Cairns, Mt Isa, Karumba trip report (Part 2 of 2)

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Cairns, Mt Isa, Karumba trip report (Part 2 of 2)
From: Carl Billingham <>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 21:27:22 -0700 (PDT)
Atherton Tablelands
A quick stop at Mt Hypipamee/ Crater Lake NP yielded Atherton Scrubwren, 
Grey-headed Robin, Large-billed Scrubwren, White-rumped Swiftlet, and Brown 
Gerygone before we headed on to catch up with Sue and Phil Gregory at Cassowary 
House.  Along the way we found a freshly killed Masked Owl on the side of the 
road (S16 55.914 E145 32.771).  The size of its talons was certainly 
impressive.  We presented the carcass as a trophy to Phil and Sue, although 
their dogs also showed quite a bit of interest as well! 
Sitting on their back deck we saw Spotted Catbird, Victoria?s Riflebird, Black 
Butcherbird, Lewin?s, Yellow-spotted, Graceful and Macleay?s Honeyeaters, 
Silver-eye (with large eye ring), Orange-footed Scrub-fowl, Emerald Dove, Musky 
Rat-kangaroos, and Bush Rats along with the occasional Cassowary or two just to 
break up the monotony. 
A walk down the road afterwards yielded Double-eyed Fig-parrots, Scrubfowl, 
Pale-yellow Robin, Little (Rufous) Shrike-thrush, Spectacled and Pied Monarch 
and Yellow-breasted Boatbill.
The next morning we saw Lovely Fairy-wren (the last Fairy-wren species on my 
list!), White-browed Robin, Scarlet Honeyeaters, Bridled Honeyeater, Fairy 
Gerygone, a pair of Rufous Owls hiding in some low trees beside a creek and 
great views of Fig Parrots in Kuranda.  
Julatten/Daintree area
We drove on to Julatten and Kingfisher Park .  A quick trip up Mt Lewis yielded 
Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Mountain Thornbill, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Fernwren 
(heard), Yellow-throated Scrub-wren but no Golden Bowerbirds or Blue-faced 
We then headed back to Kingfisher Park for Carl to stake out the local pond for 
Red-necked Crake (unsuccessfully) and for me to sit around in the car at the 
local hot spot for Masked Owl, hopefully we would see a live one this time.  
Sure enough at dusk we heard about three Masked Owls calling from different 
trees around the valley.  The one that we had staked out flew to a nearby tree 
just on dusk and we got good views of it screaming down at us.  Little did we 
know that it would continue to call in the trees over our tent site for much of 
the remainder of the night.  This was the last of the nocturnal raptors I had 
on my list to see in Australia .
The next morning having been given a tip off for a possible location for 
Blue-faced Parrot-finches we went to a spot which had yielded them for some 
other birders a couple of years previously but had not been confirmed since 
then.  It didn?t take us long to find at least four parties of them feeding in 
the long grass on small black berry like fruit.  It appears based on this that 
rather than just disappearing during the cooler months from Mt Lewis as some 
people have indicated they in fact just move down to lower altitudes.
Other birds seen included Azure Kingfisher, White-headed Pigeon, 
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, Brown Cuckoo-dove, Brown Quail and Grey Goshawk.
Ron Stannard was able to show us a Bassian Thrush (race cuneata) in his 
backyard which is apparently well below their usual altitudinal range, alas, 
Carl dipped out on his Red-necked Crake again, along with two Noisy Pitta?s and 
the northern race of the Satin Bowerbird (Jeez Carl, where were you looking ? 
they were behind you!!!).
After this we headed up to Newell Beach in the vague hope of spotting some 
vagrant Swallows but there was a strong on-shore breeze which made it very 
difficult to get our binoculars on to anything that whizzed past us at high 
Turning around we headed back down to Cairns and a quick stop off at the 
Esplanade to scan for over-wintering waders (Bar-tailed Godwits, Whimbrel and 
Red-necked Stint) and where I finally confirmed a suspected sighting of a 
Varied Honeyeater from years before (I was sure I had seen them previously but 
had no record of it in my notes).  We then went to the Mangrove boardwalk near 
the airport which yielded Yellow-bellied Sunbirds before checking in for our 
respective flights back home.
All up we saw about 300 species for the trip, Carl got 39 lifers and I managed 
15, along with 22 new sub-species ? a most satisfying trip for both of us 
through some amazing scenery
Carl Billingham
Taringa, Brisbane

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