Monday, 10 October 2016

Go North 01

Last year when my step-daughter, Erica, made some comments about going to the tip of Cape York Peninsula, I made a [mostly] serious reply of volunteering to go as well. Time passes and you forget most of the things you say. Then, in mid-July, Erica rang to say they were planning the trip, was I still keen, could I leave in mid-August? Thus a rendezvous in Mossman on 19 August and we were away. Just two Landcruisers, her 60-series and my 76-series. 40yo and 4 yo! One of the boys alternated daily travelling with me and the other two with Erica.

Cape Tribulation, Bloomfield Track ....

a BIG saltie
Yellow-spotted Honeyeater
... Cooktown, Battlecamp Road, Laura, then north up the Cape York Development Road. Ethan and I were keen to get some serious birding done but were very aware that it wasn't a birding trip so we confined ourselves to dawn walks and any water we saw and any water treatment plants available! So not much birding, sort of.

Our first target was the Golden-shoulderd Parrot restricted to a small area around Musgrave but specifically to Artemis Station where the owners have modified their farming practices to fit in with the required habitat of this highly endangered bird. And very successfully too. A good synopsis of the story is here.

As arranged the previous day, Ethan and I were at the main house at 7am and the Shepherd's son, Trevor, took us to a dam where GSPs had been seen. He then went on to feed some stock so it fitted in fine with the station management tasks. We got our chairs, drinks and some breakfast eats and sat next to a tree near the edge of the dam with the rising sun to our left and waited. Lots of the normal dam visitors visited. Bar-shouldered Doves, Peaceful Doves, Double-barred Finches, Whistling Kites, White-faced Herons, Wedgies, Laughing Kookas, Rainbow Lorikeets, Bowerbirds, Woodswallows, Cuckoo-shrikes ....

Then five Golden-shouldered Parrots flew in landing in the top of a dead tree not too far away. Over 20 minutes they made their way down to the edge of the dam allowing lots of opportunities for viewing with the bins and camera. The to top it off, some Masked Finches and a Leaden Flycatcher arrived to make the morning complete.

Once satisfied with the birding about 10 o'clock, we made our way back to the homestead, reported our success and continued heading north chasing Erica to Weipa.

Golden-shouldered Parrot
F, M, F, M, F

Masked Finch, race leucotis
Yellow Honeyeater

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