Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Go North -- 08 -- Lakefield National Park

Once we were out of Iron Range and had got to Musgrave Station, Erica decided to head straight back to Mossman so Ethan and I had 5 days total birding through Lakefield NP, the northern access road heading east from Musgrave. But first we checked out the dam next to the campsite at Musgrave.

Freshwater Crocodile

Not too far along is Lotus Bird Lodge, a not-inexpensive resort with a sign on the road inviting all to come in and have a look around. Which we did.

Next to the upmarket accommodation and dinning area is an excellent billabong with a walking track. Which we took. Avoiding getting too close to the water. Resident saltwater crocodile! Plenty of good birds including Black-throated and Masked Finch, Plumed and Wandering Whistling Duck, Brolga, both Kookaburras, Green Pygmy-goose [geese?], Leaden Flycatcher and Black-backed Butcherbird to name a few.

Black-backed Butcherbird Cracticus mentalis
Black-throated Finch Poephila cincta
Masked Finch Poephila personata
Radjah Shelduck Tadorna radjah
Whilst there we met a couple with whom we had talked in Iron Range. They casually asked us if we had seen the Red Goshawk. Well no, we hadn't and whereabouts might that be? Following specific instructions including x.x kms from an intersection and third tree back from the road, we ventured forth. Arriving at the site, Ethan got out whilst I reversed the car a few metres off the road up a sidetrack and got out to join him - without binoculars or camera. As I approached the road, Ethan [on the other side] started frantically waving and pointing to a tree on my side of the road perhaps 20 metres away. And there was the Red Goshawk sitting in full view on a horizontal branch. AAAHHH. What do you do? As I turned to make my way back to the car, off he/she flew. Darn.

However, the bird flew across the road and onto a nest! Saved. A very special birding moment. After a great view and morning tea, we left the bird to its incubating duties and ventured further east into Lakefield.
Red Goshawk Erythrotriorchis radiatus

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