thought i'd just share some observations from a very long day trip to the
southern half of Cape York Peninsula yesterday with my birding friend Kev
running 2 hours late (what's new!!) I eventually got to Kev at Kingfisher Park
at Julatten just after 5am yesterday...
first stop was at Laura general store for some fuel at 7am where we were
greeted by a rollicking Black-backed Butcherbird on the power lines singing
50mtrs away!! a highlight was a group of 4 Varied Lorikeets whizzing across
the rd between Hann River & Artemis - not a common species here but not
unexpected given the myriad blossoming bloodwoods throughout, but a highlight
all the same...
next we pulled up around Windmill Creek searching for Golden-shouldered
Parrots, but alas no parrots to be found after an hour's search near the dams
to the east side or rd...however more BB Butchers & good looks at Red-browed
Pardalotes & Silver-crowned Friarbirds too were nice.
back in the car & a short cruise up the station tracks through Artemis to Dixie
looking for the parrots but no go again...a pair of calling Little
Bronze-Cuckoos put in a nice appearance, along with a couple of very young
Bee-eaters just out of the nest...
onto the Musgrave-Lilyvale area for Red Goshawk but no nest tree & no nest!!
cyclone damage form Ita, I suspect!!
then we trudged further east for Marina Plains (one of my fave & unheralded
remote sites up here it must be said!!)... great numbers of Brolgas (no Sarus)
along the grasslands with Pipits, Bushlarks & Zitting Cisticolas busily going
about their business. during our roadside stops for the cisticolas (very skulky
they were!!), we had +5 Aust Pratincoles, & a very oblidging lone Oriental
Pratincole which allowed a very close approach on foot!! stopping at the
mangroves at the old barra fishing camp we got onto Rufous-banded Honeyeaters,
Collared Kingfishers, Little Shrike-thrush, Mangrove Robin, more Zitters,
Gull-billed Terns, & a flock of 14 Little Curlews on the rd back out along the
grass plains - not a bad little stop that one!!
next we continued east to Nifold Plains for some finch action...about 30 each
of Black-throated & Double-barred Finches came in to drink but for the first
time ever, no Star or Masked Finches there!! whilst awaiting the flocks beside
the drying dam, we were paid a visit by the ranger to advise us that Lakefield
NP was indeed closed as of today but he kindly allowed us to continue, so that
we did...narrowly avoiding the odd pair of kamikaze Emus doing their level best
to be collected for science by a dirty white landcruiser!!!!
winding south through the park we were thwarted with an attempt for
white-bellied Crimson Finch due to very the sticky wet black soil track before
us...so back to the main rd for us with another dip!!
continuing east along Battlecamp Rd we made a bee-line for McIvor River,
arriving there at 5pm with a massive amount of Cyclone Ita damage to be
seen...that means no big paperbark anymore in the causeway for the
annually-nesting Papuan Frogmouths, Yellow Orioles, Figbirds, & Red-browed
Finches!!! never the less within an hour we had Tropical Scrubwren,
Black-winged Monarchs (include a very dull 6-10 month old bird), Shining
Flycatchers, Azure Kingfisher, Brush Turkey (yellow-collared), Rose-crowned &
Wompoo Fruit-Doves, White-browed Robins, Large-billed & Fairy Gerygones, Black
Butcherbirds, Graceful, Yellow-spotted, Macleay's, & Dusky Honeyeaters... alas
no White-streaked Honeyeaters though, but with all the blossom they would be
there at the moment...
it was time to thrash onwards to Cooktown before sundown to track down the
Spotted Whisting-Ducks at Keating Lagoon...rushing to the hide, the Magpie
Geese went up with a huge whirr taking with them some strange-ish sounding
Whistling-Ducks which circled a few times to make a pass in the very last light
revealing themselves as Spotted's - nice dark backs & much higher cheerier call
notes!! what a day!!!!
misses for the day apart from the obvious (GS Parrots...etc) were zero Leaden
Flycatchers, & a very poor raptor diversity... total species count was over 140
spp with over 1100kms of HOT driving!! so a great LOOOOONG day...
cheers & thanx for reading,
Martin Cachard, Cairns,
(with visiting Kev Bartram from Victoria)
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