Friday, May 21, 2010

Kingfisher Park - Julatten - Birding in Topgear :-)

We arrived at Kingfisher Park birdwathers lodge late! There was probably less than one hour of daylight left, but we still managed to squeeze in quite a bit of excitement the first day!

Kingfisher Park is one of those near mythical bird spotting places, it boasts a bird list rivaled by very few places in Australia and maybe more importantly, many of the birds on that list are absolute stunners! The place is all about nature, it covers about 12 acres of grounds which works as a sanctuary for frogs, mammals, reptiles, birds .. and campers - you will not be the only one carrying a pair of binoculars! Keith and Lindsay Fisher, who runs the place, also have a blog with weekly updates on what has been seen in the area - follow the link here.

Before we stopped the car Gemma had already seen her first new bird - Orange-footed Scrubfowl - and before we had paid the room, I had clocked up 3 new species - Macleay's Honeyeater was all over the place! Leaving the packs in the room we set out for a super fast little tour of the property before night fall. Literally 20 meters from our front door we dived into the darkness of the forest and instantly we had our first ever glimpse of the Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher - What an absolutely fantastic bird! It flies like a flash of super bright colors through the dark forest and you are instantly aware that this is something very special.

It soon got too dark for wandering around alone and we retreated to our rented accommodation. We once again had to leave the tent unused, not only was it still raining, but the campsite had been declared unfit for use .. it resembled a swimming pool. A good solid serve of gnocchi and we were ready for what the night would bring - We had signed up for a Kingfisher Park night spotting tour.

All in all we were 5 night spotters heading out into the night for a bit of excitement. The tropics are so very much alive and it seemed the rain had just enhanced the presence of life around us. First stop was to secure an owl, which was easily done - at one point we had views of not one, but two barn owls sitting up high seemingly considering if it was worth the effort getting out there in the rain for a bit of hunting. A popular topic on the nightly walks around Kingfisher Park is apparently the difference between Masked and Barn Owl. According to our guides all of the owls in the pictures below are the Barn variety.

Unfortunately there was no Sooty Owl around, but we were quite happy to see a little group of Bush Stone-curlews .. if it was not for the puddle of water we were standing in, I think G. would have performed a little dance :-D In an attempt of getting a bloggable picture I actually managed to flood my boots, so you will have to do with another owl.

No more birds were seen that night, but lots of other stuff, so I will return shortly with a frog or two and a few mammals .. to be continued.

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