Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Morning Birding on the Daintree River

We decided to get our Cairns holiday up in gear by going in hard! An early morning 2 hours of birdwatching from Chris Dahlberg's little boat on the Daintree River seemed an excellent way to get the day off to a cracking start!

6.30am and the rain was pouring down, but with a couple of strategically well placed umbrellas Gemma was able to keep herself and my camera gear semi dry. Luckily it was by far the worst in the first 15-20 minuets or so after which the rain turned into a mere drizzle.

I once again had to convince myself that the camera is just a tool and built for use - if it cannot be used it has no value ... actually I do not know how clever an approach that is, but I am happy to inform the readers that there is still value left in the light-loving-box.

Chris Dahlberg's dawn birding cruise on the Daintree River is quite famous for being some of the most exciting birdwatching you can do and despite of the weather being less than mediocre it was absolutely fantastic stuff! The Great Billed Heron above being one of the highlights.

As I have mentioned before, we had pushed our luck by placing our Cairns trip very close to the rainy season and the cruise we attended was indeed the first of the season, so no one had a clue of what we would see. Once again - having a knowledgeable local guide is golden when you want to get full value of a new habitat! Chris did an absolutely fantastic job taking us around on the river, pointing out rare and wonderful birds and telling anecdotes about water, trees and wildlife.

We did not see the Papuan Frogmouth and we did not see the Little Kingfisher, but otherwise we saw more or less everything else worth seeing :-D Chris keeps a record of the wildlife seen during his trips, which can be found here. I have to admit that I am once again badly late with these blog posts - more than a month in fact, we participated on the tour 2nd of April - there is a direct link to our sightings here.

As I already mentioned, we were quite happy to see the Great-billed Heron, one of the birds I did not see when I was in Kakadu, Gemma did her little ticking dance after spotting a Black Bittern and we were both happy with Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo (now lumped with Little B-C) and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot plus all the rest.


Jarrod said...

Some nice birds on the list there. A week or so later they got the Victoria's riflebird according to his website. You will need to go back and try again now that everything has dried out again.

AGL said...

Uh .. I would love to go back and try again :-D Anyone volunteering to come along??? A sneaky escape up north could be quite fantastic!

Cheers Allan

AGL said...

... Just took a closer look, they also bagged the Papuan Frogmouth on the trip 6 days after we were there. Chris said it was not a rare bird at all as long as you came the right time of year. He said the Little Kingfisher was much more of an achievement .. along with the Great-billed Heron.

Jamie Cloud said...

Such wonderful species! Thanks for sharing the photos. In Daintree, near Cape Tribulation, you’ll find their discovery centre and entomological museum where you can see kingfishers, sunbirds, Ulysses butterfly, cassowary, etc. They also have the bat house full of flying foxes.

Charles Reed said...

Wow. Those are really beautiful birds. I visited Daintree Rainforest with my family last summer and we were able to sight some birds as well including Little Kingfishers, lorikeets and a cassowary. We really had a great time.