Eastern Australia: From the Outback to the Wet Tropics Trip Report, November 2022


3 – 20 NOVEMBER 2022

By Andrew Walker

Our evening watching four Plains-wanderers under a total lunar eclipse was rather special!


This exciting Australian birding tour covered the eastern portion of this vast continent country. The first leg of the tour started in Melbourne, Victoria on the 3rd of November 2022, and from there we commenced a circuit of central, western, and northern Victoria and across the border for a brief foray into south central New South Wales. The second leg of the tour saw us fly to Brisbane, southern Queensland for a long weekend of birding around the famous O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. The third and final leg of the trip had us commencing a circuit around Far North Queensland and the Atherton Tablelands, starting and ending in Cairns, this also included Great Barrier Reef and Daintree River boat trips. The tour ended in Cairns on the 20th of November 2022.

We recorded 379 species (seven heard only) and enjoyed a long list of endemic species and families during the tour. The list of highlights is long, and there are way too many to list here, but you can’t go too far wrong with top-quality birds like Southern Cassowary, Malleefowl, Plains-wanderer, Spotted Nightjar, Papuan Frogmouth, Great-billed Heron, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Superb Parrot, Cockatiel, Budgerigar, Squatter Pigeon, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Rufous Bristlebird, Superb Lyrebird, Albert’s Lyrebird, Pilotbird, Fernwren, Chowchilla, Australian Logrunner, Noisy Pitta, Paradise Riflebird, Victoria’s Riflebird, Regent Bowerbird, Great Bowerbird, Green Catbird, Spotted Catbird, Striated Grasswren, Splendid Fairywren, Mallee Emu-wren, Painted Honeyeater, and Diamond Firetail, to name just a few. As is usual for this tour, we found some remarkable endemic wildlife beyond all the birds, with major highlights including Koala (mother and joey), Red Kangaroo, Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo, Short-beaked Echidna, Platypus, and Saltwater Crocodile. We also enjoyed stunning butterflies and impressive wildflowers, particularly orchids. Trip lists follow the report.

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo was one of 28 cockatoo/parrot species recorded during the tour.

Detailed Report

Day 1, 3rd November 2022. Arrival in Melbourne

The group arrived in Melbourne, and we met for a welcome dinner in the evening and discussed the plans for the next few weeks of exciting birding in the east of Australia.

Day 2, 4th November 2022. Melbourne to Airey’s Inlet

We met up with Simon our local guide and commenced our journey out of Melbourne to the west of the city, ending up along the Great Ocean Road at Airey’s Inlet. We called in at multiple sites made up of various habitats during the day and as a result ended up with a large day list of over one hundred species, featuring many Australian endemic birds and families.

Most of our day was spent around the famed Werribee Western Treatment Plant and wider area. Given the record high levels of water around, the site wasn’t as productive as usual for waterbirds (we would be looking for those throughout the rest of the tour), so we actually concentrated our efforts on some woodland and lakes in the vicinity during the morning. Our first stop gave us Little Eagle, Brown Goshawk, Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah, Crimson (Crimson) Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Crested Pigeon, Superb Fairywren, Striated Pardalote, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, Varied Sittella, Red-browed Finch, and Diamond Firetail. The first wetland site we visited produced Little Grassbird, Australasian Grebe (on a nest), Australasian Swamphen, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Maned Duck, and Australian Shelduck.

We had some excellent views of several juvenile Australian Hobbies hunting dragonflies over wet areas. They were very successful in their pursuits, catching their prey with ease.

After lunch we found Cape Barren Goose, Black-fronted Dotterel, and Australian Pelican in a residential area. Visiting some of the nearby water treatment works areas we found Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Australian Hobby, Brown Falcon, Swamp Harrier, Black Swan, Golden-headed Cisticola, Australian Reed Warbler, Striated Fieldwren, White-fronted Chat, and one of the stars of the afternoon, a family group of Brolgas.   

Late in the afternoon, the coast presented us with a new set of birds too, Hooded Dotterel, Red-capped Plover, Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Tern, Silver Gull, and Kelp Gull. Peregrine Falcon, Black-shouldered Kite, and White-bellied Sea Eagle were overhead. A rather pretty pair of nesting Blue-winged Parrots proved a fitting end to a great first day birding in Australia as they were illuminated by the glorious late afternoon sunlight.

Day 3, 5th November 2022. Airey’s Inlet to central Victoria

We had another fantastic day birding in Australia as we made our way from the Great Ocean Road through to central Victoria and the town of Wedderburn. We started our birding at Airey’s Inlet where we visited a small pond and the lighthouse. Here we found our main target, Rufous Bristlebird with ease, along with other targets such as Black-faced Cormorant, Australasian Gannet, Latham’s Snipe, Singing Honeyeater, and Little Wattlebird.

Rufous Bristlebird belongs to one of several Australian-endemic families seen on the tour.

After breakfast we drove up and onto Anglesea Heath. We were greeted with near-perfect mild and windless conditions. Here we found Southern Emu-wren, Striated Fieldwren, and Chestnut-rumped Heathwren with minimal effort, and also enjoyed seeing Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, and Wedge-tailed Eagle, to name a few of the goodies.

A short drive to another spot saw us getting more top birds, and these included Brush Cuckoo, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, White-throated Treecreeper, Crested (Eastern) Shriketit, Australian Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Striated Thornbill, and a host of honeyeaters, including Eastern Spinebill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater, and Brown-headed Honeyeater. After the success of these morning stops, which included excellent views of great birds, we decided to get the majority of our long drive north under our belts.

After lunch, our luck continued as we called into a variety of different wooded habitats. One of the big highlights of the afternoon, and the whole day, was seeing a family party of roosting Powerful Owls, they are such huge birds and very impressive to see! Our next stop was a bonanza of birds, and we found Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Fuscous Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater, Olive-backed Oriole, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, Spotted Pardalote, Grey Shrikethrush, Eastern Yellow Robin, Dusky Woodswallow, Musk Lorikeet, and Common Bronzewing.

Our final stop of the day gave us even more new birds, and we really couldn’t have asked for more, with great views of Square-tailed Kite, Shy Heathwren, White-winged Chough, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, White-fronted Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater, and White-backed Swallow rounding off another excellent day, with over one hundred species recorded again (and no wetland birding today to inflate the list either!).

Crested Shriketit gave excellent views. This species complex is likely to be split by the IOC very soon (it has already been split by some authorities). Birds here becoming Eastern Shriketit.

Day 4, 6th November 2022. Central Victoria to the mallee at Mildura

Our first stop of the day was at Mount Korong Nature Conservation Reserve. It was a beautiful morning, and the birding was excellent. We found our main targets, displaying Painted Honeyeater and nest-building and courtship-dancing Diamond Firetails. Several other top birds seen included Painted Buttonquail, Gilbert’s Whistler, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, White-winged Chough, Mistletoebird, and Rufous Songlark (doing well in the perfect conditions).   

We called in to Lake Tyrrell Wildlife Reserve for our picnic lunch and in doing so connected with Rufous Fieldwren, White-winged Fairywren, Black-faced Woodswallow, Australian Pipit, White-fronted Chat, and Brown Songlark. It was incredible seeing the lake full of water, not the usual sight here. After this brief yet productive stop, we drove across the short distance to Wyperfeld National Park.

Birding for the majority of the afternoon at Wyperfeld was great fun. We saw our first Emu of the trip, always a highly anticipated moment, and a dad with five chicks was a great start. Raptors abounded and one of the highlights was watching a dueling Spotted Harrier and Wedge-tailed Eagle at fairly close range, we also saw plenty of Nankeen Kestrels and Brown Falcons, along with Black-shouldered Kite. Parrots were frequently seen, and we got our first Cockatiel, Regent Parrot, Australian Ringneck, Eastern Bluebonnet, and Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo of the trip. Smaller birds seen included the stunning Splendid Fairywren, Yellow-throated Miner, Striped Honeyeater, Southern Whiteface, Pied Butcherbird, and Grey Butcherbird.

It had been a long afternoon in increasing temperatures, and due to the recent heavy rains and floods, increasing numbers of mosquitoes. However, the day had one final surprise for us as we commenced our drive out of the national park towards our accommodation. As we were slowly driving along a road, the much hoped for shape of a Malleefowl was observed feeding along the side of a road in the distance. We stopped to get scope views of the bird and then gradually crept forward in the vehicle, the bird remained, and everyone got good, much closer views as it continued to feed unconcerned by our presence. A big target in the bag.

A well-camouflaged Malleefowl was a fitting end to another excellent day of birding in Victoria.

Day 5, 7th November 2022. Birding Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

We enjoyed a wonderful day birding in the mallee. During the morning we connected with our three main targets, as well as many other great birds that were new for the trip. As we drove towards Hattah-Kulkyne National Park from our accommodation we saw a small flock of Cockatiel fly over the road. We stopped to see if we could find any others and to our joy found a flock of seven birds perched up in trees and feeding along a dirt track below. We also got better perched views of Eastern Bluebonnet, Sacred Kingfisher, and Black-shouldered Kite here.

Our first target in the national park gave itself up with little effort when we found a gorgeous Chestnut Quail-thrush, one of several singing birds heard during the early morning period. While here we were teased by a Mulga Parrot that flew in and landed practically out of sight for most. Luckily, we saw some others that showed better later in the day. We also had a flyover by a small flock of Budgerigars, which was a really nice surprise. As we left the quail-thrush area we got excellent views of a pair of Mallee Emu-wrens. This Endangered (BirdLife International) species has a tiny, highly precarious global range and we were thrilled to find them, the spinifex grass they live in was looking incredible this year after all rainfall too.

Chestnut Quail-thrush gave some incredible views as it sang from a perch that was just visible through the unusually long spinifex flowers (a result of bumper rains). The whole region was looking stunning, with tons of growth and birds breeding all over the place!

After a quick cup of tea/coffee and some snacks, we dropped down to another spot in the dunes, where we found our third main target of the day, with surprising ease (again)! After getting into position out of sight (as much as possible given the sparse vegetation) we waited for our target bird to appear, suddenly we were face-to-face with a Striated Grasswren. The bird performed excellently for everyone, which was a nice surprise given how tough they can be at times. 

The shy and localized Striated Grasswren showed remarkably well for us.

Covering off some different areas in the park during the middle of the day resulted in yet more top birds, including Southern Scrub Robin, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Inland Thornbill, Splendid Fairywren, Weebill, Regent Parrot, White-browed Babbler, and many more.

During the afternoon and early evening, we did some birding around the town of Ouyen. We had some excellent views of Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (see photo in tour summary section), White-backed Swallow, Purple-backed Fairywren, Southern Whiteface, and Spotted Nightjar. The sunset and moonrise were spectacular too.

Day 6, 8th November 2022. Mildura to Deniliquin

We had a very long day, somewhat extended by the serious floods going on in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales, which resulted in some changed plans and flexibility in our route between our start and end points! The majority of the morning and afternoon was spent traveling, though we picked up several new birds along the way, including Apostlebird, Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Australian Owlet-nightjar, Crimson (Yellow) Rosella, and Red-capped Robin. It was quite incredible driving past hundreds of kilometers of flooded land, with many trees getting water for the first time in over 30 years in some cases, as the unprecedented (in recent times) flood waters were rising. We picked up several ducks (but only ones we had seen before), herons (our best view of White-necked Heron so far), and raptors (plenty of Nankeen Kestrels, Brown Falcons, Black Kites, Whistling Kites, and Little Eagle sightings) along these areas.

The main event for the day, however, was our evening trip out onto the Hay plains, north of Deniliquin in New South Wales. We met up with Phil, our local guide and drove north. There was lots of flooding along the road and a few stops produced Magpie Goose, Hardhead, Australasian Shoveler, Black-tailed Nativehen, Hoary-headed Grebe, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, and Little Pied Cormorant.

We arrived at a specific spot in the vast plains where we enjoyed watching a stunning sunset and just as impressive moonrise at the same time. As the evening progressed, we got to witness the rare sight of a total lunar eclipse while we were birding. As we commenced walking, we could hear singing Horsfield’s Bush Lark and soon were watching a couple of Stubble Quails at close range. We spent about the next hour walking circuits around a huge paddock on the plain, finding Fat-tailed Dunnart (a carnivorous marsupial), Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo, Red Kangaroo, and House Mouse. Suddenly however we found our main target, Plains-wanderer. The bird was a male so not as colored as the female, but we were happy to see one given how tough they can be to see. The bird showed brilliantly, but we wanted a bit more, so we continued walking and not very far away we found ourselves looking at a gorgeous female bird, she too showed wonderfully, and we all got great views (see trip report cover image).

Watching multiple Plains-wanderers under the total lunar eclipse was rather unique.

After the two great Plains-wanderer sightings we started our walk back to the car and after a short way, remarkably, picked up another pair of birds, this time the female was calling, an incredible sight and haunting sound. We enjoyed watching and listening to this bird and then continued on our way back. We even had Pink-eared Ducks calling as they flew over us here. The rest of the walk back and journey to town was fairly uneventful, though we did spot an Eastern Barn Owl along the road. After a rather long day we got back to our hotel in the early hours of the morning. Having seen Plains-wanderer so well was a real highlight of the tour, however, to get to see them in the strange red glow of the total lunar eclipse and a heavily flooded landscape was something else entirely, a unique experience and one that probably won’t be forgotten for a long time.

Day 7, 9th November 2022. Deniliquin to Chiltern

We afforded ourselves a lay in after our late finish yesterday and had a late and tasty breakfast in Deniliquin, still all rather excited about events from the previous evening. We had a relaxing day birding our way from Deniliquin in New South Wales to Chiltern, back in Victoria. A few stops near Deniliquin gave us our first Superb Parrots of the tour and we also found Little Friarbird, Jacky Winter, Western Gerygone, and a few other species. A perched Wedge-tailed Eagle at the side of the road was rather regal (and massive).

Our afternoon birding took us to the Warby-Ovens National Park. Here we got brief views of Turquoise Parrot, along with Restless Flycatcher (living up to its name), Noisy Friarbird, White-throated Gerygone, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, and Yellow-tufted Honeyeater.

Day 8, 10th November 2022. Chiltern to Healesville

An enjoyable pre-breakfast birding session in Chiltern-Mt. Pilot National Park gave us perched views of Turquoise Parrot, our main avian target. What a stunning bird and we really enjoyed the sighting of an adult male looking resplendent in the early morning sunlight. Just prior to the parrot sighting we had one of the mammal highlights of the whole tour when we saw a mother Koala and her joey (baby) up in a tree, they gave some great views for us.

As far as Koala sightings go, this one was pretty much perfect!

Our morning birding gave us several other good birds, including Square-tailed Kite, Pallid Cuckoo, Sacred Kingfisher, Fuscous Honeyeater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Olive-backed Oriole, Noisy Friarbird, White-throated Gerygone, Western Gerygone, and Little Lorikeet.

As we drove to Healesville, we made a few strategic stops along the way. These stops gave us yet more new birds, including some absolute belters like Pilotbird, Red-browed Treecreeper, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Flame Robin, Eastern Spinebill, Bell Miner, and an excellent Victoria bird in the form of a vocal male Common Cicadabird.

It is not every day that a Pilotbird hops out into the open on the top of a tree fern!

Day 9, 11th November 2022. Healesville to Melbourne

A productive pre-breakfast walk, near to the town of Healesville, gave us lots of birds, with further looks at Red-browed Treecreeper and our first Rufous Fantail and Satin Flycatcher of the tour. Bird activity was high, with lots of parrots moving around, including Gang-gang Cockatoo, Long-billed Corella, Crimson (Crimson) Rosella, and Australian King Parrot. Small birds like thornbills, pardalotes, and scrubwrens were also in evidence.

After breakfast we visited a different area and had brief views of Superb Lyrebird. Later we would hear one singing, an impressive sound as it mimicked at least eight other species! We also had good views of Grey Currawong, several pairs of the attractive Flame Robin, along with Rose Robin, more Rufous Fantails, a pair of Olive Whistlers and pair of Australian Golden Whistlers, with Pilotbird, and many more. We also got to see some leeches, always a highlight!

Unfortunately, it was time to head back into Melbourne to complete our southern circuit of this eastern Australia birding tour. Before we said our goodbyes and thank you to Simon, we visited some hills on the outskirts of the city where we found our final new bird of this section of the tour, a stunning male Scarlet Robin which showed exceptionally well. Here we also found some beautiful and interesting orchids, including the bizarre Large Flying Duck Orchid – a highlight all on its own!

A Scarlet Robin showed well and was our final “new” bird in Victoria.

Day 10, 12th November 2022. Melbourne to Brisbane and birding Brisbane mangroves

We took our morning flight from Melbourne to Brisbane, where we arrived around noon. We moved across to the coastal area for lunch before commencing our birding in this new and very different region of Australia. After lunch we visited a few mangrove and wetland sites around Brisbane and got good views of all our main targets, these being Mangrove Honeyeater, Mangrove Gerygone, and Torresian Kingfisher. While looking for these birds we found plenty of other new birds for the trip, including Red-backed Fairywren, Tawny Grassbird, Grey-crowned Babbler, Brown Honeyeater, and Leaden Flycatcher. A few shorebirds were still hanging around a roost site and we noted Common Greenshank, Pacific Golden Plover, Far Eastern Curlew, Eurasian Whimbrel, Pied Oystercatcher, and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.  Out in the bay we found Australian Tern, Little Tern, Caspian Tern, and several species of herons and egrets.

Day 11, 13th November 2022. Birding Brisbane and travel to Lamington National Park

Our morning birding took us to the western suburbs of Brisbane. Our first stop was near our accommodation, where we saw a Pale-vented Bush-hen (thanks Rob!), not an easy task as this is usually one highly secretive species.

After arriving at our first proper birding location, some rainforest, new birds arrived thick and fast. We enjoyed our first Spangled Drongos, Topknot Pigeons, Brown Cuckoo-Doves, and Rufous Shrikethrushes, although our main targets were monarchs, and we had fabulous looks at both White-eared Monarch and Spectacled Monarch. To top off a great short birding session, we got to observe a pair of Rose-crowned Fruit Doves at close range and the male displaying to the female, those colors!

After a delightful breakfast (and the best coffee to date) we ventured into some drier eucalyptus forest, where we found Channel-billed Cuckoo, White-throated Honeyeater, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Pacific Baza (displaying), Oriental Dollarbird, and Double-barred Finch. However, the real highlight was probably the flock of over 300 White-throated Needletails that were wheeling about above us. We could hear these giant swifts screaming their heads off, and the noise they made when flying was rather loud too!

Rose-crowned Fruit Dove was a riot of color in the greens of the rainforest.

ning birding session, we headed south and into the mountains at Lamington National Park, noting our first Pheasant Coucal along the way. On our arrival in the beautiful rainforest of the national park we spend a couple of hours birding a productive trail. Here we found some great birds, including a male Paradise Riflebird and several foraging Green Catbirds, two of our main targets. Plenty of other new birds were found, such as Eastern Whipbird, Black-faced Monarch (our third monarch of the day!), Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Large-billed Scrubwren, Brown Gerygone, and the highly anticipated Australian Brushturkey! We also gained improved views of Rose Robin, Australian Golden Whistler, and Rufous Fantail. It was a fantastic introduction into the avifauna of the area. As we checked into our rooms at the famous O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, we were greeted by a riot of color from Regent Bowerbird, Satin Bowerbird, Crimson (Crimson) Rosella, and Australian King Parrot, all showing at close range.

Day 12, 14th November 2022. Birding Lamington National Park

An early start saw us hitting the trails out from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. Around the lodge we saw plenty of Regent Bowerbirds, Satin Bowerbirds, and the other usual suspects like Australian Brushturkey, Pied Currawong, Crimson (Crimson) Rosella, and Australian King Parrot.

Our first real highlight of the morning was a pair of Australian Logrunners that were busily moving leaves looking for grubs. They have a very interesting foraging method that involves flicking their legs out sideways to move the leaf litter as they hunt for insects. Yellow-throated Scrubwren and White-browed Scrubwren were constantly at our feet, as were several pairs of Eastern Whipbirds and a couple of very vocal Wonga Pigeons. Plenty of other species we had seen the previous afternoon gave further views, such as Paradise Riflebird and Green Catbird.

After breakfast we heard two Albert’s Lyrebirds calling, and after a bit of a wait and by repositioning ourselves we all got to view this most wanted and very localized endemic. While looking for the lyrebird, we also noted a White-headed Pigeon quietly sitting above us. Walking onto the canopy walkway gave us an interesting perspective on the forest and we saw Rose Robin (our best view of the tour), Eastern Spinebill, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Large-billed Scrubwren, Brown Thornbill, and Silvereye.

Another localized endemic, Australian Logrunner, showed well on the dark forest floor.

After exploring the canopy walkway, we heard and them glimpsed a Noisy Pitta, but not great views for most. However, a short while later (after more logrunners, whipbirds, fantails, and other small birds) we heard another Noisy Pitta calling. We got into a position where we had a better view of the forest and after a short while located the male, getting great views of this attractive species. As we made our final walk of the morning back to the lodge for lunch, we got further views of Albert’s Lyrebird, this time feeding and a little more out in the open. While watching the lyrebird we had a pair of Bassian Thrushes crossing the trail with food and then continue to show wonderfully until we had had our fill, it was hard to know which way to look!

After lunch we enjoyed more of the same wonderful birds we had seen over the past 24 hours in Lamington National Park, with the addition of a brief Russet-tailed Thrush sighting (this after seeing three Bassian Thrushes on the afternoon walk too!).

We enjoyed some excellent views of Noisy Pitta while birding at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.

A gorgeous male Satin Bowerbird sat near his bower.

Day 13, 15th November 2022. Brisbane to Cairns and birding Cairns Esplanade

We had a final pre-breakfast morning walk at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat before it was time to depart (after another hearty breakfast!) from the mountain down to Brisbane, before catching our afternoon flight to Cairns. The expected Regent Bowerbird, Satin Bowerbird, Australian King Parrot, and Crimson (Crimson) Rosella greeted us outside the accommodation, they were also joined by a flock of rather cute Red-browed Finches. We then headed into the trails for a short walk, finding many of the now familiar species. A Russet-tailed Thrush was playing hide and seek and proving difficult to get good views, while Bassian Thrush was the total opposite, feeding their young out in the open, giving fantastic views. Australian Logrunners were very vocal and again showed well, as did a pair of Black-faced Monarchs. After breakfast it was time to leave this piece of paradise and drive back down to Brisbane for our early afternoon flight to Cairns.

Regent Bowerbird is always one of the most popular birds at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and it is easy to see why, it is absolutely stunning.

We arrived in Cairns in the late afternoon and transferred across to our nearby hotel on the famous Cairns Esplanade. A short walk at dusk in the hour before dinner gave us more new birds, including Pacific Reef Heron, Nankeen Night Heron, Varied Honeyeater, Torresian Imperial Pigeon, Metallic Starling, Pacific Swift, and Double-eyed Fig Parrot. After a wonderful fish supper, we walked back to our hotel in dark where we saw plenty of Spectacled Flying Foxes flying around, and a single Bush Stone-curlew walking along the road! We would hear plenty of them giving their strange calls during the night here and at a few other places over the final few nights of the tour.

Day 14, 16th November 2022. Great Barrier Reef trip

As always, this was an enjoyable trip out onto the sea and over to Michaelmas Cay. However, before we joined our boat trip, our breakfast venue allowed us some shorebird viewing opportunities on the incoming tide. Here we noted Great Knot, Far Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Greater Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Grey-tailed Tattler, and Broad-billed Sandpiper.

Once we got out to Michaelmas Cay, we were greeted by thousands of birds, an impressive sight, sound, and smell! Brown Noddies, Lesser Crested Terns, and Sooty Terns appeared most numerous with a big breeding season underway. Greater Crested Terns and Brown Boobies were also present in high numbers, the boobies with some huge white chicks. A few Bridled Terns, Black-naped Terns, and Great Frigatebirds were observed, as was a single Red-footed Booby. Ruddy Turnstones were scattered about around the cay, and Silver Gulls were present and trying to make off with either tern or noddy eggs. As is the case on this trip, plenty of time was spent enjoying the marvels of the underwater reef life, which today included numerous gorgeous tropical fish and Black-tipped Reef Shark (to name a couple of highlights). Once back on land we collected our vehicle and set off south to Mission Beach for the night.

Day 15, 17th November 2022. Mission Beach and Atherton Tablelands

Our morning was spent driving around Mission Beach. It was a hot morning, but eventually we found our main target, the magnificent Southern Cassowary. It kept us waiting right up until our time in the area was almost up, but once we found one, we enjoyed fantastic views. A definite bird of the trip contender and a real privilege to see.

Southern Cassowary was a highly anticipated bird for the trip, and we got great views.

While driving around the area looking for cassowaries, we found several new species for the trip and improved views of some others too, such as Fairy Gerygone, Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, Dusky Myzomela, Black Butcherbird, Green Oriole, Australian Swiftlet, Pacific Swift, White-throated Needletail, Bush Stone-curlew, Osprey, Metallic Starling, Olive-backed Sunbird, and Spangled Drongo either side of breakfast.

By the middle of the morning the temperatures were soaring, so we drove up into the Atherton Tablelands. After lunch and sitting out the hottest part of the day, we visited Mount Hypipamee National Park. Birding here was excellent, and we found several great new birds, like Victoria’s Riflebird, Bower’s Shrikethrush, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Grey-headed Robin, Grey Whistler, and Bridled Honeyeater. One of the major highlights of our time here however, involved the sighting of a Lumoltz’s Tree Kangaroo that was giving some great views low down.

After some time in the rainforest, we visited Hasties Swamp, where we found Comb-crested Jacana, Pied Stilt, Wandering Whistling Duck, Royal Spoonbill, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Red-backed Fairywren, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin, Scaly-breasted Munia, and Macleay’s Honeyeater. After our birding session here we called in at some arable fields where we found Sarus Crane and Horsfield’s Bush Lark. As dusk approached, we stopped at a small river where we found our main target, Platypus, and watched as hundreds of Magpie Geese flew overhead to their roost site. This ended a fantastic day’s birding in Far North Queensland.

Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo was yet another of the mammal highlights from the tour.

Day 16, 18th November 2022. Birding the Atherton Tablelands and arid zone

We spent the morning birding at several rainforest sites on the Atherton Tablelands, before dropping down in elevation to the more arid parts of the area. Across the day we logged a massive list of species, including some restricted-range regional endemics and lots of new trip birds.

Our first birding was at our accommodation, where we enjoyed great views of Spotted Catbird, Victoria’s Riflebird, Superb Fruit Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Macleay’s Honeyeater, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Forest Kingfisher, and lots more. We would also see most of these birds at our other rainforest sites during the morning. After breakfast we called in at a different site and found Chowchilla, Pale-yellow Robin, and Tooth-billed Bowerbird (impressive views of a male calling from his bower). Our final birding site of the morning gave us Cryptic Honeyeater, Bridled Honeyeater, and Atherton Scrubwren, as well as other species we had seen before, but better views of some, such as Grey-headed Robin and Yellow-breasted Boatbill. Our mammal list grew with the addition of Musky Rat Kangaroo during one of our rainforest birding stops.

Australia trip report

Our accommodation in the Crater Lakes area of the Atherton Tablelands was wonderful for observing Victoria’s Riflebird.

For the afternoon birding session, we visited a couple of arid zone sites that were both excellent and gave us a load of new birds, including some real goodies! At the first stop we found an Australian Bustard with young, and then followed it up with a group of localized Mareeba Rock Wallabies. A short while later we were watching a flock of around 20 Squatter Pigeons. These birds walked about oblivious to our presence, and we got some fabulous looks. Bar-shouldered Doves and Peaceful Doves were also feeding with the pigeons. A Great Bowerbird appeared too, as did Scaly-breasted Lorikeet. Our final birding session of the day was just north of Mareeba. We “twitched” a site that had recently had some Oriental Pratincoles reported. Not long after we arrived in the area, we located two birds and enjoyed lengthy views as they foraged in the company of Pacific Golden Plovers. While birding here we also found Blue-winged Kookaburra, Red-winged Parrot, Magpie Goose, Yellow Honeyeater, Double-barred Finch, Red-backed Fairywren, Horsfield’s Bush Lark, Australian Pipit, and double figures of Australian Bustards looking glorious in the late afternoon sunlight.

We had incredible looks at a flock of Squatter Pigeons. They were walking around right at our feet, totally unconcerned by our presence.

As we pulled into our accommodation for the night, several large flocks of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos flew over, Brush Cuckoo sang, Oriental Dollarbird was catching insects in the security light, and the Bush Stone-curlews were getting vocal. It had been another long, but very enjoyable, day birding in the Atherton Tablelands.

Day 17, 19th November 2022. Birding Mt Lewis area and Daintree River cruise

Our final day of birding started in the arid country around Mareeba, included a trip to Mount Lewis National Park for some high elevation birds, and ended on the Daintree River with a dusk boat cruise. It was another long but also a highly rewarding day. Our first birding was right at our accommodation where Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Great Bowerbird, Pacific Baza, and Yellow Honeyeater were noted. A park on the edge of town and some roadside stops proved productive, with Little Bronze Cuckoo, Leaden Flycatcher, Varied Triller, Pacific Koel, Black Butcherbird, Pheasant Coucal, Blue-faced Honeyeater, and Forest Kingfisher some of the highlights.

A change in habitats gave us different birds. A patch of rainforest was very busy, and we got one our main tour targets here, with a stunning display put on by a couple of Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers. They had clearly just arrived from Papua New Guinea and were busy setting up breeding territories. While looking for the kingfishers, we found Northern Fantail, Pale-yellow Robin, Spectacled Monarch, Cryptic Honeyeater, Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Brown-backed Honeyeater, and Macleay’s Honeyeater. Wetlands here held Magpie Geese, Green Pygmy Geese, Brown Quail, and White-browed Crake.

Gaining some elevation, we took a trail on Mount Lewis. A short walk here was very good, and we found our main targets quickly and had crippling views of all, these being Fernwren, Chowchilla, and Mountain Thornbill. Atherton Scrubwren, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Paradise Riflebird, Spotted Catbird, Barred Cuckooshrike, Eastern Whipbird, Grey-headed Robin, and Bridled Honeyeater were all also recorded during this walk.

There was a bit of a territorial dispute going on with a couple of Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers that had just arrived from Papua New Guinea and were busy setting up breeding territories.

After our brief mountain birding trip, we dropped down to the coast for a late lunch. We stopped at a beach briefly where we saw an Osprey catch a fish and picked up Caspian Tern, Greater Crested Tern, and Little Tern, along with Bar-tailed Godwit, Pied Oystercatcher, and Far Eastern Curlew.

Our final birding of the tour had us on a small boat exploring the Daintree River. This is always a fun and educational trip and was a wonderful way to end our tour, and we found some great wildlife too! The first channel we explored gave us three of our main targets almost immediately, although two of them were a bit brief, with both Black Bittern and Spotted Whistling Duck (a recent colonist of Australia from New Guinea) vanishing without giving us good looks. However, Great-billed Heron, one of the usually secretive species, perched up for us giving excellent views. Plenty of other small birds were being enjoyed too, such as Large-billed Gerygone, Shining Flycatcher, and Green Oriole. We also saw two Saltwater Crocodiles and two Green Tree Snakes during the second half of our boat trip. Herons and egrets were busily flying around at dusk and a huge Black-necked Stork flew over too, distinctive even at long range! One final highlight, and pretty much the last new bird of the tour, was a Papuan Frogmouth sat on its nest, it gave excellent views. We left the river and drove back to Cairns where we arrived in the evening after stopping for dinner along the way. The task of selecting bird of the trip was not easy, especially after recording almost 400 species. However, the top picks included Southern Cassowary, Malleefowl, Mallee Emu-wren, and Spotted Pardalote.

One of several new birds added to our trip list during our Daintree River cruise, this huge and usually shy Great-billed Heron was a real treat.

Day 18, 20th November 2022. Departure from Cairns

The tour concluded with our departure from Cairns. Some of the group had a flock of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos feeding in trees right in the airport car park before checking in for their flights.

Tour weather conditions note

Conditions in Victoria and New South Wales were like nothing that has been seen for over 30 years, with vast areas of flooding around most rivers, particularly the major rivers, like the mighty Murray River. Luckily, we were blessed with good weather during the trip, and we had no issues getting across and around the flooded areas. The inland flooding did mean that several species of ducks and shorebirds (waders) we usually easily find while in Victoria on this tour were just not present (they had gone inland to breed in the flooded conditions, which were now perfect for them). The rains had resulted in masses of plant growth, particularly grasses and herbaceous plants, as well as giving trees a drink for the first time in a long time. As a result of this, many species were having bumper breeding seasons and were unusually conspicuous in some cases, which was great for us! Conditions in Queensland were more typical, but these areas had clearly had a good dose of water too, and birdlife was booming everywhere we went, which made for an excellent tour.

Bird ListFollowing IOC (12.2)

Birds ‘heard only’ are marked with (H) after the common name, all other species were seen. The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following BirdLife International: CR = Critically Endangered, EN = Endangered, VU = Vulnerable.

Common NameScientific Name
Cassowaries, Emu (Casuariidae)
Southern CassowaryCasuarius casuarius
EmuDromaius novaehollandiae

Magpie Goose (Anseranatidae)
Magpie GooseAnseranas semipalmata

Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)
Spotted Whistling DuckDendrocygna guttata
Plumed Whistling DuckDendrocygna eytoni
Wandering Whistling DuckDendrocygna arcuata
Cape Barren GooseCereopsis novaehollandiae
Black SwanCygnus atratus
Radjah ShelduckRadjah radjah
Australian ShelduckTadorna tadornoides
Pink-eared Duck (H)Malacorhynchus membranaceus
Maned DuckChenonetta jubata
Green Pygmy GooseNettapus pulchellus
Australasian ShovelerSpatula rhynchotis
Pacific Black DuckAnas superciliosa
Grey TealAnas gracilis
Chestnut TealAnas castanea
HardheadAythya australis

Megapodes (Megapodiidae)
Australian BrushturkeyAlectura lathami
Malleefowl – VULeipoa ocellata
Orange-footed ScrubfowlMegapodius reinwardt

Guineafowl (Numididae)
Helmeted GuineafowlNumida meleagris

Pheasants & Allies (Phasianidae)
Brown QuailSynoicus ypsilophorus
Stubble QuailCoturnix pectoralis

Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)
Spotted NightjarEurostopodus argus

Frogmouths (Podargidae)
Papuan FrogmouthPodargus papuensis

Owlet-nightjars (Aegothelidae)
Australian Owlet-nightjarAegotheles cristatus

Swifts (Apodidae)
Australian SwiftletAerodramus terraereginae
White-throated NeedletailHirundapus caudacutus
Pacific SwiftApus pacificus

Bustards (Otididae)
Australian BustardArdeotis australis

Cuckoos (Cuculidae)
Pheasant CoucalCentropus phasianinus
Pacific KoelEudynamys orientalis
Channel-billed CuckooScythrops novaehollandiae
Horsfield’s Bronze CuckooChrysococcyx basalis
Shining Bronze CuckooChrysococcyx lucidus
Little Bronze CuckooChrysococcyx minutillus
Pallid CuckooCacomantis pallidus
Fan-tailed CuckooCacomantis flabelliformis
Brush CuckooCacomantis variolosus

Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon)Columba livia dom.
White-headed PigeonColumba leucomela
Spotted DoveSpilopelia chinensis
Brown Cuckoo-DoveMacropygia phasianella
Pacific Emerald DoveChalcophaps longirostris
Common BronzewingPhaps chalcoptera
Crested PigeonOcyphaps lophotes
Squatter PigeonGeophaps scripta
Wonga PigeonLeucosarcia melanoleuca
Peaceful DoveGeopelia placida
Bar-shouldered DoveGeopelia humeralis
Wompoo Fruit DovePtilinopus magnificus
Superb Fruit DovePtilinopus superbus
Rose-crowned Fruit DovePtilinopus regina
Torresian Imperial PigeonDucula spilorrhoa
Topknot PigeonLopholaimus antarcticus

Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)
Buff-banded Rail (H)Hypotaenidia philippensis
Black-tailed NativehenTribonyx ventralis
Dusky MoorhenGallinula tenebrosa
Eurasian CootFulica atra
Australasian SwamphenPorphyrio melanotus
White-browed Crake (H)Poliolimnas cinereus
Pale-vented Bush-henAmaurornis moluccana

Cranes (Gruidae)
Sarus Crane – VUAntigone antigone
BrolgaAntigone rubicunda

Grebes (Podicipedidae)
Australasian GrebeTachybaptus novaehollandiae
Hoary-headed GrebePoliocephalus poliocephalus
Great Crested GrebePodiceps cristatus

Buttonquail (Turnicidae)
Painted ButtonquailTurnix varius

Stone-curlews, Thick-knees (Burhinidae)
Bush Stone-curlewBurhinus grallarius

Oystercatchers (Haematopodidae)
Pied OystercatcherHaematopus longirostris

Stilts, Avocets (Recurvirostridae)
Pied StiltHimantopus leucocephalus
Red-necked AvocetRecurvirostra novaehollandiae

Plovers (Charadriidae)
Masked LapwingVanellus miles
Pacific Golden PloverPluvialis fulva
Red-capped PloverCharadrius ruficapillus
Lesser Sand PloverCharadrius mongolus
Greater Sand PloverCharadrius leschenaultii
Hooded Dotterel – VUThinornis cucullatus
Black-fronted DotterelElseyornis melanops

Jacanas (Jacanidae)
Comb-crested JacanaIrediparra gallinacea

Plains-wanderer (Pedionomidae)
Plains-wanderer – CRPedionomus torquatus

Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)
Eurasian WhimbrelNumenius phaeopus
Far Eastern Curlew – ENNumenius madagascariensis
Bar-tailed GodwitLimosa lapponica
Ruddy TurnstoneArenaria interpres
Great Knot – ENCalidris tenuirostris
Broad-billed SandpiperCalidris falcinellus
Sharp-tailed SandpiperCalidris acuminata
Curlew SandpiperCalidris ferruginea
Red-necked StintCalidris ruficollis
Latham’s SnipeGallinago hardwickii
Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucos
Grey-tailed TattlerTringa brevipes
Common GreenshankTringa nebularia

Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)
Oriental PratincoleGlareola maldivarum

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)
Brown NoddyAnous stolidus
Silver GullChroicocephalus novaehollandiae
Kelp GullLarus dominicanus
Australian TernGelochelidon macrotarsa
Caspian TernHydroprogne caspia
Greater Crested TernThalasseus bergii
Lesser Crested TernThalasseus bengalensis
Little TernSternula albifrons
Bridled TernOnychoprion anaethetus
Sooty TernOnychoprion fuscatus
Black-naped TernSterna sumatrana

Skuas (Stercorariidae)
Parasitic JaegerStercorarius parasiticus

Storks (Ciconiidae)
Black-necked StorkEphippiorhynchus asiaticus

Frigatebirds (Fregatidae)
Great FrigatebirdFregata minor

Gannets, Boobies (Sulidae)
Australasian GannetMorus serrator
Red-footed BoobySula sula
Brown BoobySula leucogaster

Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)
Australasian DarterAnhinga novaehollandiae

Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)
Little Pied CormorantMicrocarbo melanoleucos
Black-faced CormorantPhalacrocorax fuscescens
Australian Pied CormorantPhalacrocorax varius
Little Black CormorantPhalacrocorax sulcirostris
Great CormorantPhalacrocorax carbo

Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)
Australian White IbisThreskiornis molucca
Straw-necked IbisThreskiornis spinicollis
Royal SpoonbillPlatalea regia
Yellow-billed SpoonbillPlatalea flavipes

Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)
Black BitternIxobrychus flavicollis
Nankeen Night HeronNycticorax caledonicus
Striated HeronButorides striata
Eastern Cattle EgretBubulcus coromandus
White-necked HeronArdea pacifica
Great-billed HeronArdea sumatrana
Great EgretArdea alba
Intermediate EgretArdea intermedia
White-faced HeronEgretta novaehollandiae
Little EgretEgretta garzetta
Pacific Reef HeronEgretta sacra

Pelicans (Pelecanidae)
Australian PelicanPelecanus conspicillatus

Ospreys (Pandionidae)
OspreyPandion cristatus

Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)
Black-shouldered KiteElanus axillaris
Square-tailed KiteLophoictinia isura
Pacific BazaAviceda subcristata
Little EagleHieraaetus morphnoides
Wedge-tailed EagleAquila audax
Brown GoshawkAccipiter fasciatus
Swamp HarrierCircus approximans
Spotted HarrierCircus assimilis
Black KiteMilvus migrans
Whistling KiteHaliastur sphenurus
Brahminy KiteHaliastur indus
White-bellied Sea EagleHaliaeetus leucogaster

Barn Owls (Tytonidae)
Eastern Barn OwlTyto javanica

Owls (Strigidae)
Powerful OwlNinox strenua

Rollers (Coraciidae)
Oriental DollarbirdEurystomus orientalis

Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Buff-breasted Paradise KingfisherTanysiptera sylvia
Laughing KookaburraDacelo novaeguineae
Blue-winged KookaburraDacelo leachii
Forest KingfisherTodiramphus macleayii
Torresian KingfisherTodiramphus sordidus
Sacred KingfisherTodiramphus sanctus
Azure Kingfisher (H)Ceyx azureus

Bee-eaters (Meropidae)
Rainbow Bee-eaterMerops ornatus

Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)
Nankeen KestrelFalco cenchroides
Australian HobbyFalco longipennis
Brown FalconFalco berigora
Peregrine FalconFalco peregrinus

Cockatoos (Cacatuidae)
CockatielNymphicus hollandicus
Red-tailed Black CockatooCalyptorhynchus banksii
Yellow-tailed Black CockatooZanda funerea
Gang-gang CockatooCallocephalon fimbriatum
GalahEolophus roseicapilla
Major Mitchell’s CockatooLophochroa leadbeateri
Long-billed CorellaCacatua tenuirostris
Little CorellaCacatua sanguinea
Sulphur-crested CockatooCacatua galerita

Old World Parrots (Psittaculidae)
Superb ParrotPolytelis swainsonii
Regent ParrotPolytelis anthopeplus
Australian King ParrotAlisterus scapularis
Red-winged ParrotAprosmictus erythropterus
Red-rumped ParrotPsephotus haematonotus
Eastern BluebonnetNorthiella haematogaster
Mulga ParrotPsephotellus varius
Crimson RosellaPlatycercus elegans
Eastern RosellaPlatycercus eximius
Australian RingneckBarnardius zonarius
Blue-winged ParrotNeophema chrysostoma
Turquoise ParrotNeophema pulchella
Purple-crowned LorikeetParvipsitta porphyrocephala
Little LorikeetParvipsitta pusilla
Musk LorikeetGlossopsitta concinna
Scaly-breasted LorikeetTrichoglossus chlorolepidotus
Rainbow LorikeetTrichoglossus moluccanus
BudgerigarMelopsittacus undulatus
Double-eyed Fig ParrotCyclopsitta diophthalma

Pittas (Pittidae)
Noisy PittaPitta versicolor

Lyrebirds (Menuridae)
Albert’s LyrebirdMenura alberti
Superb LyrebirdMenura novaehollandiae

Bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchidae)
Green CatbirdAiluroedus crassirostris
Spotted CatbirdAiluroedus maculosus
Tooth-billed BowerbirdScenopoeetes dentirostris
Golden Bowerbird (H)Prionodura newtoniana
Regent BowerbirdSericulus chrysocephalus
Satin BowerbirdPtilonorhynchus violaceus
Great BowerbirdChlamydera nuchalis

Australasian Treecreepers (Climacteridae)
White-throated TreecreeperCormobates leucophaea
Red-browed TreecreeperClimacteris erythrops
Brown TreecreeperClimacteris picumnus

Australasian Wrens (Maluridae)
Purple-backed FairywrenMalurus assimilis
Superb FairywrenMalurus cyaneus
Splendid FairywrenMalurus splendens
Red-backed FairywrenMalurus melanocephalus
White-winged FairywrenMalurus leucopterus
Southern Emu-wrenStipiturus malachurus
Mallee Emu-wren – ENStipiturus mallee
Striated GrasswrenAmytornis striatus

Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)
Eastern SpinebillAcanthorhynchus tenuirostris
White-fronted ChatEpthianura albifrons
Brown-backed HoneyeaterRamsayornis modestus
Tawny-crowned HoneyeaterGliciphila melanops
Dusky MyzomelaMyzomela obscura
Scarlet MyzomelaMyzomela sanguinolenta
Little FriarbirdPhilemon citreogularis
Hornbill FriarbirdPhilemon yorki
Noisy FriarbirdPhilemon corniculatus
Macleay’s HoneyeaterXanthotis macleayanus
Striped HoneyeaterPlectorhyncha lanceolata
Painted Honeyeater – VUGrantiella picta
Crescent HoneyeaterPhylidonyris pyrrhopterus
New Holland HoneyeaterPhylidonyris novaehollandiae
Brown HoneyeaterLichmera indistincta
White-eared HoneyeaterNesoptilotis leucotis
Blue-faced HoneyeaterEntomyzon cyanotis
Brown-headed HoneyeaterMelithreptus brevirostris
White-throated HoneyeaterMelithreptus albogularis
White-naped HoneyeaterMelithreptus lunatus
Yellow HoneyeaterStomiopera flava
Yellow-spotted HoneyeaterMeliphaga notata
Lewin’s HoneyeaterMeliphaga lewinii
White-fronted HoneyeaterPurnella albifrons
Yellow-tufted HoneyeaterLichenostomus melanops
Cryptic HoneyeaterMicroptilotis imitatrix
Varied HoneyeaterGavicalis versicolor
Mangrove HoneyeaterGavicalis fasciogularis
Singing HoneyeaterGavicalis virescens
Fuscous HoneyeaterPtilotula fusca
Yellow-plumed HoneyeaterPtilotula ornata
White-plumed HoneyeaterPtilotula penicillata
Yellow-faced HoneyeaterCaligavis chrysops
Little WattlebirdAnthochaera chrysoptera
Red WattlebirdAnthochaera carunculata
Spiny-cheeked HoneyeaterAcanthagenys rufogularis
Bridled HoneyeaterBolemoreus frenatus
Bell MinerManorina melanophrys
Noisy MinerManorina melanocephala
Yellow-throated MinerManorina flavigula

Bristlebirds (Dasyornithidae)
Rufous BristlebirdDasyornis broadbenti

Pardalotes (Pardalotidae)
Spotted PardalotePardalotus punctatus
Striated PardalotePardalotus striatus

Australasian Warblers (Acanthizidae)
FernwrenOreoscopus gutturalis
WeebillSmicrornis brevirostris
Striated FieldwrenCalamanthus fuliginosus
Rufous FieldwrenCalamanthus campestris
Chestnut-rumped HeathwrenHylacola pyrrhopygia
Shy HeathwrenHylacola cauta
PilotbirdPycnoptilus floccosus
Speckled WarblerPyrrholaemus sagittatus
Yellow-throated ScrubwrenNeosericornis citreogularis
Large-billed ScrubwrenSericornis magnirostra
Atherton ScrubwrenSericornis keri
White-browed ScrubwrenSericornis frontalis
Brown GerygoneGerygone mouki
Mangrove GerygoneGerygone levigaster
Western GerygoneGerygone fusca
Large-billed GerygoneGerygone magnirostris
White-throated GerygoneGerygone olivacea
Fairy GerygoneGerygone palpebrosa
Mountain ThornbillAcanthiza katherina
Brown ThornbillAcanthiza pusilla
Inland ThornbillAcanthiza apicalis
Chestnut-rumped ThornbillAcanthiza uropygialis
Buff-rumped ThornbillAcanthiza reguloides
Yellow-rumped ThornbillAcanthiza chrysorrhoa
Yellow ThornbillAcanthiza nana
Striated ThornbillAcanthiza lineata
Southern WhitefaceAphelocephala leucopsis

Australasian Babblers (Pomatostomidae)
Grey-crowned BabblerPomatostomus temporalis
White-browed BabblerPomatostomus superciliosus
Chestnut-crowned BabblerPomatostomus ruficeps

Logrunners (Orthonychidae)
Australian LogrunnerOrthonyx temminckii
ChowchillaOrthonyx spaldingii

Whipbirds (Psophodidae)
Eastern WhipbirdPsophodes olivaceus

Jewel-babblers, Quail-thrushes (Cinclosomatidae)
Chestnut Quail-thrushCinclosoma castanotum

Boatbills (Machaerirhynchidae)
Yellow-breasted BoatbillMachaerirhynchus flaviventer

Woodswallows, Butcherbirds & Allies (Artamidae)
White-breasted WoodswallowArtamus leucorynchus
Black-faced WoodswallowArtamus cinereus
Dusky WoodswallowArtamus cyanopterus
Black ButcherbirdMelloria quoyi
Australian MagpieGymnorhina tibicen
Grey ButcherbirdCracticus torquatus
Pied ButcherbirdCracticus nigrogularis
Pied CurrawongStrepera graculina
Grey CurrawongStrepera versicolor

Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)
Barred CuckooshrikeCoracina lineata
Black-faced CuckooshrikeCoracina novaehollandiae
White-bellied CuckooshrikeCoracina papuensis
Common CicadabirdEdolisoma tenuirostre
Varied TrillerLalage leucomela

Sittellas (Neosittidae)
Varied SittellaDaphoenositta chrysoptera

Shriketit (Falcunculidae)
Crested ShriketitFalcunculus frontatus

Whistlers & Allies (Pachycephalidae)
Olive WhistlerPachycephala olivacea
Gilbert’s WhistlerPachycephala inornata
Grey WhistlerPachycephala simplex
Australian Golden WhistlerPachycephala pectoralis
Western Whistler (H)Pachycephala fuliginosa
Rufous WhistlerPachycephala rufiventris
Bower’s ShrikethrushColluricincla boweri
Rufous ShrikethrushColluricincla rufogaster
Grey ShrikethrushColluricincla harmonica

Figbirds, Orioles, Turnagra (Oriolidae)
Australasian FigbirdSphecotheres vieilloti
Olive-backed OrioleOriolus sagittatus
Green OrioleOriolus flavocinctus

Drongos (Dicruridae)
Spangled DrongoDicrurus bracteatus

Fantails (Rhipiduridae)
Willie WagtailRhipidura leucophrys
Northern FantailRhipidura rufiventris
Grey FantailRhipidura albiscapa
Rufous FantailRhipidura rufifrons

Monarchs (Monarchidae)
Spectacled MonarchSymposiachrus trivirgatus
Black-faced MonarchMonarcha melanopsis
White-eared MonarchCarterornis leucotis
Pied Monarch (H)Arses kaupi
Magpie-larkGrallina cyanoleuca
Leaden FlycatcherMyiagra rubecula
Satin FlycatcherMyiagra cyanoleuca
Shining FlycatcherMyiagra alecto
Restless FlycatcherMyiagra inquieta

Crows, Jays (Corvidae)
Torresian CrowCorvus orru
Little CrowCorvus bennetti
Little RavenCorvus mellori
Australian RavenCorvus coronoides

Australian Mudnesters (Corcoracidae)
White-winged ChoughCorcorax melanorhamphos
ApostlebirdStruthidea cinerea

Birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae)
Paradise RiflebirdPtiloris paradiseus
Victoria’s RiflebirdPtiloris victoriae

Australasian Robins (Petroicidae)
Pale-yellow RobinTregellasia capito
Eastern Yellow RobinEopsaltria australis
Grey-headed RobinHeteromyias cinereifrons
Southern Scrub RobinDrymodes brunneopygia
Jacky WinterMicroeca fascinans
Rose RobinPetroica rosea
Flame RobinPetroica phoenicea
Scarlet RobinPetroica boodang
Red-capped RobinPetroica goodenovii

Larks (Alaudidae)
Horsfield’s Bush LarkMirafra javanica
Eurasian SkylarkAlauda arvensis

Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)
White-backed SwallowCheramoeca leucosterna
Welcome SwallowHirundo neoxena
Fairy MartinPetrochelidon ariel
Tree MartinPetrochelidon nigricans

Reed Warblers & Allies (Acrocephalidae)
Australian Reed WarblerAcrocephalus australis

Grassbirds & Allies (Locustellidae)
Little GrassbirdPoodytes gramineus
Brown SonglarkCincloramphus cruralis
Rufous SonglarkCincloramphus mathewsi
Tawny GrassbirdCincloramphus timoriensis

Cisticolas & Allies (Cisticolidae)
Golden-headed CisticolaCisticola exilis

White-eyes (Zosteropidae)
SilvereyeZosterops lateralis

Starlings, Rhabdornis (Sturnidae)
Metallic StarlingAplonis metallica
Common MynaAcridotheres tristis
Common StarlingSturnus vulgaris

Thrushes (Turdidae)
Russet-tailed ThrushZoothera heinei
Bassian ThrushZoothera lunulata
Common BlackbirdTurdus merula

Flowerpeckers (Dicaeidae)
MistletoebirdDicaeum hirundinaceum

Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)
Olive-backed SunbirdCinnyris jugularis

Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)
House SparrowPasser domesticus

Waxbills, Munias & Allies (Estrildidae)
Diamond FiretailStagonopleura guttata
Red-browed FinchNeochmia temporalis
Double-barred FinchStizoptera bichenovii
Scaly-breasted MuniaLonchura punctulata
Chestnut-breasted MannikinLonchura castaneothorax

Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae)
Australian PipitAnthus australis

Finches, Euphonias (Fringillidae)
European GreenfinchChloris chloris
European GoldfinchCarduelis carduelis
Total seen372
Total heard only7
Total recorded379

Mammal List

Common NameScientific Name
Felids (Felidae)
Domestic CatFelis catus

Deer (Cervidae)
SambarRusa unicolor

Old World Fruit Bats (Pteropodidae)
Black Flying FoxPteropus alecto
Spectacled Flying FoxPteropus conspicillatus
Grey-headed Flying FoxPteropus poliocephalus

Dasyures (Dasyuridae)
Yellow-footed AntechinusAntechinus flavipes
Brown AntechinusAntechinus stuartii
Fat-tailed DunnartSminthopsis crassicaudata

Musky Rat Kangaroos (Hypsiprymnodontidae)
Musky Rat KangarooHypsiprymnodon moschatus

Kangaroos, Wallabies, and Allies (Macropodidae)
Lumholtz’s Tree KangarooDendrolagus lumholtzi
Agile WallabyMacropus agilis
Western Grey KangarooMacropus fuliginosus
Eastern Grey KangarooMacropus giganteus
Red-necked WallabyMacropus rufogriseus
Red KangarooMacropus rufus
Mareeba Rock WallabyPetrogale mareeba
Red-legged PademelonThylogale stigmatica
Red-necked PademelonThylogale thetis
Swamp WallabyWallabia bicolor

Cuscuses and Brushtail Possums (Phalangeridae)
Common Brushtail PossumTrichosurus vulpecula

Koalas (Phascolarctidae)
KoalaPhascolarctos cinereus

Hares and Rabbits (Leporidae)
European HareLepus europaeus
European RabbitOryctolagus cuniculus

Platypuses (Ornithorhynchidae)
PlatypusOrnithorhynchus anatinus

Echidnas (Tachyglossidae)
Short-beaked EchidnaTachyglossus aculeatus

Common Water Rat (Rakali)Hydromys chrysogaster
House MouseMus musculus

Reptile List

Common NameScientific Name
Crocodiles (Crocodylidae)
Saltwater CrocodileCrocodylus porosus

Monitor Lizards (Varanidae)
Lace MonitorVaranus varius

Geckos (Gekkonidae)
Common House GeckoHemidactylus frenatus

Dragons (Agamidae)
Mallee DragonCtenophorus fordi
Painted DragonCtenophorus pictus
Eastern Water DragonIntellagama lesueurii
Eastern Bearded DragonPogona barbata
Central Bearded DragonPogona vitticeps

Skinks (Scincidae)
Oriental CtenotusCtenotus orientalis
Eastern Water-skinkEulamprus quoyii
Shingleback LizardTiliqua rugosa
Ragged Snake-eyed SkinkCryptoblepharus pannosus
Red-throated Rainbow-skinkCarlia rubrigularis
Pale-lipped ShadeskinkSaproscincus basiliscus

Colubrid Snakes (Colubridae)
Green Tree SnakeDendrelaphis punctulatus

Elapid Snakes (Elapidae)
Eastern Brown SnakePseudonaja textilis

Freshwater Turtles (Cheluidae)
Macquarie (Murray) TurtleEmydura macquarii macquarii

Austro-American Side-necked Turtles (Chelidae)
Eastern Saw-shelled TurtleMyuchelys latisternum

Amphibian List

Common NameScientific Name
Foam-nesting Ground Frogs (Limnodynastidae)
Giant Bullfrog (Giant Banjo Frog)Limnodynastes interioris
Trilling FrogNeobatrachus sudelli

True Toads (Bufonidae)
Cane ToadRhinella marina

Notable Other Taxa List

Common NameScientific Name
Orbweavers (Araneidae)
Christmas Jewel SpiderAustracantha minax

Huntsman Spiders (Sparassidae)
Grey Huntsman SpiderHolconia immanis

Swallowtails and Parnassians (Papilionidae)
Orchard SwallowtailPapilio aegeus
Small Dingy SwallowtailPapilio anactus
Lime SwallowtailPapilio demoleus
Ulysses ButterflyPapilio ulysses
Fuscous SwallowtailPapilio fuscus

Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
MonarchDanaus plexippus
Lesser WandererDanaus petilia
Swamp Tiger ButterflyDanaus affinis
Australian Painted LadyVanessa kershawi
Yellow AdmiralVanessa itea
Common BrownHeteronympha merope
Meadow ArgusJunonia villida
Great EggflyHypolimnas bolina
(Australian) Common Crow ButterflyEuploea core corinna
Common Evening BrownMelanitis leda
Blue WandererTirumala hamata
GlasswingAcraea andromacha
Orange BushbrownMycalesis terminus

Whites, Yellows, and Sulphurs (Pieridae)
Caper WhiteBelonis java
Small WhitePieris rapae
Imperial JezebelDelias harpalyce
Black JezebelDelias nigrina
Common Grass YellowEurema hecabe
Small Grass YellowEurema smilax

Gossamer-winged Butterflies (Lycaenidae)
Saltbush BlueTheclinesthes serpentata
Common Imperial BlueJalmenus evagoras
Small Green Banded BluePsychonotis caelius

Skimmers (Libellulidae)
Blue SkimmerOrthetrum caledonicum
Slender SkimmerOrthetrum sabina
Scarlet PercherDiplacodes haematodes
Wandering PercherDiplacodes bipunctata
Painted GrasshawkNeurothemis stigmatizans
Zircon FluttererRhyothemis princeps

Narrow-winged Damselflies (Coenagrionidae)
Australian BluetailIschnura heterosticta

Spreadwings and Allies (Lestidae)
Wandering RingtailAustrolestes leda

Emerald Dragonflies (Corduliidae)
Tau EmeraldHemicordulia tau

Bluestreaks and Rockmasters (Lestoideidae)
Common BluestreakLestoidea conjuncta

Requiem Sharks (Carcharhinidae)
Blacktip Reef SharkCarcharhinidae melanopterus

Morays (Muraenidae)
Sieve-patterned MorayGymnothorax cribroris

Cockles (Cardiidae)
Small Giant ClamTridacna maxima

Orchids (Orchidaceae)
Large Flying Duck OrchidCaleana major
Tiger OrchidDiuris sulphurea
Eastern Mantis OrchidCaladenia tentaculate
Thin Pencil OrchidDendrobium teretifolium


This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.

Join our newsletter for exclusive discounts and great birding information!


Thank you!