Top End of the NT - Kakadu, Matarinka & Tennant CrAuthor: Carl from pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from pahrump)
Date of Trip: September 2006
Consider flying from Darwin to Alice Springs, especially if you had made the drive once. We only saw 8 bird species we didn't see somewhere else on the 255 day trip.
Highlights of the Region:
Watching a Mum Red Goshawk sitting over her 2 white-headed chicks all day, with her wings drooping to shield the babies from the blazing sun; and being there in the late afternoon to see the Dad bring in fresh kill for dinner.
Jamming on the brakes to avoid hitting a mob of 8 Wedge-tailed Eagles eating a dead Kangaroo in the middle of the Stuart Highway.
Seeing 10,000 Budgies (a.k.a. Budgerigars) flying like a ball of feathers at the 41 Mile Bore on the Barkley Hwy.
Seeing 200,000 Little Red Flying Foxes (Bats) take-off at sundown from the Hot Springs in Elsey NP.
Running the Wallaby gauntlet at Matarinka at sunrise as we left our cottage.
Awesome desert sunsets. One day we saw the full Moon rising in time to reflect the red glow of the setting sun. Very romantic!
Birding the Gum Trees of dry riverbeds.
The Yellow Waters boat trip in Kakadu NP. There is a Croc every 10 sq meters out here. We saw the Azure Kingfisher, Arafura Fantail, Royal Spoonbill, White-breasted Woodswallow, and Zitting Cisticola; along with 40 other birds in 2 hours -- most were very close.
Seeing the Great-billed Heron at Elsey NP
The Katherine Gorge boat tour was just OK. We didn't see anything spectacular or unusual from a birding standpoint.
The Matarinka Hot Spring was pleasant and relaxing - until we started smelling the stench of 200,000 Little Red Flying Foxes.
Of the 156 bird species we saw in the Top End area, 40 are endemic to Australia. Most of the 116 non-Australian Endemic bird species we saw in the Top end area were new for us. 8 species were never seen again during the 255-day trip around Australia; that is:
Arafura Fantail Red Goshawk Buff-sided Robin Rufous Owl Geney Fowel Sandstone Shrike-Thrush Pied Honeyeater Zitting Cisticola
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