It's the conventional birding season here again
but my advice to those with vaguely conceived plans is to come here in the
Wet. When it's often quite dry...and very stimulating.
Seasonal visitors that you have high
probabilities of enjoying include Swinhoe's Snipe, Red-rumped Swallow, House
Swift, Garganey, Spotted Whistling-Duck [Weipa only ?], Little Ringed Plover and
of course Barn Swallow. On current evidence Oriental Reed-Warbler is
scarce or highly cryptic.
Although not sanguine about the prospects so far south of the
Cape York area, I'm systematically seeking a number of species that I've not yet
seen in Australia. These include the Glossy and Uniform Swiftlets.
The Grey Wagtail has eluded me so far despite numerous visits to high altitude
waterfalls and cascades.
Summer is also the time for many breeding visitors. The
Red-bellied Pitta and Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher are exquisite. But
the Cicadabirds excite me as much as any others at present. There are
clearly two species, segregated partially by habitat. Their calls differ
greatly despite coexistence within a broad zone of overlap. This is
analogous to the situation with the Bassian and Russet-tailed Thrushes that I
documented many years ago [reported in Aust. Bird Watcher 1984].
The optimal time to come is probably January to
March. Often it is cooler and more pleasant than the Dry. If your
visit is coincident with a cyclone your itinerary may suffer but who knows what
you may encounter.
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