Sunday, 29 April 2012

Daintree River Birding with Murray

On Saturday afternoon my friend Murray asked me to assist him with some repairs and upgrades to his boat at Daintree village. We followed this with a test drive on the river and a bit of a look around to see what birds we could find for his guests on the following mornings 7.00 am Daintree River Boatman cruise. We went to Murray’s special spot where a Great-billed Heron was sitting on a nest. The river was flowing very strongly and we had to be careful weaving our way through hanging vines and fallen trees. We found the heron on its nest on a tree limb about 10 metres above the river. 
Great-billed Heron
After a few photos we headed back down river in search of Papuan Frogmouth. We managed to find a pair who had just arrived and were at the same roost as they had used last year. 
Papuan Frogmouth
We also found a flycatcher which on closer inspection turned out to be a Restless Flycatcher. This is the first one I have seen on the Daintree River. 
Restless Flycatcher

We also saw Azure, Forest and Sacred Kingfisher but only managed to hear the Little Kingfisher. The river was high and the tide was in, flooding all the mud banks and mangrove roots, which makes this beautiful little bird difficult to see. Just before we took the boat out of the water, we flushed what must have been the last Black Bittern of the season.

Peter and I had been invited along on Murray’s 7.00 am cruise the following morning which we gladly accepted. The Great-billed Heron obliged providing the guests with some good photo opportunities. One of the Papuan Frogmouths had moved but the other was still there. These birds will move around until a bit later in the year when they settle down to breed. We also saw Rainbow Bee-eater, Great Egret, Brown Gerygone and several pairs of Shinning Flycatcher.

As a final treat, a young Great-billed Heron posed for us right near the slipway. 
Great-billed Heron

Great-billed Heron

After Murrays guests had left we ate scrambled eggs and toast at the local cafe before finishing the morning with a spot of birding in Julatten.

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