TORRES STRAIT TRIP REPORT APRIL 2012 part 2 (Final)
Species numbers were similar to previous years except for a few notable
absences. We only had one possible sighting of Red-headed Honeyeater and did
not see a single lorikeet in three days. Despite searching we also failed to
see Collared Imperial Pigeon or any fruit doves. A pleasant surprise was the
high number of breeding plumaged waders along the foreshore and very close to
the town's main road. Over three days we had Curlew Sandpiper, Red Knot,
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Lesser Sand Plover and Red-necked Stint in full
breeding plumage...a spectacular sight.
Our trip down the Boigu River produced views of three Little Kingfisher, Varied
Triller, Varied Honeyeater and Brown-backed Honeyeater as well as Crocodile and
Our flight to Saibai was over in 20min. We eventually settled into our
accommodation and set about exploring the nearby area. My first job was to
find one of the locals and put in an order for the biggest Barra he could catch
in the next two days. Two days later he arrived at our front door with two big
Barramundi, one of which was big enough to feed our entire group.
As we taxied along the runway earlier in the afternoon, Geoff thought he saw
two snipe stick their heads up from the grass on the runway verge. Our first
walk was to the far side of the runway to search for these possible snipe.
Considering the time of year and location we thought Swinhoe's was a
possibility and after an hour or so and some muddy shoes we located four snipe
tucked away in the long grass near the boundary fence. The first three flushed
showing no feet extending beyond the tail, then a few seconds later the final
bird decided to go, showing feet clearly projecting beyond the tail in flight.
Conclusive flight photos taken by Brian clinched our fifth rarity of the
Over the following four days we again birded close to town. Like Boigu, the
interior of Saibai was a vast floodplain and virtually inaccessible. The few
short walks we did do into the wetlands revealed Brolga, Zitting Cisticola,
Pheasant Coucal, Brown Goshawk A.f.dogwa and 'Siberian' Whimbrel.
On our second day we caught the ferry to Dauan, which is a tall granite boulder
strewn island next door to Saibai and also the most northerly point of the
Great Dividing Range. We we greeted by a very vocal Eclectus Parrot (PNG race
polychloros) flying along the northern coast as well as flocks of Torresion
Imperial Pigeons descending on the fruit trees covering the hillside. We saw
our first Emerald Dove of the trip as well as Mangrove Golden Whistler and
Despite a week of scanning the skies we did not see a single Collared Imperial
Pigeon, which was the first time in six trips that we've missed it. At the end
of the week we had recorded over one hundred species and visited every
accessible part of the islands. Since returning I've decided to do the next
few trips staying on Boigu and then using the live aboard boat for Saibai and
Dauan as well as for Ugar and Darnley on the longer trips.
I'm hoping to have this trip report with photos on our website in the next
couple of days.
Birding Tours Australia
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