N Qld Trip Report (Late) part 1a

Subject: N Qld Trip Report (Late) part 1a
From: Frank Hemmings <>
Date: Thu, 07 Apr 2005 15:53:01 +1000
...cont'd from Trip report part 1

11/1-15/1 Kingfisher Park, Julatten

I arrived here in the afternoon of the 10/1. I spent the bulk of the holiday as trips from Kingfisher Park Birdwatching Lodge just outside of Julatten, in the hills behind Mossman, as my base. This was a great place to stay. Ron was full of information as to where to see many species, and drew mudmaps for the various places. I spent a good couple of hours checking out the place on 10/1. A number of what proved to be regulars were showing themselves. MACLEAYS HONEYEATER, GRACEFUL HONEYEATER, Yellow-spotted Honeyeater and Dusky Honeyeater were all present in the grounds, especially in the orchard and adjacent remnant rainforest. A single Brown-backed Honeyeater was flitting through some shrubs down on the creek bank, and an Azure Kingfisher flew past swiftly. Little Shrike-Thrush, Spectacled Monarch, BUFF-BREASTED PARADISE-KINGFISHER, Pale Yellow-Robin were all conspicuous, and a few Black-faced Monarchs were about. Red-browed Finches were to be seen feeding at the seed trays outside the office. Great views were had of a Noisy Pitta patrolling its territory in the forest fringing the orchard, Silvereyes and Large-billed Scrubwrens overlapped in their strata of the forest and a Spotted Catbird was also feeding here. Flocks of Metallic Starlings buzzed between trees, and Spangled Drongos were also conspicuous. Pigeons were also well represented with Emerald Dove, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove and Brown Cuckoo-Dove all present, and a flock of White-headed Pigeons passing overhead at one point.Golden headed Cisiticola were present in the adjacent canefields, and Laughing Kookaburras and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos made me feel at home. Orange footed Scrub-fowl would occasionally be seen in the forest floor, and, towards dusk, perched quite high on a tree branch to roost for the night.

The next morning (11/1), I saw mostly the same birds, but added White-rumped Swiftlet, White-breasted Woodswallow and Pheasant Coucal in the adjacent canefield, and Fairy Gerygone and FOREST KINGFISHER in some large trees fringing the creek further downstream. Over the nest few days I spent most of my time travelling to nearby areas, but managed to also add Black Kite, Black-shouldered Kite, Nankeen Kestrel?. Although I seemed destined at firs to only hear them, I finally saw a YELLOW-BREASTED BOATBILL here as well. Also went spotlighting at night and saw a PAPUAN FROGMOUTH on two occasions. Heard a LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR but couldn't spotlight one.The resident Red-necked Crakes also refused to show during my time here. Some Bush Stone-Curlew were around one night. I also saw a number of these when I went to use the public phone near Julatten School.

Mammals seen here included Spectacled Flying Fox, Agile Wallaby, Northern Brown Bandicoot, Green Ringtail Possum, Striped Possum and Greater White-tailed Rat (climbing in vegetation).


I did a cruise up the Mossman river with Peter Cooper. I am told that this offers similar species to that of Chris Dahlberg's trip up the Daintree, so I guess its a choice of whether you want a more personal quieter trip up a smaller river. I would definitely recommend this trip. Fantastic! Peter is extremely knowledgeable and gives a great overall ecology talk as he goes, and he's a nice bloke to top it off. The trip covers a range of environments from beach sandflats, mudflats, estuarine, mangroves, and ends in freshwater with gallery rainforest before heading back down stream again. Fig-Parrots flew past as we waited in the car park, and Torresian Imperial Pigeons were on the move, as were large groups of Metallic Starlings. Stacks of Yellow Orioles and some Figbirds were present. Once we were underway we managed to see one of my target species very early on - LITTLE KINGFISHER, perched on a branch near the water's edge in the brilliant morning sun. We soon added Azure Kingfisher, Collared Kingisher, and a lone Sacred Kingfisher to the list. Although we heard one, we failed to see Gould's Bronze Cuckoo. Another target bird - LARGE-BILLED GERYGONE - showed up nicely, and I saw one in the process of constructing a nest, as well as seeing one of these amazing large pendulous structures. Greta views of male and female Shining Flycatchers. Particularly impressive was the 'pterodactyl-like' (Peters term) GREAT BILLED HERON which surprised us as it flew out from a tree top perch. We managed to get good views of it perched in another spot. Waders seen included Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Grey-tailed Tattler, Bar-tailed Godwit, Eastern Curlew, Whimbrel, Greater Sandplover, Masked Lapwing and Pied Oystercatcher. A great spot with 37 species overall, and the only place where I saw Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove this trip.

A visit to power lines in nearby Newell Beach eventually produced a group of six Barn Swallows on a power line in a back street, together with two Welcome Swallows. This was the first for me for Australia, although I have seen stacks of them in Europe.

Frank Hemmings
John T. Waterhouse Herbarium
School of Biological, Environmental and Earth Sciences
University of New South Wales

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