New Years Day Birding

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Subject: New Years Day Birding
From: "Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge" <>
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 15:40:11 +1000
Hi Folks,
Traditionally we have done a birdathon on New Years Day when we were based in Darwin then in Cairns - this was the first one at our new base up at Julatten in Far North Queensland. This year we had 3 on the team, myself and Fred van Gessel plus Lindsay for half a day. Starting at 6.30am with a morning walk around the lodge and surrounds we clocked up 56 species before breakfast. The best being Oriental Cuckoo, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and Yellow-breasted Boatbill. After a leisurely breakfast it was off to Mt. Lewis where we saw Pied Monarchs building a nest, Chowchillas being followed around by Yellow-throated Scrubwrens and Fernwrens, Atherton Scrubwren and very vocal Mountain Thornbills. Blue-faced Parrot-Finches were absent and have been difficult to see after about 6.30am and even then only 2-3 birds. A Grey Goshawk flew across the track on the way down and a surprise was a Wedge-tailed Eagle over Julatten, they are quite rare north of Mareeba. Following lunch we headed north into the dry country towards Mt. Carbine Dam, picking up Rufous Owl and Australian Bustard before reaching the dam. Plenty of water in the dam with lots of waterfowl, the majority Eurasian Coots but others included 12+ Freckled Duck, 2 Pink-eared Duck, an adult and a juvenile Brolga, 10 + Great Crested Grebe including 2 juveniles, a Common Sandpiper and all 4 cormorant species. Then south to Lake Mitchell where the water level is very low and birds difficult to see without a scope, we were disappointed as the hoped for waders were not visible apart from Black-winged Stilt and a lone Common Greenshank. We dipped out badly on the normally reliable Great Bowerbirds in Mt. Molloy, so returned to the lodge just before dark and found a Brush Turkey, which had eluded us all day. An hours spotlighting found Masked Owl with both the Barn and Lesser Sooty Owl only heard. So we ended up with 156 species, close to our best tally of 160 species for 2002 New Year's day that Sean mentions in "The Big Twitch". This we thought was not bad as we did not include the Cairns Esplanade as we normally do, here we could have probably added another 20 species to our tally.
It was a pretty laid back fun New Years day and an excuse to check out the area.
Happy and successful birding to all in 2006.
Keith & Lindsay.
Keith & Lindsay Fisher
Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge
RN 6 Mt. Kooyong Road
Julatten QLD 4871
Ph: (07) 4094 1263
Fax (07) 4094 1466
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