Along with Alan Morris and my brother Rob, I’ve just returned from a very
productive trip to FNQ. Rob and Alan drove up and are returning via Mt Isa. No
doubt Alan will post a more detailed report when he returns.
I saw 197 species including 3 lifers.
Musgrave: Golden-shouldered Parrot and Black-backed Butcherbird.
These birds were the main reason for the trip and we engaged Klaus from Kirrama
Tours to drive us to Musgrave. This nearly proved a disaster when Klaus’ van
broke a timing belt 2 km short of Musgrave. However, Klaus’s organisational
skills swung into action. A tow into Musgrave was quickly arranged by Sat
phone; he borrowed a Toyota and we saw the parrot as per schedule. Ron Stannard
from Kingfisher Park arrived 7.30 am (after a 4 hour drive) so we still had
time to check the Red Goshawk nests (no luck) and Lotus bird Lodge. Lotus bird
has just reopened and the set up looks fantastic. Klaus’s van was returned via
road train and we were back at Kingfisher by 5.00 pm. Talk about service.
Kingfisher Park: Lesser Sooty Owl
It’s always a pleasure to return to Kingfisher. Ron Stannard is always
welcoming and the birds are unbelievable. The Macleays’, Blue-Faced, Graceful
and Yellow-spotted Honeyeaters always put on a show at the feeders. Other good
birds were Wompoo Pigeon, Emerald Dove, and Orange-footed Scrub Fowl,
Spectacled Monarch and much more.
However, the target bird was the Lesser Sooty Owl. After an hour or so at
various locations, lo and behold, there was a very small dark owl perched in
the lower branches of a tree with a large rat in its beak. We got tremendous
views and eventually it disappeared into a nest hole. This means that the
Lesser Sooty Owl will be twitchable. As a bonus an Lesser Sooty flew over our
heads in Kingfisher itself and gave the falling bomb call
Yungaburra: Barred Cuckoo-shrike and Double-eyed Fig Parrot
The Crater: Golden Bowerbird, Victoria’s Riflebird, Grey-headed Robin,
Mt Lewis: Mountain Thornbill Bridled Honeyeater, Chowchilla
Hurricane Rd: Black-throated Finch
Mossman: Red-backed Button-quail.
We had dinner with Del Richards from Fine Feather Tours and Lloyd Nielson
(Birds of Queensland’s Wet Tropics) at the Mount Malloy Hotel. Both Del and
Lloyd dazzled us with their extensive knowledge of birds. Del was kind enough
to offer to show us the RBBQ. After traipsing through knee deep grass between
cane fields for an hour, we managed to flush 4 and got reasonable views of 2 of
Mossman River: 5 species of Kingfisher including Little and Collared,
We spent three hours on the Mossman River with Peter Cooper from Mangrove Man
Tours. We saw 52 species in three hours. You got the impression that Peter does
the trip just to show you the birds and the money is just a bonus.
Michaelmas Cay: Black-naped, Sooty and Roseate Terns, Common Noddy.
I went out on Sea Star 11.The skipper; Peter took me down one end of the island
in the Zodiac where I saw the Black-naped Terns and Roseate Terns. The Roseates
were in breeding plumage (beautiful). The Sooty Terns and Common Noddies had
chicks everywhere. It was an amazing sight.
I will never tire of birding FNQ. Kingfisher Park is one of my favourite
places. A big thanks the Ron, Klaus, Del, Peter and Lloyd for all their help
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