Following on from my post last week, here are some birding notes about
the upper parts of the CY Peninsula.
Basically because my objective was to do some twitching and general
poking around in the upper part of the CYP, it was pretty much a matter
of shooting through. The only birding I did between Brisbane and
Musgrave were in Innisfail, where I couldn't help but notice [and
photograph] a happy colony of metallic starlings nesting above the bus
stop in the middle of town, and the place where I was overnighting at
Little Mulgrave [bottom of the Atherton Tableland] at the end of the
Visually, the main bird of interest at Little Mulgrave was a strange
looking friarbird [probably helmeted] - it had the uglist face you
could image - bit like a smallpox victim. I wasn't sure if it had some
sort of disease or whether that species of friarbird normally looks
like that at some stage in its lifecycle [I can forward a jpg to anyone
who is interested]. Sonically, the main species of interest was
large-tailed nightjar - with lots of chopping going on in the night.
I overnighted at Musgrave the next day - the main feature there was a
trio of bush thickknees running about after insects out the front of
the roadhouse [I had to wait over half an hour for a backpacker working
at the roadhouse to finish her call home to Europe].
Day four involved a drive through to Weipa [and search for a tyre to
replace the one I staked north of Laura]. There was no sign of
whistling ducks of any description at either of the sewerage treatment
ponds [or anywhere else] round Weipa. There were quite a few pied
herons at the Comalco ponds and assorted ducks and other water fowl at
the eastern ponds. There were certainly plenty of black kites etc
hanging around town. The main birds of interest though, were a large
flock of little black cormorants [~300] fishing in a pack, and a
wheeling mixed cloud of great and lesser frigatebirds. As people have
previously noted on BOz, you get mixed flocks of frigatebirds drifting
There are lots of mudflats around Weipa, so presumably, plenty of scope
for wader watching. I got the impression there is only one tidal cycle
per day in the Gulf of Carpentaria, so there is plenty of time at
Photographically, the highlight in Weipa was photographing the sunset
over the inlet from the beach beside the caravan park - an eastern
curlew and a mangrove bittern were also out admiring the twilight air.
On the way out of Weipa, the highlight was a spotted harrier wandering
along the road corridor. As harriers are wont to do, it would glide
for a hundred metres before perching, and then relaunching. As it was
on the other side of the road, I was able to get quite a few shots of
it from the car "hide".
From Weipa, it was pretty much a case of driving across to the Iron
Range, with a diversion to the Archer River to refuel.
To be continued.
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