Iron Range

Subject: Iron Range
From: Patrick Scully <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2019 10:31:57 +1300
Hi Harry,
You will most likely get lots of replies and suggestions where to find birds 
from other birders but here are a few of my tips.

I have had 3 trips to Iron Range, the first was with my wife in August 2009 as 
pretty inexperienced birders. We dipped on most of the endemic species but we 
had brilliant views of Eclectus Parrots and long distance views of Trumpet 
Manucode which was calling a great deal. My wife had a very close view of the 
Magnificent Riflebird. My second trip was a fly in fly out trip in December of 
2012, with now retired, extraordinary guide, Klaus Uhlenhut. We found every 
endemic species except for Trumpet Manucode and the the Yellow legged 
Flycatcher. My third trip was with a friend, Ken Haines, in September 2017. Ken 
and I hired our 4 wheel drive from Campersoz at 119 Bunda Street, Cairns. Phone 
0740417474. We found them to have a good price and you can hire camping 
equipment and a car fridge with the vehicle too. Make sure you carefully 
inspect the windscreen for any chips, before you drive off and take photos with 
your phone too.

My first point, is that birding in Iron Range is hard. It was hard on all 3 
trips, even with Klaus. Playback most likely won’t work with most species. The 
trick is to study the bird calls, which will be on your app and when you hear 
the calls, look for the birds and wait. You may have to wait quite a bit. This 
worked for Ken and I, when we heard a Trumpet Manucode calling at Gordon River 
and it landed in a fruiting tree. We had phenomenal views of 2 birds, and they 
were joined by a Wompoo Fruit-Dove and a female Magnificent Riflebird.

My second point would be if possible to camp in the rainforest. On all three 
trips, I’ve stayed at Portland Roads. It’s a lovely place but a very long drive 
to the rainforest. If you have 4 nights, I would suggest 2 camping and 2 at the 
Lockhart airport cabins. The cabins are excellent and from there, it’s a close 
drive to the rainforest.

Another point, I would make is do not buy fuel at Archer River Roadhouse. The 
prices are daylight robbery. Don’t be afraid of driving into the Lockhart 
Aboriginal community. The price of fuel was the same or cheaper than at 
Musgrave Roadhouse. And it means you can drive around Iron Range without 
worrying about your fuel.

A great thing to see is the clouds of Metallic Starling, that fly from the 
rainforest back to off shore islands to roost, at dusk from Chilli Beach. On 
the road back, where is quite exposed, without trees, it is easy to find Large- 
tailed Nightjar, at night.

Good luck with your trip and if want more information please email me directly.
Patrick Scully 
Sent from my iPhone

> On 15 Jan 2019, at 6:00 am,  wrote:
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>   1. RFI: Trip to Cairns - Iron Range (Harry Nystr?m)
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> Message: 1
> Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2019 21:06:42 +0200
> From: Harry Nystr?m <>
> To: Birding-Aus <>
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] RFI: Trip to Cairns - Iron Range
> Message-ID:
>    <CACautd_rOrODgYffoJ8pyWG2Nuth8kGix=>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Hello,
> We are planning a part Finnish, part Aussie birding trip to Cairns and its
> surroundings and Iron Range in October-November 2019. The plan is to spend
> the first week in Cairns and its surroundings and the second week in Iron
> Range (most likely 4 nights on the spot), so 2 weeks altogether without
> intercontinental travels. This is not a guided tour, but a birding trip "on
> a budget", and with friends we have gathered over the years.
> I have tried to gather good info on many things related to locations and
> birds, but experience is something I cannot achieve online. Thus, there are
> a few things that I would like to ask you for your expertise on - if it's
> not too much of trouble:
> 1. Car rental? Most likely would be wisest to hire 2 different cars: one
> for Cairns and surroundings, and another for Iron Range. Which 4WD rentals
> would you recommend? The prices seem steep, and the conditions excessive,
> at least in some companies. There would be 4 birders in one car, max, so
> probably the smallest SUV wouldn't be enough. I think that in
> October-November the roads should still be fine?
> 2. Accommodation in Cairns and surroundings for birders? The limited
> options in Iron Range are most likely already known.
> 3. Timing? The original plan was to aim the arrival to early October, but
> we are considering whether it would add a significant amount of birds to
> delay it even to early November? My original inquiries indicated that the
> difference wouldn't be significant, but another opinion wouldn't hurt. At
> least the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher arrives earliest in November.
> And would the 4 nights in Iron Range be enough for most target species? We
> really need to lock the dates soon, so this is crucial.
> 4. Best locations for Palm Cockatoos and Southern Cassowarys are
> appreciated. Iron Range Cabins - Lockhart Airport for Palm Cockatoo? And
> Etty Bay & Mission Beach for Southern Cassowary? Of course we will scan
> eBird as much as we can prior to the trip.
> 5. Any stories available from your past trips? I remember archiving a
> couple of them at one point, but seem to have lost them somewhere. I seem
> to have archived them too well... :)
> Thanks in advance for all the help you would like to give us. It really is
> appreciated, as has been all the previous tips I have received during my
> previous (business) trips in 2015 and 2012.
> Cheers,
> -Harry
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