New Year Big Day in Far North Queensland

To: <>
Subject: New Year Big Day in Far North Queensland
From: "Keith & Lindsay Fisher" <>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 08:16:33 +1000
Hi All,
Once again, we found ourselves at Kingfisher Park at Julatten for the New
Year and like last year, we decided to do a big day. This year we were
joined by Kath Shurcliff and Dave Houghton who were over on holiday from NZ
along with Carol and Andrew Iles the resident bird guides at KFP. We were in
two separate cars so our tallies were slightly different, plus Andrew
sneaked off to add a few whilst we were not looking! (like he did last
year). A leisurely stroll around Kingfisher Park before breakfast started us
off with 72 species, with good looks at a Common Koel and 11 honeyeater
species. Next stop was the bottom of Mt. Lewis to add Wompoo Fruit-Dove and
Bridled Honeyeater. Up the mountain to see some of the altitude birds,
Atherton Scrubwren, Fernwren, Mountain Thornbill, Bowers Shrike-thrush and
Tooth-billed Bowerbird amongst others (no Blue-faced Parrot-Finches). With
rain threatening we headed for the "dry" country of Mount Carbine to the
north, stopping along the way to see the Bustards at Maryfarms. The dam at
Mount Carbine has been getting dryer and dryer over the last few months and
was looking quite sad but had been fenced off to prevent anymore cattle
getting bogged in it. The rain poured down but eased off after 10 mins,
enough to let us scan the dam and have lunch. There was a few waterbirds
including Red-kneed Dotterel, Marsh Sandpiper and a few egrets. Back south
again Carol spotted a raptor on the powerlines at Maryfarms so we stopped to
investigate and found to our surprise, a 1st year Peregrine Falcon looking
lost. Next stop Rifle Creek to see the Tawny Frogmouth on its nest, bad news
we found the chick on the ground under the nest dead. On into Mount Molloy
(1km south) where we found 2 T. Frogmouths sitting in a tree with 2 fluffy
chicks, a Great Bowerbird and Grey-crowned Babblers. Heading south towards
Mareeba we stopped at Lake Mitchell (otherwise known as Southedge Lake or
Quaids Dam), again the tide has been going out for the last few months and a
scope is necessary to save a lot of walking! More waterbirds and good
numbers of waders like Sharp-tailed Sandpipers along with a single
Bar-tailed Godwit, Radjah Shelducks, A. Wood Duck, Glossy Ibis and a few
raptors Black and Whistling Kites, Osprey and White-bellied Sea-Eagle. We
were surprised by a Clamorous Reed Warbler singing in the only small patch
of reeds along the bank. It was then on towards Cairns with a stop at the
Emerald Creek Falls turnoff, just out of Mareeba, to tick off the Brolga and
Sarus Cranes we had seen here the day before. A 5 minute dash into the
Skyrail lagoon at Smithfield added Cotton Pygmy-goose, Black-necked Stork
and Nutmeg Mannikin before we arrived at the Cairns Esplanade. Here adding
several waders, Nankeen Night Heron, Little Tern and Mangrove Robin (along
with an overdose of sandflies!). Final destination, in the dark, was the
Cairns Cemetery for Bush Stone-curlew before heading home. It was a fun day
and very laid back without too much racing around - oh yes, we ended up with
182 species the best big day so far for us, beating last years 160.

Keith and Lindsay Fisher

Keith & Lindsay Fisher
Cairns, (16°55' 40"S 145° 46' 35"E)
Far North Queensland 4870 Australia

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