Wednesday, November 29, 2006

North Queensland

Phew! 10 days and 4500km later and we're back in brisbane after a monster trip around Queensland. The trip was absoultely superb with 37 lifers for me, plus loads more good birds.
heres a brief listing of what happened

20th Nov

Spent alll day travelling from Brisbane to Rockhampton, no sign of Yellow Chats at Port Alma, saw sod all

21st Nov

Travelled from Rocky to Bowen, A quick stop at Eungella NP failed to produce Eungella Honeyeater but an Oriental Cuckoo was an unexpected lifer for me and Duncan, also it's possible that the birda in OZ are actually Horsfields Cuckoos, this bird certainly seemd to be more liek one, i'll leave it to the DNA people to sort out in due time though. Superb fruit dove was also a lifer for me.

22nd Nov

This was far and away the best day of the trip. After leavign the absoulte shithole that is Bowen, we drove up to Townsville common, which despite being very dry produced Yellow Bellied Sunbird, Austrlian Bustard (a houbabra like thing), Australian and Oriental Pratincole and Brown backed honeyeater, along with Goulds monitor lizard and a snake seen briefly in the grass that looked disturbingly like a taipan, the most venomous in the world.

After townsville we headed up to the high misty Paluma range where we stayed the night at Forestmist B&B. The palce was superb, by far the best accomodation i've stayed in all trip, and incredible value for money to boot. This may seem liek a terrible blatant piece fo advertising but if your plannign on staying in Paluma, and you really should if your in aus contact them at or give them a ring on (07)47708578

The birdign here was excellent ,within minutes of arriving the expletives were flying through the mist as we saw such goodies as tooth billed catbird, victorias riflebird, spotted catbird, grey headed robin, bowers shriek thrush, mcleays honeyeater, bridled honeyeater, shning bronze cuckoo and Noisy pitta i nquick succession.

23rd Nov

The morning was spent doing more birding at Paluma. Chowchila, grey whistler and yellow spotted honeyeater were all around the cottage. The hosts of the B&B told us of a good site for Golden Bowerbird where we heaed off to and had brilliant views of a fabulous male attending heis bower, an awesoem bird for my 400th aus bird.
After tearign ourselves away from paluma we drove up to mission beach where we had good views of a young cassowary(like a fat ostrich)but no sign of any adults which was lucky, them things are huge and probably wouldnt have been to impressed to see me stalking their babby trying to photograph it. The drive up to cairns and a quick bit of birsding in the evening produced Metallic Starling, Varied and Yellow Honeyaters and White rumped swiftlet.

24th Nov

A quick look around cairns botanical gardens fianlly added silver crowned friarbird and black butcherbird which had proved elusive so far, and Double eyed fig parrot (mcleayana race).
A quick stop at Newell beach, just north of mossman and we found 2 Barn Swallows with the local Welcome Swallows.
Kingfisher park, near Julatten seemd rather dead considering its reputation but i got brief views of Buff breasted paradise kingfisher, a wonderful little bird with long white tail streamers that were as long as its body. Graceful honeyeater was a much less exciting lifer.

25th Nov

Another excellent day based in Mareeba on the edge of the Atherton Tablelands. A quick drive down Tinaroo creek road at dawn was well worth the early start with c20 Squatter pigeon around the paddocks about 5km down the road and a male Spotted Harrier (the best harrier in the world?) quartered the fields alongside the road. we then headed up to Mount lewis, north of julatten where we had a Glossy swiftlet with the white rupmed swiftlets at the bottom of the mountain, and a pied monarch about halfway up. Frustratingly Duncan had very brief views of what may have been a red goshawk over the canopy whilr i was having a slash around the corner. Much better views of Buff breasted Paradise kingfisher were had at the bottom of the mountain near the creek. Sides Road, south of Jualtten was an excellent little spot, with a nice Noisy Pitta and then one of the birds of the trip, a stunning male Yellow Breasted Boatbill, also one of the more boring birds of the trip Atherton Scrubwren.

26th Nov

Hasties Swamp, near atherton held 13 Sarus Cranes and plenty of other waterbird but not much interesting stuff despite looking promising.
Mount Hypipamee added Montain Thornbill, horribly dull things and a male golden bowerbird flew over the road about 1km north of the Crater NPcar park. Later that afternoon Townsville common was even dryer than before and had lost a few birds but White browed crake was a nice lifer.

27th Nov

Driving south to Rocky all day, saw nothing

28th Nov

Again driving all daybu we had a quick look at Port Alma for the Yellow Chats, again no joy. We stopped at a promising looking pool along the Port Alma road where i found a Wood Sandpiper while Duncan was throwing up in the car park, old people just cant handle their booze these days!

29th Nov

We arrived in Tin Can Bay (wasnt he a Viet Cong general?) with jsut enough light left for a quick look at Cooloola Way which was a great patch of heathland, walking along the pylon track we saw at leat 10 Ground Parrots, (like big green budgies) and Satin Flycatcher was also a new bird for me. Southern Emu wren, spotted harrier and brush bronzewing were also nice.

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