bloomfield FNQ

Subject: bloomfield FNQ
Date: Fri, 12 May 2006 21:55:13 -0400
hi all
been a while since i've posted (or had anything worth posting) since the 
arrival of our baby daughter.
i made up for lost time last weekend at peppers bloomfield lodge north of 
cairns (30mins by light plane). it's an eco lodge on a bay near the mouth of 
the croc-friendly bloomfield river and so has access to a few different 
habitats chiefly woodland, gallery rainforest and mangroves.
the trip started well with an azure kingfisher being pursued by a little 
kingfisher along the river's edge on our way to the lodge by speedboat.
the guide told me he'd seen a red goshawk in the Mt Finegan foothills on the 
northern side of the river a month earlier.
a quick bash up the ridge behind the cabins yielded a f/imm black butcherbird, 
wompoo pigeon, spangled drongos, a juvenile black-faced monarch and an 
orange-footed scrubfowl within 5mins. there were plenty of white-throated 
needletails overhead too. the biggest wet season in 30 years was still hanging 
an afternoon river cruise turned up stunning m+f shining flycatchers, a varied 
triller, osprey, helmeted friarbird, plenty of bee eaters and a lone dusky 
honeyeater. but the highlight for birders and non-birders alike was two azure 
KFs in courtship display on a low-lying branch. they let us get v close.
the next morning around the cabins and on the rainforest circuit there were 
double-eyed fig parrots, female victoria riflebirds, a yellow oriole, gorgeous 
yellow-bellied sunbirds, varied and yellow-spotted HEs, pale yellow robin, 
northern fantail, grey whistler, yellow-breasted boatbill and more wompoo 
pigeons and three scrubfowl engaged in a v noisy fight.
i found a bird hotspot where a few creek beds intersect and spent most of the 
next day there or thereabouts. i was rewarded with great views and pix of a 
spotted catbird and an overwintering juvenile buff-breasted paradise KF. the 
guide's theory is that due to the extended wet season the regular nesting pair 
had two broods and this one was too young to make the journey to PNG when the 
others left. he was also able to show us the false nest they use as a decoy to 
from my cabin after lunch i spotted a great frigatebird over the bay and there 
were a group of of v contented wompoos guarding a berry-laden white cedar 
behind the main bldg from figbirds.
i managed to squeeze in one more bash on the last morning and came up with a 
barking owl at the creek. this one has been known to hang out by the pool at 
the lodge. i looked away for a sec to grab my camera and it vanished without a 
sound, not to be seen again. drats.
as for reptiles, there were a few well-fed estuarine crocs in the river, a 
northern tree snake by the jetty and an amythestine python sharing cabin 1 with 
a couple from sydney.
so 19 ticks in 3 days. for a "southerner" it was bit like shooting fish in a 
barrel at times but who's complaining. the guides were great and very 
knowledgeable about the birds, animals and especially the local aboriginal uses 
for the various plants, from anti-inflammatories to contraceptives. fascinating 
happy birding
shane b, ascot qld

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