Hello all, I had the good fortune to be at a conference in Cairns during the
week and managed to get some birding in. Saw some terrific species in only a
relatively short time frame (only had Sunday afternoon and early mornings).
On Sunday afternoon decided to go up to the tablelands. I visited Lake Eacham,
Mt Hypipimee NP, and Hasties Swamp.
It was indeed very saddening to see Lake Eacham after the cyclone. Although I
knew it had been damaged its not until you go there that you see how heart
breaking these events area. There were many patches of rainforest that had
thinned out, and only a few left in tact. I did see some interesting birds
though including Grey Headed Robin, which was common along the Lake Circuit,
Pale-Yellow Robin, Yellow-Breasted Boatbill, and Victoria's Riflebird, heard a
number of times whilst walking around the lake and saw a beautiful male close
to the track. Also some interesting honeyeaters including Bridled, MacLeay's,
Stopped at Bromfield swamp and there was about 60 Sarus Cranes there, as well
as a single White-Necked Heron.
-Mt Hypipamee NP-
Highlights here were Mountain Thornbill (trees bordering car park), Fernwren
(just after second bridge, foraging next to the track!) and Golden Bowerbird
(female - on access road to car park)
It was great to see the bird hide there - a excellent viewing facility on two
levels. The highlight here was the huge number of Plumbed Whistling-Ducks and
there was also a large numbers of Magpie Geese.
Over the next couple of days I visited the Botanical Gardens, Mangrove
Boardwalk, and of course the Esplanade in Cairns and here are the highlights:
The highlight was by far seeing the gorgeous Little Kingfisher. This bird is
one of my favourites and it was great just to sit there and watch this little
gem at close range. A close second was a single female Broad-Billed Flycatcher
seen in small trees adjacent to the mangrove fringed creek. Other birds of
interest included Torresian Imperial Pigeon, Double-eyed Figparrot (very common
overheard - particularly in trees bordering Collins Ave), Black Butcherbird,
Yellow Oriole, (common in trees bordering Collins Ave), Forest Kingfisher,
Large-Billed and Mangrove Gerygones, Brown-Backed, White-Throated, and Varied
Honeyeaters, Little and Helmeted Friarbirds, Metallic Starlings (often flying
in closely packed groups low overheard), Varied Triller (male), Leaden
Flycatcher, and a Common Sandpiper on the saltwater lake.
-Mangrove Boardwalk (nr Airport)-
Highlights here were Lovely Fairy-Wren, Satin and Shining Flycatcher as well as
White-Rumped Swiftlets overhead at the car park.
Saw some really good birds in the mangrove edges to the north including
White-Bellied Cuckoo-Shrike and Mangrove Robin, and on the mud saw Eastern
Curlew, Whimbrel, Greater and Lesser Sandplovers, Red-Necked Stint,
Sharp-Tailed Sandpiper, Grey-Tailed Tattler, Bar-Tailed Godwit, Great and Red
Knots, and Curlew Sandpiper. Also were a good number of Gull-Billed Terns. The
stars however were a pair of Beach Stone-Curlews which flew past the boardwalk
there at close range. It was also nice to catch up with Alan Gillanders who
also saw a single Grey Plover.
After a number of quick visits clocked up about 120 species.
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