Cape York Bird week

To: Tony Russel <>, 'Sonja Ross' <>
Subject: Cape York Bird week
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 23:18:05 -0800 (PST)
Hi Sonja,

Raja and I went to Cape York once in October (2010) and once in December 
(2009). Both times the weather was very pleasant up there (I think it may get a 
bit wet there in late Jan/Feb; when did you go, Tony?). Also, in contrast to 
Tony, we never had problems with mozzies up there. Although, be aware of 
sandflies. Birding, mammalling and herping is great up there! We saw all bird 
endemics in a few days during our December trip. December is also great for 
both reptiles and frogs. We missed out on a couple of mammals though. We caught 
up with Spotted Cuscus on our second trip (October) but still need Gray Cuscus 
and Rufous Spiny Bandicoot. It's great up there - I certainly would go a third 



P.S. Here is what I posted to birding-aus after the two trips (December 2009 
and further down October 2010):

December 2009 trip:

Cairns - Michaelmas Cay - Kuranda - Julatten - Yungaburra - Cairns - Lockhart 
River - Cairns. 
We had 242 bird species this year (compared to December 2008 in the 
Cairns/Townsville area only: 248 species - total for both trips combined: 285 
bird species)
27 mammal species this year (combined with last year: 35)
29 reptile species (combined with last year: 32)
12 amphibian species (combined with last year: 14)
18 butterfly species

In the Cairns area we focused on high altitude mammals (Striped, Daintree 
River, Herbert River, Lemuroid Ringtail Possum) rather than birds (and 
consequently dipped on some birds again - e.g. Little Kingfisher, Beach 
Stone-Curlew, Laughing Gull), but saw some nice "old friends": e.g. Golden 
Bowerbird, Lesser Sooty Owl.
In Iron Range we tried so see all the "specialty" bird species and saw all of 
them, but dipped on some "less special" ones (e.g. Rufous Owl, Little 
Kingfisher, Beach Stone-Curlew). Some birds such as Northern Scrub Robin and 
Marbled Frogmouth were surprisingly easy and we got them several times on 
different spots. A bit tricky was YB Kingfisher which we heard almost 
everywhere, but which only showed once. BTW to my ears their calls are totally 
different from Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo which we heard about as often. The 
Cuckoo sounds more like a Fantail Cuckoo, the Kingfisher's short call sounds 
more like that of an Ash-throated Flycatcher (in America), the Kingfisher's 
long call is unique and unmistakable. We saw Trumpet Manucode only twice and 
heard it five or six times. There were still 9 actively calling RB Pittas, one 
of which showed well. In addition to the known FB Bowerbird we found a "new" 
one right at Lockhart River Airport. The only bird we
 only saw fly by were Marshall's Fig-parrots. Herps were great. Three species 
of python, three species of monitors, Frilled Lizard, Boyd's Forest Dragon (the 
latter not in Iron Range)... lots of Litorias and other frogs. The amphibian 
downside was that we saw 12 species and not 11 - but there was no way to 
overlook No. 12: Cane Toad.
Mammals: great in the Atherton Tableland, but in Iron Range we had our big dip 
of the trip: we did not only dip on Gray Cuscus, but also on Spotted! Can't 
believe it! This is the excuse to come back! We heard flapping sounds at night 
which we believe might have been hovering Bare-backed Fruitbats.



Highlights from our trip to Northern QLD, 3rd to 16th October, 2010: 

Sun, 10/03      Cairnsarea to Davies & Tinaroo/Emerald Creek
Mon, 10/04      Davies Creek to Artemis/Musgrave Station 
Tue, 10/05      Artemis/Musgrave Stationto IronRange
Wed, 10/06      IronRange
Thu, 10/07      IronRange
Fri, 10/08        Iron Range
Sat, 10/09        IronRangeto Lakefield NP
Sun, 10/10      Lakefield NP
Mon, 10/11      Lakefield NP to Shipton’s Flat
Tue, 10/12      Shipton’s Flat
Wed, 10/13      Shipton’s Flat via Daintree to Kingfisher
Thu, 10/14      Kingfisher to EttyBeach
Fri, 10/15        Etty Beach through Atherton Tablelands to Cairns, then to 
Davies/Tinaroo Creek
Sat, 10/16        Davies/Tinaroo Creek to Cairns

Observers: Nikolas Haass & Raja Stephenson (Sydney), Steve Kacir (Philadelphia, 
USA), Chris Engelhardt & Andrea Grzywatz (Luebeck, Germany), Martin Cachard 
(Cairns - Sun, 10/03, Sat/Sun, 10/09-10, Fri/Sat, 10/15-16)

Birds (252 species this trip including the IronRangespecialties [resulting in 
our personal total of 316 for the Wet Tropics/Cape York]):
Southern Cassowary (Etty  Beach) - one of the top targets for our friends!
All Frogmouths
Black-breasted Buzzard (Lakefield NP)
Red Goshawk (Lakefield NP) – one of our top targets!
Displaying Sarus Cranes (Lakefield NP and Emerald  Creek Road)
Calling Red-necked Crakes (Kingfisher  Park)
Beach Stone-Curlew (Chilli  Beach and Etty  Beach)
Little Curlew (Lockhart  River Airport) – great “bonus”!
Painted Buttonquail (Davies Creek  Road)
Marshall’s Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (Portland Roads) – my best-ever looks at this 
Golden-shouldered Parrot (Artemis/Musgrave) – one of our top targets!
Rufous Owl (Cairns) – one of our top targets, only heard
Little Kingfisher (Davies Creek) – high elevation!
Yellow-billed Kingfisher (Cook’s hut and Chilli  Beach) – good looks!
White-gaped, Yellow-tinted, Bar-breasted, Rufous-banded, Banded and 
White-streaked HEs
Black-backed Butcherbird (Artemis/Musgrave) – one of our top targets!
Zitting Cisticola (Lakefield NP)
Black-throated Finch atropygialis (Lakefield NP)
Masked Finch leucotis (Lakefield NP) – only suboptimal looks
Star Finch (Lakefield NP)

Mammals (22 species this trip [resulting in our personal total of 46 for the 
Tropics/Cape York]):
Platypus (Kingfisher  Park and Tarzali  Lakes) - one of the top targets for our 
Northern Quoll (Davies Creek) – one of our top targets, only suboptimal looks
Common Spotted Cuscus (Cook’s hut) – one of our top targets!
Northern Bettong (Davies Creek) – one of our top targets!
Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo (Shipton’s Flat) – one of our top targets!
Northern Nail-tail Wallaby (Lakefield NP) – one of our top targets!

Reptiles (25 species this trip [resulting in our personal total of 43 for the 
Wet Tropics/Cape York]):
Freshwater Crocodile (Musgrave Station) - one of the top targets for our 
Frilled Lizard (Lakefield NP) - one of the top targets for our friends!
Spotted Python (Iron  Range)
Black-headed Python (Iron  Range and Lakefield)
Water Python (Iron  Range)
Amethystine Python (Shipton’s Flat)
[this time we dipped on Green Python, after we had good numbers last summer]
Brown-headed Snake (Iron  Range)
Eastern Taipan (Iron  Range)

Amphibians (10 species this trip [resulting in our personal total of 18 for the 
Wet Tropics/Cape York]):
Litoria bicolor, gracilenta, xanthomera and others
Mixophyes coggeri
Rana daemeli

Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

 From: Tony Russel <>
To: 'Sonja Ross' <> 
Cc: 'Birding-aus' <> 
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 4:12 PM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Cape York Bird week
Hi Sonja, 
I went on it some years ago with Klaus, Peter, and Gordon. They were very
good at making sure that everyone got to see the local endemics , I think I
got ten or twelve. But the climate was ( for me) horrendous, and so were the
millions of mozzies. I have no need to but I wouldn't go again.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Sonja Ross
Sent: Thursday, 29 November 2012 2:44 PM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Cape York Bird week

I keep thinking about
 this, and wondering if it would be worth it.

Has anyone been on it?  What did you see, and how bad was the humidity?

Thanks for any thoughts anyone has about it.


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