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24-Days in Far Northern Qld Bird Watching

Author: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: November 2006

Highlights of the Region:

Victoria's Riflebird courtship display in Cape Tribulation NP Australian Bustard courtship display on West Mary Rd near Julatten Sea Birds at Michaelmas Cay NP & Snorkeling Hastings Reef Southern Cassowary Male and 2 chicks at Cape Tribulation NP Sarus Cranes at Bromfield Crater near Atherton Cairns Birdwing Butterfly & Atlas Moth at Mission Beach Spectacled Flying Fox (Bat) counting on the Daintree River

Birding Summary

The area is very diverse in geo-habitats and bird species. Table 1 gives the parks where we went birding each day with their latitude & longitude.

Table 1 Birding Locations Date City Park Lat & Long 24-Oct Cairns Crystal Cascades in Redlynch -16.962 145.679 25-Oct Cairns Cairns Esplanade Sidewalk -16.918 145.776 25-Oct Cairns Flecker Botanic Gardens -16.899 145.748 26-Oct Cairns Crystal Cascades in Redlynch -16.962 145.679 26-Oct Cairns Cairns Overlook -16.928 145.721 26-Oct Cairns Nutmeg Grove B&B -16.946 145.689 27-Oct Cairns Bones Horse Farm -16.869 145.694 27-Oct Cairns Nutmeg Grove B&B -16.946 145.689 27-Oct Cairns Crystal Cascades in Redlynch -16.962 145.679 28-Oct Cairns Nutmeg Grove B&B -16.946 145.689 29-Oct Cairns Michaelmas Cay NP -16.606 145.974 31-Oct Daintree Captain Cook Highway -16.645 145.564 31-Oct Daintree Newell Beach -16.429 145.407 31-Oct Daintree Daintree -16.25 145.318 1-Nov Daintree Daintree River Trip -16.25 145.317 1-Nov Daintree Daintree Village -16.25 145.318 2-Nov Daintree Cape Tribulation NP -16.196 145.413 3-Nov Daintree Cape Tribulation NP -16.196 145.413 3-Nov Daintree Daintree Swamp -16.276 145.388 3-Nov Daintree Daintree Village -16.25 145.318 4-Nov Daintree Mossman River -16.434 145.404 4-Nov Daintree Mossman Gorge NP -16.47 145.327 5-Nov Daintree Dan Irby boat tour -16.263 145.337 5-Nov Daintree Daintree Swamp -16.276 145.388 6-Nov Daintree Daintree Swamp -16.276 145.388 6-Nov Daintree Mossman Gorge NP -16.47 145.327 6-Nov Daintree Newell Beach -16.429 145.407 7-Nov Julatten Mt Lewis -16.595 145.279 7-Nov Julatten Kingfisher Park -16.595 145.339 8-Nov Julatten Kingfisher Park -16.595 145.339 8-Nov Julatten Bowerbird B&B -16.676 145.331 8-Nov Julatten Abattoir Swamp -16.651 145.338 9-Nov Julatten West Mary Rd -16.561 145.189 9-Nov Julatten Mt Carbide Roadhouse -16.528 145.134 9-Nov Julatten Mt Carbide -16.535 145.125 9-Nov Julatten Lake Mitchel -16.805 145.351 9-Nov Julatten Mareeba Wetlands -16.924 145.36 10-Nov Atherton Lake Mitchel -16.805 145.351 10-Nov Atherton Curtain Fig NP -17.286 145.574 10-Nov Atherton Chamber Lodge -17.286 145.636 11-Nov Atherton Chamber Lodge -17.286 145.636 11-Nov Atherton B'field's Crater -17.371 145.541 12-Nov Atherton Hastings Swamp NP -17.297 145.477 12-Nov Atherton Mt Hypipamee NP -17.429 145.486 12-Nov Atherton Wongabel SF -17.328 145.502 12-Nov Atherton Milaa Milaa Lookout -17.497 145.612 12-Nov Atherton Chamber Lodge -17.286 145.636 13-Nov Atherton Hastings Swamp NP -17.297 145.477 13-Nov Atherton Wongabel SF -17.328 145.502 13-Nov Atherton Lake Barrine -17.245 145.639 14-Nov Atherton Chamber Lodge -17.286 145.636 14-Nov Atherton Milla Milla Loop -17.497 145.612 14-Nov Mission Beach Sanctuary -17.823 146.098

The following Table shows the number of bird species seen at each Park:

Park Total Species Mossman River Mangrove Boat Tour with Peter Cooper 51 Kingfisher Park in Julatten 50 Chamber Rainforest Lodge in Atherton 47 Cape Tribulation NP 43 Daintree Swamp 41 Crystal Cascades outside Cairns 39 Lake Mitchell 33 Hastings Swamp NP 31 Daintree Village 30 Daintree River Trip with Chris Dahlberg 29 Wongabel SF 28 Dan Irby boat tour on Barrett Creek 27 Milla Milla Waterfall Loop 26 Bones Horse Farm on the Barron River 26 Lake Mitchel 25 Esplanade Walk in Cairns 24 Mt Lewis 22 Lake Carbide 22 Curtain Fig NP 17 Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglas 16 Mission Beach Sanctuary Resort 15 Bromfield's Crater 14 Mossman NP 13 Abattoir Swamp 13 Nutmeg Grove B&B outside Cairns 11 Michaelmas Cay NP 10 Big Mitchell Creek 9 Flecker Botanic Gardens 8 Mossman Gorge NP 7 Lake Barrine 7 Bowerbird B&B 7 Mt Carbide Roadhouse 6 Newell Beach 5 Mareeba Wetlands 4 Cairns Overlook 4 Malanda eco Park 3 Lake Echam 3 West Mary Rd 2 Mt Hypipamee NP 2 Milaa Milaa Lookout 2 Daintree River 2 Big Mitchel Creek 2

Of the 240 bird species we saw in Far North Queensland, 55 are endemic to Australia and 12 are endemic to only Queensland. Of the 183 non-Australian Endemic bird species seen, we had only seen 12 species before in North/Central/South America; i.e. there were 171 new species for us. Overall, 95% of the birds we saw in Far North Queensland were new for us.

Of the 240 bird species we saw in Far North Queensland, 47 species were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is:

Australian Masked-Owl Glossy Swiftlet Red-chested Buttonquail Beach Stone-curlew Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo Red-necked Crake Black Noddy Grey Whistler Sarus Crane Black-naped Tern Laughing Kookaburra Shining Flycatcher Black-winged Monarch Lesser Frigatebird Sooty Tern Blue-eyed Fig-Parrot Lesser Sooty-Owl Southern Cassowary Blue-faced Honeyeater Little Bronze-Cuckoo Squatter Pigeon Bridled Honeyeater Little Kingfisher Tall Gray-headed Robin Bridled Tern Little Lorikeet Tropical Scrubwren Brown-backed Honeyeater Lovely Fairywren Varied Honeyeater Buff-breasted Button-quail Nutmeg Mannikin White-browed Crake Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Olive-backed Oriole White-browed Robin Chowchilla Pacific Swallow White-eared Monarch Brown Noddy Pale-headed Rosella White-faced Robin Eclectus Parrot Papuan Frogmouth Yellow-spotted Honeyeater Frilled Monarch Pied Monarch

Of the 240 bird species we saw in Far North Queensland (FNQ), we saw 126 species in both FNQ and the NT; i.e., 114 bird species we saw in FNQ we did not see in the NT.

Areas # Bird Species % In NT & Far North Qld 126 30.43% In Far North Qld but Not NT 114 27.54% In NT but Not Far North Qld 174 42.03% Total 414 100.00%

Of the 637 bird species in all of Queensland, we saw 38% in Far North Queensland in 24 days. By the time we left Queensland in Jan 2007, we had seen 53% of their bird species. By the time we left Australia in May 2007 we had seen 67% of the 819 bird species in the country.

As we moved around the region we constantly saw new species. We started by see 85 species in the Cairns area. By the time we got to Mission Beach we only saw 1 new species. The following Table shows the new species we added to our list as we moved thru the region:

Area New Species Cairns 85 Daintree 70 Julatten 47 Atherton 37 Mission Beach 1 Total 240

Special Comments:

Cairns Area:

The Crystal Cascades NP is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage site and close to our B&B. Jasmine trees scent the path up the deep V gorge. In addition to heaps of birds, there are butterflies and a few wild orchids along the trail. Once we saw a tree explode with small Double-eyed Fig-Parrots squawking as loud as they could. The Fig Parrots eat from the native fig trees. Later in the season when the figs start to ferment, the parrots can get dead drunk by the end of the day.

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