1. Consider taking a hinterland route via Mareeba and Julatten instead of the
coast. There are lots of good birding places inland. You can find out the
birding spots in two books currently in print "The Complete Guide to Finding
the BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA" and "Finding Australian Birds" both published by CSIRO
and possibly available in your local library.
2. Visit Mareeba Wetlands. http://www.mareebawetlands.org/ I would telephone
them first because they offer flexible options which are not completely obvious
from the website. In 2015 I stayed 2 nights in a canvas cabin and they gave me
a 4wd tour of the property starting pre-dawn. All meals were provided with a
sense of occasion too. It is not cheap but it was very special. If time or
cost is limited it is worth considering a day visit, you can do self-guided
walks or a boat trip on the lake to see the many water birds.
3. For Daintree River the first and last boat trips each day are by far the
best for birds. Several different operators go throughout the day from a spot
that you can't miss on the way to the Cape Trib ferry. BUT .... my
recommendation is to detour into Daintree Village itself and look for a birding
specialist. There are agents in the village or you can ask in the pub, but
actually I found that just walking around wearing binoculars attracted the
guides to me!
4. Another good way to cover this area is to just base yourself in a
self-catering place in Port Douglas. You can get to all the other places as
day trips and maybe do a reef trip too. It is a lot of driving but you are not
wasting time checking in and out of hotels and restaurants at prime birding
time every day. Port Douglas has a wide range of accommodation, travel
information, supermarkets, and so on, all much closer together than Cairns.
5. For reef trips I recommend Wavelength https://www.wavelength.com.au/ out of
Port Douglas It is primarily fish and mammals rather than birds, but another
experience-of-a-lifetime for me. I have done that twice with family visiting
from overseas, in 2007 and 2015, and we still talk about it.
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1. Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report, January 14th 2018 (Paul Brooks)
2. cairns/cape trib advice (Jason Polak)
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2018 16:03:10 +1100
From: Paul Brooks <>
To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report, January 14th
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8"
Eaglehawk Pelagic Trip Report - January 14th, 2018
Ruth Brozek, Martin Cake, Karen Dick, Darryl Eggins, Mona
Loofs-Samorzewski, Bruce Richardson, Robert Shore, Nicole Sommer, Ashley
Thomson, Els Wakefield and Paul Brooks (organiser and report compiler)
The Pauletta, skippered by John Males, with deckhand Hugh Smith.
There was an out-of-season weather event in the days leading up to the trip
which saw below average temperatures, thunderstorms and falls of snow and
hail over parts of Tasmania. Winds were still strong and from the south
for the trip and the birds were up and about. We were exhilarated to
record Australia?s second or third occurrence of Juan Fernandez Petrel and
were not even sure of the species until we went to the books. We also had
4 Black-bellied Storm Petrel, a Flesh-footed Shearwater (an uncommon bird
in Tasmania) and average views of a Little-type Shearwater, along with
triple figures of storm petrels in the slick and dozens of albatross.
Left port at 0715 hrs and headed straight down to the Hippolytes. After
cruising by the northern side to photograph the gannet colony, we headed
south-east to the shelf-break, pulling up over 255 fathoms at 0920 hrs to
berley. We drifted a long way west and north, out to 600 fathoms, before
heading back to port at 1250 hrs to dock at around 1450 hrs.
Skies were overcast and conditions calm in Pirates Bay when we departed but
the wind picked up as we rounded the heads and seas were around 1 metre on
a 1 metre swell. Offshore, the south-westerly got up to 15-20 knots with 2
m seas on a 1.5 m swell, making for a choppy ride with some spray. Out
wide the south-westerly was 20-25 knots, occasionally reaching 30 knots,
with some waves to 3 m. Viewing conditions were variable; mainly cloudy to
varying degrees with occasional bright sunshine. As we got into offshore
waters on the way back to port, the wind dropped back to 10-15 knots. Water
temperature was 17.3 deg C out wide, rising to 17.8 deg C out wide,
apparently nearly 1 deg C cooler than the day before. One mildly seasick.
Short-beaked Common Dolphin: c. 20 (c. 20) Inshore in the morning.
Australian/New Zealand Fur Seal: 9 (4) On Cheverton Rock and the Hippolytes.
Shortfin Mako Shark: 3 (1) All pelagic.
Birds (IOC v 7.3 ? max at one time in brackets):
Wilson?s Storm Petrel: c. 20 (10) Pelagic.
Grey-backed Storm Petrel: c. 12 (5) Pelagic.
White-faced Storm Petrel: c. 180 (c. 140) Mainly pelagic with a single bird
over 55 fathoms in the afternoon.
BLACK-BELLIED STORM PETREL: 4 (1) All pelagic. Separated on extent and
pattern of black plumage in belly (from photographs).
Wandering Albatross: 1 A second year immature in pelagic waters.
Antipodean Albatross: 10 (2) All *gibsoni*. 5 adult males, 2 probable
adult females, 2 probable immature/adult females and a probable immature
male. 1 adult female offshore in the morning, remainder pelagic with a
couple of birds following us in to around 70 fathoms in the afternoon.
Southern Royal Albatross: 6 (2) All pelagic. 1 adult, 2 immatures and 3
Royal-type Albatross: 1 A bird photographed by Robert Shore but not noted
otherwise showed extensive carpal marks on the underwing, suggestive of
Northern Royal Albatross.
Black-browed type Albatross: 2 (1) 1 immature offshore in the morning; 1
Shy Albatross: c. 80 (c. 40) 1 inshore in the morning; 9 offshore in the
morning; remainder pelagic.
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1 pelagic.
Buller?s Albatross: 3 (1) 2 pelagic, 1 joined us offshore in the afternoon
as we headed for port.
Northern Giant Petrel: 2 (2) Both immatures in pelagic waters.
Fairy Prion: c. 20 (7) 6 offshore in the morning, remainder pelagic.
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 2 (1) Both gave brief fly-bys in pelagic waters.
PROVIDENCE PETREL: 2 (1) Both gave brief fly-bys in pelagic waters.
JUAN FERNANDEZ PETREL: 1 Gave two brief but close passes in pelagic waters.
Initially called as a White-necked Petrel on jizz but lack of white collar
quickly noted; small, dark carpal marks in underwing noted
material was required to ascertain the species as nobody on board had any
prior experience with the bird. First record for Tasmania and first
photographic record for Australia. BARC submission in preparation.
White-chinned Petrel: 12 (12) All pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 5 (3) All pelagic.
Short-tailed Shearwater: c. 4,000 (c. 500) c. 300 north of the Hippolytes
in the morning; c. 1,200 offshore in the morning; c. 900 pelagic; remainder
offshore in the afternoon.
FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER: 1 Appeared at the stern and foraged in the slick
for a short time before flying away.
Fluttering Shearwater: 1 Offshore in the morning.
Hutton?s Shearwater: 3 (1) 1 offshore in the morning; 1 pelagic; 1 offshore
in the afternoon.
Fluttering-type Shearwater: 4 (1) 2 inshore in the morning; 2 pelagic.
LITTLE-Type SHEARWATER: 1 Flew by the boat at distance not long after we
passed the Hippolytes. Not seen well enough to rule out Sub-Antarctic
Shearwater but a very poor photo suggests the bird had a white face, which
would favour Little Shearwater.
Black-faced Cormorant: c. 210 (c. 150) c. 210 inshore and on the Hippolytes
in the morning.
Australasian Gannet: c. 45 (c. 35) c. 45 inshore and on the Hippolytes in
the morning. No nesting activity noted at the top colony.
Silver Gull: c. 95 (c. 80) c. 95 inshore and on The Hippolytes in the
morning; 1 offshore in the morning; 1 offshore in the afternoon.
Pacific Gull: 3 (2) 2 adults on a rock shelf outside Pirates Bay in the
morning and an adult on the Hippolytes in the morning.
Kelp Gull: c. 150 (c. 60) c. 150 inshore and on the Hippolytes in the
Greater Crested Tern: 4 (3) 4 inshore in the morning.
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:40:46 +1100
From: Jason Polak <>
Subject: cairns/cape trib advice
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
We are going to take a trip up to Cairns in March for a week for
birding. Our idea is to cover the distance between Cairns and Cape
I was hoping to solicit comments on our rough itinerary. It goes like this:
Cairns 2-3 nights, for Esplanade and botanical garden
Somewhere in between Cairns and Cape Tribulation: 1-2 nights, possibly
Cape Tribulation: 3 nights
We have already been to Darwin/Kakadu, and seen the most common species
Some more particulars:
1. We want to take a Daintree river cruise - any recommendations? We
have not seen: Little Kingfisher, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher,
Collared Kingfisher, Great-billed Heron
2. Some other species we are after: Papuan frogmouth, all the fruit
doves, catbird, riflebird, the highly local honeyeaters, double-eyed
fig-parrot, scaly-breasted lorikeet
3. We're hoping to see some shorebirds at the esplanade, though we
realize it's near the end of the shorebird season.
4. We are thinking of walking around at night for spotlighting...
If anyone has any tips or ideas on our rough itinerary, like must-see
areas or a really great place to stop by between Cairns or Cape
Tribulation, we'd be most obliged.
Background: this is a particular special trip for us, which will
probably be our last trip in Australia for a while as I'm on a contract
position here at the University of Melbourne which ends this June. After
which we will probably head back to North America. We have 255 Aussie
birds on our list so far and it's been really memorable and an
unforgettable experience to find them.
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