Tuesday, 26 July 2016

"Go South, old codger"

There I was in Cairns with just a trip home on the program but with no time constraints although I had booked a bed at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy property, "Bowra", just out of Cunnamulla, for a week before Easter. Today was 13 March so, what to do. First job was to deliver vehicle to a 4WD place in Cairns for a service. Robert and Heath had put on 12.000kms in 7 weeks. They rang me during the afternoon to tell me they had discovered some important work that needed to be done based on some intel I had given them so it was there for 2 days. I walked over to the Esplanade in Cairns to arrive about 4 o'clock at the Seat of Learning under the Tree of Knowledge where a group of local, retired and very knowledgable and enthusiastic birders meet every day. When I had introduced myself, I was informed that my progress up the coast had been noted via eBird lists I had been submitting. In a good way, that was the best introduction you could have. My bona fides were already established. On that basis, one of the dudes offered me a day of birding up in the hinterland whilst the car was out of action. Guided by a local? You bet.

Starting at 6.30, we had seen 36 species by our return at lunchtime. Two lifers: Grey-headed Robin and Spotted Catbird. Good picture of a Pale-yellow Robin. On the way back we diverted to a block of land in an industrial estate subject to tidal vagaries and saw a family of Beach Stone-curlews.

Metallic Starling Aplornis metallica
Beach Stone-curlew Esacus magnirostris

Pale-yellow Robin Tregellasia capito
Later that day I did the Mangrove Boardwalk near the airport [mozzies were amazing] and had another session with the old dudes/seat/tree on the Esplanade.

Olive-backed Sunbird, male Nectarinia jugularis
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Eastern Curlew Numinous madagasariensis
with dinner

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