one thing that i'd neglected to mention was how struck I am on how the Pipits
look on those saline grasslands of Marina Plains. these are of race 'rogersi',
the same bird that u see in the coastal Top End & the Gulf of Carpentaria in
similar habitats...very heavily streaked underparts!!
> Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 10:41:17 +1100
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] a BIG day out of Cairns yesterday!!
> hello all...
> 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
> 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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