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Published: July 28th 2018
I managed to get up for morning birding this morning which was nice because there was a lot of bird activity despite the fact that it was absolutely freezing cold (11 degrees) although my cold is definitely getting better because I was able to keep warm somewhat (as would normally be the case for me even down into the single digit negatives). 11 degrees is quite cold for a tropical rainforest though. (Well, almost tropical)
I didn't get up to see the lunar eclipse because the moon was up all night scaring off all th hundreds of pygmy possums that would have otherwise come out and then the moon had the gall to expect me and look at it. Selfish and self-entitled that moon. Does anyone really like it?
All it does is sit there not even bothering to make its own light and just shining the sun's light down to bother possums. And then it pulls the sea around to bother waders. We don't need it. Just eat the cheese and get rid of the rest.
I've complained about a lot of things in this blog, now I've complained about the moon itself. Anyway, back to
birding. There really are a lot of White-throated Treecrepers around. I don't think I've ever seen such a high density of treecrepers, the Australian sort or otherwise. Although a fair few of the common species about, there was nothing particularly worthy of special note so after an hour maybe of birding along the road I went back for breakfast. Before checking out, we put out some cut up pieces of fresh fruit on the railing of the veranda, as per the advice of the ‘how to see wildlife’ brochure thing to attract some birds. We did this yesterday too and attracted a lot of bird. The singular being intentional there because we attracted a single very large brush turkey that ate the lot. This morning though was more successful with birds plural and we had all three of the species that the booklet suggested would come in: one Lewin’s Honeyeater, two Spotted Catbirds, and a partridge in a… I mean, and a pair of Victoria’s Riflebirds. This was really cool because they were right there in front of us on the railing eating the fruit.
After checking out, we decided to drive around to visit Lake Tinaroo. This is
a massive lake that covers a decent sized area of this part of the tablelands and is largely fringed by a patchwork of dry and wet forest. The lake is a reservoir for irrigation of the agriculture in the tablelands and is formed by a dam on the Barron River. I’ve seen a lot of the Barron River on this trip, the source is at Mount Hypipamee, the place I spotlighted the Herbert River and Lemuroid Ringtails, we crossed it several times on the tablelands, it is dammed at Lake Tinaroo then it flows of the tablelands at Barron Falls Near Kuranda which we saw from the skyrail and comes out near the mangrove area that I birded just outside Cairns.
On the way to Lake Tinaroo, we passed (and stopped to look at) quite an impressive birding site as there were over 100 Sarus Cranes feeding in some fields near the road and they were really impressive flying and honking and feeding in the fields. They are massive and stunning birds. At Lake Tinaroo there were a few birds around and there were a few birds around in the woodland and rainforest too which we did a short
We then headed back down towards Cairns down the extremely windy and car-sickness-inducing Gilles Range Road that snakes back and forth and around down the Gilles Range back from over 700 metres to Cairns at sea level, having lunch at a place just at the bottom (which is the right side of that road to have lunch).
We got into Cairns in the late afternoon and then in the late afternoon/early evening my family dropped me off at my hostel for the night before going to the airport for their evening flight to Perth. I will be flying to Perth on the same flight in 24 hours time giving me one extra day in Cairns. I had originally thought this would need to be an action-packed day giving me a final chance to get the necessary birds from the birding sites in Cairns and to visit the Aquarium. In fact, I managed to fit in all of those things in when I was in Cairns at the beginning so instead tomorrow will be a chilled out day enjoying the great birding sites around the city with no targets that I desperately need. I’m staying in a
cheap hostel at the Northern end of the Esplanade with $19 dorms or $50 rooms which is cheap relative to other Cairns places. It isn’t in the city centre itself, being about 2.5kms to the heart of the city but it is in the ideal location for me because it is just back from the Northern end of the Esplanade which is the quieter and birdier end and is also not at all far from the Botanic Gardens. And if I do want to walk to the city, which I probably will tomorrow, the walk is all along the full length of the esplanade anyway. So the ideal location for me for a relaxed day enjoying the city of Cairns which is probably the birdiest city I have ever visited and it is a nice city.
This evening though, I just decided to relax and just lounge around in the hostel and get an extra early night. With all this spotlighting, I do need an early night and without a particularly action packed itinerary for this time in Cairns, I’m just going to relax.
(The title of this post is of course a reference, although not a particularly obscure one and I think many people will get it)
Australian Wood Duck
Little Black Comorant
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