Saturday, June 11, 2016

One 'Del' of a day birding

Regular readers of the blog, er both of us, will remember that we popped up to Port Douglas in early June 2015. One of the highlights was our full day bird watching with Del Richards. We enjoyed it so much that we did exactly the same trip in early June 2016.

What Del doesn't know about the bird life in FNQ is not worth knowing. He is amazing, runs a bird show on local ABC radio, knows everyone we met or drove past and most importantly of all knows where the birds are how to get them to come out and say "G'Day"! He uses a combination of bird noises that he creates with a range of whistling techniques, and some pre-recorded ones in an iPod with small portable speaker. And it really works - in several locations we were looking at what seemed to be empty trees, then after a couple of bird imitations from Del the place was alive with birds. Genius.

The content of this blog entry is by no means a full catalog of what we saw - 87 species. I took almost 600 shots, many of which were left on the editors floor, but here are some of the better ones.

Del has as number of sites - he took us to most of the ones we visited last year, in the same week, first week of June, but we saw very different birds. We started in the middle of Port Douglas - the sports ground is a wonderful haven for honeyeaters and friarbirds

Next was a waterhole by a plush golf course at the Southern end of Port. Then we headed off up to  the tablelands, with a number of stopping of points before going thro Julatten, Mt Molloy and Mt Carbine. The burgers at Mt Molloy are worth the air fare alone!

The bird above is a brown falcon, and to the left is a bush stone curlew, plentiful around Port Douglas, especially at the Sheraton Mirage golf course

Below the birds are:-

A double eyed fig parrot - one of many 'firsts' for us on this trip

There are two common kingfishers seen around Port Douglas - the one above dining on a cricket is the forest kingfisher


A great bowerbird, in its bower


Birds were not the only wildlife on offer - most waterways in Port have big warning signs, for these...

Yellow Oriele

White browed crake

Yellow honeyeater

Lemon bellied flycatcher

Female leaden flycatcher

A roo, of course

There were plenty of raptors around and about. We disturbed two huge wedge tailed eagles, but I wasn't quick enough on the draw. But this Nankeen (or Australian) Kestrel posed beautifully

The dreaded BIF (Bird In Flight) photos are notoriously difficult to capture. But whistling kites make very good models.

This yellow bellied sunbird was one of a lot of brightly coloured birds, very different to the ones we get back in Victoria

Probably the star bird of the trip is the rainbow bee eater. Its very common, but wonderful to photograph due to the range of colours. Fantastic birds that tell me I am Up North