Iron Range and northern Atherton Tablelands

To: " Australia" <>
Subject: Iron Range and northern Atherton Tablelands
From: John Tongue <>
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 2009 18:21:15 +1100
Hi all,
Not long back from a long-awaited trip to Iron Range (north Cape York), and 
then some time around Cairns/Julatten.  Sorry about the belated nature of this 
post, but we were only back a week before Christmas, and had to get through the 
Christmas rush to get a moment to post this.

For many years, I'd been wanting to visit Iron Range.  An inheritance made this 
possible for our whole family, early in December.  We put it off as late into 
the season as we could, to get the PNG migrants, but also had to be back in 
reasonable time for Christmas (as I'm an Anglican Minister).  For months, we 
gleaned snippets from Birding Aus, and other sources, and I want to thank all 
those who gave us advice directly.

We flew Tassie to Cairns, and then into Lockhart River, where we hired a 4WD 
Troop Carrier from Lockhart River Car Hire.  Paul is fine about you taking his 
4WDs offroad (unlike some car hire companies), and was more than helpful, with 
esky, water carrier, chairs and gas stove thrown in.  We stayed at Portland 
roads, in the Portland Roads Beach Shack, and had a number of (fantastic!) 
meals next door, at the "Out of the Blue" Cafe.  In our week at Iron Range, we 
were able to check and double-check the main areas, eventually seeing all the 
'Iron Range Specials' apart from Marbled Frogmouth, which was only heard.  This 
was partly due to lots of searching, and partly due to lots of helpful advice - 
from Paul Piva, at the Car hire place, Greg and Sheree at the Cafe, Brian 
Venables, who was there with some birding friends, and Klaus Uhlenhut of 
Kirrama Tours, who was there with a tour group.

Brian put us onto 4 Spotted Whistling Ducks that were on the Lockhart River 
Sewage ponds, as well as giving helpful advice about the Yellow-billed 
Kingfishers being easier at Chilli Beach than in the Rainforest.  Greg, at the 
Cafe, pointed us in the right direction for a Fawn-breasted Bowerbird bower, 
which made finding the bird so much easier.  Sheree told us where to pull up to 
get views across to an active Eclectus Parrot nest.  And Klaus gave us lots of 
tips and advice whenever our paths crossed, including directing us to where a 
Red-bellied Pitta was calling, arriving from PNG just the day before we left, 
and finally being tracked down by us on the morning we left!!  I was so 
excited, I took lots and lots of pics from underneath its perch, prompting my 
daughter to rib me about all my shots of Pitta-bottoms.  Added to this, we had 
great views of Papuan Frogmouth, Noisy Pitta, and many of the other local 
specials (though some were really only glimpses).

We then came back to Julatten, where Keith and Lindsay Fisher at Kingfisher 
Lodge were very kind, generous and helpful hosts, who put up with us only being 
round occasionally, as we visited lots of spots in the area.  We got onto lots 
of species in the lodge grounds, as well as visiting Daintree, Cairns, Emerald 
Creek Falls, Mt Carbine, Abbatoir Swamp, and Mt Lewis.  Unfortunately, no 
Blue-faced Parrot Finches, Golden Bowerbird, Red-necked Crake, or Victoria's 
Riflebird, but some other great birds, including fantastic waders at the Cairns 
Esplanade, Lovely Fairy-wren (finally) at Redden Island, nesting Pacific Baza 
near Kingfisher Lodge, great views of Tooth-billed Bowerbird at Mt Lewis, and 7 
White-browed Crake, and a Black Bittern at Mt Carbine Dam.

All up, we scored 224 species for the trip, with the four of us in the family 
seeing almost all birds.  This included 58 lifers for me, 59 for my wife 
Shirley, 98 for our daughter Kimberley, and 99 for our son Peter.  It was a 
fantastic trip, made the more enjoyable by all the information and assistance 
given by many through this forum, and others on the ground.  Thank you all so 

Continue to have a safe, bird-filled holiday season, and I look forward to 
being in touch with many in the new year.

Cheers all,

John Tongue
Ulverstone, Tas.

To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU