I recently returned from a whirlwind trip through the Channel Country and Gulf
of Carpentaria during which I covered 2000km in 8 days (excl flights from
The second-last day spent at Lawn Hill Gorge was one of the best birding days
I've ever had.
The weather was mercifully mild and I virtually had the place to myself as the
Big Wet had just officially started.
I picked up 12 lifers* in all, starting with a Silver-Crowned Friarbird*
drinking from a puddle beside the road from Gregory Downs near Century Mines.
A nature stop a little later revealed Long-tailed Finches* and Grey-Fronted*
HEs right in front of me.
At Adels Grove a Great Bowerbird* and White-throated HE swooped in to drink
from the dripping tap by my swag.
Just outside the Lawn Hill Gorge NP gate there were Little Woodswallows* galore
to complete the set and Rufous-throated HEs* in a creekbed.
I picked up Buff-sided Robin* (an easy get granted, among others here) in the
campground and then canoed to the far end of the gorge, picking up Crimson
Finches* and Purple-crowned Wrens* along the way, and lunched on a small beach
where where a couple of springs feed into it.
It was absolutely buzzing. At one stage I had 3 lifers in one bush and 4
species of finch (Chestnut-breasted, Long-tailed, Double-bar and Crimson) in
two bushes side by side.
There I also got White-gaped*, Yellow-tinted* and Banded* HEs. At the cascades
I got a good look at a northern fantail.
While cooking (then burning) breakfast the next day I flushed a Black Bittern*
at Adels Grove and later after the smoke had cleared was able to photograph it.
I've posted some pix from my trip on pbase gallery. I'm not 100% sure of the
IDs of the last two - a poss imm. Bifcus and poss Grey-headed HSE. Any help
The trip had started promising at Mt Isa at Mica Creek on a scorcher of a day
where I saw a Black-tailed Treecreeper* straight up and had two Kalkadoon
Grasswrens* show within 20 minutes (sorry!) after I had persuaded a nice couple
out for a 4WD joyride to come back a little later.
found the GWs in the grassy embankment above the little raised rocky track
along the right-hand side of the creekbed after hearing their wren-like zit-zit
That night I made it down to Boulia and had a possible Letter-winged Kite
hovering low by the side of the road but couldn't relocate it with the spottie
once I'd stopped.
he next morning at the waterholes just along the Donohue Hwy I found the first
of many Aust Pratincoles plus Spinifex Pigeons, Diamond Doves* and a
camped for a couple of days by a waterhole 70km south Boulia where it was hot
and starting to dry off rapidly and as a result fairly quiet for birds but
sadly not flies.
he highlights there were an Owlet Nightjar, numerous Night Herons, Brolgas, a
Sacred KF nest right beside our camp and almost treading on a pair of Brown
Quails with large brood of chicks.
On the way north to the Gulf I saw Varied Lorikeets*, Blue-winged Kookaburras*
and Ringnecks in Cloncurry, Oriental Cuckoos north of 3 Ways and Sarus Cranes*
and Bustards near the Leichhardt River.
On a desperate last day after a hairy 6hr drive back to Mt Isa I trekked to
Warrigal Waterhole in fading light in the hope of seeing Painted Finches. The
road was as bad if not worse as advised on BA and I had to abandon my ute less
than 1km up the track.
las the creek and falls weren't running - must be some sight when they are -
and I dipped out.
But after 19 lifers in 8 days, I'm not complaining.
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