RE:Darwin Trip report Day 1

To: <>
Subject: RE:Darwin Trip report Day 1
From: Lee Mason <>
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 16:48:26 +1030
Hi all, Its been ages since I've posted anything to B-Aus, my energetic 10mth 
old keeps me away from the PC, but I do manage to get some birding in 
occasionally.  Anyway I've just come back from a brief 3 day trip to Darwin so 
I thought I'd post a report.
This was my first time in the NT and Darwin and I basically had 3 full days in 
which the plan was to spend two days in and around the Darwin area and one day 
as a day trip to somewhere outside Darwin.

I had undertaken plenty of pre-trip research and had a good plan worked out for 
the locations I wanted to go and the birds to expect.  My plans were greatly 
assisted by the use of Niven McCrie’s excellent book ‘Finding Birds in Darwin, 
Kakadu & the Top End’ and the vast amount of info available on Birding-Aus.
  Day 1 I arrived in Darwin at 12:30am on 1st Sept and the first birds found 
were three Bush Stone Curlews standing on the footpath just down from the 
airport. I have a couple of friends (non-birders) in Darwin who planned a 
couple of days off to drive me around, they also had a birder friend who 
offered to take us all for a bird walk around the tracks near the Hospital and 
Lee Point.
My friend’s live in an apartment complex in Palmerston and from their balcony I 
had great views of the tree tops and surrounding forest.  In the first few 
minutes of getting up I had several new birds including Silver-backed 
Butcherbird, Yellow-throated Miner, Pied Imperial Pigeon and a Pied Heron 
(flying past).  Other birds seen included Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little 
Friarbird, Magpie Lark, Red-winged Parrot, Galah, Rainbow (Red-collared) 
Lorikeet and many Black Kites.

The first location we visited was Howard Springs, and following Niven’s book we 
first looked around the toilet block and pool but the heat and tourists (we did 
get there a bit late) had all but made the chance of seeing a Pitta in the open 
pretty unlikely.  The walk around the creek was very nice and we saw White 
Ibis, Little Pied Cormorant, Forest Kingfisher, Mistletoebird, Spangled Drongo, 
Shining Flycatcher (M&F), Little Corella, Dusky Honeyeater and my first 
Orange-footed Scrubfowl and 'Yellow' Figbird.  My friend pointed out the big 
kingfisher to me, which turned out to be my first Blue-winged Kookaburra (what 
a crazy call they have!).  Before leaving I had one last look around the rest 
area and sure enough a dark blob on the ground caught my eye and I had my first 
Rainbow Pitta, sitting in the sun just a few meters away in the forest.  The 
Pitta seemed totally unconcerned with our presence and we got excellent views 
(and pics).  It was only when a White Ibis came wandering past that the Pitta 
flew off, only to land in the bushes directly in front of our car giving us 
even better views.

Next stop was Knuckey Lagoons and in particular the lagoon at the end of 
Fiddlers Lane.  The easy access to the water was good, and despite the 
afternoon heat there were plenty of birds present.  Wandering Whistling Ducks 
(100+), Pelicans, Egrets, Magpie Geese (100+), Royal Spoonbill and Jacana were 
all in the one small lagoon.  I also added another two new birds, Green Pygmy 
Geese and Australian Pratincole.  As always, Black and Whistling kites soared 

We met up with a local birder who had a 'nice' walk planned for us as well as a 
birding surprise.  Before heading off for the surprise he very nicely pointed 
out the Rufus-banded Honeyeater quietly sitting on a palm leaf next to me, 
another new tick.  For our surprise we drove a few blocks to a local school, 
walked down to a large tree were told to look up.  Our birding surprise turned 
out to be a pair of Barking Owls! (yet another new tick).  We had fantastic 
views and took some great pics but were eventually dragged away for our walk.  
The walk was fantastic as we marched along the tracks behind the Darwin 
Hospital nearly all the way up to Lee Point.  We walked for hours, it was dark 
when we got back and we were all exhausted and dripping with sweat but we had a 
great time with plenty of new birds seen including White-gaped Honeyeater, 
Red-headed Honeyeater, Crimson Finch, Yellow Oriole, Long-tailed Finch, 
Helmeted Friarbird and the last bird of the day, Yellow White-Eye.  Other birds 
of note included, Emerald Dove, Cicadabird, Rose-crowned Fruit-dove, Pied 
Imperial Pigeon, Pacific Baza and a big flock of Chestnut-breasted Manikins.  
By the end of the day I had seen 19 new birds, a new record for me.

Have split the rest of the report as it was too big...

Thanks & Happy birding

Lee Mason
Hervey Bay, QLD
SEEK Salary Centre: What are you really worth? Find out.

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