A short trip up Cape York just as far as the Musgrave & Lakefield region. This is the best area on the Cape to see the Golden-shouldered Parrots and the nesting Red Goshawks are an added bonus. The avifauna of Lakefield National Park bears more similarity to that of the Northern Territory than to nearby areas of Queensland, and the dramatic silhouettes of the magnetic termite mounds on the Nifold Plains are also reminiscent of the Northern Territory. This is a great short break and is an interesting add-on to any time spent in the Wet Tropics.
7:30am – 8am from your hotel in Cairns
The area around Musgrave and Lakefield (Rinyirru) National Park have an avifauna more similar to the Northern Territory than to the rainforests which lie immediately to its north and south.
We suggest you bring with you:
This is not a difficult tour and suitable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. However there will be quite a bit of driving on unsealed roads.
At Musgrave we usually stay in air-conditioned en suite rooms at the Roadhouse. However if these are not available then it will be in air-conditioned rooms with a shared bathroom.
The alternative – the very comfortable but expensive Lotusbird Lodge is booked well in advance and it is not often possible to get bookings there especially during peak months.
After being picked up from your accommodation you will head north through Mt Molloy where you will stop for morning tea and pay a visit to a bower of the Great Bowerbird. Continuing up the Cape Developmental Road we will stop for birding along the way but aim to end up in time to spend late afternoon searching for Golden-shouldered Parrots near Musgrave.
Provided the parrots are safely under the belt we will spend the whole day birding Lakefield National Park . There are a number of lagoons with waterbirds and the grasslands hold a variety of finches including Star Finch. They also have the spectacular magnetic termite mounds. These are very different to the usual globular mounds of the surrounding bush. We will also be looking for the Red Goshawk today. In the early eveing Grass Owl and the Tiny Southern Boobook are sometimes seen and there are some exciting marsupials such as Spectacled Hare Wallaby and Northern Nail-tailed Wallaby in the local area.
Another full day exploring the area around Rinyirru. There is a great lagoon in front of Lotusbird Lodge which is well worth a look at as it is often full of waterbirds. Zitting Cisticola, Bar-breasted, Rufous Banded and Red-headed Honeyeaters, Tawny Frogmouth and Black-backed Butcherbirds will be amongst the birds we are looking for.
Today we leave the Musgrave area and head south back through the park towards Cairns. We will bird at various places along the way and arrive back mid to late afternoon.