Cairns, Iron Range and Cape York Peninsula 9-18/12/09

Published by Frank Hemmings (70frankus AT

Participants: Frank Hemmings, Klaus Ulenhut, David Hair Graeme O'Connor, Jeff Stenning



I and a work friend (actually my boss), Dave Hair, decided to do the Iron Range and Cape York tour run by Kirrama Tours: the 8 day flying in to Iron Range and driving out option. I tacked on a day either side at Cairns, met up with Dave there and stayed with his sister. We then flew up to Iron Range with the other two tour companions, Jeff Stenning and Graeme O’Connor. Dave had stayed for a couple of days longer than myself and saw a few extra birds in addition to mine.

This is a trip report for my trip - the tour plus the days in Cairns. I have made note at the end of the species list for 3 other birds seen by the others but not by myself for our tour, and occasionally referred in the text to these. Whilst on tour, we each sat together at the end of the day and went through a checklist to tick off what we had seen. I made note of where others had seen birds but I hadn’t, and only ticked those which I had seen also. I also made notes as usual for each site. It was obvious to me as I collated these at home that I managed to miss writing down some sightings along the way in my own notebook, as these appeared in the checklist for each day included for myself. Most of these few have been sorted out. There are a couple which I simply cannot remember where they were seen, but these generally represent birds which were seen regularly and these omissions are of little consequence.

Thanks to Klaus Ulenhut for being an excellent guide, he simply could not have done better, and I cannot praise him highly enough. He’s an excellent enthusiastic guide who not only knew the birds but the better places to see them, and he was remarkably quick setting up a scope in the forest onto a perched bird to allow us better views. I’d thoroughly recommend him as a guide and his tours. His ability to track down birds is very impressive. Thanks to Dave’s sister, Cathy Hair, for being a generous host in Cairns and thanks to my travel companions, for making the tour enjoyable.

Regarding sites, many were in National Parks and were thus open to everybody. Other sites were on private property; whilst some of these may be open to birders generally I am sure that others are not except of permission is sought from the owners. In particular, the dam we visited at Artemis Station is a site where I’d strongly urge any visiting birders to seek permission from the owners first before barging across their land in an attempt to find it or access it.

Overall it was an excellent holiday. We collectively saw 207 on the Iron Range tour (of which I only missed four, but picked up one of these in Cairns – Nankeen Night Heron), with a further 2 heard. We managed to see all the Iron Range target species, and really only missed 1 major Cape York endemic – Black-throated Finch which has eluded me in the past also – always reason for another trip. Dave and I dipped also on the Laughing Gull at Cairns, which had apparently been seen up until the day before he had arrived. We are regrettably used to this sort of thing. For my whole trip I saw 227 species and heard another 2: of these, 28 were lifers (underlined below). It was also an impressive trip aside from just the birds. I saw some new other vertebrates, such as Southern Spotted Cuscus, and interesting vegetation and plants, including pitcher plants (Nepenthes mirablis).

Fire – too much, too often?

I had often wondered why there seemed to be few birds reported from Cape York trips west of the divide, except at scattered locations. Of course with such a huge area of relatively uniform vegetation, most people would only make occasional stops, but what I hadn’t realize was how few birds I would see along the drive, and I am sure of this is mostly related to fire. On our return drive, just as we crossed the Pascoe River, the woodland vegetation changed in canopy species, and we started to see species more typical for this region. These appeared quite suddenly, but by the time we reached the Wenlock River, the roadside bird sightings dropped and the landscape changed too: the frequency of burnt areas increased, as did the apparent recentness of the fires.

It was startling to say the least to see how much was burnt (I’d estimate up to 99%) from there pretty much for most of the way to Musgrave and how most of it seemed to be very recent. I don’t pretend to have the best grasp on the issue of burning in the Cape, I guess that much is managed by traditional owners; I guess that not all fires are intentionally lit, regardless of the reasons for those fires which are intentionally lit. But it was downright depressing, mostly because so little moved there, and it seemed that most of what we saw from the road had been burnt within the last month. If this is so and if it was representative of the vast areas of land away from the roads, then it’s truly horrifying in that if everything burns at the same time, slower moving animals (including many smaller ground dwelling birds) have nowhere to escape to. Even if they do escape, many will die from competition for food and resources with those that were already in the unburnt refuges. Compounded onto this is the issue of fire frequency. If the same areas burn too frequently, then some plants will die out completely as they will not get a chance to grow from seed to fruiting in time, so vegetation structure and composition will change in time, which will impact on birds and other animals. More directly, if a large proportion of birds and other animals are lost toe ach fire, then the compounded effect is staggering.

From an ecological point of view, having a mosaic of different fire frequencies maintains the highest diversity. In hundreds of kilometres of driving through largely untouched areas, it was amazing that we saw hardly any birds, and I can’t help thinking that this was due to the fire regime. Klaus said that it was like this every year, meaning that most of the land is burnt on an annual basis: if this is so, then the Cape is headed for ecological disaster and nothing short of a change of current practices can stop this. I know it’s not a cut and dried issue, but it just seems like too much is being burnt too often.

For the record, the woodland areas east of the divide, which made up much of the drive out to Portland Roads, were also burnt, but much of this seemed to have been burnt less recently, and across a more staggered timeframe.


9/12: Flew to Cairns, excellent afternoon birding at Cairns Esplanade, followed by a late afternoon walking up the Anderson Street walk through to Centenary Lakes. Highlights: Broad-billed Sandpiper and Asian Dowitcher.
10/12: Birded the Esplanade again. After lunch we flew up to Lockhart River, driving out to Portland Roads and stopping in at Gordon Creek on the way, and I had a brief walk around the house at Portland Roads at sunset by myself. Highlights: Little Curlew, Trumpet Manucode, White-faced Robin, Frilled Monarch, Yellow-legged Flycatcher, Green-backed Honeyeater, Eclectus Parrot.
11/12: Another day for more lifers for me and the others. We headed from Portland Roads, birding the Scrubby Creek area (forced to do so by fallen tree blocking road), the later briding around Cook’s Hut, before returning to Portland Roads for lunch, followed by afternoon birding in Chilli Beach area. Highlights: White-streaked Honeyeater, Chestnut-bellied Cuckoo, Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Red-cheeked Parrot, White-eared Monarch, Black-winged Monarch, Northern Scrub Robin, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Noisy Pitta, Common Noddy, Lesser Frigatebird, Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Tropical Scrubwren.
12/12: We spent early morning in the mangroves at Portland Roads, followed by birding a patch of rainforest near the T junction. We then moved on to the Lockhart River area, visiting Quintel Beach then Lockhart River sewerage treatment plant, returning to Portland Roads for lunch. Later afternoon birding at Gordon Creek and lower end of Old Coen Rd, followed by spotlighting at night. Highlights: Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Oriental Cuckoo, Spotted Whistling Duck, Great Frigatebird, Masked Owl, Marbled Frogmouth, Large-tailed Nightjar.
13/12: Birding at northern end of the Old Coen Rd, followed by Cook’s Hut then Gordon Creek, then returning to Portland Roads for lunch. Afternoon birding at Packer’s Creek and Chilli Creek. Highlights: Southern Spotted Cuscus, Red-bellied Pitta, White-browed Robin, White-streaked Honeyeater.
14/12: Our last full day in the area. Birding at Old Coen Rd near the Rainforest Campground, moving on T junction rainforest, then farm dam at Lockhart River. Afternoon birding at Chilli Beach. Highlights: Red-bellied Pitta, massive flock of Metallic Starlings.
15/12: Stopping on drive out at a couple of Iron Range rainforest sites, then Tozer’s Gap, Pascoe River and Wenlock River. Lunch at Archer River Roadhouse, then on to Musgrave. Afternoon birding at Lotusbird Lodge lagoon and Lilyvale Rd. Highlights: Pied Heron, Black-backed Butcherbird, Radjah Shelduck, Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, Australian Bustard.
16/12: A very early start, visiting a dam on Artemis Station to watch birds coming to drink, followed by birding nearby at Windmill Creek and late morning birding at Lilyvale Rd. Lunch at Musgrave then afternoon birding at Marina Plains and Saltwater Creek. Highlights: Golden-shouldered Parrot, Red-browed Pardalote, Banded, Bar-breasted, Rufous-throated and Rufous-banded Honeyeater.
17/12: Morning birding at Lilyvale Rd, then driving back via Laura, Lakeland, stopping briefly at Hurricane Station to look for (unsuccessfully) Black-throated Finch, then a brief rest at Mt Molloy and final birding at Lake Mitchell. Highlights: Red Goshawk, Black-breasted Buzzard, Sarus Crane, Brown Treecreeper, White-winged Black Tern.


Cairns Esplanade

Cairns Esplanade is world renowned for its waders. There is a good spread of species and part of the appeal of this site is that at the right tide the birds are pushed into a small are very close to the shore and the adjoining walkway. Probably because this is so public a place, they are also comparatively approachable at this site, being less flighty than other waders at other sites. The tide would appear to be best for viewing around 2.5 to 3 hours before high, but on the day I left, high tide was very high, and many waders had already left when we arrived. I visited here with Dave on 3 occasions, but the last was only briefly to look for the Laughing Gull before I flew out. I missed the gull (as on the other visits) and didn’t really have time to look at any other species.

On the other 2 visits we saw a nice spread of species with good numbers of many. The highlights for me were Asian Dowitcher and Broad-billed Sandpiper, but other species which were seen here but missed on the Iron Range tour included Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Terek Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Great Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Striated Heron and Pied Oystercatcher. In the adjacent parkland some of the more common species included Varied Honeyeater, Peaceful Dove and Nutmeg Mannikin.

Anderson Street Track and Centenary Lakes

This short walk goes from Anderson St near the cemetery and finishes at Little St near the corner of Greenslopes St, almost across the road from Centenary Lakes. It passes through paperbark woodland and vine thicket, and has a nice selection of birds, including Cicadabird, Black Butcherbird and Little (Gould’s) Bronze-Cuckoo, and the adjacent cemetery and clearings had a few Bush Stone-curlews. Across the road in Centenary Lakes, we saw a selection of waterbirds and land birds, including Little Black Cormorant, Magpie Goose, Collared Kingfisher and Nankeen Night Heron.

Iron Range Sites

The Iron Range area was largely lowland rainforest, mostly continuous along the road but in parts occurring in a mosaic with bloodwood woodlands and some lower areas of rainforest. The further you drive out to Portland Roads, the more widespread the woodland becomes but there are still patches of vine thicket and gallery rainforest along streams closer to the coast, such as at Chilli Creek. We stopped at a number of locations along the main and off from it, in the major rainforest stretches. Needless to say, many birds were seen across these sites during our trip, and some were common across many sites, such as Yellow-Spotted and Graceful Honeyeaters, Spangled Drongo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Metallic Starling.

Gordon Creek: This was the first we visited, and we visited here multiple times. We birded along the track between the two parking areas/ old campgrounds, along the road between the two and as far as the rainforest ended before passing into the next woodland patch. Our first visit (10/12) we birded along the road. This was impressive for the sheer diversity of birds and the fact that quite a few of our target species appeared on the first day. Trumpet Manucode was first off the list, although seen briefly, followed by White-faced Robin, a common resident in many parts of the rainforest, and Frilled Monarch. As Klaus returned back to the car to move it forward to catch us with us, we saw Yellow-legged Flycatcher, which was confirmed when Klaus arrived and brought it closer with playback. The yellow of the lower mandible was even more startling in colour than the legs. This turned out to be the only place and time that we saw this species so we were lucky indeed. Green-backed Honeyeater, Magnificent Riflebird and a pair of Eclectus Parrots soon followed.

On our second visit (12/12) we walked birded along the trail, and saw a smaller set of similar species, but a definite highlight here was a male Magnificent Riflebird perched in sunlight and showing us brilliant views of his gorget. Still no Red-bellied Pitta by this stage, but on our third visit (13/12) we finally saw our first Red-bellied Pitta. This was the third bird we had heard, and it was the first to call more than a few single notes. We eventually tracked the call in to near the creek itself, and walked into the forest, stopping below a low rise. At first it called from a perch a few metres off the ground, but when we tried to approach it dropped back to near the creek. Back and forth a couple of times, eventually we ended up on the rise, and it dropped to the ground, circling us and allowing us brilliant views of this beauty. We stopped past again on 14/12 to check if he was still here, and he was calling so we left him alone. Other good birds seen at Gordon Creek across our visits included Emerald Dove, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Cicadabird and Yellow-breasted Boatbill.

Scrubby Creek: An area that we visited serendipitously. It may or may not have been on Klaus’ itinerary at some point, but we had no choice on 11/12, because a fallen tree 100m or so into the forest blocked the road completely and therefore any access to further stretches of rainforest. We parked the car and birded along the road through the forest, bypassing the fallen tree. Not long after we arrived, we had a brief view of six Palm Cockatoos flying past, and our first group of White-streaked Honeyeaters. Further down the road we saw Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, the first of several at this site, Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Fairy Gerygone, and a brief flyover of two Red-cheeked Parrots. At the end of the rainforest stretch, in lower vine forest we found a pair of White-eared Monarchs, Shining Flycatchers moved across the ground in the recently burnt woodland, and a Yellow-billed Kingfisher called but obstinately refused to appear. By the time the road had cleared we had seen a wide selection of rainforest birds here, including more of the common species. We stopped again briefly on our drive out on 15/12, seeing a few of the same birds, but it seemed less productive than that first unexpected visit.

Cook’s Hut: We also looked in here on 11/12, after Scrubby Creek, and due to the road blockage, it was hot and late in the morning, but productive. As soon as we stepped out of the car we heard, then saw. a pair of Black-winged Monarchs around the car park. Walking in to near the toilet block we saw more Green-backed Honeyeaters. Near the toilet block we then found Northern Scrub Robin, at first only flitting past but we then had great views of this bird in the ground and surprisingly perched fairly high in a tree. Noisy Pitta and Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher were both seen well here, and we then found Yellow-billed Kingfisher in the car park area perched and calling from high up. This turned out to be the only one of these that we saw, despite the fact that they were calling at several sites. A return visit on 13/12 produced more Green-backed Honeyeaters, White-faced Robin and some of the more common rainforest birds such as Little Shrike-thrush, Fairy Gerygone, the ubiquitous Yellow-spotted and Graceful Honeyeaters, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Black Butcherbird. We heard a couple of calls from a Red-bellied Pitta in response to playback but couldn’t find it.

Old Rainforest Campground and Old Coen Rd (northern end): A little further towards Lockhart River was the Old Rainforest Campground, which also was the end of the Old Coen Rd, now a walking track. On our first visit (13/12), we birded around the car park and old campground seeing Superb and Wompoo Fruit Doves, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Eclectus Parrot, an Azure Kingfisher on the river and a Southern Spotted Cuscus, the mammal highlight of the trip for me. Across the Claudie River, we heard our first Red-bellied Pitta, a fair distance from the track. We entered the forest, attempting to track it down but it soon stopped calling. Birding further down the track we saw and heard a few more birds, including Spotted Catbird, a species which we otherwise heard at a few locations, Red-cheeked Parrot (flying overhead, but a better view than previously at Scrubby creek), Spectacled Monarch and Black-winged Monarch. We heard Northern Scrub-Robin near the car park but couldn’t see it. We made a return visit to check for pittas, and found (thanks to Jeff for spotting it first) a Red-bellied Pitta perched high in a tree. We had great scope views for some time before it flew, and there were more calling nearby.

T junction rainforest: Still further along was the stretch of rainforest on the main road approaching the T junction, where the road turns off to Lockhart River. We birded this rainforest stretch twice, on 12/12 and 14/12, and saw a wide selection of birds, including Eclectus Parrot (good views of resident pair), Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Superb Fruit Dove, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Trumpet Manucode (including one sitting on a nest), Yellow Oriole (also attending a nest), Double-eyed Fig Parrot (feeding in a fig of course), White-eared, Spectacled and Frilled Monarchs. A highlight here was our best views of Red-cheeked Parrot, the only times we saw these birds perched in trees rather than flying past, and we had great views of a young male and later and adult male.

Spotlighting at night (12/12), we stopped between here and the Old Rainforest Campground. On getting out from the car we could here a few Marbled Frogmouths calling with one quite close to the road. We headed in to the forest off the road. I have to admit to being a little concerned about this in the dark, but we didn’t have to go far before the bird sounded very close as it responded to the occasional playback call. When Klaus turned on the light, only a short distance in front of us was a Marbled Frogmouth sitting on a nest low on a branch maybe only 2m off the ground.

Old Coen Rd (southern end): Beyond here and past the T junction, was the southern end of the Old Coen Rd. We birded here on 12/12, around the car park and down the trail to the first creek crossing. Large number of Metallic Starlings feeding in a fig along with Pied Imperial-Pigeons, although common, was nevertheless impressive. Also impressive here was a Pacific Baza in display flight near the car park. We saw a few of the more common species, and heard several others such as Palm Cockatoo, Spotted Catbird, Magnificent Riflebird and Eclectus Parrot. On our drive out (15/12) we stopped on the main road near the turnoff, where there was a mix of rainforest and woodland. This was our last Iron Range rainforest stop, and we saw a few classic Iron Range birds, such as Eclectus Parrot and Magnificent Riflebird, some more common rainforest species such as Graceful and Dusky Honeyeaters, and some open country birds such as Leaden Flycatcher and Golden-headed Cisticola. Several other were heard only, including Yellow-billed Kingfisher and Red-bellied Pitta. A little further along the main road, we stopped to eat our sandwiches at sunset before spotlighting, and saw a few birds, the highlight being Grey Goshawk.

Lockhart River

We checked in at a couple of sites closer to Lockhart River. Quintel Beach is an attractive beach with a jetty and nearby boulders. There was a selection of gulls and terns present including Crested, Lesser Crested and Little Terns. Waders were few, with a single Common Sandpiper and a Wandering Tattler on a nearby rock.

More significant, at least in terms of special birds, was the Lockhart River sewerage treatment plant, which we visited next. The highlight was a group of 4 Spotted Whistling Ducks loafing on one of the ponds, but other birds seen here included Green Pygmy Goose, Pied Heron, Glossy and Australian White Ibises, Australasian Grebe and Whistling Kite

Klaus dropped us off briefly on 14/12 at a small farm dam off Lockhart River Mission Rd, whilst he went into town and topped up supplies. The dam itself was low but still held a surprising selection of waterbird species, including Australasian darter, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants, Cattle and Intermediate Egrets, Pied Heron and Glossy Ibis. The dam was surrounded by a mosaic of open paperbark woodland with patches of monsoonal vine thicket, so the corresponding bird selection was an interesting mix. Although it was getting late and hot, Varied Triller, Peaceful Dove, Forest Kingfisher, Shining Flycatcher, Bar-breasted Honeyeater, Rainbow Bee-eater, Oriental Cuckoo and Little Bronze Cuckoo were all found here, and a White-browed Robin was calling.

Also noteworthy in the area were roadside sightings of Collared Sparrowhawk (12/12, 14/12), a small flock of Little Curlews on the airfield as we landed (10/12) and further away, and a Masked Owl spot lit at night on woodland edge near the T junction.

Portland Roads

Portland Roads was our base for the trip, and is approximately 30km on from the T junction. On our first afternoon (10/12) in the last 15 minutes or so of light, I walked a little up the track through to the neighbouring property, which passed through some interesting semi-deciduous monsoon scrub, and saw the first Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove and Lovely Fairy-wrens of the trip. Klaus took us down into the edge of the mangroves on 12/12, and we had good views of Varied Honeyeaters (these seemed to rarely make it up the hill as far as the house), Rose-crowned Fruit Doves, Yellow Oriole, Brush Cuckoo, Mangrove Robin, our first Oriental Cuckoo, a single Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (although more were calling nearby and moving around us they didn’t emerge into view).

Most of the birding at Portland Roads was based form the house when we were resting between morning and afternoon birding. The house had a balcony overlooking the mangroves and bay, and birding from here was the most relaxed of any locations during the trip. At the point at the road’s end, ruins of a jetty from WWII poked above the water at low tide and provided roosts for Crested and Lesser Crested Terns, joined by a Black-naped Tern (11/12). In the mudflats nearby a pair of Silver Gulls were regular visitors as was a small flock of Intermediate Egrets, and other drop-ins included Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper. Flying sometimes much further out, but flocking regularly to feed on schooling fish, Bridled Terns were also regular, and joined by Little Tern (13/12) and Common Noddy (11/12). Frigatebirds occasionally sailed past, including both Great (12/12) and Lesser Frigatebirds (11/12, 15/12). Beneath the balcony, Red-browed Finches, Large-tailed Gerygone and Olive-backed Sunbirds were all regular visitors, and many of the birds from the adjacent vegetation and mangroves eventually appeared, such as Fawn-breasted Bowerbird and Shining Flycatcher, and Brush Turkeys scratched around the house. This was definitely birding at its relaxing best.

Chilli Beach

We visited Chilli Beach on 11/12 and on 14/12 our last day. The birding behind the beach was better on the first visit; we stopped first near the T junction a few hundred metres back from the beach. Here in the coastal woodland with vine-scrub understory we saw our first Fawn-breasted Bowerbirds. After a few looks at the male, he dropped in to the thick undergrowth near us and sang hidden at a bower, with the female joining him shortly. Walking further down the road to the beach we found White-throated Honeyeater, Spectacled and Frilled Monarchs, and a loud and conspicuous group of Tropical Scrubwrens. A small walking track rand parallel to this tack and we walked a loop through these on the second visit but we didn’t see much at all.

At Chilli beach itself, waders and terns could be found on the beach both days, but were more numerous on the second visit, when the tide was much lower and the sand flats were exposed. Red-capped, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Red-necked Stint, Grey-tailed Tattler, Whimbrel and Ruddy Turnstone were all seen. Crested and lesser Crested Terns made the bulk of the tern numbers, but there were smaller numbers of Little Terns, and one Black-naped Tern on the beach with more out on the nearby island. Bridled Terns were on the island and also feeding further out to sea, and the low mangroves held quite a few of the omnipresent Pied Imperial-Pigeons.

Klaus had arranged for us to have sundowner drinks here on the beach here on 14/12, our last full day in the area, but we were in for a surprise. As we watched the island off the beach, a few Metallic Starlings headed out to roost, constantly circling around. These were joined by more, and more, and more. The flocked wheeled around in an impressive acrobatic display, and was probably around 5000 strong by the time the light was dying and the first birds were settling onto the low vegetation, and more were still flying over to join the flock. Better than fireworks!

As an added bonus we spot lit 4 Large-tailed Nightjars on the road back to Portland Roads at dusk; we were so close to one that we could see it calling.

Packer’s Creek and Chilli Creek

We visited both of these on 13/12, in the afterglow of our successful quest for Red-bellied Pitta. We birded here along the creek bed at Packer’s Creek, among the thicker riverine vegetation within woodland. We soon found White-browed Robin, along with more Fawn-breasted Bowerbirds, Leaden Flycatcher and Peregrine Falcon.

Moving on to Chilli Creek, we birded from the creek crossing further down the road through open paperbark woodland. In the gallery rainforest along Chilli Creek, we saw Yellow Oriole, heard Magnificent Riflebird and yet another Red-bellied Pitta – a first at this location for Klaus. A group of mixed honeyeaters were feeding in the paperbarks nearby, including Helmeted Friarbird, White-throated Honeyeater, Dusky Honeyeater, Brown-backed Honeyeater and White-streaked Honeyeater. Further along the road we saw Leaden Flycatcher, Varied Triller, Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Oriental Honeyeater and a male Eclectus Parrot flying over, among some of the more usual suspects such as Pied Imperial-Pigeon, Spangled Drongo and Mistletoebird.

Tozer’s Gap to Archer River

After leaving the Iron Range area (15/12) we stopped in first at Tozer’s Gap in the Great Divide. The scrub here was botanically interesting and offered spectacular scenery, but only a few birds were calling, including more White-streaked Honeyeater, none of which were seen. However, Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes mirablis) were the highlight here for me. Further along the road we stopped at the Pascoe River crossing. Although we had driven through woodland since before Tozer’s Gap, the tree species changed, indicating that we were no on the drier side, many new birds seen from here on reflected the change. At the Pascoe River itself, together with some more wide-ranging birds such as Rainbow Lorikeet, Figbird and Olive-backed Sunbird, we had both Graceful Honeyeater and Red-winged Parrot. The other new species soon appeared, such as Great Bowerbird, Pied Currawong, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Pale-headed Rosella and Torresian Crow. The birds became less frequent as we progressed past the Wenlock River, and it was a relief to get to Archer River where there seemed to be a few birds about despite the heat and strong wind.

Behind the Archer River roadhouse we saw our first confirmed Black-backed Butcherbirds (we had seen some possible candidates but not well enough to be sure whether they were this species or Pied Butcherbirds). Whilst looking at one of these in a low tree I found a Tawny Frogmouth sitting on a nest – our third frogmouth species for the trip and the second sitting on a nest, which was pretty impressive. Australasian Figbirds were also attending a nest and nearby a small ground tank held Pied Heron, Royal Spoonbill, Intermediate Egret and Australian White Ibis. On the drive out from Archer River we added Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike to the list.


Musgrave Station served as a base for three nights in the area (15-17/12), and although basic was quite comfortable, especially since the rooms were air-conditioned. Arriving in heat and smoke, the weather didn’t bode for the best, and the news that much of Artemis Station, where we hoped to see Golden-shouldered Parrot the following morning, had burnt in the last 24hrs depressed us even further. However, there was nothing to do but wait and see.

The station roadhouse itself held a few regulars, including Masked Lapwing, Australian White Ibis, Great Bowerbird (including a male displaying his crest), Yellow Honeyeater, Rainbow Bee-eater, Olive-backed Sunbird, Torresian Crow, and a flock of c. 50 Galahs. However the surrounding sites drew most of our attention in the district.

Artemis Station

We visited 2 sites at Artemis Station. The first was a dam where we arrived not long after dawn (16/12) to watch the birds coming to drink, which would hopefully include Golden-shouldered Parrot. Driving at dawn through the still shouldering countryside shrouded in smoke did not seem promising, although the area around the dam, in low open paperbark woodland, was spared. On our arrival we spooked a Common Bronzewing, the only one for the trip. After settling down in our chairs the first birds started to nervously drink, with Bar-shouldered Dove heading the list. Pale headed Rosellas turned up, and more, and more – I counted 45 at one point later in the morning. The honeyeaters started with Little Friarbirds and Yellow Honeyeaters, followed by Blue-faced Honeyeaters which constantly drank as they dipped past the water in flight; it was only later in the morning that they actually settled down to the water’s edge to drink. More birds either flew past nearby or dropped in to drink: White-throated Gerygone, Magpie-lark, Black-backed Butcherbird, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Red-winged Parrot, Peaceful Dove, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Great Bowerbird, Eastern Koel, White-throated Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler…and that’s not all. Double-barred Finches were joined by a small flock of Masked Finches, the very smartly plumaged local race leucotis. Somewhere around this point we had been sitting there for more than half an hour, I heard a tinkling call; at the same time Jeff said ‘Golden-shouldered Parrot’ and I looked up in a nearby tree to see Golden-shouldered Parrot. Seven of these brilliant birds dropped down to drink, a pair and their five young, shining in the sunlight, and making the Pale-headed Rosellas look very plain indeed.. The arrival of an Intermediate Egret spooked the parrots, along with the others, but general activity soon picked up somewhat again. Over time numbers decreased, although a few more joined the list, such as Dollarbird, Australian Magpie, White-winged Triller and Whistling Kite, and another pair of Golden-shouldered Parrots dropped in quite late to have a drink, dazzling us yet again. Of note were a few Banded Honeyeaters and a Bar-breasted Honeyeater. By the time we left we had seen 34 species, with another 2 heard only. The parrots in particular glowed in the early morning light; I’ve never seen Red-winged Parrot look so brilliant before.

On the drive back we looked in at another dam, at Windmill Creek. As it was getting later and warmer, both diversity and numbers were far lower here, but we saw a few waterbirds, notable mentions here were White-necked Heron and Black-necked Stork. Our first Black Kites and Wedge-tailed Eagle of the trip were circling above us, and in the woodland around the dam we saw White-throated Gerygone, Olive-backed Oriole and a pair of Red-browed Pardalotes, a species which has eluded me in the past at a number of sites.

Artemis Station is private property and anybody wishing to bird there should contact the owners to request permission.

Lilyvale Road

We visited here on 3 occasions, primarily to look for Red Goshawk, as there was a pair in the district, but although these nested near the road, the nesting season was over so finding one was going to require luck. The vegetation here was mostly a tall woodland of bloodwoods and eucalypts; as tall in places as some of the impressive wetter forests down south but more open in the canopy. On our first visit (15/12), it was still hot and windy, and there was little bird activity, what there was being in the last half-hour of the day when the wind died down briefly. Here we saw Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, along with Yellow and White-throated Honeyeaters, and heard Black-chinned Honeyeater but failed to see them. Also of note were Laughing Kookaburra, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher and Grey Shrike-thrush; this was our only site for the latter 2 species, as for the Yellow-tinted Honeyeater. In the low paperbark woodland beyond this first tall woodland patch, we found Australian Bustard. Our second visit was after our success at Artemis, but was it was particularly quiet, and few birds were active, although it was nice to see some Weebills and Red-backed Fairy-wrens.

Klaus drove us back on our last morning, but on to the second tall woodland patch. Being earlier we saw and heard far more. Many of the birds seen had been seen before at this site, but the general activity level made it nice birding. We kept our eyes out for any raptors, and our first turned out to be a pair of Black-breasted Buzzards, which also nested here near the road. We had great views of these birds, especially as one sat in a branch near the road staring down at us as we passed underneath. When we had finally walked for a couple of kilometers and were heading back to the car, it was about halfway back when we finally saw a Red Goshawk, albeit briefly, as it sailed out form the canopy over the road and back again, giving us cause for celebration. Yellow, Yellow-tinted, and White-throated Honeyeaters, Little Friarbird and our first Silver-crowned Friarbird were all feeding on heavily flowering Christmas Mistletoe (Amyema sanguineum). Olive-backed Oriole, and more surprisingly, Yellow Oriole were both here. An active group of Varied Sitellas pecking over a bloodwood was a fitting end to our birding at this site. A pair of Nankeen Kestrels was found on a couple of days near the Lilyvale Rd turnoff.

Lotusbird Lodge Lagoon

Lotusbird Lodge Lagoon seemed depressing at first, given that the water was so low that it was only a muddy puddle, but it did harbor a spread of waterbirds who were still clinging on at the edges of the mud (as were the Agile Wallabies). A few Brolgas lurked around, and a pair of Radjah Shelducks hung around on the mud, together with the more numerous Magpie Geese, Pacific Black Ducks and Grey Teal. Intermediate Egret, Pied Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Sandpiper and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper were all feeding in the mud. Land birds were represented by a few common species such as Yellow Honeyeater and Bar-shouldered Dove. Perhaps most surprisingly of all was the sight of two Emus in nearby bloodwood woodland on the drive out

Marina Plains

Marina Plains was going to be my site for Black-throated Finch. Of course I say that for every site for this species which seems to have a knack for avoiding me. Some storm clouds had built up dropping heavy showers (as the day before, but not on us), and these showered us on approach to, and arrival at, Marina Plains, a property of somewhat hazy status surrounded by Lakefield National Park. This turned out to be unfortunate timing. Much of Marina Plains is, well, plains. Specifically on heavy black clay, which swells when wet and becomes un-drivable in a very short time. The main road, whilst dirt, was well formed and made from different soil, so although a little muddy it held up to the heavy rain ok, but our target was off a side track on this black soil, and the timing of the rain meant that we had to abandon going there. Instead we stopped the car near the edge of the plain.

Here in grassland and low paperbark woodland, we found a wealth of smaller birds feeding and flying around in between the showers. Honeyeaters in particular were numerous; with White-throated Honeyeaters were feeding with Rufous-banded, Brown Backed, Bar-breasted and Yellow Honeyeater. A single Rufous-throated Honeyeater was feeding with its con-generics, and Rufous-banded Honeyeaters were also seen low in roadside grass. Other new birds in this habitat included Jacky Winter and our first Willie Wagtail for the trip. Flocks of Galahs and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo were perched in trees in nearby vine forest. Other birds from this open habitat included Rufous Whistler, Red-backed Fairy-wren, White-necked Heron and Brolga. Although we found large numbers of Double-barred finches we saw no Black-throated Finches.

As we walked back up the road into vine thicket, we found new birds, many more typical of rainforest communities, including Black Butcherbird, Oriental Cuckoo, Lovely Fairy-wren, Pied Imperial-Pigeon, Graceful, Yellow-spotted, Dusky and White-gaped Honeyeater. Although we didn’t see Black-throated Finch, and couldn’t get out onto the plains for the most part, it was surprisingly good birding, and it was great for the range of honeyeaters present.

Saltwater Creek

Lakefield National Park had recently been closed for the wet season (although the wet season proper had yet to arrive), so we had to forgo some nice wetlands further into the park. However, we could drive as far as the roadblock at Saltwater Creek. We parked the car here and birded on foot around the creek crossing. Our biggest surprise (well for us) was a Palm Cockatoo, which promptly flew off as soon as we saw it. Again an interesting mix, albeit a different one, as birds from the drier paperbark woodlands mingled with those of the gallery forest. White-throated, Graceful, Rufous-banded and White-gaped Honeyeaters were all here, Whistling and Brahminy Kites circled above, as did two Australian Pelicans. Others seen here included Red-winged Parrot, Little Egret, Mistletoebird, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Cicadabird, Varied Triller, Rufous Whistler, and a few Brush Turkeys were scratching near the road not far from the creek. Near the turnoff on the main road, a Little Eagle was sitting on a nest.

Musgrave to My Molloy

A few roadside birds were seen on the drive out from Musgrave, notably Brolga, Black-breasted Buzzard and White-necked Heron. A small roadside tank c.17km north of Laura held what at first appeared to be a group of Brolgas, but on closer inspection three of these turned out to be Sarus Cranes, a lifer for me which I had not expected on this trip, and a single Plumed Whistling-Duck turned out to be our only one for the trip. Further down towards Lakeland, Pied Butcherbirds became more noticeable as Black-backed Butcherbirds dropped out, and in the grassy plains north of here there were several roadside Nankeen Kestrels. At Lakeland itself we saw a few birds, noteworthy was Silver-crowned Friarbird. South of Lakeland a sizeable flock of Black Kites circled in a thermal together with three Wedge-tailed Eagles, and north of Hurricane Station Rd, I saw some Apostlebirds.

Klaus had warned that Hurricane Station dam could well be dried up, and at first it seemed that this was the case, but the cattle were obviously all hanging around for a reason, and the scummy muddy puddle was it. The surrounding woodland was very dry, it was hot and windy, and it seemed like a miracle if we saw anything at all, but this wasn’t quite the case. Brown Treecreepers almost greeted us as we got out from the car. It’s always nice to see this species, doubly so to see this smartly plumaged local race, and sad to realise that it is also threatened in the north as it is in the south. We hung near the water, thinking that if the finches were around they would have to come to drink. Double-barred Finches eventually did, but no Black-throated Finches appeared. Looks like I’ll be going back again for these someday.

We stopped in at Mt Molloy rest area to write our day’s entries in our notebooks (although we would also drop in for our final site at Lake Mitchell), but we also had an impromptu mechanic visit. Klaus had noticed that one of the tires seemed to be losing air, and when he dropped it in to the mechanic it was quite low, with a slow leak, so they changed onto the spare. Lucky for us that this didn’t happen earlier, since driving around without a functional spare is no joy anywhere, but especially in such sparsely inhabited country as we had traversed. Scaly-breasted Lorikeet was the trip addition here.

Lake Mitchell

Across the road from Lake Mitchell we passed an Osprey nest in an area where I had seen one on a previous trip, and being too busy telling Jeff this, I actually missed the fact that there was an Osprey there. We drove down the causeway road to get better views of the birds, and were all impressed. There were certainly more birds than on my previous visit. Klaus in particular was surprised, telling us that for most of the season there were hardly any birds there. Waterbirds were in abundance, almost too many to mention. Wandering Whistling Ducks were the most numerous waterfowl, with perhaps 1000 or more present, but were joined by Pacific Black Duck, Magpie Goose, Black Swan, Green Pygmy Goose, and a pair of Hardheads. Great, Little and Intermediate Egrets, and Pied, White-faced and White-necked Herons were all present as were White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Australian Pelican, Black-necked Stork, Australasian Grebe, Comb-crested Jacana, Purple Swamphen, Masked Lapwing and Black-winged Stilt. Little Black and Little Pied Cormorant were seen by all, and Graeme also saw a single Pied Cormorant. Several Whiskered Terns hawked over the water, joined by a single White-winged Black Tern, as did a flock of Tree Martins. We had great views of Horsefield’s Bronze Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo and Brush Cuckoo, and Little Friarbird was joined by Noisy Friarbird (seen only by Jeff). All in all this was an impressive and intense end to a fantastic trip, with 11 more species added to our

Species Lists

1) Emu: 2 in tall woodland near Lotusbird Lodge (15/12).
2) Brush Turkey: Fairly common, mostly seen on drives through or near forest stretches, and often around Portland Roads (10-15/12), Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
3) Orange-footed Scrub-fowl: Anderson Street track, Cairns (9/12), and scattered locations in and near rainforest in the Portland Roads-Iron Range area (11-14/12).
4) Magpie Goose: A few at Centenary Lakes, Cairns (9/12), around 30 at Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (16/12), and also at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
5) Spotted Whistling-Duck: 4 at Lockhart River STP (12/12).
6) Plumed Whistling-Duck: 1 at small ground tank c. 17km N of Laura (17/12).
7) Wandering Whistling-Duck: Large numbers, maybe c. 1000, at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
8) Black Swan: Lake Mitchell (17/12).
9) Radjah Shelduck: 2 at Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12).
10) Green Pygmy-Goose: 11 at Lockhart River STP (12/12), Lake Mitchell (17/12).
11) Pacific Black Duck: Cairns Esplanade and Centenary Lakes (9/12), several at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12), 1 at Windmill Creek Dam, Artemis Station (16/12), at roadside tank c. 17km N of Laura, and also at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
12) Grey Teal: Singles to small groups, seen in drainage ditch in airfield at Cairns Airport (9/12), at Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12), and at Hurricane Station dam (17/12).
13) Hardhead: 2 at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
14) Australasian Grebe: 3 at Lockhart River STP (12/12), Lake Mitchell (17/12).
15) Feral Pigeon: Fairly common around Cairns near city centre including Esplanade
16) Spotted Dove: Fairly common in Cairns
17) Brown Cuckoo-Dove: Gordon Creek area (10/12, 12/12), Packer’s Creek (13/12), roadside on drive out from Portland Roads (14/12). One was seen by Dave only at Scrubby Creek (11/12).
18) Emerald Dove: Heard (10/12) and seen (13-14/12) at Gordon Creek, T Junction rainforest (14/12), on road near Cook’s Hut (15/12) and at Mt Molloy rest area (17/12).
19) Common Bronzewing: 1 flushed on arrival at dawn at Artemis Station dam (16/12).
20) Peaceful Dove: Abundant in Cairns where seen daily at Esplanade and nearby, and on Anderson Street Track; absent from Iron range rainforests and only one seen at Portland Roads by Dave only, but seen at Lockhart River; more common in open habitats on Cape York Peninsula west of the divide, and seen at various roadside places, at Artemis Station, at Salt Water Creek at Lakefield N, at Hurricane Station Dam and at Mt Molloy rest area.
21) Bar-shouldered Dove: Seen on Anderson Street track, Cairns (9/12); widespread in Cape York Peninsula in various woodlands and edges of mangroves and rainforest communities, and seen daily.
22) Superb Fruit-Dove: Fairly common at Iron Range rainforest sites, and heard more frequently than seen. Heard at Gordon Creek (10/12, 12-14/12), heard at Scrubby Creek (11/12), several at T junction rainforest (12/12), 1 at Old Coen Rd, near rainforest campground (13/12), 2 adult males, a female, and an immature male at T junction rainforest (14/12), 1 at Cook’s Hut (14/12).
23) Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove: Portland Roads area only, especially in mangroves, where seen well (12/12), but also seen in adjacent monsoon woodland near house (10/12), and in mangroves seen from house (14/12), and heard from there also (13/12).
24) Wompoo Fruit-Dove: More frequently heard than seen. Heard at Gordon Creek (10/12), heard at Scrubby Creek (11/12), seen at Gordon Creek (12/12), at Old Coen Rd, northern end (13/12), T junction rainforest and Cook’s Hut (14/12), heard at Old Coen Rd turnoff (15/12).
25) Pied Imperial-Pigeon: Common around Cairns where seen daily, and common around Iron Range to Portland Roads where seen daily and at most locations – large numbers roosting on islands offshore from Portland Roads and Chili Beach; also seen at Marina Plains (16/12).
26) Tawny Frogmouth: 1 sitting on nest at Archer River (15/12).
27) Papuan Frogmouth: 5 spot lit at night in woodland on drive back to Portland Roads, with 3 nearer to PR (13/12). Also, a probable bird seen below veranda at dusk at Portland Roads (10/12).
28) Marbled Frogmouth: 1 spot lit sitting on nest off rd in Iron Range, more heard calling here and at old Rainforest Campground (12/12).
29) Large-tailed Nightjar: 1 spot lit in thick roadside vegetation at Chili Creek (12/12), and 4 on drive back form Chili Beach at dusk (14/12).
30) Australian Swiftlet: Seen at Cairns Esplanade and Anderson Street track (10/12), T Junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), New Coen Rd (12/12), Old Coen Rd [Old Rainforest Campground end] (13/12), Portland Roads (14/12), and Old Coen Rd turnoff (15/12).
31) White-throated Needletail: Mixed flock with Fork-tailed Swifts, over T junction rainforest, and a few over New Coen Rd at dusk (12/12), 1 over Artemis Station dam (16/12).
32) Fork-tailed Swift: Several flying over Scrubby Creek (11/12), mixed with White-throated Needletails flying over T junction rainforest (12/12), and Old Coen Rd, northern end (13/12).
33) Lesser Frigatebird: 1 immature bird seen (11/12), and 1 adult male (15/12), seen from Portland Roads.
34) Great Frigatebird: 1 adult female off Portland Roads (12/12).
35) Australasian Darter: Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), small tank roadside c. 17km N of Laura (17/12).
36) Little Pied Cormorant: Cairns Esplanade (9/12), 1 at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
37) Little Black Cormorant: c. 10 at Centenary Lakes, Cairns (9/12), also at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12) and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
38) Australian Pelican: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), 2 flying high overhead at Saltwater Ck, Lakefield NP (16/12) and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
39) Black-necked Stork: 1 at Windmill Creek dam (16/12) Lake Mitchell (17/12).
40) White-necked Heron: Single birds at Windmill Creek dam and Marina Plains (16/12), roadside between Musgrave and Laura, and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
41) Eastern Great Egret: Widespread, mostly single birds. Cairns, Esplanade and Centenary Lakes (9-10/12), Windmill Ck dam, Artemis Station and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12), at roadside tank c. 17km N of Laura, and also at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
42) Intermediate Egret: Probably the most widespread egret. Seen in Cairns at Centenary Lakes (9/12) and Esplanade (10/12), Portland Roads (10-12/12) where a flock of several birds hung around the beach at times, Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), Archer River and Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12), Artemis Station dam, where a single bird landing scared off the drinking Golden-shouldered parrots (16/12), and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
43) Cattle Egret: A few at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), also seen by Dave in Coen (17/12).
44) Striated Heron: 1 at Cairns Esplanade (10/12).
45) Pied Heron: 1 adult and 3 immatures at Lockhart River STP (12/12), Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), 1 immature bird at Archer River, and 4 at Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12) and 1 at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
46) White-faced Heron: 1 roadside in woodland out form Portland Roads (11/12), 1 at Lockhart River STP (12/12) Lake Mitchell (17/12).
47) Little Egret: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), Saltwater Ck, Lakefield NP (16/12) and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
48) Eastern Reef Egret: Dark and light morph birds at Cairns Esplanade (10/12), 1 dark morph, Portland Roads (11/12, 14/12), and one white and a few dark morph birds at Chili Beach (14/12).
49) Nankeen Night Heron: A single immature bird at Centenary Lakes, Cairns (9/12). Another bird seen by Jeff only, at the Claudie River on the Old Coen Rd (13/12), near the campground, was the only record of that species for our Iron Range trip.
50) Glossy Ibis: 1 at Lockhart River STP (12/12), 1 at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), Lake Mitchell (17/12).
51) Australian White Ibis: Seen in Cairns near Centenary Lakes (9/12) and Esplanade (10/12), at Lockhart River STP (12/12), at Archer River (15/12), Musgrave Station (15-17/12), and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
52) Royal Spoonbill: Seen at Cairns in Centenary lakes (9/12), and at the Esplanade (10/12); a single bird seen on Gordon Creek within rainforest (12/12) was possibly the same bird seen flying overhead the previous day by Dave only, at Scrubby Creek; also seen at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), in a roadside pool south of Archer River (15/12) at Windmill Ck dam, Artemis Station (16/12), and also seen only by Jeff on drive back (17/12).
53) Black-breasted Buzzard: A pair on Lilyvale Rd, allowing close views, and 1 roadside between Musgrave and Laura (17/12).
54) Pacific Baza: 1 in display flight, Old Coen Rd, southern end near turnoff (12/12), 1 roadside on drive out from Portland Roads (16/12).
55) White-bellied Sea-eagle: Distant views of a bird seen from Cairns Esplanade (9/12), and a an adult bird and an adult flying over Portland Roads (14/12).
56) Whistling Kite: 1, with 2 more nearby, at Lockhart River STP (12/12), on drive, Portland Roads area (13/12), 2 at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), 1 at Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12), Artemis Station dam, Lilyvale Rd and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (15/12), several roadside between Musgrave and Lakeland, and at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
57) Brahminy Kite: An adult and an immature bird seen flying overhead at Anderson Street walk, Cairns (9/12), 1 seen over woodland out from Portland Roads (11/12), and an adult soaring overhead at Saltwater Ck, Lakefield NP (16/12).
58) Black Kite: Windmill Creek dam (16/12) and c. 15 soaring with Wedge-tailed Eagles, between Lakeland and Palmer River (17/12).
59) Brown Goshawk: Roadside in woodland out of Portland Roads (11/12).
60) Collared Sparrowhawk: 1 on drive near Lockhart River (12/12).
61) Grey Goshawk: New Coen Rd at dusk (12/12).
62) Red Goshawk: 1?male, seen briefly flying out over canopy at Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
63) Wedge-tailed Eagle: Roadside on return drive from Lilyvale Rd to Musgrave (15/12), Windmill Creek dam (16/12), roadside between Musgrave and Laura, and 3 soaring with Black Kites between Lakeland and Palmer River (17/12).
64) Little Eagle: 1 on nest, west of Lakefield NP turnoff (16/12).
65) Nankeen Kestrel: Pair near Lilyvale Rd turnoff (16-17/12), several roadside near Lakeland (17/12).
66) Peregrine Falcon: Packer’s Creek (13/12), Marina Plains (16/12).
67) Sarus Crane: 4 roadside at small ground tank c. 17km N of Laura with Brolgas (17/12).
68) Brolga: 2 at Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12), Marina Plains (16/12), roadside between Musgrave and Laura, including 3 with Sarus Cranes at small ground tank c. 17km N of Laura, and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
69) Purple Swamphen: Lake Mitchell (17/12).
70) Australian Bustard: 1 in grassland/low paperbark open woodland, just past the first tall woodland patch on Lilyvale Rd (15/12).
71) Bush Stone-curlew: Cairns, in cemetery adjacent to Anderson Street track, and also in park at end of track (9/12).
72) Pied Oystercatcher: 2 at Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12).
73) Black-winged Stilt: Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12) and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
74) Pacific Golden Plover: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12) and Chili Beach (11/12. 14/12).
75) Red-capped Plover: A few at Cairns Esplanade (9/12) and at Chili beach (11/12, 14/12).
76) Lesser Sand Plover: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), Chili Beach (11/12, 14/12) – frequently with Greater Sand Plover.
77) Greater Sand Plover: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), Chili Beach (14/12), including one leg-flagged individual.
78) Black-fronted Dotterel: 1 in drainage ditch in airfield at Cairns Airport (9/12).
79) Masked Lapwing: Widespread in open habitats, with singles to small groups seen at Cairns (9-10/12), Lockhart River airfield (10/12), Portland Roads (12/12, 14/12, and 13/12 observed by Graeme only), Musgrave Station (15-17/12), Archer River (15/12) and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
80) Comb-crested Jacana: Lake Mitchell (17/12).
81) Black-tailed Godwit: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), with up to c.50 birds.
82) Bar-tailed Godwit: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), with up to c.80 birds.
83) Whimbrel: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), 1 at Portland Roads (12/12), and Chili Beach (14/12).
84) Eastern Curlew: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12).
85) Little Curlew: A flock of c. 15 on the airfield at Lockhart River (10/12).
86) Terek Sandpiper: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), with up to 10 birds seen.
87) Common Sandpiper: Quintel beach (12/12), Portland Roads (12-13/12), Chili Beach (14/12).
88) Grey-tailed Tattler: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), individual birds at Chili Beach (11/12, 14/12).
89) Wandering Tattler: 1 at Quintel Beach (12/12).
90) Common Greenshank: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12).
91) Marsh Sandpiper: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), few at Lotusbird Lodge Lagoon (15/12).
92) Ruddy Turnstone: 1 at Chili Beach (14/12).
93) Asian Dowitcher: 2 at Cairns Esplanade (9/12).
94) Great Knot: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12).
95) Red-necked Stint: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12) and Chili Beach (11/12, 14/12).
96) Sharp-tailed Sandpiper: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), and a few at Lotusbird Lodge lagoon (15/12).
97) Curlew Sandpiper: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12).
98) Broad-billed Sandpiper: 1 at Cairns Esplanade (9/12).
99) Common Noddy: 1 flying with Bridled Terns off Portland Roads (11/12).
100) Bridled Tern: Flock off Portland Roads, sometimes feeding close inshore (11-14/12), also off Chili beach (11/12, 14/12).
101) Little Tern: Cairns Esplanade (10/12), Quintel Beach (12/12), 1 at Portland Roads (13/12), Chili Beach (14/12).
102) Gull-billed Tern: Singles to 3’s, seen at Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), Chili Beach (14/12) and Windmill Creek dam, Artemis Station (16/12).
103) Caspian Tern: 2 at Cairns Esplanade (9/12).
104) Whiskered Tern: Several at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
105) White-winged Black Tern: 1 at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
106) Black-naped Tern: 1 with Crested Terns at Portland Roads (11/12), 1 on shore and a few further out on island, Chili Beach (14/12).
107) Lesser Crested Tern: A few at marina, Cairns (10/12), 1 with Crested Terns at jetty ruins, Portland Roads (11/12), 1 at Quintel Beach (12/12), Chili Beach (11/12, 14/12).
108) Crested Tern: Cairns Esplanade (10/12), a few most days around Portland Roads, especially at low tide on ruins of jetty (11-14/12), Quintel Beach (12/12), Chili Beach (11/12, 14/12).
109) Silver Gull: Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12), 2 birds often seen in middle of the day at Portland Roads at low tide (11/12, 13-14/12), and at Quintel Beach, Lockhart River (12/12).
110) Palm Cockatoo: Single males in woodland near road out from Portland Roads (11/12, 14/12), a group of 6 flying past at Scrubby Creek (11/12), 1 flying over at T junction rainforest (14/12), and 1 at Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12). Also heard only at Chili Creek (13/12) and Old Coen Rd, turnoff (12/12, 15/12).
111) Galah: c.40-50 daily at Musgrave Station (15-17/12), a pair at Windmill Creek dam and c.50 at Marina Plains (16/12), Lilyvale Rd (17/12), and heard at Artemis Station dam (16/12).
112) Sulphur-crested Cockatoo: Usually seen as singles or a few birds. Anderson Street track, Cairns (9/12), common around Iron Range through to Portland Roads where seen daily across a range of sites, but mostly in or near rainforest (11-15/12), Artemis Station, Saltwater Creek in Lakefield NP, and Marina Plains, where a flock of c. 20 were gathered (16/12), and Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
113) Rainbow Lorikeet: Common, at times abundant, in both woodland, mangroves and in rainforest habitats, and seen daily. Seen around Cairns (9-10/12), at most sites around Iron Range to Portland Roads (10-15/12), at Pascoe River (15/12), Artemis Station and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12) and Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
114) Scaly-breasted Lorikeet: Moderately common around the Anderson Street walk, but less so than Rainbow Lorikeet (9/12), and also at Mt Molloy rest area (17/12).
115) Double-eyed Fig-Parrot: Birds of race macleayii seen at Cairns Esplanade and at Anderson Street track (9/12); race marshallii seen at Gordon Creek (10/12), T junction rainforest where feeding in fruiting fig ( 12/12, 14/12), and heard only at Scrubby Creek (11/12) and Gordon Creek (13/12).
116) Eclectus Parrot: Singles and pairs in Iron Range rainforest and adjacent areas. A pair (10/12) and a male bird (12/12) at Gordon Creek, Scrubby Creek (11/12), pair in T Junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), single birds at Old Coen Rd, southern end (12/12, 15/12), a female at Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12), 1 male flying over Chili Creek area (13/12).
117) Red-cheeked Parrot: 2 flying high over Scrubby Creek (11/12), 3 flying over Old Coen Rd, northern end (13/12), individual young male and adult male at T junction rainforest (14/12), where also heard (12/12), and 1 flying over Gordon Creek (14/12)..
118) Red-winged Parrot: Pascoe and Wenlock Rivers (15/12), Artemis Station dam and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12), Lakeland (17/12). 1 was seen by Jeff only in woodland out form Portland Roads (11/12), apparently a rare sighting for this area.
119) Pale-headed Rosella: 1 roadside between Pascoe River and Archer River (16/12), c. 40 at dam, Artemis Station (16/12).
120) Golden-shouldered Parrot: Major trip highlight, more so because much of the station had burnt only 24hrs before. A group of 7, with a pair and 5 younger birds, then a later pair also, at Artemis Station dam (16/12), brilliantly plumaged in the early morning light.
121) Pheasant Coucal: Grassy woodlands, often only seen from car. Seen at Portland Roads area (10/12, 12/12, 15/12), near Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), and Chili Creek (13/12), and heard at Scrubby Creek from edge of forest (11/12), and heard at Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
122) Eastern Koel: 1 flying over woodland at Artemis Station dam (16/12). Heard more widely but only occasionally in Iron Range/Portland Roads area and on our last day but I’m ashamed to say that I had not noted these at the time!
122a) Channel-billed Cuckoo (h): heard around Iron Range (12/12) and at Windmill Creek dam (16/12).
123) Horsefield’s Bronze Cuckoo: Lake Mitchell (17/12).
124) Little Bronze-Cuckoo: Nominate race minutillus seen in woodland at Chili Creek (13/12) and at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12); race russatus [Gould’s Bronze Cuckoo] seen in Cairns at Anderson Street track, with more heard nearby and at Centenary Lakes (9/12), and also heard at Old Coen Rd, southern end (15/12), where seen by other members of the group.
125) Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo: Several at Scrubby Creek (11/12), where also a single bird was seen by Dave only (16/12), 1 at T junction rainforest (12/12).
126) Brush Cuckoo: Heard far more than seen. Heard in Cairns at Anderson Street track (9/12), daily at Portland Roads, but actually seen twice there near or from the house (12/12, 14/12), seen at Old Coen Rd turnoff and Tozer’s Gap (15/12), heard at Marina Plains (16/12), and seen well at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
127) Oriental Cuckoo: 1 in mangroves at Portland Roads, and also at Old Coen Rd, southern end (13/12), (12/12), Chili Creek (13/12), T junction rainforest and another further towards Lockhart River (14/12), 1 hepatic morph female roadside in woodland out from Portland Roads (15/12), Marina Plains (16/12), and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
128) Masked Owl: 1 spot lit at night on paddock/woodland edge, near T junction (12/12).
129) Azure Kingfisher: 1 on Claudie River at Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12) and 1 flying across rd on drive out from Portland Roads (16/12).
130) Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher: 1 in monsoon woodland near house at Portland Roads (10/12), Cook’s Hut (11/12), Gordon Creek, where we were waiting for the Red-bellied Pitta to appear (13/12). Also heard only at Scrubby Creek (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12), and Cook’s Hut (14/12), and seen by Dave only, crossing rd, Iron Range area (12/12).
131) Laughing Kookaburra: Cairns, Anderson Street walk (9/12), and in tall woodland, Lilyvale Rd (15-17/12).
132) Blue-winged Kookaburra: 1 at Portland Roads (13/12), and heard at Lockhart River STP (12/12), seen between Pascoe and Wenlock rivers (15/12), at Artemis Station dam and on drive back form Lakefield NP (16/12), in paperbark woodland on Lilyvale Rd near the tall woodland, roadside at several places between Musgrave and Lakeland, and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
133) Yellow-billed Kingfisher: Heard fairly often, but hard to spot. Seen [very well] only at Cook’s Hut (11/12), but heard at Scrubby Creek (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12), Gordon Creek (13/12), Cook’s Hut (14/12) and Old Coen Rd turnoff area (15/12).
134) Forest Kingfisher: Widespread in various woodlands. Seen in Cairns at Anderson Street track (9/12), roadside in woodland on drives to and from Portland Roads, and on power lines near Lockhart River where a regular pair perched (10-15/12), at Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), and in and near Lilyvale Rd (16-17/12)
135) Collared Kingfisher: Pair at Saltwater Lake, Centenary lakes, Cairns (9/12), heard but not seen in mangroves at Portland Roads (10-12/12).
136) Rainbow Bee-eater: Anderson Street track, Cairns (9/12), Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), Musgrave Station (15-17/12) and Lakeland (17/12).
137) Dollarbird: Roadside, in woodland out of Portland Roads (11/12), between Wenlock River and Peninsula Development Rd (15/12), at Artemis Station dam (16/12), and between Lakeland and Laura (17/12).
138) Red-bellied Pitta: Heard distantly at Old Coen Rd, southern end, and near Cook’s Hut (13/12), and finally seen at Gordon Creek later that morning, calling from high up initially but later dropping to the ground and circling us. An exceptionally beautiful bird! Also the next morning (14/12) at Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground near the Claudie River, with more calling nearby (14/12), and further heard at Chili Creek (13/12 – a first for Klaus at this site) again at Gordon Creek (14/12) and at Old Coen Rd near the turnoff, southern end (15/12). Absolutely no sign of them before the 13th.
139) Noisy Pitta: Heard widely in rainforest, vine forest and mangrove habitats. Only sighting was 1 adult at Cook’s Hut (11/12), otherwise heard at Portland Roads daily (10-15/12), Gordon Creek (10/12, 12/12), T junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), behind Chili Beach (11/12), Old Coen Rd, southern end (12/12), Kingfisher Park (10/1), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (14/12) and Marina Plains (15/12).
140) Brown Tree-creeper: 2 at Hurricane Station dam (17/12).
141) Spotted Catbird: Seen at Old Coen Rd, northern end (13/12), heard only at Old Coen Rd, southern end (12/12, 15/12), Cook’s Hut (13/12), Old Coen Rd, northern end (14/12).
142) Great Bowerbird: Roadside between Pascoe River and Wenlock River and at Archer River (15/12), at Musgrave Station daily (15-17/12), where 1 male displayed crest on first day, Artemis Station and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12), Lakeland (17/12).
143) Fawn-breasted Bowerbird: 1 male attending bower and 1 female visiting, behind Chili Beach (11/12), 1 seen well in mangroves at Portland Roads, with more heard but unseen moving through nearby(12/12), 2 at Packer’s Creek (13/12), 2 flying past veranda at Portland Roads (14/12).
144) Red-backed Fairy-wren: Lilyvale Rd (16-17/12), Marina Plains (16/12).
145) Lovely Fairy-wren: A family group in vegetation adjacent to house at Portland Roads (10/12), rainforest/woodland edge at Scrubby Creek (11/12), and a single bird, although more heard, at Marina Plains (16/12).
146) Weebill: Lilyvale Rd (16-17/12) and Hurricane Station dam (17/12).
147) Tropical Scrubwren: Cook’s Hut (11/12, when briefly glimpsed, otherwise heard also on 14/12), 6 or more birds behind Chili Beach (11/12), heard also at Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12).
148) Large-billed Gerygone: Heard or seen daily at Portland Roads (10-14/12), either in mangroves or in monsoon woodland, and a pair was constructing a nest near the veranda of the house.
149) Fairy Gerygone: Gordon Creek (10/12, 14/12), Scrubby Creek (11/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground, and Cook’s Hut (13/12), heard T junction rainforest (12/12).
150) White-throated Gerygone: Artemis Station (16/12).
151) Red-browed Pardalote: 2 at Windmill Creek dam (16/12) and heard at Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
152) Yellow-spotted Honeyeater: Common in rainforest habitats and seen daily in Iron range-Portland Roads area across many sites (10-15/12), Marina Plains (16/12).
153) Graceful Honeyeater: Common in rainforest habitats and seen daily in Iron range-Portland Roads area across many sites (10-15/12), Pascoe River (15/12), Marina Plains, and heard at Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
154) Varied Honeyeater: Mangrove and adjacent habitats – seen daily at Cairns around Esplanade, and at Portland Roads in and near mangroves (12/12, 14/12), where present daily but not looked for each day.
155) White-gaped Honeyeater: Marina Plains and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
156) Yellow Honeyeater: Near Cairns Esplanade (9/12); widespread around Musgrave area where seen daily, including Artemis Station, Lilyvale Rd, Musgrave Station, and Marina Plains (15-17/12).
157) Yellow-tinted Honeyeater: 2 in woodland at Lilyvale Rd (15/12, 17/12).
158) Brown-backed Honeyeater: Chili Creek, where feeding in paperbarks with other honeyeaters (13/12), Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), Marina Plains (16/12).
159) Bar-breasted Honeyeater: 1 at Artemis Station dam, and a few at Marina Plains (16/12).
160) Rufous-banded Honeyeater: Several at Marina Plains and at Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
161) Rufous-throated Honeyeater: 1 at Marina Plains (16/12).
162) Dusky Honeyeater: Anderson Street walk, Cairns (9/12); widespread in Iron Range-Portland Roads area in rainforest, monsoon vine forest, riverine gallery forest and adjacent areas, and seen daily in small numbers across many sites, including near the house at Portland Roads (10-15/12); also seen at Pascoe River (15/12), and in vine forest at marina Plains (16/12).
163) Green-backed Honeyeater: 2 at Gordon Creek (10/12), Scrubby Creek (11/12), seen on track at Cook’s Hut (11/12) but also heard at this site (14/12).
164) Banded Honeyeater: A few at Artemis Station dam (16/12).
165) Brown Honeyeater: Few seen daily around Cairns including near Esplanade and on Anderson Street track; a few birds at Artemis Station dam (16/12).
166) White-streaked Honeyeater: Several at Scrubby Creek (11/12), and also feeding with other honeyeaters in flowering paperbarks, Chili Creek (13/12); heard only at Tozer’s Gap (15/12).
166a) Black-chinned Honeyeater (h): heard only at Lilyvale Rd (15/12).
167) White-throated Honeyeater: A widespread woodland honeyeater. Seen at Anderson Street track, Cairns (9/12), Portland Roads (10/12, 12/12), behind Chili Beach (11/12), Chili Creek (13/12), Lilyvale Rd (15/12, 17/12), Artemis Station dam, Marina Plains and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
168) Blue-faced Honeyeater: Roadside between Pascoe and Wenlock Rivers (15/12), Musgrave Station (15-17/12), Artemis Station dam (16/12), Lilyvale Rd, Lakeland and Mt Molloy rest area (17/12).
169) Helmeted Friarbird: The common friarbird east of the divide. Seen daily at Cairns including Esplanade and Anderson Street track; widespread around Iron Range to Portland Roads in both rainforest and more open habitats (possibly under-recorded) - seen at Gordon Creek (10/12), Scrubby Creek area (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12), Chili Ck (13/12).
170) Silver-crowned Friarbird: Lilyvale Rd and Lakeland (17/12).
171) Little Friarbird: Roadside between Pascoe and Wenlock Rivers (15/12), Artemis Station dam (16/12), Lilyvale Rd and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
172) Tawny-breasted Honeyeater: Heard (10/12) and seen (12-13/12) at Gordon Creek, Scrubby Creek (11/12, 15/12), T junction rainforest (14/12).
173) Grey-crowned Babbler: Groups at Artemis Station dam (16/12) and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
174) Varied Sitella: A group at Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
175) Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike: 1 roadside just S of Archer River (15/12), and another seen roadside between Musgrave and Mt Molloy by others (17/12).
176) White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike: Heard at Cairns Esplanade (10/12), near Chili Beach (11/12), Quintel Beach (12/12), Woodland near S end of Old Coen Rd (15/12), Lilyvale Rd (15/12, 17/12), Artermis Station dam (16/12) and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12),
177) Cicadabird: 1 female at Anderson Street track, Cairns (9/12), 1 female at Gordon Creek (14/12), and a male at Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
178) White-winged Triller: Lilyvale Rd (15/12) and Artemis Station dam (16/12).
179) Varied Triller: Scrubby Creek (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12), Chili Creek (13/12), Lockhart River farm dam (14/12), and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
180) Grey Whistler: Gordon Creek (10/12), Scrubby Creek (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12).
181) Rufous Whistler: Pairs at Marina Plains and Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12) and 1 female at Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
182) Little Shrike-thrush: Widespread in Iron Range rainforest habitats. Seen at various sites each day, and across all sites, and also behind Chili Beach (10-14/12).
183) Grey Shrike-thrush: Lilyvale Rd (15/12, 17/12).
184) Australasian Figbird: Widespread and common, and seen daily at scattered locations throughout in rainforest, gallery forest, monsoon vine forest and coastal locations. Seen daily at Cairns, at Gordon Ck area (10/12), Scrubby Creek area (11/12), T Junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), Portland Roads (13/12), Pascoe River and Archer River, where 1 attending young on nest (15/12), Marina Plains (16/12) Lakeland and Mt Molloy rest area (17/12).
185) Yellow Oriole: Heard more frequently than seen. Heard only at Gordon Creek (10/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12) and Marina Plains(16/12); heard most days at Portland Roads, but seen in mangroves (12/12), and from house (14/12); and seen also at Scrubby Creek (11/12), Chili Creek (13/12), T Junction rainforest where nesting (14/12), Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12) and Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
186) Olive-backed Oriole: Artemis Station (16/12) Lilyvale Rd and Lake Mitchell (17/12).
187) White-breasted Woodswallow: Common around Cairns (9-10/12), a pair often seen from house cruising over Portland Roads area (11-14/12), also behind Chili Beach (11/12) and a single bird on island off Chili Beach (11/12, 14/12).
188) Black Butcherbird: Anderson Street track and Centenary Lakes (9/12), widespread in Iron Range and seen or heard daily across most sites (10-14/12), Marina Plains (16/12).
189) Black-backed Butcherbird: Pair at Archer River (15/12), Artemis Station (16/12) and heard at Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
190) Pied Butcherbird: Several roadside between Lakeland and Laura (17/12), but heard only also at Musgrave (15-16/12) and Artemis Station dam (16/12).
191) Australian Magpie: Roadside on return drive from Lilyvale Rd to Musgrave (15/12), Artemis Station dam (16/12) and also between Laura and Lakeland (17/12).
192) Pied Currawong: 1 seen roadside c. 8km W from Tozer’s Gap, and also roadside between Pascoe and Wenlock Rivers (15/12).
193) Spangled Drongo: Widespread across various terrestrial habitats, and seen daily - possibly under-recorded, since it was one of the more common black birds at rainforest sites. Gordon Creek (10/12), Scrubby Creek (11/12), mangroves in Portland Roads (12/12), T junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), Chili Creek (13/12), Portland Roads, where seen from house (14/12), Artemis Station dam and Marina Plains (16/12), and Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
194) Willie Wagtail: Cairns (9-10/12), Lake Mitchell (17/12), Marina Plains (16/12).
195) Torresian Crow: Roadside between Pascoe and Wenlock Rivers (15/12), Musgrave Station (16-17/12), Artemis Station (16/12), roadside between Musgrave and Laura, and heard only at Lilyvale Rd (17/12).
196) Leaden Flycatcher: In woodland not far from Portland Roads (11/12), 1 female at Packer’s Creek (13/12) and 1 male at Chili Creek (13/12), and Old Coen Rd turnoff (15/12), and heard at Tozer’s Gap (15/12).
197) Shining Flycatcher: Recorded in rainforest, monsoon vine forests and mangroves, and edges of these habitats. Seen at Gordon Creek (10/12, 13/12), heard at Scrubby Creek rainforest and a pair in adjacent woodland on edge of vine forest (11/12, 15/12), T junction rainforest (12/12), Cook’s Hut (13/12), at Lockhart River farm dam, and 1 seen below house at Portland Roads (14/12).
198) White-eared Monarch: A pair in vine forest/woodland edge at Scrubby Creek (11/12), and in same situation at T junction rainforest (14/12), but also heard only at Gordon Creek (10/12), and Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12).
199) Black-winged Monarch: Pair at Cook’s Hut (11/12), 1 at Old Coen Rd, northern end (13/12), and heard at Old Coen Rd, turnoff (15/12).
200) Spectacled Monarch: Gordon Creek (10/12, 13/12), Cook’s Hut and behind Chili Beach (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12),
201) Magpie-lark: Cairns Airport (9-10/12), near Musgrave (15/12), Artemis Station dam (16/12), and Musgrave Station (16-17/12).
202) Frilled Monarch: Gordon Creek (10/12, 13/12), behind Chili Beach (11/12), T junction rainforest and Old Coen Rd, southern end (12/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (14/12).
203) Yellow-breasted Boatbill: Gordon’s Creek (10/12), Scrubby Creek (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12), pair at Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12), heard at Old Coen Rd, southern end near turnoff (15/12).
204) Apostlebird: Roadside N of Hurricane Station Rd (17/12).
205) Magnificent Riflebird: Heard more frequently than seen, seemingly common at times on basis of calls, but hard to spot. Seen at Gordon Creek (10/12, 12-13/12) where an immature male was practicing displaying on the first day, but great views of an adult male in the sun on the second; also seen at Scrubby Creek (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12, heard only on 14/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (14/12) and Old Coen Rd turn off area (15/12); heard only at Old Coen Rd, southern end (12/12), Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12), Cook’s Hut and Chili Creek (13/12).
206) Trumpet Manucode: Gordon Creek (10/12), Scrubby Creek (11/12), T junction rainforest (12/12, 14/12), where sitting on nest on second date, and heard only at Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12).
207) Jacky Winter: 2 at Marina Plains (16/12).
208) Lemon-bellied Flycatcher: Singles or pairs, Lilyvale Rd (15-17/12).
209) Yellow-legged Flycatcher: Gordon Creek (10/12).
210) White-faced Robin: Single and pairs widespread in Iron Range rainforests. Seen daily, and across all sites, (10-14/12), heard only at Chili Creek (13/12).
211) Mangrove Robin: Portland Roads mangroves (12/12).
212) White-browed Robin: Packer’s Creek (13/12), also heard at Chili Creek (13/12) and Lockhart River farm dam (14/12).
213) Northern Scrub-robin: 1 seen well at Cook’s Hut (11/12), heard also at T junction rainforest (12/12) and Old Coen Rd – Rainforest Campground (13/12).
214) Golden-headed Cisticola: In grassy woodland, Old Coen Rd turnoff area (15/12), Lake Mitchell (17/12).
215) Silvereye: Several at Gordon’s Creek (10/12, also heard only on 13/12), seen at T junction rainforest (12/12) and heard only at Scrubby Creek (11/12).
216) Welcome Swallow: Cairns, Esplanade and Anderson Street track (9-10/12).
217) Fairy Martin: 1 at Centenary Lakes (9/12).
218) Tree Martin: Flock at Lake Mitchell (17/12).
219) Metallic Starling: Common, at times abundant, in and near rainforest. Seen in Cairns (9-10/12), daily at various sites in and near rainforest and adjoining communities in Portland Roads-Iron Range area (10-15/12). Seen gathering in larger numbers at fruiting figs, and an impressive build up of roosting starlings seen gathering on island off Chili Beach, reaching perhaps c. 5000 in number (14/12).
220) Common Myna: Around Cairns (9-10/12).
221) Mistletoebird: Widespread, and usually seen as singles or pairs. Seen around Cairns at Esplanade and Anderson Street track (9-10/12), at Gordon Creek (10/12), Scrubby creek (11/12) where a pair were constantly flying near ground level around a fallen tree, possibly near a nest, in mangroves at Portland Roads (12/12), Chili Creek (13/12), in tall woodland at Lilyvale Rd (16/12, 17/12) and at Saltwater Creek, Lakefield NP (16/12).
222) Olive-backed Sunbird: Cairns Esplanade and Anderson Street track (9-10/12); daily at Portland Roads (10-14/12), including in mangroves (12/12); Pascoe River (15/12), daily at Musgrave Station (15-17/12).
223) Double-barred Finch: Artemis Station and Marina Plains (16/12) and Hurricane Station dam (17/12).
224) Masked Finch: A group of the white-eared race personata drinking at Artemis Station dam (16/12): very impressive birds indeed.
225) Red-browed Finch: A few around house at Portland Roads (11/12, 14/12).
226) Nutmeg Mannikin: Several at Cairns Esplanade (10/12).
227) House Sparrow: A few at Cairns Esplanade (9-10/12).

Species seen by others only on Iron Range Tour:

Pied Cormorant: Lake Mitchell, seen by Graeme only (17/12).
Noisy Friarbird: Lake Mitchell, seen by Jeff only (17/12).
Eastern Osprey: Seen by all but me (!), Lake Mitchell (17/12).


Southern Spotted Cuscus
Agile Wallaby
Antilopine Wallaroo (seen only by Klaus)
Spectacled Flying Fox
Feral Horse
Giant White-tailed Rat
Cape York Melomys
Northern Tree Snake
Brown Tree Snake
Two-lined Dragon
Rainbow Skink
Frilled Lizard
Canopy Monitor
Spotted Tree Monitor
Cane Toad