Dear Tania and interested Birding-Ausers,
Ro and I went to Cairns and then Cooktown last weekend.
As Frank has said, the roads are open and the driving is very easy for a
2WD car as it is bitumen all the way. It was, however, quite difficult to
get accurate and detailed information about the roads after the flooding.
I tried the Cooktown contact last week, but found the comments by the
husband quite unhelpful. The best information came from the RACQ web site
and from the Mount Carbine roadhouse. Unless it rains heavily again, the
roads will be fine.
After we arrived just after lunch, we saw the gull on Saturday afternoon
after some searching. It was roosting on a distant sandbank in the middle
of the estuary. It was pretty easy to pick as it is very large compared
to the other birds. It stayed there for the afternoon as the tide was
dropping. Apparently, it does come into the wharf area reliably and
roosts on the posts or on the wharfs. I think this is because the local
kiosk person feeds it in the morning about 9. So, we saw it very close on
Sunday morning just in front of the kiosk. Many of the locals are aware
of the gull and its unusualness and are quite helpful.
We left on Sunday and headed back to Cairns. By the way, there is comment
locally that this is the second year that the gull has been in Cooktown as
someone up there (not a birder) has observed that they saw it early last
For those contemplating birding in other prime FNQ biding sites, the road
to Mount Lewis is currently blocked quite low down. There are quite a few
trees over the road after the heavy rain and it will take some time for
them to be cleared, I would expect.
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