FNQ trip report - part 1

To: <>
Subject: FNQ trip report - part 1
From: "polymath" <>
Date: Sat, 27 Nov 2004 09:40:30 +1100

Greetings flock,


Two enjoyable weeks of birding and relaxing were spent in FNQ.  We learnt quite a bit about birding and about travelling with a two year old!  Here are the highlights of the trip


Thu 11 ? Wed 17

After a pretty average flight with the boy (he got bored) and my wife having to stand up every 30 mins due to her prolapsed disk, then getting lost around Cairns, we were off to Chamber?s Wildlife Lodge.  One of the reasons I love this place (apart from the birds) is the drive in.  Near volcanic lake Eacham (a maar), it is in a well forested area, so going down the drive way gives you a sense of descending into nature and leaving civilization behind (except TV, natural gas and flushing toilets thankfully!)


John is an excellent and friendly host with plenty of information on what is about in the area (and plenty to say in general).  This was our second stay and counting.  A week is a much better time to stay than our last visit of three days.  Most of our birding here was done off our veranda our out of the windows that looked straight into the forest.  The dawn chorus was always wonderful to wake up to and I was often up well before 6 to set up my camera and tripod. 


Scrub fowl are everywhere, and to one side of our unit was a pile of feathers where an Amethystine Python helped himself to one.  The orange footed scrub fowl were more heard than seen, but coming down the driveway they could be spotted.  By hanging banana up on the veranda we ensured that Lewin?s Honey Eater came by several times a day to peck away, as did the female Victoria?s Riflebird.  There is a pine post set up as a display perch, and I am hoping that I have some good photos of the male displaying!  The Spotted Catbird tended to run away with any fruit left out rather than eat it in situ (often taking as many pieces as he could carry!).  I soon identified a Macleay?s Honeyeater visiting, with its scruffy plumage.  A Laughing Kookaburra would often visit as well, but not for the fruit.  My wife has a photo or two of it perched on my camera!  Sulfur crested cockatoos were often heard if not glimpsed, as were the elusive Eastern Whipbird, who did his best to avoid my camera.  Wompoos were also heard but never seen.  On the second day I found a Tooth Billed Bowerbird singing in court.  I returned on subsequent days to try and get some good photos, hard in the low light.  I discovered that there were three on the grounds, as well as one not far off the walking track around lake Eacham. 


A day trip to Kuranda yielded some Rainbow Lorikeets and Fig Birds.  I also did a night tour + half day with Alan Gilanders which was excellent.  As well as a Lumholtz?s Tree Kangaroo and a couple of possums, the day trip yielded quite a few birds of note for me, particularly the male Golden Bower Bird and Nankeen Night Heron.  Photos I hope will come out.



Mick Pope - Natural Philosopher
"Zum Erstaunen bin ich da"

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