We've just completed the 1st leg of our North Qld trip which we started in
early June. The first part of the trip was basically straight north up through
Dalby, Roma, Carnarvon Gorge, Emerald, Clermont, Charters Towers & west to
Julia Creek. From here, we headed northwest into the Gulf country where we
spent approx. 5 weeks zigzagging our way from Karumba to the Qld/NT border and
back again. With visits to Normanton, Burketown, Adels Grove,
Lawn Hill N.P., Kingfisher Camp, Hells Gate and all parts in between, we
managed to pick up all the local mangrove/riverine species - M. Golden
Whistler, M. Grey Fantail, M. Robin, White-breasted Whistler, Arafura Fantail,
M. Gerygone, Yellow White-eye, Great-billed Heron, Black-necked Stork &
Red-headed Honeyeater. The Purple-crowned Fairy-Wren was common around Adels &
Lawn Hill with the males still fully coloured. We also found them at Kingfisher
Camp & Escott Crossing near Burketown - both being on the Nicholson River. At
Karumba, after 3 days of careful observation, we were finally able to
differentiate between the 2 Cisticolas.
Another 2 weeks went by as we explored from Normanton to Ravenshoe - staying at
Croydon, Georgetown & Mount Surprise. From Georgetown, we also saw a lot of
Forsyth & Cobbold Gorge. Just north of Forsyth was good for Black-throated
Finch (r: atropygialis), Squatter Pigeon and (Black) Brown Treecreepers.
The last 5 weeks have been around most of the Atherton Tableland, Cairns, Wonga
Beach and the famous Kingfisher Park. All 12 endemics were seen well with the
highlight being a male Golden Bowerbird giving us spectacular views for about
20 minutes in the carpark area at Mt Hypipamee. Around Daintree, we found the
Lovely Fairy-wren - the female of which has to be one of the most beautiful
birds around. Many of the distinct subspecies of the area have also been seen
but we've dipped so far on Lesser Sooty Owl. In the last week at/near
Kingfisher Park, we've been lucky to see a flock of Blue-faced Parrot-finches
(twice), 2 Chestnut-breasted Cuckoos & excellent views of a male Superb
Fruit-dove calling / prancing / displaying well enough for the female to appear
and mating to occur.
All in all, we've found 14 "lifers" amongst the 302 species seen so far. We hit
the road again later this month with Cooktown and all of Cape York ahead during
the whole of October.
If anyone wants more info., please feel free to contact us directly.
Brian & Meg Johnson
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