birding-aus Trip report, Iron Range, Dec'99

Subject: birding-aus Trip report, Iron Range, Dec'99
From: David James <>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 16:50:04 +1000
Hello naturalists,

This is a trip report from Iron Range, 3-13 December 1999. 
Party: Martin Cohen, Jo Wieneke, John McGlaughlin, Evan Schmidt (a
non-birder) and David James.

We flew in to Lockart River with Sky Trans ($420 return ex Cairns), stayed
at the "Green hut", near the Rangers Station (ie Between Lockart and Iron
Ra NP), and rented a local's landcruiser tray back for 6 days. The weather
was excellent, with fairly mild temperatures. 600 mm of rain fell in
November but the rain stopped more or less as we arrived. 

We mostly birded and herped and spotlight around the Green Hut (rainforest
regrowth, where we found most of the areas specialities), the Claudie
River/Old Cohen Rd/Gordons Ck/Cooks Hut section of Iron Ra, Chili Bch and
Cape Weymouth. most nights we spotlighted for about 3 hours. We also went
out to Restoration Rock off Cape Weymouth, where Bridled terns and Common
noddies breed, and made a trip up to the Pascoe river in a tinnie. Shorter
trips were made to Tozers Gap, West Claudie River, Portland Roads, etc.   

The birding was brilliant, and highlights were nearly countless.
Red-bellied pittas were not calling at first, but we heard one on about day
three and then tracked them down on day four, getting brilliant views after
a bit of patience and persistence. Likewise Chestnut breasted cuckoos were
not calling at first but gave sensational views on day 7. Palms, Red-cheeks
and Eclectus flew through the camp site daily.  One morning around our camp
before (a late) breakfast I saw red-bellied pitta, Northern Scrub-robin,
Magnif rifle, palm, eclectus, fig parrot, Buff-breasted paradise,
yellow-billed and azure kingfishers, Chestnut-breasted cuckoo,
yellow-breasted boatbill, and a host of lesser deities.  We watched
thousands (or tens of thous) of metalic starlings staging on Chili beach at
sunset and flying in wheeling flocks to a nearby islet to roost. Quite
sensational. Yellow-billed kingfishers were troublesome, though calling
everywhwere. We missed green-backed Honeyeater, but big-deal I say!
Otherwise we gort repeated views of most local specialities. Raririties
were few (read nil) but a couple of short-talied swifts in a large flock of
fork-tailed swifits, suggested possible house swifts. They turned out to be
fork-tails moulting the outer pair of tail-feathers and outer primaries!  

Spotlighting was sometimes slow but generally excellent. One night produced
3 species of frogmouth, Masked Owl (heard only) and 2 nightjar species near
the campsite. We saw lots of cucus, about 7 commons (3 by day) and 2 greys.
frog choruses were great following November's rain, but frog diversity at
Iron Range is not spectacular. We didn't find a lot of species of reptiles
by some standards, but green python was a serious contender for bird of the

Thanks to Martin Cohen for much of the organising, to Carl the assistant
ranger for hospitaility and spotlighting and boating trips, and Brian
Venebles for showing us around Cape Weymouth, Chili Beach and Restoration
Rock. Brian gets the Red-bellied Pitta Award for the most colourful birder
on the Cape.
In all, 12 frogs, 21 reptiles, 131 birds and 13 mammals:

Marbled Frog                  Limnodynastes convexiusculus
Ornate Burrowing-Frog   Limnodynastes ornatus
Northern Sedgefrog             Litoria bicolor
Green Treefrog         Litoria caerulea
Graceful Treefrog              Litoria gracilenta
White-lipped Treefrog   Litoria infrafrenata
Striped Rocketfrog             Litoria nasuta
Tawny Rocketfrog        Litoria nigrofrenata
Red-eyed Treefrog       Litoria rothii
Shrill Chirper         Sphenophryne gracilipes
Australian Bullfrog             Rana daemeli

Cane Toad                       Bufo marinus
Estuarine Crocodile             Crocodylus porosus
Green Turtle??          Chelonia mydas
New Guinea Snake-necked Turtle  Chelodina novaeguineae
Saw-shelled Turtle              Elseya latisternum
Short-tailed Dtella             Gehyra baliola
Pelagic Gecko                   Nactus pelagicus
Cape York Pad-tail Gecko        Pseudothecadactylus australis
Burton's Legless Lizard Lialis burtonis
monitor lizard          Varanus keithhornei
Rusty Monitor                   Varanus semiremex
skink                           Carlia longipes
Littoral Skink          Cryptoblepharus litoralis
Cream-striped Shinning-Skink    Cryptoblepharus virgatus
Water Python                    Liasis fuscus
Amethystine Python              Morelia amethistina
Green Python                    Morelia viridis
Brown Tree Snake                Boiga irregularis
Northern Tree Snake             Dendrelaphis calligastra
Common Tree Snake               Dendrelaphis punctulata
Brown-headed Snake              Furina tristis
King Brown Snake                Pseudechis australis

Australian Brush-turkey Alectura lathami
Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius reinwardt
Brown Booby                     Sula leucogaster
Little Pied Cormorant   Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
Pied Cormorant          Phalacrocorax varius
Australian Pelican              Pelecanus conspicillatus
Great Frigatebird               Fregata minor
Lesser Frigatebird              Fregata ariel
White-faced Heron               Egretta novaehollandiae
Eastern Reef Egret              Egretta sacra
Great Egret                     Ardea alba
Striated Heron          Butorides striatus
Black Bittern                   Ixobrychus flavicollis
Whistling Kite          Haliastur sphenurus
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
Brown Goshawk                   Accipiter fasciatus
Grey Goshawk                    Accipiter novaehollandiae
Collared Sparrowhawk            Accipiter cirrhocephalus
Peregrine Falcon                Falco peregrinus
Sarus Crane                     Grus antigone
Red-necked Crake                Rallina tricolor
Buff-Banded Rail                Gallirallus philippensis
White-browed Crake              Porzana cinerea
Bar-tailed Godwit               Limosa lapponica
Whimbrel                        Numenius phaeopus
Eastern Curlew          Numenius madagascariensis
Common Sandpiper                Actitis hypoleucos
Grey-tailed Tattler             Heteroscelus brevipes
Red-necked Stint                Calidris ruficollis
Bush Stone-curlew               Burhinus grallarius
Beach Stone-curlew              Esacus neglectus
Pacific Golden Plover   Pluvialis fulva
Red-capped Plover               Charadrius ruficapillus
Lesser Sand Plover              Charadrius mongolus
Greater Sand Plover             Charadrius leschenaultii
Masked Lapwing          Vanellus miles
Silver Gull                     Larus novaehollandiae
Caspian Tern                    Sterna caspia
Lesser Crested Tern             Sterna bengalensis
Crested Tern                    Sterna bergii
Common Tern                     Sterna hirundo
Little Tern                     Sterna albifrons
Bridled Tern                    Sterna anaethetus
White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Common Noddy                    Anous stolidus
Black Noddy                     Anous minutus
Black-naped Tern                Sterna sumatrana
Brown Cuckoo-Dove               Macropygia amboinensis
Emerald Dove                    Chalcophaps indica
Peaceful Dove                   Geopelia striata
Bar-shouldered Dove             Geopelia humeralis
Wompoo Fruit-Dove               Ptilinopus magnificus
Superb Fruit-Dove               Ptilinopus superbus
Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus regina
Pied Imperial-Pigeon            Ducula bicolor
Palm Cockatoo                   Probosciger aterrimus
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo        Cacatua galerita
Rainbow Lorikeet                Trichoglossus haematodus
Eclectus Parrot         Eclectus roratus 
Red-cheeked Parrot              Geoffroyus geoffroyi
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot  Cyclopsitta diophthalma 
Oriental Cuckoo         Cuculus saturatus
Brush Cuckoo                    Cacomantis variolosus
Chestnut-Breasted Cuckoo        Cacomantis castaneiventris
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo   Chalcites lucidus
Little Bronze-Cuckoo            Chalcites minutillus
Common Koel                     Eudynamys scolopacea
Channel-billed Cuckoo   Scythrops novaehollandiae
Pheasant Coucal         Centropus phasianinus
Rufous Owl                      Ninox rufa
Masked Owl                      Tyto novaehollandiae 
Grass Owl                       Tyto capensis
Tawny Frogmouth         Podargus strigoides
Papuan Frogmouth                Podargus papuensis
Marbled Frogmouth               Podargus ocellatus
Spotted Nightjar                Eurostopodus argus
Large-tailed Nightjar   Caprimulgus macrurus
White-rumped Swiftlet   Collocalia spodiopygius
Fork-tailed Swift               Apus pacificus
Azure Kingfisher                Alcedo azurea
Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher       Tanysiptera sylvia
Blue-winged Kookaburra  Dacelo leachii
Yellow-billed Kingfisher        Syma torotoro
Forest Kingfisher               Todiramphus macleayii
Collared Kingfisher             Todiramphus chloris
Rainbow Bee-eater               Merops ornatus
Dollarbird                      Eurystomus orientalis
Red-bellied Pitta               Pitta erythrogaster
Noisy Pitta                     Pitta versicolor
Lovely Fairy-Wren               Malurus amabilis
Red-backed Fairy-Wren   Malurus melanocephalus
Tropical Scrubwren              Sericornis beccarii
Mangrove Gerygone               Gerygone levigaster
Large-billed Gerygone   Gerygone magnirostris
Fairy Gerygone          Gerygone palpebrosa
Helmeted Friarbird              Philemon buceroides
Tawny-breasted Honeyeater       Xanthotis flaviventer
Yellow-spotted Honeyeater       Meliphaga notata
Graceful Honeyeater             Meliphaga gracilis
Varied Honeyeater               Lichenostomus versicolor
White-streaked Honeyeater       Trichodere cockerelli
Brown-backed Honeyeater Ramsayornis modestus
Dusky Honeyeater                Myzomela obscura
Red-headed Honeyeater   Myzomela erythrocephala
Yellow-legged Flycatcher        Microeca griseoceps
White-faced Robin               Tregellasia leucops
Mangrove Robin          Eopsaltria pulverulenta
White-browed Robin              Poecilodryas superciliosa
Northern Scrub-Robin            Drymodes superciliaris
Grey Whistler                   Pachycephala simplex 
Little Shrike-thrush            Colluricincla megarhyncha
Grey Shrike-thrush              Colluricincla harmonica
Yellow-breasted Boatbill        Machaerirhynchus flaviventer
Black-winged Monarch            Monarcha frater
Spectacled Monarch              Monarcha trivirgatus
Frilled Monarch         Arses telescophthalmus
Broad-billed Flycatcher Myiagra ruficollis
Leaden Flycatcher               Myiagra rubecula
Shining Flycatcher              Myiagra alecto
Magpie-Lark                     Grallina cyanoleuca
Northern Fantail                Rhipidura rufiventris
Spangled Drongo         Dicrurus bracteatus
Black-Faced Cuckoo-shrike       Coracina novaehollandiae
White-Bellied Cuckoo-shrike     Coracina papuensis
Cicadabird                      Coracina tenuirostris
Varied Triller          Lalage leucomela
Yellow Oriole                   Oriolus flavocinctus
Figbird                 Sphecotheres viridis
White-breasted Woodswallow      Artamus leucorynchus
Black Butcherbird               Cracticus quoyi
Magnificent Riflebird   Ptiloris magnificus
Trumpet Manucode                Manucodia keraudrenii
Spotted Catbird         Ailuroedus melanotis
Fawn-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera cerviniventris
Red-browed Finch                Neochmia temporalis
Yellow-bellied Sunbird  Nectarinia jugularis
Mistletoebird                   Dicaeum hirundinaceum
Tawny Grassbird         Megalurus timoriensis
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis
Silvereye                       Zosterops lateralis
Metallic Starling               Aplonis metallica

Northern Brown Bandicoot        Isoodon macrourus
Long-nosed Bandicoot            Perameles nasuta
Spotted Cuscus          Spilocuscus maculatus
Grey Cuscus                     Phalanger intercastellanus
Agile Wallaby                   Macropus agilis
Red-legged Pademelon            Thylogale stigmatica
Eastern Tube-nosed Bat  Nyctimene robinsoni
Bare-backed Fruit Bat   Dobsonia moluccense
Spectacled Flying-fox   Pteropus conspicillatus
Cape York Melomys               Melomys capensis
Dingo                           Canis lupus dingo
feral Horse                     Equus caballus
feral European Cattle   Bos taurus
feral Pig                       Sus Scrofa

David James
PO BOX 5225
Townsville Mail Centre,
Qld 4810, Australia

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