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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Australia (and Malaysia) - August 2000,
In August 2000 myself and my parents travelled to Australia. Although It was planned around the best birding sites, it was not entirely bird-orientated as my Mum is not as keen as my Dad and I. However as an introduction to foreign birdwatching it was fantastic all round. Great birds, animals, food and people made it a wonderful experience. The main target birds were centred around spectacle rather than rarity, so birds such as Noisy and Rainbow Pittas, Golden, Satin and Regent Bowerbirds, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australian Bustard, Wandering Albatross and lots of parrots were high on the want list. We were able to see all of these plus nearly 300 more. We saw/heard a total of 110 out of a total of 332 Australian endemics, not bad for 3˝ weeks. We did, however, miss several good birds; Scarlet Honeyeater, Sarus Crane, Mangrove Kingfisher and Pale-headed Rosella should all have been seen but it gives us the excuse to go back (as if we needed one).
The itinerary was as follows:
4th August - Fly out from London
5th August - Arrive Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
6th August - Visit Fraser's Hill
7th August - Leave Kuala Lumpur
8th August - Arrive Darwin
10th August - Visit Kakadu NP
11th August - Yellow Waters Cruise then back to Darwin
12th August - Fly to Cairns and drive up to Kingfisher Park, Julatten
15th August - Drive to Cairns
16th August - Visit Michaelmas Cay on Great Barrier Reef
17th August - Fly to Brisbane and drive up to O'Reilly's Guesthouse in Lamington NP
21st August - Drive down to Coffs Harbour to stay with friends
24th August - Drive down to Maitland
25th August - Drive down to Wollongong
26th August - Wollongong Pelagic
27th August - Drive up to Sydney
29th August - Fly back to London
Upon arriving in Malaysia we caught up with some sleep at the hotel before exploring Kuala Lumpur. It truly is a beautiful city, and well worth a detour. Birds around the city included Philippine Glossy Starlings, House Swift, White-bellied Swiflet, Pacific Swallow and Brahminy Kite among the Tree Sparrows, Comman Mynahs and House Crows which were everywhere. On the road from the airport we had in addition Purple Heron (flying over the bus next to the airport), Jungle Crow and White-vented Mynah.
Today we took a 4x4 taxi to Fraser's Hill. However we were only able to make it to 'The Hill' until 11am. On the way there we had Jungle Crow, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Philippine Glossy Starling and Asian Magpie Robin.
At the Gap we stopped briefly to wait for the 'up hour' (the hour in which cars are allowed up, not down). Here we had Asian Magpie Robin, Little Cuckoo Dove, Crested Serpent Eagle, Gold-whiskered Barbet and Red-rumped Swallows breeding on one of the buildings.
We had already arranged to meet Durai Sanadurai (the warden at the WWF centre) for a short guided walk. He took us round above the Bishop's Trail, mainly walking the roads. We had the good fortune to run into a 'bird wave' which contained some real goodies like Fire-tufted Barbet, Chestnut-capped Laughing-thrushes, White-browed Shrike-babber, Golden Babbler, Blue Nuthatch, Little Pied Flycatcher and last (but definitely not least) a pair of Cutias, which although very elusive, did give brief views whilst calling constantly. More common species were Long-tailed Sibia, Blue-winged Minla, Mountain Fulvetta and Black-throated Sunbird. Black-browed Barbet, Silver-eared Mesia, Ochraceous Bulbul and Black-and-crimson Oriole were all heard and Mountain Bulbuls and Little and Streaked Spiderhunters were also seen. White-bellied Swiflets were common as were Pacific Swallows.
On the way back we stopped briefly at the Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur, where we had Cattle Egret, White-breasted Kingfisher, Yellow-vented Bulbul and lots of Pacific Swallows.
An easy day spent sight-seeing and shopping with Black-naped Oriole being the only bird of note.
We arrived at Darwin airport and 5.30am in 22°C heat. We picked up our hire car and headed for the hotel. As we were unable to get to our rooms we left our bags, grabbed our bins and had a look around. Indeed my first Australian bird was a Brown Honeyeater singing in the hotel carpark. That was promptly followed by an Orange-footed Scrubfowl flying over with hundreds of Red-collared Lorikeets soon after.
As the sun rose more and more birds began to reveal themselves in Bicentennial Park opposite our hotel. Magpie-larks, Masked Lapwings and Bar-shouldered Doves were very common but these were backed up by beauties such as Rainbow Bee-eaters, Spangled Drongos, White-breasted Woodswallows, Peaceful Doves, Sacred Kingfisher, Varied Trillers a Torresian Imperial-pigeon. Less colourful were Olive-backed Orioles, White-gaped Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird and Green-backed Gerygones but all were nice. More familiar were Black Kite and Great (White) Egret.
We then moved on to East Point. Although the key birds here were Rainbow Pitta and Rose-crowned Fruit-dove we saw neither. However Rufous-banded Honeyeater, Emerald Dove, Jacky Winter and, best of all, White-bellied Sea-eagle were all added to the list. At nearby Lake Alexander we saw Whistling Kite, Pacific Reef-heron, Terek Sandpiper and Straw-necked Ibises with a Yellow-throated Miner in the trees next to the lake.
By this time we could go to our rooms, where we all took naps. It was early afternoon by the time we were ready for more, and the temperature was hitting 33°C. From our hotel bedroom we saw Australian Kestrel, Brahminy Kite, Sea-eagle and Figbirds galore. We then headed over to Buffalo Creek where we were greeted by Brown Whistler, Green-backed Gerygone, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Jacky Winter, Yellow White-eye, Northern Fantail and a stunning Red-headed Honeyeater. By the creek we had several Rainbow Bee-eaters and Sacred Kingfishers and on the beach there were Silver Gulls, Turnstones and more surprisingly several Greater Sandplovers. However the biggest surprise was meeting a group of British birders in the car park, one of which was John Eyre, who had given a talk we had been to on Australian birding back in the UK. Unfortunately we didn't realise this until we had returned to the hotel.
Today we visited Howard Springs and Fogg Dam. At Howard Springs we had some good birds more or less straight away, with common birds such as Galah and Australian Ibis being outdone by Mistletoebird, Crimson Finch and Red-winged Parrot. Little Shrike-thrush and Shining Flycatcher were quite easy, the latter being a real highlight. Forest Kingfishers were stunning as well. About halfway round we managed to find a pair of Rainbow Pittas which were absolutely fabulous birds, and really were one of the highlights of the holiday. They did get close enough for some breathtaking views. These were followed by Restless Flycatcher and Spangled Drongo, which were dull in comparison. The pool by the car park was full of huge Barramundi and freshwater turtles.
Fogg Dam was almost as successful. On the dry woodland walk we had great views of Rufous Whistler, Golden-headed Cisticola, Forest Kingfisher, Australian Darter and best of all a White-browed Crake at the end of the boardwalk. Our first Willie Wagtail also joined us on the boardwalk. On the causeway there were Magpie-larks and Restless Flycatchers everywhere with brilliant waterbirds such as Pied Heron, Magpie Goose, Green Pygmy-goose and Comb-crested Jacana. Rainbow Bee-eaters were very common along the causeway. Whistling Kites and the odd Little Eagle were common along here as well. At the viewing platform, there were the usual arrange of egrets and herons as well as Royal Spoonbills, Wandering Whistling Ducks and Little Black Cormorants. Below the platform we found a flock of Crimson and Double-barred Finches with a Leaden Flycatcher as well. Around one of the shelters on the causeway we found an Australian Reed-warbler in the reedy margins of the billabong.
In the late afternoon we went back to Darwin to visit Holmes Jungle and swamp. In the long grass where Red-backed Buttonquail are meant to be found we only managed to flush a Brown Quail. Overhead there were many Black and Whistling Kites, a Brown Goshawk and best of all an adult Black Falcon. In the forest area we just had a large flock of Crimson and Double-barred Finches. We were unable to find the swamp, which was odd as we did have a good look where it was supposed to be, perhaps it had dried up.
We left quite early in the morning and headed out on the Arnhem Highway towards Kakadu. Birds of note on the highway were several Brolgas, Brown Falcon, lots of kites and Little Eagles, 2 Little Corellas, 3 Red-winged Parrots, 5 Blue-winged Kookaburras and a possible Red Goshawk over forest just inside the park, but the view was too brief to prove the identity.
At Mamukala we had all the typical wetland species already mentioned plus Whiskered Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Australasian Grebe and Plumed Whistling Duck. In the woodland surrounding the billabong there were Lemon-bellied Flycatchers, Rufous Whistler, Varied Trillers and a real surprise, several Long-tailed Finches with Double-barred Finches.
Our next stop was Nourlangie Rock, which is well worth a visit even if you aren't in Australia for birds, because the aboriginal paintings are absolutely stunning. Also White-lined Honeyeaters, a very restricted species, is common and tame here. We also had Emerald Dove and Little Friarbird here.
By mid afternoon we had reached Cooinda Lodge where we relaxed after a long drive. However the birding didn't stop with some very approachable Great Bowerbirds on the lawn at the back along with some less tame Red-backed and Variegated Fairy-wrens. Also around the lodge we found 2 White-throated Honeyeaters, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian Hobby and a very confiding Dusky Honeyeater. The day was rounded off by a Dingo wandering through the campground in the early evening. We then had a Jabiru flying over the lodge at dusk. The day ended with our first Aussie BBQ, where a typical choice of steaks and sausages was joined by kangaroo and crocodile. We were quite happy with Barramundi steaks!
Another really early morning today for the Yellow Waters Billabong Cruise. The cruise went very slowly around the billabong picking up an excellent range of species. Good birds we saw were as follows: Little, Great and Intermediate Egrets, Pacific Reef-, Pied, Nankeen Night-heron, Jabiru, Australian and Glossy Ibises, Australian Darter, White-browed Crake, Plumed and Wandering Whistling Ducks, Radjah Shelduck, Green Pygmy-goose, Comb-crested Jacana, Little Pied Cormorant, Brolga, Azure, Forest and Sacred Kingfishers, Rainbow Bee-eater, Whiskered Tern, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Whistling Kite, Red-winged Parrot, Little Corella, Tree Martin and Willie Wagtail. 4 Saltwater Crocodiles were also seen, which were a fantastic sight.
We then headed back to Darwin along the Arhem Highway. Just outside Jabiru we had 4 Partridge Pigeons walking in the road. Birds on the way back we about the same as they were on the way there but there were just 2 Blue-winged Kookaburras. We stopped at the West Alligator River for lunch where we were surprised to find Yellow White-eyes a long way inland. We also stopped at Adelaide River at the Jumping Crocodiles centre for Mangrove Golden Whistler. We had good views of a whistler just along the path down-river from the café along with Broad-billed Flycatcher, Grey Fantail, White-throated Gerygone and Varied Triller. Little Corella and Pacific Reef-heron were along the riverbank.
In the evening we went down to Doctor's Gully north of Bicentennial Park for Great-billed Heron. However we only had Striated Heron, 3 Torresian Imperial-pigeons, Silver-crowned Friarbird and a pair of Common Sandpipers.
Early in the morning we got a flight from Darwin to Cairns via Nhulunbuy. Around Cairns Airport car-park there were lots of Yellow Honeyeaters. We then drove up into the Atherton Tablelands, to Kingfisher Park just outside Julatten. On the way there were lots of Straw-necked Ibises, Common Mynahs and Starlings around Cairns and in the tablelands there were lots of Australasian Swiflets.
At Kingfisher Park the birding was just phenomenal from the start. Outside our room we could watch Red-browed Firetails, Lewin's, Graceful, Yellow-spotted, Bridled, Blue-faced and Macleay's Honeyeaters, Buff-banded Rail, Grey and Rufous Fantails, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Australian Brush-turkey, Emerald, Peaceful and Bar-shouldered Doves, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Rainbow Lorikeet. An injured Rufous Owl which had been found by the side of the road was being looked after by Around the orchard there were Spectacled Monarchs, Pale-yellow Robins, Little Shrike-thrushs, Silvereyes, Brown Gerygones and Laughing Kookaburras. A couple of stunning Ulysses butterflies were also in the orchard. An elusive Noisy Pitta in the rainforest just next the main building was a excellent bird when it actually showed itself. A Grey-headed Robin was also present in the rainforest.
On a nightwalk in the evening we had some excellent birds with a pair of Lesser Sooty Owls, Tawny Frogmouth and Barn Owl. Bush Thick-knee, Red-necked Crake and Long-tailed Nightjar were all heard. However even the Lesser Sooty Owls were eclipsed by a pair of Platypuses in the creek at the back of the orchard. Other mammals included Northern Brown and Long-nosed Bandicoots, Red-legged Pademelons and Spectacled Flying-fox.
Yet another early morning today for a guided walk around the park. Around the main building there was a Golden Whistler and Yellow-breasted Boatbill as well as the more usual stuff like Lewin's Honeyeater, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Pale-yellow Robin. On a stone wall next to the track were some Red-backed Fairy-wrens. 2 Topknot Pigeons flew over, which were the first of many that morning. In a clearing in the rainforest there were 2 Olive-backed Sunbirds, Mistletoebird, Large-billed Scrubwren, Large-billed and Brown Gerygone and Little Shrike-thrush. A Torresian Imperial-pigeon flew over, a very rare bird that far inland. Further on we had 5 Figbirds, 2 Varied Trillers and a Yellow-faced Honeyeater. We then had 3 Forest Kingfishers together with 2 Laughing Kookaburras. 2 Grey Whistlers were also present in the forest and a Black Butcherbird and Brown Cuckoo-dove were heard. A Pacific Black Duck was flushed from the creek. At its regular roost site, just out of the forest, we found a Papuan Frogmouth. It gave fantastic views, a real quality bird. Also by the creek were a pair of Willie Wagtails. Back inside the rainforest there were Spectacled Monarchs and two excellent birds, female Victoria's Riflebird and a very elusive Spotted Catbird.
In the afternoon we headed out to both East and West Mary Farms looking for Australian Bustard. However the best we could do were 2 Pheasant Coucals and a huge flock of Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos. A dead Painted Buttonquail was also interesting. An Australian Kestrel was also present. We then headed for Mount Carbine rubbish tip where we had outstanding views of Red-backed Kingfishers as well as a Weebill, 2 Laughing Kookas, 2 Australian Magpies and a Fan-tailed Cuckoo. At Mt Carbine itself we had more Australian Magpies plus Pied Butcherbird, Blue-faced Honeyeater and Magpie-lark.
Today we had another guided trip, up to Mount Lewis. The day started well with Grey-headed Robin outside our room. It got even better at the foot of Mt Lewis with a Platypus giving views that can only be described as phenomenal as it swam around just below the bridge on one of the creeks we crossed, just a couple of feet below us. It truly is worth seeking out this creature, it is one of nature's great experiences. To top it off an Azure Kingfisher shot past. As we worked our way up to the top of the mountain we picked up some very good birds such as a pair of Yellow-breasted Boatbills, great views of Topknot Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-dove, White-headed Pigeon, Atherton, Large-billed and Yellow-throated Scrubwrens, Spotted Catbird and Grey Goshawk and other birds we heard but didn't see were Pied Monarch, Double-eyed Fig-parrot and Pacific Baza. At the clearing at the top we found Eastern Spinebill, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Mountain Thornbill, Grey Fantail (mountain race)and Shining Bronze-cuckoo. We checked a possible site for Southern Cassowary but had no luck. In the forest we heard Fernwren, Eastern Whipbird and White-eared Monarch but failed to see all of them. Leeches were becoming a bit of a problem now, not so much harmful as annoying. I found waiting until just before they loop and flicking them (but not at someone else) was quite effective. They paid no attention to insect repellent. Our guide took us off the path into the rainforest and led us through the forest (minding not to tread in cassowary droppings) to a Golden Bowerbird bower. The bird itself was sitting on its very impressive bower when we got there. This was another incredible experience as the bower had three towers not two as usual and with this fantastic coloured bird sitting on it, with the little sunlight that broke through highlighting the brightest parts of his plumage on his nape and breast. It stunned us into complete silence for about 5 minutes and except for singing Fernwren, White-eared Monarch and the bowerbird, there was no sound. Wow! Every birder must experience that once. Once back on the path I spotted a Tooth-billed Bowerbird which showed quite well. Our guide then found a male Chowchilla which showed quite well. Back at Kingfisher Park, a Red-necked Crake was under the bird feeder next to the reception feeding on cheese which rounded off a truly memorable morning.
In the afternoon we headed for Lake Mitchell to pick up a few specialities. At the first viewpoint we had 7 Australian Pelicans, Australian Pipit and a Black-fronted Plover as well as the more common species. At the causeway we had Pacific Heron in the marsh, White-faced Heron in the mangroves, Brown-backed Honeyeater in one of the bushes by the road and Cotton Pygmy-geese and Black Swans in the distance on the lake. A Noisy Friarbird flew over. Next was the stake-out for Squatter Pigeon in Mount Molloy. We found a pair of Squatters mating at the site with a Great Bowerbird and his bower nearby. Lots of Common Mynahs were in the area.
We got up slight later than usual, said our goodbyes and headed off to Cairns via East Mary Farms for another shot at the bustards. We had been told that one of the farmers had hundreds of bustards on his land and wanted to show them to visiting birders. On the road to the farm we had a fabulous Wedge-tailed Eagle flying over which seemed to be a good omen. We arrived at the farm and the farmer told us just to walk through the crops until we flushed one. We walked a third of the way across when we flushed two birds, one which flew off, the other walked off, indignant at having been woken during its mid morning nap. The size of the birds was quite incredible and they were a great site. We said our thank-yous and headed on to Mt Carbine again for Crested Pigeon. We found one Crested Pigeon next to an old slag heap as well as a Striated Pardalote. We then went to look at a small lake where we had a big surprise in the form of a pair of Red-browed Pardalotes, a real rarity in that area. Next to the lake we also had Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, which was slightly more expected but not much. We then headed back to Cairns.
We dropped our bags at the hotel and headed off to Cairns Cemetery before I did a bungee jump, just outside Cairns. At the cemetery we found what we were looking for, lots of Bush Thick-knees, some of which got quite close, and were quite a bizarre site. A pair of Magpie-larks showed well as well. After my jump, we relaxed at the Esplanade where there was the usual array of egrets, herons and Australian Pelicans along with Gull-billed Terns and several Eastern Curlews. A Brahminy Kite flew over showing very well and a Varied Honeyeater showed briefly in one of the bushes. The Eastern Curlew was the 200th bird of the trip, not bad for 8 days birding at a fairly leisurely pace.
Today we visited Michaelmas Cay for the Great Barrier Reef and a few seabirds as well. Around the harbour were several Great Crested Terns which were common on the way out. Also on the way out someone spotted a breaching Humpback Whale in the distance. The whale (a female with calf) came closer to inspected the two boats going out to the cay and the engines were cut in order to let the whales get close without being disturbed by engine noise. They stayed for nearly 10 minutes allowing great views until they got bored and disappeared. The rest of the day would have to come up with something special to beat that. It did. After a good look at the birds we had thousands of Brown Noddies and Sooty Terns as well as lots of Brown Boobies and Great Crested Terns with a pair of Lesser Frigatebirds patrolling the sky. We then had the opportunity to go Scuba diving which we duly took. It was fantastic. It is much easier than snorkelling as you can breathe more naturally and the sight of the reef was quite amazing with Parrot Fish and Giant Clam being the highlights for me. Sadly the reef was in very poor nick thanks to global warming. We then relaxed on the boat as we headed back to Cairns, an excellent day all-round.
Before we caught our flight to Brisbane we had good look at Cairns Esplanade. Here we had Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Red-capped Plover, Red-necked Stint, Lesser Sandplover, Pacific Golden Plover, Caspian Tern, White-faced Heron, Jabiru and Sacred Kingfisher in addition to the other species seen here before. Also there were lots of Mudskippers, weird little fish that can swim, walk and breathe using gills and lungs.
We caught our flight south but didn't have time to look for Mangrove Honeyeater at Brisbane airport as we were in a hurry to get up to O'Reilly's in Lamington National Park before dark. We only just made it. On the drive up we saw Crested Pigeons, Cattle Egrets and Australian Ravens. Around O'Reilly's when we arrived there were Crimson Rosellas, Australian King Parrots and Pied Currawongs. I also saw a Russet-tailed Thrush on the drive up along with several Whiptail Wallabies and Red-necked Pademelons.
Our first morning at O'Reilly's was quite amazing. We went out with a guide at 6.45. The walk started just outside the reception where Laughing Kookaburra, King Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Satin Bowerbird and Pied Currawong were all waiting expectantly. Then a flock of about 20-30 Regent Bowerbirds flew into one of the nearby bushes. Now if you think Regent Bowerbirds look good in the books, they are twenty times better in real life, giving Golden Bowerbird a run for its money for bird of the trip. Our guide then proceeded to feed both the Regents and the Satins as well as a pair of Grey Butcherbirds. We then went a short walk into the rainforest where tame birds included Green Catbird, White-browed and Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Wonga Pigeon, Logrunner, Grey Shrike-thrush, Eastern Yellow Robin, Lewin's Honeyeater (one fed inside the dining room!) Australian Brush Turkey and incredibly, Eastern Whipbird, which called right next to us, wow! Albert's Lyrebird was heard as well.
After breakfast we headed down the Python Rock Track. 50 yds in we found a female Albert's Lyrebird digging around in leaf-litter. White-browed and Yellow-throated Scrubwrens were very common along here, probably attracted by 3 pairs of Logrunners digging in the leaf-litter like rodents. A Grey Shrike-thrush was also seen. We also found 2 Brown Gerygones and a Brown Thornbill but these were quite elusive.
After lunch we walked the first part of the Border Track but had little of note except Logrunners and Wonga Pigeons. In the evening we went on a nightwalk to try and see Greater Glider. We were unsuccessful and we didn't get any birds either. During dinner Brush-tailed Possums came to fruit right next to the dining room.
On the morning bird walk we had nothing different except for Australian Magpies, Eastern Spinebill and a singing Rose Robin but unfortunately the latter wasn't seen. After breakfast we tried the tree-top walkway. This was quite successful with good views of Golden Whistler and King Parrot. Suddenly a Grey Goshawk appeared from nowhere and perched in a tree about 20 feet away, perhaps attracted by my whistling calls, designed to attract Rose Robin. Just off the boardwalk we saw a White-browed Treecreeper.
After this bit of early morning birding my dad and I headed for Duck Creek Road. We parked at the first lay-by and we had Yellow-faced, White-naped and Lewin's Honeyeaters, Brown Thornbills, Variegated and Red-backed Fairy-wrens and Golden Whistler. Just a little further on a flock of three Varied Sittellas and another flock of 7 Buff-rumped Thornbills were seen. The sittellas were brilliant, looking like weird piebald nuthatches. 2 Sulphur-crested Cockies flew over. In a disused quarry just off the road we saw Striated Thornbills, Grey Fantail and Red-browed Firetails. Further on a Wedge-tailed Eagle cruised over giving excellent views. The eagle flushed a cracking Red-browed Treecreeper with a White-throated Treecreeper. A pair of Australian Magpies were around the area. Walking back we saw another Varied Sittella and a Grey Shrike-thrush (which by this time had become the John Howard bird because of the initials GST - ask any Australian!). In the evening we went on another nightwalk which was more successful with several Brush-tailed Possums, a heard Southern Boobook and the walk culminated with a spectacular show by Glow-worms next to the creek.
From the treetop walk we had just Brown Gerygone and Grey Shrike-thrush. On the Python Rock Track after breakfast, we found a Large-billed Scrubwren with a Brown Gerygone. A Bassian Thrush crossed the path in front of us, giving great views. Logrunners were common as usual along the track. At the lookout a Grey Goshawk was cruising over the rainforest beneath us, but at great distance. A bird wave appeared from nowhere, and contained Eastern Spinebill, Yellow-faced and White-naped Honeyeaters, Grey Fantail and White-throated Treecreeper. On the walk back a male Albert's Lyrebird was singing but was very elusive. We relaxed in the afternoon and took time to buy gifts and feed the parrots (well it's got to be done hasn't it?).
This was our final day at O'Reilly's, and we were determined to get Paradise Riflebird. On the bird walk all the usual birds were seen plus 3 Superb Fairy-wrens. On the Python Rock Track 2 Large-billed Scrubwrens showed well and a Lewin's Honeyeater with 2 Eastern Yellow Robin were by the path. Then a male Albert's Lyrebird was digging in leaves next to the path giving great views except for the poor light. Another couple of Logrunners were around. Then a female Paradise Riflebird appeared on a Staghorn Fern just above our heads and showed well before flying off. An Eastern Spinebill was at the look-out. And then just to round of an excellent stay we had a Noisy Pitta which showed quite well at the start of the Border Track. We then headed down south to Coffs Harbour stopping briefly at East Ballina for South Island Oystercatcher but dipped out. Just outside Coffs there were hundreds of Flying-fox sp. Flying over the road in such large numbers we thought they were gulls!
NEW SOUTH WALES
The birding took a back seat for a little while as we were now staying with my mum's old boss and his wife. However we did have a chance to see some good birds. Just outside the apartment Relict Raven, Eastern Rosella and Red-whiskered Bulbul were seen pretty easily. Nearby Crested Pigeons were quite easy to see. Around the harbour itself Pied Cormorants were seen. Australasian Pipit was seen at Muttonbird Island. We then headed inland to Ebor Falls. There Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Red Wattlebirds were common. Eastern Grey Kangaroos were also seen.
23rd August: Today we headed up to Red Rock for Beach Thick-knee. On the beach opposite the car-park there was Eastern Curlew, Little Black Cormorant, Silver Gull, Crested Tern, Common Tern, Red-capped Plover, Sacred Kingfisher and Pied Oystercatcher. Around the car-park there were lots of Rainbow Lorikeets with a few Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and Eastern Rosella, with Brush Wattlebird and Magpie-lark.
In the evening we went to Muttonbird Island to wait for the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters to arrive. While we were waiting an unidentified 'barn' owl flew up and down the island. It looked too dark underneath for Barn and too light for Masked but I couldn't say that it was Australian Grass Owl for definite. If someone else has seen a similar bird in the Coffs Harbour area could you perhaps help me clear this up. Anyway the shearwaters appeared shortly after 6pm and some flew in very close, right in front of our faces at times, a wonderful experience.
Today we drove to Maitland via Armidale and Tamworth. On the drive we had some good birds, including Australian Kite, Galah, Eastern Rosella, Australian Kestrel, Australian Ibis and Purple Swamphen.
25th August: From Maitland we drove down to Sydney. We stopped off at Cumberland State Forest. Around the car-park there were a pair of Australian Magpies and a pair of Noisy Miners. A flock of 6 Bell Miners were in the trees along the Sensory Trail. Along this trail there was a Southern Boobook stake-out and we found a pair at eye-level just feet away. Despite the fact that it is the commonest owl in Australia it was still a brilliant experience. Also seen here were Crimson Rosella, Buff-rumped Thornbill and White-browed Scrubwren. We then drove down to Wollongong.
26th August: Today we went on the world famous Wollongong pelagic. Around the harbour there were several Australian Pelicans and a Kelp Gull. On the trip out from the harbour there were several Australian Fur-seals as well as a school of 50+ Common Dolphins. The first birds were Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Silver Gulls behind the boat. Several flocks of 'Flutton's Shearwaters (Fluttering and Hutton's) were seen at long range. We spent nearly 10 hours out and saw the following species: Australian Pelican, Kelp and Silver Gulls, Little Pied Cormorant, White-fronted and Crested Terns, Black-browed, Campbell, Shy, White-capped, Gibson's, Antipodean, Wandering and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses, Fluttering, Hutton's and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Fairy, Antarctic and Slender-billed Prions, Great-winged, White-winged, Cape, Soft-plumaged and Providence Petrels, Southern Giant Petrel, Wilson's and White-faced Storm-petrels, Southern Skua and Australian Gannet. Quite a day with pretty much non-stop excitement, with some stunning species such as Wandering and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross to some more unexpected birds such as Slender-billed Prion and Soft-plumaged Petrel. The fact that the crew were catching and ringing albatrosses on board was an added thrill.
27th August: Before heading up to Sydney we visited Barren Grounds, near Jamberoo. On the road up to the reserve there was a male Superb Lyrebird right next to the road. Around the dry eucalyptus woodland near the car-park Red Wattlebirds were everywhere, plus Eastern Spinebill, New Holland Honeyeater and Yellow-faced Honeyeater. However the best bird along this stretch was a male Crescent Honeyeater perched in a dead tree. 3 Silvereyes flew over. A Beautiful Firetail was then flushed from a patch of heath but then disappeared. Further along the track an Eastern Bristlebird ran across the path. We eventually located 3 birds in this area just beyond the observatory, one of which was singing and although elusive they did allow for some great views of this very rare species. Another Beautiful Firetail was flushed. 4 more Eastern Bristlebirds were just inside the woodland where an unexpected bird, Fuscous Honeyeater, was seen. A Brush Wattlebird perched in a tree next to the path. Once back on the heath there were several Southern Emu-wrens although they were all very elusive. Another Beautiful Firetail was flushed. 2 Pied Currawongs flew over.
In Sydney we visited Centennial Park, where we had most of the common waterbirds such as Purple Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen, Black Swan, Pacific Black Duck, Maned Duck, Australian Ibis and Royal Spoonbill plus Black-fronted Plover, Yellow Thornbill, New Holland Honeyeater, Magpie-lark, Australian Raven, Crested Pigeon and Rainbow Lorikeet. Then just as we had left the park a large flock of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos, quite a surprise over suburban Sydney. We then went on to Cape Solander where we saw Australian Kite around the car-park and on the sea there were hundreds of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, several Australian Gannets, 2 White-fronted Terns and a Black-browed Albatross.
Today we visited Royal National Park. Around the car-park at Currawong Flat on Lady Carrington Drive there were several Maned Ducks, Eastern Rosellas, Pacific Black Ducks and 1 Australasian Grebe. A honeyeater flock moved through which contained several Yellow-faced and New Holland Honeyeaters and Eastern Spinebills. About 50m along Lady Carrington Drive there was an Origma feeding on a cliff next to the track showing brilliantly. 3 White-browed Scrubwrens were along the track as was a female Rose Robin. A large flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were seen here as well.
We then headed up to Bundeena. Around the car-park there was a pair of Australian Magpies and a flock of Superb Fairy-wrens. On a nearby lake there was a large flock of Chestnut Teal, with 2 Royal Spoonbills and a Maned Duck. A Pied and a Little Pied Cormorant were perched in a tree nearby. 2 Laughing Kookas sang nearby. Also in the area were Crimson Rosellas, Red-browed Firetails, Australasian Pipit, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Galah.
Finally we headed up to Curra Moors where we saw White-eared Honeyeater fairly easily and had a brief view a of Tawny-crowned Honeyeater.
Before our flight home in the evening we did all the tourist things around Sydney so the only birds seen were Australian Raven and Silver Gull around the Rocks district.
Areas - Sites in the areas visited were as follows:
Darwin - East Point, Lake Alexander, Buffalo Creek, Doctor's
Gully, Holmes Jungle Swamp
Darwin Area - Howard Springs, Fogg Dam
Arnhem Highway - Adelaide River (Jumping Crocodiles), Mamukala
Kakadu NP - Nourlangie Rock, Cooinda Lodge, Yellow Waters cruise
Cairns - Botanic Gardens, Cemetery, Esplanade
Great Barrier Reef - Michaelmas Cay
Atherton Tablelands - Kingfisher Park, Mt Lewis, Mount Molloy, Mount Carbine (rubbish dump and slag heap!) , East Mary Farms, Abbatoir Swamp, Lake Mitchell, Big Mitchell Creek
Lamington NP - O'Reilly's Guesthouse area and tracks, Duck Creek Road
Coffs Harbour - Coffs Harbour, Dorrigo National Park, Red Rock
Wollongong - Wollongong Pelagic, Barren Grounds
Sydney - Cumberland SF, Centennial Park, Cape Solander
Royal NP - Lady Carrington Drive, Bundeena, Curra Moors
Site Abbreviations - These are as follows:
CE - Cairns Esplanade
DCR - Duck Creek Road
K.N.P - Kakadu National Park
KP - Kingfisher Park
L.N.P - Lamington National Park
Mt - Mount
NSW - New South Wales
NT - Northern Territory
Qld - Queensland
R.N.P - Royal National Park
SF - State Forest
WP - Wollongong Pelagic
*- birds that are rare, internationally endangered, funny
looking or just plain stunning (worth a good look)
bold - birds that were (almost) completely unexpected
( ) - feral species
[ ] - species not identified or found dead
Australasian Grebe - A few at Mamukala
*Wandering Albatross - 2 on WP, following boat
Antipodean Albatross - uncommon on WP
Gibson's Albatross - most common large albatross on WP
Black-browed Albatross - common on WP. Also offshore at Cape Solander.
Campbell Albatross - quite common on WP
Shy Albatross - uncommon on WP
White-capped Albatross - uncommon on WP
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross - uncommon on WP
*Southern Giant Petrel - 1 followed boat on WP
*Cape Petrel - common on WP
Great-winged Petrel - 2 birds flew around bird on WP
White-headed Petrel - 1-2 birds flew past the boat at high speed on WP
Providence Petrel - 1-3 birds flew past the boat on WP
Soft-plumaged Petrel - 1-2 birds flew past at long range on WP
Antarctic Prion - 1-2 on WP
Slender-billed Prion - 1 on WP
Fairy Prion - Common on WP
Wedge-tailed Shearwater - Very abundant on WP and off Cape Solander. Also common on Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour after 6pm.
Fluttering/Hutton's Shearwater - Uncommon and distant on WP. A few off Cape Solander
Wilson's Storm-petrel - 1-2 flew past boat on WP
White-faced Storm-petrel - 3-5 birds alongside boat on WP
Australian Pelican - Common at a number of sites e.g. Lake Mitchell, CE and Wollongong Harbour
Australian Gannet - Common on WP
Brown Booby - Common on Michaelmas Cay
Great Cormorant - Common at a few sites e.g. Centennial Park and Wollongong Harbour
Little Black Cormorant - Common at most wetland sites e.g. Mamukala, Red Rock
Pied Cormorant - Just 2 seen at Coffs Harbour marina and at Bundeena in R.N.P
Little Pied Cormorant - Common at most wetland sites e.g. Lake Mitchell, Yellow Waters
Australian Darter - Common at Yellow Waters Billabong, Mamukala and Lake Mitchell
*Lesser Frigatebird - 2 on Michaelmas Cay
Cattle Egret - Common in fields with cattle in east.
Little Egret - Common at CE and Fogg Dam
Great Egret - Common in most wetland sites
Intermediate Egret - Common in most wetland sites, especially in NT
Pacific Reef-Heron - Seen at a few wetland sites (e.g. Lake Alexander, Yellow Waters, CE)
*Pied Heron - Common at Fogg Dam and Yellow Waters. We enjoyed breakfast with 2 at Cooinda Lodge.
White-faced Heron - Fairy common at CE. Also seen at Lake Mitchell causeway.
Pacific Heron - 1 at Lake Mitchell causeway.
Striated Heron - Common at mangrove sites e.g. Doctor's Gully, Cairns Botanic Gardens
*Nankeen Night-heron - Common at Yellow Waters
Royal Spoonbill - Common at most wetland sites e.g. CE, Fogg Dam
Australian Ibis - Abundant in most build-up and wetland areas
*Straw-necked Ibis - Common at most wetland sites and grassy areas (but unpredictable)
Glossy Ibis - Uncommon at Yellow Waters
*Jabiru (Black-necked Stork) - Uncommon, 1 at Yellow Waters and 1 at CE
*Magpie Goose - Abundant at all wetland sites in NT
Plumed Whistling-duck - Common at Yellow Waters
Wandering Whistling-duck - Common at Fogg Dam but uncommon at Yellow Waters
*Black Swan - Common at a few sites especially Lake Mitchell causeway (distant) and Centennial Park
Radjah Shelduck - Common at Fogg Dam and Yellow Waters
Green Pygmy-goose - Common at Fogg Dam, Yellow Waters and Lake Mitchell causeway
*Cotton Pygmy-goose - 2 at Lake Mitchell causeway (distant)
Maned Duck - Common along roadside in S Qld and NSW and also R.N.P
Chestnut Teal - Common at Bundeena, R.N.P
Pacific Black Duck - Common at most eastern wetland sites e.g. Lake Mitchell, Centennial Park
*Pacific Baza - 1 heard at Mt Lewis
Australian Kite - Common on drive from Coffs Harbour to Maitland. 1 at Cape Solander.
Black Kite - Abundant in North
Whistling Kite - Abundant in North
Brahminy Kite - Uncommon, 1 over Darwin, 1 at CE.
*White-bellied Sea-Eagle - Fairly common in NT e.g. Darwin, Yellow Waters
Brown Goshawk - 1 over Holmes Jungle Swamp
*Variable (Grey) Goshawk - Seen briefly over Mt Lewis, at close quarters on canopy walkway and at end of Python Rock Track at O'Reilly's
Collared Sparrowhawk - 1 seen over Darwin
*Wedge-tailed Eagle - 1 over East Mary Farms, 1 over O'Reilly's and DCR in L.N.P
Little Eagle - Fairly common in NT
Australian Kestrel - Common throughout
Brown Falcon - 1 over Arnhem Highway K.N.P
*Black Falcon - 1 over Holmes Jungle Swamp
*Orange-footed Scrubfowl - Common around Darwin and KP
*Australian Brush-turkey - Abundant around KP and O'Reilly's
Brown Quail - 1 flushed at Holmes Jungle Swamp
Buff-banded Rail - 1 confiding bird at KP fed under honeyeater feeder
*Red-necked Crake - 1 took cheese from under the birdbath at KP 2 metres from assembled crowd
White-browed Crake - 1 showed extremely well at Fogg Dam at the end of the boardwalk. 1 was seen briefly at Yellow Waters
Dusky Moorhen - Common at most wetland sites in Southeast
Purple Swamphen - Common at Abattoir Swamp in Qld and Centennial Park
Common Coot - Common at most wetland sites in Southeast
*Brolga - 2 seen at Yellow Waters, 3 near East Alligator River bridge
*Australian Bustard - 2 flushed at private farmstead at East Mary Farms
*Comb-crested Jacana - Common at Fogg Dam, Yellow Waters, Mamukala and Lake Mitchell
Pied Oystercatcher - 2 at Red Rock
Bush Thick-knee - Abundant at Cairn's cemetery and heard at KP
Red-capped Plover - Common at CE
Lesser Sandplover - A few at CE
Greater Sandplover - A few at Buffalo Creek beach
Black-fronted Plover - 1 at Lake Mitchell and 3 at Centennial Park
Pacific Golden Plover - A few at CE
Masked Lapwing - Abundant throughout
Red-necked Stint - A few at CE
Black-tailed Godwit - A few at CE
Bar-tailed Godwit - A few at CE
Whimbrel - A few at CE
*Eastern Curlew - Common at CE and Red Rock
Terek Sandpiper - 1 at Lake Alexander
Common Sandpiper - 2 at Doctor's Gully
Ruddy Turnstone - A few at Buffalo Creek beach
Southern Skua - 1 following boat on WP
Silver Gull - abundant throughout especially in Southeast
Kelp Gull - 1 in Wollongong Harbour, 2-3 on WP
Caspian Tern - Common at CE
Gull-billed Tern - Common at CE
Crested Tern - Common off most coastal areas in East
White-fronted Tern - A few on WP and 1 off Cape Solander
*Sooty Tern - Abundant at Michaelmas Cay
Whiskered Tern - Common at Mamukala and Yellow Waters
*Brown Noddy - Abundant at Michaelmas Cay
White-headed Pigeon - A few on Mt Lewis
(Spotted Dove) - Common at CE
(Laughing Dove) - A few at Coffs Harbour
Brown Cuckoo-dove - 1 at Mt Lewis and 1 at O'Reilly's
Emerald Dove - Uncommon at East Point, common and tame at KP
*Crested Pigeon - 1 at Mt Carbine slag heap, common on roadside wires S of Brisbane
*Squatter Pigeon - 2 at site in Mt Molloy
*Partridge Pigeon - 4 crossing Arnhem Highway, 10 km W of Jabiru
Peaceful Dove - Common in North
Bar-shouldered Dove - Abundant in NT, uncommon in Qld
Wonga Pigeon - Common and tame at O'Reilly's
Torresian Imperial Pigeon - Uncommon around Darwin, 1 over KP
Topknot Pigeon - Regularly over Mt Lewis and KP
Rainbow Lorikeet - Abundant throughout East except O'Reilly's
Red-collared Lorikeet - Common in NT
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet - 2 at Red Rock
Varied Lorikeet - Uncommon, a few at Howard Springs and 1 at Holmes Jungle Swamp
*Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo - 5 seen, amazingly, over suburban Sydney, near Centennial Park
*Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo - Common in North, e.g. Howard Springs, East Mary Farms
Galah - Common throughout
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Abundant throughout
Little Corella - Seen at East Alligator River, Adelaide River and Yellow Water
Double-eyed Fig Parrot - Heard on Mt Lewis
*Australian King Parrot - Abundant around O'Reilly's
Red-winged Parrot - Common in NT and seen at Howard Springs and Yellow Waters especially
*Crimson Rosella - Abundant around O'Reilly's and common throughout South-east
Eastern Rosella - Common in South-east
Fan-tailed Cuckoo - 1 at Mt Carbine rubbish dump
Shining Bronze-cuckoo - 4 on Mt Lewis
Pheasant Coucal - 2 at East Mary Farms
Barn Owl - 1 spotlighted at KP
*Lesser Sooty Owl - 2 spotlighted at KP
Rufous Owl - 1 in care at KP after car accident
Southern Boobook - heard on nightwalk at O'Reilly's and pair seen well at stake out at Cumberland SF
*Tawny Frogmouth - 1 spotlighted at KP
*Papuan Frogmouth - 1 staked out at KP
Large-tailed Nightjar - heard at KP
Australasian Swiflet - quite common north of Cairns
*Azure Kingfisher - 1 seen well at Yellow Waters and 1 flew under bridge at bottom of Mt Lewis at Platypus site
*Laughing Kookaburra - very common in east (e.g. KP, O'Reilly's etc.)
Blue-winged Kookaburra - quite common on wires along Arnhem Highway, NT
*Forest Kingfisher - common at all wetland sites in NT
*Red-backed Kingfisher - 1 at Mt Carbine rubbish dump
Sacred Kingfisher - common throughout
*Rainbow Bee-eater - Common throughout NT
*Noisy Pitta - 1 bird in rainforest near main building at KP, 1 also at start of Border Track at O'Reilly's
*Rainbow Pitta - 2 confiding birds at Howard Springs
Superb Lyrebird - 1 seen on Jamberoo-Robertson road on the way to Barren Grounds
*Albert's Lyrebird - 1 seen or heard 3 times on Python Rock Track at O'Reilly's, also heard next to Botanic Gardens
Welcome Swallow - common throughout east coast
Tree Martin - common throughout
Fairy Martin - uncommon in NT
Australasian Pipit - common throughout east coast
Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike - common throughout NT especially Darwin area
White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike - common throughout NT especially Darwin area
White-winged Triller - a few at Bicentennial Park and East Point in Darwin
Varied Triller - common throughout North (e.g. Bicentennial Park, Adelaide River and KP)
(Red-whiskered Bulbul) - common around Coffs Harbour
Russet-tailed Thrush - 1 on by road on way up to O'Reilly's
Bassian Thrush - 1 on Python Rock Thrush
*Logrunner - very common at O'Reilly's
*Chowchilla - 1 male on Mt Lewis, several others singing
Eastern Whipbird - common at KP, Mt Lewis and O'Reilly's. Heard at first two sites; hand-tame at O'Reilly's
Rufous Songlark - 1 bird in song-flight at Howard Springs
Australian Reed Warbler - common on Fogg Dam causeway
Zitting Cisticola - 1 heard at Holmes Jungle Swamp
Golden-headed Cisticola - common at Fogg Dam and East Mary Farms
Jacky Winter - 1 at East Point, Darwin and another at Buffalo Creek
Lemon-bellied Flycatcher - common at most wetland/mangrove areas in NT
Rose Robin - 1 heard at O'Reilly's and 1 female seen on Lady Carrington Drive, R.N.P
Pale-yellow Robin - common around KP
Eastern Yellow Robin - very common at O'Reilly's
*White-eared Monarch - heard on Mt Lewis
*Spectacled Monarch - common around KP and Mt Lewis
Australian Pied Monarch - heard on Mt Lewis
Leaden Flycatcher - 1 male at Fogg Dam
Broad-billed Flycather - 1 at Fogg Dam and 1 at Adelaide River
*Shining Flycatcher - several pairs of this stunning species were around Howard Springs
*Paperbark Flycatcher - very common on Fogg Dam causeway
*Yellow-breasted Boatbill - 1 male at KP and a pair on Mt Lewis
Willie Wagtail - very common throughout
Northen Fantail - 1 at Buffalo Creek
Grey Fantail - common throughout east, mountain subspecies quite common on Mt Lewis
Rufous Fantail - common around KP
Spangled Drongo - common in Darwin area
Magpie-lark - very common throughout
*Red-backed Fairy-wren - common around Cooinda Lodge and KP
*Superb Fairy-wren - common around O'Reilly's and R.N.P
Variegated Fairy-wren - 3 at Cooinda Lodge and 7 on DCR in L.N.P
*Southern Emu-wren - common but elusive at Barren Grounds
*Eastern Bristlebird - suprisingly common and easy to see at times at Barren Grounds, 7 seen altogether
*Origma - 1 showed well on rocky area 50m along from Currawong Flat car park on Lady Carrington Drive, R.N.P
*Fernwren - several heard on Mt Lewis
Yellow-throated Scrubwren - common around KP and Mt Lewis and very common and tame around O'Reilly's
White-browed Scrubwren - common and confiding at O'Reilly's, Cumberland SF and R.N.P
Large-billed Scrubwren - quite common around KP and lower Mt Lewis
*Atherton Scrubwren - uncommon at top of Mt Lewis
Buff-rumped Thornbill - common in L.N.P and 1 at Cumberland SF
*Mountain Thornbill - quite common on top of Mt Lewis
Brown Thornbill - common in L.N.P
Yellow Thornbill - 1 seen in Centennial Park
Striated Thornbill - common in L.N.P
Weebill - 1 at Mt Carbine rubbish dump
Green-backed Gerygone - quite common in Bicentennial Park , Darwin
White-throated Gerygone - 1 at Adelaide River
Large-billed Gerygone - 1 at KP
Brown Gerygone - very common at KP, Mt Lewis and O'Reilly's
Grey Whistler - common around KP
Brown Whistler - 1 at Buffalo Creek
*Golden Whistler - common at KP, Mt Lewis and L.N.P
*Mangrove Golden Whistler - 1 at Adelaide River
*Rufous Whistler - 1 at Fogg Dam
Little Shrike-thrush - quite common in Darwin area
Grey Shrike-thrush - common in L.N.P
*Varied Sittella - 3 birds showed well on DCR
Red-browed Treecreeper - 1 seen on DCR
White-throated Treecreeper - common in L.N.P
*Mistletoebird - common in North (e.g. Howard Springs, KP)
Spotted Pardalote - 1 on DCR
Red-browed Pardalote - 2 at Mt Carbine slag heap
Striated Pardalote - 1 at Mt Carbine slag heap
*Olive-backed Sunbird - common at KP
Yellow White-eye - common at Buffalo Creek
Silvereye - common in NE Qld and Barren Grounds
Brown Honeyeater - common around Darwin
Dusky Honeyeater - common and often confiding in NT
*Red-headed Honeyeater - pair at Buffalo Creek
Graceful Honeyeater - uncommon around KP and Mt Lewis
Yellow-spotted Honeyeater - common around KP
Lewin's Honeyeater - very common around KP, Mt Lewis and L.N.P
Yellow Honeyeater - 3 in Cairns airport car park
White-lined Honeyeater - 1 at Nourlangie Rock, K.N.P
Varied Honeyeater - common at CE
Fuscous Honeyeater - 1 at Barren Grounds
Yellow-faced Honeyeater - heard at KP, common in L.N.P
*White-eared Honeyeater - 1 at Curra Moors, R.N.P
White-gaped Honeyeater - common in NT
*Macleay's Honeyeater - common around KP
*Bridled Honeyeater - 1 at KP
White-naped Honeyeater - common in NT
White-throated Honeyeater - common in L.N.P
Blue-faced Honeyeater - common throughout
Little Friarbird - 1 at Nourlangie Rock, K.N.P
New Guinea Friarbird - common in Cairns area
Silver-crowned Friarbird - common in north, more so in NT
Noisy Friarbird - 1 at Lake Mitchell causeway
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater - 1 at Curra Moors, R.N.P
*Crescent Honeyeater - 1 at Barren Grounds
New Holland Honeyeater - common in South-east especially Barren Grounds
*White-cheeked Honeyeater - 2 at top of Mt Lewis
Brown-backed Honeyeater - 1 at Lake Mitchell causeway
Rufous-banded Honeyeater - common throughout NT
*Eastern Spinebill - 2 at top of Mt Lewis and common at O'Reilly's and Barren Grounds
Bell Miner - 1 at O'Reilly's and common at Cumberland SF
Noisy Miner - common at Cumberland SF
Yellow-throated Miner - 1 at Lake Alexander, Darwin
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater - 1 at dam at Mt Carbine slag heap
Brush Wattlebird - common in NSW
Red Wattlebird - common in NSW especially Barren Grounds (literally everywhere)
Torresian Crow - common in NT and Qld
Australian Raven - quite common South of Brisbane
*Relict Raven - common around Coffs Harbour (species status?)
(Common Starling) - common around Cairns
(Common Myna) - common in NE Qld
Olive-backed Oriole - common in NT
Yellow Oriole - quite common in NT
Figbird - common throughout North
(House Sparrow) - common around Coffs Harbour
*Beautiful Firetail - 4 at Barren Grounds, all were typically elusive
Red-browed Firetail - common at KP (in food dish by the reception), uncommon at O'Reilly's and DCR
*Crimson Finch - common at Fogg Dam and Holmes Jungle Swamp
Double-barred Finch - common in NT especially Holmes Jungle Swamp
Long-tailed Finch - 2 at Mamukala was a surprise
(Nutmeg Mannikin) - common at CE
White-breasted Woodswallow - common in Darwin and Cairns
Grey Butcherbird - common and tame at O'Reilly's
Pied Butcherbird - common in East
Black Butcherbird - heard regularly at KP and Mt Lewis but only seen once between Mt Molloy and KP
Australian Magpie - very common in East
Pied Currawong - common South of Brisbane
Green Catbird - common and occasionally tame around O'Reilly's
Spotted Catbird - common but elusive at KP and Mt Lewis (both species easily found by call, a strange yowling like a wailing child)
*Tooth-billed Bowerbird - 1 seen on Mt Lewis
*Golden Bowerbird - 1 male singing on bower on top of Mt Lewis
*Regent Bowerbird - very common and hand-tame around O'Reilly's
*Satin Bowerbird - very common and tame around O'Reilly's
Great Bowerbird - common in a few sites in the North (Cooinda Lodge, Mt Molloy esp.)
*Paradise Riflebird - 1 female on Python Rock Track, O'Reilly's
*Victoria's Riflebird - 1 female at KP
[Painted Buttonquail] - 1 male found dead at East Mary Farms (not included in totals)
[Red Goshawk] - a bird possibly of this species seen briefly over forest on the Arnhem Highway just inside K.N.P (not included in totals)
[Australian Grass Owl] - a bird possibly of this species seen briefly at Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour (not included in totals)
Total = 299 species
Life ticks = 282 species
So close to the 300 barrier, but at least we have an excuse to go back (as if we needed it!)
Giant Clam - 1 seen Scuba diving off Michaelmas Cay
Parrot Fish - common off Michaelmas Cay
Fish sp. - a large range of species is possible off Michaelmas Cay although the reef is suffering from the effects of global warming.
Barramundi - common at Howard Springs
Mudskipper - common at low tide at Cairns Esplanade
Freshwater Turtles - common at Howard Springs
Saltwater Crocodile - 4 on Yellow Waters cruise. Beware! Take signs seriously. They are one of the few creatures on earth who will actively hunt humans, so as soon as you go near the water you're fair game.
Humpback Whale - mother and calf on Michaelmas Cay cruise
Common Dolphin - very common on WP
Australian Fur Seal - 1 at Red Rock and 1 on WP
Dingo - 1 wandered through the campground at Cooinda Lodge
Platypus - 2 on the creek behind KP during a nightwalk and 1 under bridge on Mt Lewis road
Red-necked Pademelon - common around O'Reilly's
Red-legged Pademelon - quite common around KP and O'Reilly's
Eastern Grey Kangaroo - quite common South of Brisbane
Whiptail Wallaby - common on way up to O'Reilly's
Agile Wallaby - common in NT
Long-nosed Bandicoot - common on nightwalk at KP
Northern Brown Bandicoot - common on nightwalk at KP
Sugar Glider - 1 on feeders at O'Reilly's during dinner
Brushtail Possum - common on feeders at O'Reilly's during dinner, also on nightwalk
Spectacled Flying-fox - 2 at KP on nightwalk
Flying-fox sp. - very common in Coffs Harbour area
Gecko sp. - 1 on room door at Palm Royale hotel in Cairns
Ulysses butterfly - uncommon around KP
Common Black/Tiger Leeches - common around top of Mt Lewis. Beware! Although not big they were common and difficult to get off, although they didn't spoil the birding.
Stinging Tree - 1 fenced off at KP, common around O'Reilly's. Beware! The sting is so painful it has been known to give people heart attacks. Best left alone.
Novotel Atrium Hotel - Darwin (great food, accommodation and people)
Cooinda Lodge - Cooinda (great food, people and birds)
Kingfisher Park - Julatten (extremely welcoming and helpful, excellent guided tours and birds)
The Tavern - Julatten (great food)
Ocean Spirit - Cairns to Michaelmas Cay (great food, people and the opportunity to Scuba dive without qualifications - a phenomenal experience)
John Crowhurst and Andy Anderson - Cairns (very helpful about Cairns birding)
O'Reillys' - Lamington NP (outstanding hospitality and food, great accommodation and fantastic birding and great value as well)
The Bowling Club Inn - Maitland (good food at Club and reasonable accommodation for a very small price - brilliant value for money)
Wollongong Pelagic - Wollongong (great people and fantastic birds - Albatross ringing is a great way to see these birds up close. However land-lubbers should be well prepared, the sea is rough even on the clearest days.)