Eastern Siberian Gull twitch- getting to Cooktown

Subject: Eastern Siberian Gull twitch- getting to Cooktown
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 06:56:00 +1100
For non-locals, those flying into Cairns then driving to Cooktown, the following may assist. Cooktown is 326 km from Cairns. It is a four hour drive on bitumen roads via Mareeba, Mt Malloy, Mt Carbine, Palmer River and Lakeland Downs. Food and accommodation is available at all those places. It is recommended not to drive the Mt Carbine / Cooktown stretch at night because of cattle and roos. Going up we encountered 500 - 1,000 cattle on the road and had to zigzag through them. Luckily, far fewer in the rain coming back next day but one had been killed on the road. Just drive slowly through them, do not honk your horn as this can spook them. You could be delayed by flood waters but this is likely to be hours rather than days. The road was sealed 18 months ago but hire car companies seem not to know so if told you are heading there, may not give permission for vehicle to be taken to Cooktown. One can also fly in to Cooktown. So far the bird has been found within ten minutes of arriving but I had to wait 30 - 40 minutes to see it closely. When I arrived it was a km away on the other side of the river bathing and preening near or on a sandbank needing
a scope to ID it.
If floods have subsided and if making the trip in your own 4WD, have time to spare and wish to add a bonus bird for your trip, you could ask Martin Cachard of Cairns Bird Observers for directions to a new site he has discovered which has a substantial population of Black-winged Monarch just 50 km north of Cooktown.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136


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