Red-necked Avocet - Australian Native Bird
Red-necked Avocet – Australian Native Bird

Lake Wollumboola is well known for its varied birdlife and is a favourite spot of mine to photograph birds. The lake is located on the South Coast of NSW about 2 and half hours south of Sydney and just south of the small coastal town of Culburra Beach.

Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Lake Wollumboola, NSW

The lake has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by Birdlife International and supports numerous species of birds. It is not unusual to sometimes see thousands of Black Swans and Chestnut Teal ducks on the lake which is an impressive sight. There have been over 20 threatened or endangered bird species recorded at the lake. Over 30 species of migratory birds utilise Lake Wollumboola to feed up and restore fat reserves before and after their epic journeys to the northern hemisphere.

Lake Wollumboola,NSW – July 2018

The photos above where taken in July 2018 when water levels were quite low revealing plenty of habitat for waterbirds and shorebirds. The Sandbar on the left is the breeding grounds for Little Tern in the summer months. The lake is not usually open to the sea but on occasion due to flooding the local authorities have opened up the lake to the ocean.

The lake is an extremely important site for migratory waders who refuel on the shores of the lake. In October there is usually a hive of activity as the waders pass through on their way to Victoria and South Australia. It is not unusual to see hundreds of birds feeding on suitable habitat. In good years I have seen 500+ Sharp-tailed Sandpipers making the most of what was on offer.

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - Migratory Shorebird - Lake Wollumboola
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – Migratory Shorebird – Lake Wollumboola – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

The Lake is also known to contain some very rare visitors with some good vagrants recorded over the years. We have had a Hudsonian godwit overwinter on at least 2 occasions since I have been visiting the lake, once in 2015 and again in 2018. I can happily report there is a bird currently at the lake as at July 2018. The bird is easily identified by the dark underwing which the local Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits lack.

Hudsonian Godwit, Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Hudsonian Godwit, Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Another highlight was the White-rumped Sandpiper that showed up in 2015, this bird like the Hudsonian Godwit should be in South America, not the South Coast of Australia!!!

White-rumped Sandpiper, Lake Wollumboola, NSW
White-rumped Sandpiper, Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

The location is just magic for photography with lovely coloured sand and bush background, the water is often not too deep and you can easily walk to where the birds are. I have photographed this location probably close to 50 times and have taken thousands upon thousands of photos. I usually park at the car park at the end of The Lake Circuit and East Crescent and then walk south to the lake. There is a cold shower and toilet facilities to clean up and change after a session in the mud. 🙂

A few of my favourite bird images from Lake Wollumboola.

Little Tern Breeding at Lake Wollumboola, NSW

Little Terns often nest on the sand bar with varied success. There has only been one really good season in the last 6 years as they really struggle with all of the predators and high tides. I did spend a lot of time with them a few years back and was able to document their growth from chick to fledgling. I have written a detailed article on Little Terns featuring numerous high quality bird photos.

Little Tern - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Little Tern – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Shorebirds to Expect All Year Round

Bar-tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Bar-tailed Godwit – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Pied Oystercatcher

Australian Pied Oystercatcher - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Australian Pied Oystercatcher – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK IV & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Black-winged Stilt

Black-winged Stilt - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Black-winged Stilt – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK IV & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Red-capped Plover

Red-capped Plover - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Red-capped Plover – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

Double-banded Plover (March-August)

Double-banded Plover - Bird Photo
Double-banded Plover – Bird Photo – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

Masked Lapwing

Masked Lapwing - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Masked Lapwing – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Shorebirds to Expect in Spring & Summer

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper - Bird Image - Lake Wollumboola
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – Bird Image – Lake Wollumboola

Curlew Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Curlew Sandpiper – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Red Knot

Red Knot - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Red Knot – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Eastern Curlew

Eastern Curlew - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Eastern Curlew – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone - Bird Photo _ Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Ruddy Turnstone – Bird Photo _ Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Red-necked Stint – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Black-tailed Godwit – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Bonus Birds That May Turn Up

Red-necked Avocet

Red-necked Avocet, Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Red-necked Avocet, Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Broad-billed Sandpiper

Broad-billed Sandpiper - Bird image - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Broad-billed Sandpiper – Bird image – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK IV & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Great Knot

Great Knot - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Great Knot – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Grey Plover

Grey Plover - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Grey Plover – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Sanderling

Sanderling - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Sanderling – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Greater Sand Plover – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Grey-tailed Tattler

Grey-tailed Tattler - Bird Photo - Lake Wollumboola, NSW
Grey-tailed Tattler – Bird Photo – Lake Wollumboola, NSW – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Other Species Photographed

To view my entire gallery of bird images from Lake Wollumboola please visit https://www.photos.duadepaton.com/Shoalhaven/Lake-Wollumboola

It should be mentioned that the Lake would not be what it is without the effort of volunteers and in particular Francis Bray who is the president of the Lake Wollumboola Protection Association http://www.wollumboola.org.au/ Please visit the website to learn more.

Bird Photography Techniques Used To Capture Beautiful Bird Images

I always try and photograph birds when the light is good. Feel free to read my article on the importance of light in creating beautiful bird images. I am also always looking to create engaging bird images by capturing good eye contact. Be sure to read my article containing tips on head angle and eye contact for great bird images. I also always photograph birds in RAW, read my article to see why.

Ever wonder how I get nice clean, smooth backgrounds in my photos? I explain 4 steps to a smooth background here.

Photographic Gear Used At Lake Wollumboola

All links below are affiliate links to Amazon, if you use these links to purchase items on Amazon it goes towards supporting me and this site. Thank you.

Amazon Australia affiliate links

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Extender: Canon EF 1.4X III Telephoto Extender
Camera Bag:Think Tank Photo Airport Commuter Backpack

Amazon USA affiliate links

 

 

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