Gygis alba White Tern: The White Tern is only a casual visitor to Australia and can occur following storms when it is washed ashore. Unlike the Little Tern, the White Tern inhabits oceanic islands and surrounding seas and nests in cliff cavities and rock ledges. The species is listed on schedule 2 as vulnerable.

Haematopus longirostris Pied Oystercatcher: The Pied Oystercatcher is listed on schedule 2 as vulnerable. It can be found on undisturbed beaches, sandspits and sandbars, mudflats, estuaries, rocky shore platforms and saline wetlands. Nesting sites are shallow scrapes in the sand or amongst low vegetation behind the beach.

Haematopus fuliginosus Sooty Oystercatcher: The Sooty Oystercatcher is also listed on schedule 2 as vulnerable. It has a habitat not unlike the Pied Oystercatcher but is a more solitary species.

The littoral rainforest on the northern slope and the open shrubland on the ridge have been given a conservation risk code of N2 and the closed heathland on the southern slope a conservation risk code of N3 (Payne & Duncan, 1998). This generally infers that at the bioregional level the habitats are not under threat and protected in regional national parks such as Munmorah State Recreation Area and Wamberal Lagoon Nature Reserve.

Visitors to the Norah Head Lighthouse Reserve can often see a number of waders and seabirds, particularly during times of bird migration from the Northern Hemisphere which occurs during Winter/Spring and during transequatorial migrations which occur between September and May. Some of these species are listed on the Threatened Species Conservation Act, 1995.