Trip report Wongaling Beach, NQ

To: "Bob & Sadhna Cook" <>, "Michael Szwarcbord" <>, "Sue Marsden" <>, "Mark & Lan Vaney" <>, "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Trip report Wongaling Beach, NQ
From: "Dam Lamb" <>
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 2004 21:15:48 +1000
Had the good fortune to spend 8 days in a wonderful beach-front house at Wongaling Beach in late August with dear friends from Adelaide having their first NQ experience. Although not a birding trip I nevertheless managed to get a fair bit of good quality birding during both excursions and "rest days".
We stayed at the southern end of Wongaling Beach, just before South Mission Beach ( 24km E of Tully), with views across to Dunk Island, a little tidal creek in front, and some remnant lowland rainforest behind. Had a dawn chorus of Mangrove Gerygone and Black Butcherbird most mornings, and both Forest and Collared Kingfisher appeared daily in a coastal causarina, along with a White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike. A Yellow-bellied Sunbird was spotted nest-building in a shrub next door. Pleased to find a Beach Stone-curlew unconcernedly walking the water's edge one morning, and also saw a pair when walking the Edmund Kennedy walk towards Tam O'Shanter Point. A small flock of White-rumped Swiftlet  were seen one day heading out to Dunk Is.Early morning walks in and around the rainforest patch brought forth a pair of Double-eyed Fig-parrot, Orange-footed Scrubfowl and Victoria's Riflebird. A Common Sandpiper put in an appearance on the banks of the creek, and Eastern Reef Egret were also seen on the beach.The only honeyeater seen was Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, but Leaden Flycatcher, Figbird ,Yellow Oriole and Varied Triller were regularly and easily seen. A total of 47 species in the week within a 500m radius of the house.
   A trip to Yamcutta Reef and home via Taylor Cay did not produce many species, but there were 50+ Brown Booby on the cay ,preparing to breed according to the skipper (he also informed me that the tern were Black-naped but I couldn't get close enough views-- damn, a missed tick).
   Very lucky with the Cassowary, saw one twice whilst driving towards Tully, the second time within four metres of the car for an extended time.
 A day trip to Dunk Island, an an energetic walk up to the mountain lookout, got 24 species, best being Emerald Dove and Metallic Starling. A day trip to the Atherton Tableland was cram-packed with touristy and birdy action.We managed to get about 55 species with the highlights for birders and non-birders alike being 50+ Sarus Crane in a harvested cane paddock between Atherton and Malanda ( ?the same who use the night roost at Yungaburra reported recently by Alan Gillanders) ,and the wonderful Hasties Swamp where we saw a White-bellied Sea-Eagle take a waterfowl and then rip it to bits.As usual , hundreds of Plumed Whistling Duck were the centrpiece of a wonderful birding experience.We got Great Crested Grebe  at Lake Barrine , along with Chowchilla .Only paid a cursory visit to the Cairns Esplanade on the way to the airport but was rewarded with my only tick of the trip, a Varied Honeyeater ( yes, I know they're easy, but I've managed to miss them on three previous trips!). Nutmeg Manniken and Black-fronted Dotterel at Cairns Airport finished a great weeks holiday.
Russ Lamb, Maleny, SEQ
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