I visited Australia for the first time both before and after a trip to PNG. Firstly, I spent 5 full days in June birding with Tom Tarrant in the Brisbane region, staying at Tom's house in Dayboro - a very pleasant and easy way of learning to identify Australian birds. We saw about 200 species, half of which were new to me. Then I spent 7 days around Cairns, before taking 3 days to drive south, via Townsville, to Mackay. Throughout this second period, except the first day, which had some influence on the itinerary and birding-time, and a major influence on where we stayed (as those who know me will realise). Finally, I had 24 hours around Sydney.

Sites in Australia are well-documented and so there is little point in me giving details other than for a few "new" features I noted. Neither do I have the time now to give a full log of my days. However, the following points may be of interest:-

1. The visit was in the austral winter: the climate was excellent, the best time of year for Queensland, but a few of the birds were missing, eg Paradise-Kingfisher and flycatchers, and others such as owls, Bristlebird and Noisy Pitta, quiet and difficult to detect.

2. Car hire was from Budget, the cheapest of the majors and fine, but more expensive (A$61 a day) than with local companies in Cairns such as Jolly Frog (from $45 a day, fax 070 31 1452) or Sam's (from $35 a day, fax 070 31 1206). The ceapest deals tend to be booked up early at this time of year (which is peak season in Queensland).

3. All the accommodation in Queensland was excellent: Coral Tree Inn, Cairns (popular) A$75 a double, fax 070 31 3064; Kingfisher Park Lodge, Julatten $85 a double (with self-catering facilities), or camp cheaply, tel 070 94 1263; Kookaburra Lodge, Yungaburra $45 a double, tel/fax 070 95 3222. You can also stay at John Squire's Cassowary House in prime birding habitat with Cassowary and Red-necked Rail in the garden - $85 (?), fax 070 93 7629. At Kingfisher Park you get free birding info and evening guided tours; John Squire will give info but charges for guiding; John Crowhurst (tel 514194) on Cairns Esplanade also gives free info and will possibly go out with you when he is free; Andy Anderson, tel/fax 070 32 3387, is a good professional guide at Cairns and may have stake-outs, eg for owls and Papuan Frogmouth.

4. In the past Barrier Reef trips were taken to Michaelmas Cay and Green Island. This combination is no longer available commercially, the alternative being Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef. We did this on MV "Seastar II" for the relatively cheap price of A$45 and were fully satisfied - book a couple of days ahead, eg through the very helpful Cairns Tourist Information Centre (who also handle car retals), 99 Esplanade - fax 070 51 9682.

5. We did Chris Dahlberg's Daintree River cruise - 2+ hours for $25, daily - a pleasant way to see crocadiles and some good birds including Great-billed Heron and Little Kingfisher. Kingfisher Park Lodge will book it for you. There is a ferry across the river at Daintree and by all accounts the route north to Cooktown is fairly spectacular, but 4-wheel drive is necessary; Cooktown is the southernmost limit of a number of Cape York specialities.

6. I drove from Cairns to Yungaburra at first light on the Atherton Highway and stopped after 82km around the highest point of the road through the Gillies Range. Birding was good along the roadside, with Chowchilla, Fernwren, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Wampoo Fruit-Dove, Bower's Shrike-Thrush and Tooth-billed Catbird. I also found Townsville Environmental Park to be worthwhile, despite all the water having been dried up for years (rendering the hides useless), with Painted Button-Quail, Brolga, Little Kingfisher, Great Bowerbird, Jacky-winter, Hooded Robin, Black-faced Woodswallow, White-winged Triller, Brown Songlark, and Plum-headed and Zebra Finches.     


(a) Brisbane region, South Queensland

June     10         Samsonvale (Dayboro)

            11         Mount Glorious and Mount Nebo (Brisbane Forest Park)

            12         Mount Glorious, Wivenhoe Dam, Helidon stockyard, Broadwater Lake (Dalby),                            Atkinsons Dam

            13         Brisbane city: Sherwood Forest Park, Doboy / Murarrie, Lytton, Manley harbour, Lota,                             Slaughter Falls, Mount Coot-tha, Bell Miner Grove, Mount Nebo

            14         O'Reilly's, Lamington NP

            15         Bullocky Rest (Samsonvale Dam), Nudgee Beach (Brisbane airport); flight to Port                                   Moresby.

(b) Daintree - Townsville, North Queensland

July      14         Atherton Tablelands: Gillies Range, Lake Barrine, Lake Tinaroo, Lake Eacham,                                Cathedral Fig Tree; Edmonton, Cairns (Mangrove boardwalk); night at Kookaburra  Lodge, Yungaburra

            15         Atherton Tablelands: Lake Tinaroo, Bromfield Swamp, Crater NP, Lake Eacham, Big                                Mitchell Creek, Pickford Road (Mareeba); Kookaburra Lodge

            16         Centenary Lakes, Cairns, Julatten; night at Kingfisher Park Lodge, Julatten

            17         Kingfisher Park, Mount Lewis, Abbattoir Swamp, Mount Malloy, Mary Farms, Mount                                Carbine, Kingfisher Park

            18         Daintree River, Port Douglas, Cairns; night at Coral Tree Inn

            19         Michaelmas Cay and Hasting's Reef (Great Barrier Reef); Coral Tree Inn

            20         Black Mountain Road (Kuranda), Pickford Road, Lake Tinaroo; Kookaburra Lodge

            21         Hasties Swamp, Herberton, Crater NP, Bromfield Swamp, Licuala Forest (Mission                                    Beach), Townsville; night at Sea Gulls Resort     

            22         Townsville Environmental Park, Magnetic Island; Sea Gulls Resort

            23         Townsville Environmental Park, Cape Hillsborough NP; night in Mackay

(c) Sydney region, New South Wales

July      24         Flew to Sydney, arriving  ; drove north up Route 1, stopping at "overlook" south of                                 Gosford turn, Cockle Bay Nature Reserve, Gosford and Norah Head; night at Hostel on                           Glebe Street, Sydney.

            25         06.30-11.30 Royal National Park; flight to Buenos Aires.

Names in bold type are new  sp. for JH, in brackets are heard only.

Southern Cassowary, Australasian Grebe, Hoary-headed Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-browed Albatross, Fairy Prion, Great Frigatebird, Australian Gannet, Brown Booby

Little Pied Cormorant, Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Australian Darter

Australian Pelican, Plumed Whistling-Duck, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Magpie Goose

Black Swan, Green Pygmy-goose, Maned Duck, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Pacific Black Duck

Australian Shoveler, White-eyed Duck/Hardhead, Pink-eared Duck, White-faced Heron

Little Egret, Pacific Reef-Egret, Intermediate Egret, Pacific Heron, Great-billed Heron, Great Egret

Cattle Egret, Striated Heron, Glossy Ibis, Australian Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill

Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Black-necked Stork, Osprey, Pacific Baza, Australian Kite

Square-tailed Kite, Black-breasted Kite, Black Kite, Whistling Kite, Brahminy Kite

White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Swamp Harrier, Spotted Harrier, Grey Goshawk, Brown Goshawk

Collared Sparrowhawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brown Falcon, Australian Kestrel, Australian Hobby

Peregrine Falcon, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Australian Brush-turkey, Brown Quail, [Blue-breasted Quail], Painted Buttonquail, Red-necked Crake, Purple Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Sarus Crane, Brolga, Australian Bustard, Comb-crested Jacana, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel

Far Eastern Curlew, Common Greenshank, Terek Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tattler, Ruddy Turnstone

Great Knot, Rufous-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Bush Thick-knee, Beach Thick-knee

Pied Oystercatcher, Sooty Oystercatcher, White-headed Stilt, Australian Pratincole

Asian Golden-Plover, Red-capped Plover, Double-banded Plover, Red-kneed Dotterel

Black-fronted Dotterel, Masked Lapwing, Silver Gull, Kelp Gull, Whiskered Tern

Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, Great Crested-Tern, Black-naped Tern, Common Tern, Bridled Tern

Sooty Tern, Brown Noddy, Black Noddy, Feral Pigeon, White-headed Pigeon, Spotted Dove

Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Emerald Dove, Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove

Bar-shouldered Dove, Wonga Pigeon, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove, Topknot Pigeon

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Australian King-Parrot, Red-winged Parrot, Crimson Rosella

Pale-headed Rosella, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Galah

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Corella, Cockatiel, Rainbow Lorikeet, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Little Lorikeet, [Brush Cuckoo], Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, [Australian Koel]

Pheasant Coucal, Barn Owl, Southern Boobook, Tawny Frogmouth, [Australian Owlet-Nightjar]

White-throated Nightjar, Austln/White-rumped Swiftlet, Azure Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher

Laughing Kookaburra, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Forest Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher

Sacred Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated Treecreeper, Red-browed Treecreeper

[Albert's Lyrebird], Superb Lyrebird, Spotted Catbird, Green Catbird, Tooth-billed Catbird

Regent Bowerbird, Satin Bowerbird, Great Bowerbird, Red-backed Fairywren, Superb Fairywren, Variegated Fairywren, Lovely Fairywren, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote

Rock Warbler, Fernwren, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, White-browed Scrubwren

Atherton Scrubwren, Large-billed Scrubwren, Speckled Warbler, Buff-rumped Thornbill

Mountain Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill

Striated Thornbill, Weebill, Fairy Gerygone, White-throated Gerygone, Large-billed Gerygone

Brown Gerygone, Mangrove Gerygone, Brown Honeyeater, Dusky Myzomela, Scarlet Myzomela

Graceful Honeyeater, Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, Bridled Honeyeater

Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Varied Honeyeater, Mangrove Honeyeater, Yellow Honeyeater

Fuscous Honeyeater, White-plumed Honeyeater, Macleay Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater

White-throated Honeyeater, Little Friarbird, Helmeted Friarbird, Noisy Friarbird, New Holland Honeyeater, White-cheeked Honeyeater, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Striped Honeyeater

Regent Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Bell Miner, Noisy Miner

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Little Wattlebird, Red Wattlebird, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

Jacky-winter, Red-capped Robin, Rose Robin, Hooded Robin, Pale-yellow Robin

Yellow Robin, White-browed Robin, Grey-headed Robin, Varied Sitella, Crested Shrike-tit

Grey Whistler, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Bower's Shrike-Thrush, Rufous/Little Shrike-Thrush, Grey Shrike-Thrush, Logrunner, Chowchilla, Grey-crowned Babbler, Eastern Whipbird

White-winged Chough, Apostlebird, Willie-wagtail, Grey Fantail, Rufous Fantail

Spectacled Monarch, Leaden Flycatcher, Restless Flycatcher, Shining Flycatcher, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Spangled Drongo, Torresian Crow, Australian Raven, Paradise Riflebird

Victoria's Riflebird, White-breasted Woodswallow, Black-faced Woodswallow, Grey Butcherbird

Pied Butcherbird, Black Butcherbird, Australasian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Magpie-lark

Olive-backed Oriole, Green/ Yellow Oriole, Green Figbird, Ground Cuckoo-shrike

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-shrike, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike

White-winged Triller, Varied Triller, Olive-tailed Thrush, Metallic Starling, Common Starling

Common Myna, Barn Swallow, Welcome Swallow, Tree Martin, Fairy Martin, Silver-eye

Golden-headed Cisticola, Australian Reed-Warbler, Tawny Grassbird, Little Grassbird

Australasian Bushlark, [Rufous Songlark], Brown Songlark, House Sparrow, Red-browed Firetail

Plum-headed Finch, Zebra Finch, Double-barred Finch, Chestnut-breasted Munia

Australasian Pipit, Mistletoebird, Olive-backed Sunbird


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