local knowledge really helps

Subject: local knowledge really helps
From: Wendy McWilliams <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2008 14:48:42 +1000
What a great short trip up north we've just had. Left Melbourne with temperatures of 16 degrees max to arrive at Cairns with a max of 28 degrees. Desperately in search of some tropical lifers, we decided to go with a guide for one full day and one half day. Del Richards took us to a variety of places where I could see new species including Mossman, Julatten, Mt Lewis, Mount Molloy and Daintree. He found (and called up) some birds that would have been very hard if not impossible considering our time constraints, for us to find on our own, including:
Little Kingfisher
Superb Fruit-Dove
Wompoo Fruit-Dove
Spotted Catbird
Noisy Pitta
Yellow-breasted Boatbill
Australian Fernwren
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo
Northern Fantail
Red-backed Fairy-wren
Macleay's Honeyeater
Wompoo Fruit-Dove
Little Bronze-Cuckoo
Yellow-throated Scrubwren
White-eared Monarch
Del was especially pleased to locate for us the Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo accompanied by an immature. This was a real surprise as it's a somewhat late breeding record. Apparently little is known in regard to breeding with this species.

Del also gave us directions for other birds that we saw including:
Grey-headed Robin
Bower's Shrike-thrush
Crimson Finch

And thanks to Birding Aus for the Sarus Cranes location. We saw approx 100 in fields adjacent to Marks Lane in Atherton as per directions (no Bustard or Pratincole though). What a fantastic sight they were.

On a trip to the outer Barrier Reef and Michaelmas Cay, we were lucky enough to see an Arctic Tern and two Great Frigatebirds.

On the day and half with Del we saw 107 species and all up we saw 140 species; with the addition of 43 lifers. Local knowledge is certainly a big advantage.

Wendy McWilliams
Glen Waverley VIC


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