Departing Mossman at 7 am on day one we has a brief stop at Mary Farms to see if we could get a few photos of the Australian Bustard in the morning light. We found a few good birds and then came across this male who posed beautifully for us.
We drove on to Lakeland downs where we stopped for a delicious local coffee before carrying on to Artemis Station for the Golden-shouldered Parrots. They are easy to see near the feeder at the main entrance when they come to feed in the early morning and late afternoon.
A few of the other birds in the area where the Black-backed Butcherbird and both species of Kookaburra. The dam down the road had Wandering-whistling Duck and Comb-creasted Jacana on the water.
From here we headed on to Musgrave Station where we spent the night. On the road to Coen the following morning we spotted the nest of a Black-breasted Buzzard. It was lovely to get perched photos of a bird we usually see flying. We were also lucky enough to witness a nest changeover between the male and female!
After a brief stop in Coen to top up the fuel and check out the Black Flying Fox colony we continued on to Lockhart River and the Green Hoose where we spent two nights. Over the next two days we explored the Iron Range and Lockhart river area.We investigated a tree hollow where fifteen Eclectus Parrots where making an awful racket. They seemed to be challenging some Sulphur-crested Cockatoo for the nesting hollow.
|Eclectus Parrot male|
|Eclectus Parrot female|
|Eclectus Parrot female|
One of out best sightings of the trip was an hour spent near a Magnificent Riflebird perch. We watched him come and go, saw him display twice and had a female come to the perch once.
An evenings spotlighting produced some great results. Five Marbled Frogmouth, several Large-tailed Nightjar and the iconic Green Tree Python.
Interestingly this Green Tree Python was set up in his hunting stance about 8 metres above ground level. By the size of the bulge in its body it must have been recently successful in finding a meal.
|Green Tree Python|
We spent our last two nights in Portland House at Portland Roads. Here we explored the mangrove edges for Torresian Kingfisher and Fawn-breasted Bowerbird. We also witnessed the magnificent Metallic Starling murmuration at Chilli Beach
|Bower of the Fawn-breasted Bowerbird|
Below are images of some of the birds we found in the area including a very confiding Yellow-billed Kingfisher.
On our return trip we again passed the tree where we observed the large group of Eclectus Parrots and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. It seems that the Cockatoo may have won the day as they where the only birds in evidence.
We encountered a lot of road kill between Coen and Musgrave Road House with many raptors enjoing a free lunch. This Wedge-tailed Eagle was one of many we saw along with Whistling and Black Kite.
On our last day our route took us through Lakefield National Park. We stopped briefly to view the nesting Red-Goshawk from an appropriate distance. With the strong winds in the area we hope the same fate as the chick blown from the nest last year does not repeat its self.
We had really rewarding views of the Red-headed Honeyeaters on Marina Plains with a most confiding male providing everyone with great photo opportunities.
Several water holes also contained a few Brolga which were also good to see. The male and female in this trio below where where performing a little dance for us.
We left Lakefield and proceeded onward through Laura with a brief stop to view the rock Quinkan rock paintings, arriving back in Mossman by 6 pm. A most enjoyable trip!