Sunday, 30 April 2017

Down Under Part Five: Birding Queensland 4 and New South Wales

From the Tablelands we headed southeast to Townsville and on to Magnetic Island to look (successfully) for Koalas. A few new birds added to the list, notably Bush Stone-curlew, which were common on the island, especially once it got dark.

Magnetic Island. Viewed from the Forts Walk, near where we saw Koalas.

Pied Cormorant, Magnetic Island

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - nesting in a broken-off palm in Townsville.

Back on the mainland, we drove up to Etty Bay, pausing briefly at Tyto Wetlands, where we added Green Pygmy Goose to the trip list. We had got a tip-off that Etty Bay (just south of Innisfail) was a good bet for Southern Cassowary, and sure enough as we drove in, Addie suddenly shouted "there's one!" and sure enough, one of these incredible, prehistoric-looking ratites was casually strolling along the edge of the beach!

Etty Bay. A little cove backed by a campsite and surrounded by rainforest. The local Cassowary pair seem to walk a circuit and so every hour or so, they wander along the beach, oblivious to any people that happen to be hanging out. Birding was good in and around Etty Bay, with Rose-crowned Fruit-doves noticeable.

Rose-crowned Fruit-doves
After a brief visit to Cairns, we headed north up to Port Douglas where we went out on the Daintree River. We managed two of our main three targets, Little Kingfisher and Great-billed Heron, but missed Papuan Frogmouth.  We saw one big Saltwater Crocodile sunbathing in the morning sun, and added a bonus bird in the form of a Pied Monarch. A number of other good birds were seen including Grey Goshawk, Radjah Shelduck, Wompoo Fruit-dove, Shining Flycatcher and Azure Kingfisher.

Great-billed Heron- the last time I saw one of these shy and rare herons was on Flores in 1997, Azure Kingfisher and male Shining Flycatcher.  I would really recommend Murray Hunt, the Daintree Boatman, who knows the birds and other wildlife.

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