FNQ – Far North Queensland birding


Southern Cassowary – finally puts in an appearance at the Jindalbah car park

After the successful Port Stephens pelagic – which enabled me to reach 300 birds in the Hunter, we flew north to Cairns to meet up with my brother Rob and wife Gi for a birding trip of far North Queensland. Unfortunately, the hoped for prize of the first day and a half – Southern Cassowary, failed to materialise. Despite being at Mission Beach – the epicentre for recent Cassowary ‘hunting’, it rained continuously and we failed in our mission (pun intended) miserably. We then headed north, via Port Douglas, to the Daintree River, where we did manage to connect with some of the region’s specialities – finally tracking down Southern Cassowary at Jindalbah, but not before a three hour wait in the car park and a narrow miss of a Noisy Pitta! A couple of hours flying time further north is the small, by Aussie standards, national park of Iron Range – a fragment of tropical low-land rainforest, with a dozen or so endemic specialities. Here we stayed at the lovely bed & breakfast at Portland Roads and ate in the adjacent cafe – tremendous food at literally the end of the road! An over-night stay in Cairns, before returning south, allowed for a couple of visits to the world renowned wader hot-spot of The Esplanade and an early morning bird of the Botanical Gardens.

Common in north Queensland, Bush Stone-curlew – this one was seen in Cairns Botanical Gardens


Comb-crested Jacana – present on most suitable inland waters in North Queensland


Also present, Salt-water Crocodile – this one was seen on the Daintree River cruise


Also seen along the Daintree River, one of a number of Kingfisher species – this one is Azure 


Restricted to the rainforests of northern Queensland is Macleay’s Honeyeater


Similar to the above species is Tawny-breasted – one of three Honeyeaters ‘endemic’ to Iron Range  


Cape York endemic Monarchs include this little cutie – Frill-necked 


Much more common but equally as appealing – Olive-backed Sunbird, the only representative of this diverse group in Australia


We did eventually catch up with Noisy Pitta but were too early for it’s rarer cousin Red-bellied, which is only a wet-season visitor to Cape York


Water birds were few and far between, but these Pied Heron at Lockhart River ‘poo ponds’ were a welcome exception


Evening entertainment was provided by this murmuration of Metallic Starlings off Restoration Island


Reasonably common in Iron Range is Magnificent Riflebird – not quite so easy to see though!


A top prize in Iron Range is the restricted and endangered Fawn-breasted Bowerbird


Equally prized, in their only Australian foot-hold of Iron Range, is Eclectus Parrot – we found this male (green) and four females (red) at their nest-hole. Seeing this beautiful bird has been a birding ambition of mine for many years – I even named my Management Consultancy after it!


More common, but still difficult to see, are these Double-eyed Fig-Parrot – Australia’s smallest parrot species


The last species added to the list in North Queensland was this fabulous roosting Rufous Owl – located by a kindly birder I met in the Botanic Gardens who gave me a lift back to the hotel. We managed to photograph it in the final minutes before the taxi took us to the airport! Here, in typical pose, with prey in his talons 


This entry was posted in Birding.

2 comments on “FNQ – Far North Queensland birding

  1. avian101 says:

    Wonderful gallery! 🙂

  2. […] see one. On our last visit, in 2017, we spent two days missing them around Mission Beach, before finally tracking one down in the carpark of Jindalbah, north of the Daintree River. This trip, with three expectant […]

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