Far North Queensland Birding Trip - April 2008

Around Cairns

After a wonderful 3 day cruise of the Great Barrier Reef with my new underwater setup it was time to explore the amazing diversity of life on land.
I mis-timed the tides at the Cairns Esplanade but did find a small group of waders (mainly Knots). Varied Honeyetears kept me busy for a while, as did some Peacful doves and a pair of Bush Stone Curlews. On to Centenary Lakes where a Forest Kingfisher posed nicely, and some Metallic Starlings bickered high in the trees. On a small mangrove lined creek on my way back to town, I saw my first Goulds Bronze Cuckoo. I jumped in a campervan and headed north towards the Daintree. Stopping first at Yorkey's Knob. There were a couple of pygmy geese on the lake as well as Intermediate Egrets playing tightrope on some irrigation piping. Rainbow Beeteaters, Sunbirds, Flycatchers and Brown-backed Honeyeaters all stopped in at the lakeside trees. On arrival that night, I was greeted by a Papuan Frogmouth, waiting for prey low on a roadside post. It posed beautifully for some photos and wasn't at all concerned about my presence...until i started to get a bit too close and it took off.
The next day I birded around the Daintree township and hired a small tinny and headed down the Daintree River and explored some of the small mangrove lined creeks. Little Kingfisher made a show, but not long enough for photos. Plenty of Azure Kingfishers, a Collared Kingfisher and Whimbrels and Starited Herons on the banks. Unfortunately, I missed out on Great-billed Heron. The next day I headed to Julatten and started my search for Blue-faced Parrot-finch with no success. I did have good views of Chowchilla, Mountain Thornbill and number of different scrubwrens. Plus a mammal sighting of a Yellow-foooted Antechinus. Popping in briefly to Kingfisher Lodge, I saw my target species, in a juvenile Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher. At Abbatoir Swamp a few honeyeaters buzzed around the trees, and a python scared the beduggery out of me resting in the birdhide rafters. A quick stop off at Mt Molloy for some lunch and then off to the local school where I saw two Bowers and the Great Bowerbirds that were attending them. It was great to watch their displays as they played peek-a-boo with each other through the bower with different objects in beak.
The last day was spent around the Atherton District. At Mt Hypipamee, Grey-headed Robins where active in the carpark. Catbirds called loudly from the trees with Victorias Riflebirds. Fairy Gerygones hopped around the middle story and a Bowers Shrike Thrush joined in on the action. Lake Barrine was my last stop, with a Macleays Honeyeater topping off a great week in Far North Queensland.

Around Atherton

Around Julatten

Around The Daintree

Around Yorkey's Knob