Trip Report - Darwin, Kakadu and Top End

To: <>
Subject: Trip Report - Darwin, Kakadu and Top End
From: "Wedderburn Birding" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 10:29:06 +1000
Hi all, 

I've just spent a week up in the Top End of the Northern Territory with my
family on holiday. We spent a couple of nights each at Fogg Dam, Kakadu,
Pine Creek and Nightcliff in Darwin. Generally the weather was hot and dry
for the duration of the trip, with daily temperatures of 36 to 38oC. 

I used Niven McCrie's book on "Finding Birds" extensively and this was an
excellent reference. I also used Denise Goodfellow's, "Birds of the Top
End", which I also found to be very useful, especially with respect to the
details on the birds habitats and bird watching hints. 

Fogg Dam

Stayed at "Eden at Fogg Dam" which is a lovely B&B located close to Fogg
Dam. In the evening we went down to the causeway to see the nightjars, but
instead saw a number of large (2 to 3m) Water Pythons crossing the road. 
Birding highlights were:
- Rainbow Pitta  
- Broad-billed Flycatcher
- Paperbark Flycatcher
- Australian Hobby
- Zitting Cisticola
- White-browed Crake
- Barking Owl
- Mangrove Golden Whistler (Adelaide River Bridge)


Stayed at "Lakeview Park" in Kakadu. Main areas visited were Bardedjilidji
Sandstone Walk, Nourlangie Rock and Yellow Waters. Missed out on the Banded
Fruit-dove and the White-lined Honeyeater. Managed to see a couple of Black
Wallaroo in the early morning at Nourlangie. Tried to get to Gunlom to see
the White-throated Grasswren, but the road was awful and the rental car was
starting to rattle apart, so turned back after about 1 km. 
Birding highlights were:
- Gouldian Finch (Mary River Excavation Pits)
- Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon 
- Sandstone Shrike-thrush
- Black-tailed Tree-creeper
- Grey Goshawk (Yellow Waters - hidden in the pandanus)
- Black Bittern

Pine Creek

Stayed at "Bonrook Station" which is a lovely farm stay outside of Pine
Creek. The highlight of the trip was seeing over 70 Hooded Parrots up on
Mine Lookout Road. We were at the top of the hill looking out for parrots
and eventually saw a couple of Hooded Parrots in a tree further down the
hill at about 4pm. Walked down the hill and were surprised to see large
numbers grazing on the recently burnt area. Were able to walk up to within 6
to 8m of the birds without putting them to flight. Also managed to see a
Frilled Lizard close up close to Daly River. 
Other birding highlights were:
- Cockatiel
- Rufous Owl (heard only)
- Northern Rosella (feeding on the lawn at Bonrook)
- Spotted Harrier
- Long-tailed Finch (only one of the trip)
- Black Falcon


Stayed in "Heliconia Bungalow" in Nightcliff close to the foreshore. Best
areas for birding were Lee Point and Buffalo Creek. Sewerage Ponds were not
accessible without a key and didn't find the Rufous Owls at the Botanical
Birding highlights were:
- Lesser Sand Plover (amongst many 100's of Greater Sand Plover)
- Lesser Crested Tern
- Little Tern
- Red Knot (about 20 birds, still with some colour showing in amongst 100's
of Great Knots)
- Curlew Sandpiper
- Terek Sandpiper
- Sanderling 
- Pacific Golden Plover
- Black Butcherbird (on nest in mangroves)
- Red-headed Honeyeater
- Brown(Grey) Whistler
- Chestnut Rail (only heard on two days in mangroves - tides were fairly
late in morning and being the weekend, Buffalo Creek was very noisy with
boat launching) 

Overall it was a great trip and a good holiday. In all managed to see over
160 birds of which 7 were new for my Australian list and 5 for my world


Bruce Wedderburn


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