Trip report - Darwin in the wet

To: "" <>
Subject: Trip report - Darwin in the wet
From: Maris Lauva <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:33:55 +0000
Except it wasn't all that wet. We had just a couple of light showers apart from 
a bucketing on the Arnhem Highway. Very hot and steamy of course.

It seems a lot of birds make themselves scarce at this time of year. We saw 2 
Radjah Shelduck up a tree but no other ducks at all. Honeyeaters were down in 
numbers and diversity from July. Only Browns, Friarbirds and Rufous banded in 
any numbers, a few White-chinned and White-gaped. Little Friarbirds abounded 
and a few Silver-crowned. Lots of Forest Kingfishers, Flycatchers and Bee 
Eaters. We had been hoping for Pratincoles and Little Curlew but they disperse 
to the floodplains once it rains and we saw none. Pheasant Coucals presented 
themselves and were apparently in numbers.

Even though numbers of species and individual birds were down from Winter we 
saw many good birds but we did have to work for them. Rainbow Pitta, Pheasant 
Coucal, Rose-crowned Fruit-dove, Black Butcherbird, Beach Stone Curlew and Koel 
were birds I was very glad to get. Sites that had been prolific in July yielded 
little.  Holmes Jungle was half flooded and birdless. Howard Springs was very 
quiet. We heard  a few Pitas there but saw none. Various lagoons had little on 
them apart from hordes of Magpie Geese. Chestnut Rail once again refused to 
come out to play, although it teased us with a few calls.

We found the best sites were along the coast and the adjacent mangroves. Lee 
Point, Casuarina Coastal Reserve and Buffalo Creek were good, (as was Fogg 
Dam.) Shorebirds were only seen in dribs and drabs until we saw a high tide 
roost at Lee Point on the 13th Jan with thousands of birds, many of them Great 

Biggest issue for us was heat and humidity. Made walking any distance a trial. 
This was exacerbated by the presence of a soil borne deadly bacteria prevalent 
in mud at the Top End in the wet. Hoped for sandals were replaced with shoes 
and socks. Bities were defeated by DEET, no doubt to the long term detriment of 
our health.

In all we saw around 100 species in 8 days. A big unexpected bonus was a 
vagrant northern Hemisphere gull (Tentatively a Caspian Gull). Many thanks to 
local Peter Kyne who took some time to chat to us and suggest a few locations 
for us to search, which we successfully did.

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