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Southern Tablelands Birdwatching # 1

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A full  day guided tour that visits a variety of different habitats in the Highlands above Cairns.  The actual itinerary will vary depending on your pick up point, the weather, the time of year, bird movements and the special requests of clients. This tour concentrates on the mid altitude southern Tablelands sites.

Tour Details

A full day guided tour that visits a variety of different habitats in the Highlands above Cairns.  The actual itinerary will vary depending on your pick up point, weather, time of year, bird movements and the special requests of clients. This tour concentrates on the mid altitude southern Tablelands sites.

Cost

AU$335.00 per person (minimum 2 people)

Children  travelling with 2 adults are only $50.00 each (up to 4 children) 

Pick up time

As arranged at time of booking

Drop off time

As arranged at time of booking

Price Includes

  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • Lunch
  • Hotel Pickup & drop off
  • Transport in comfortable 4WD air-conditioned vehicle

Price Excludes

  • Drinks and snacks

Complementaries

  • Complimentary Water
What to Expect

A day spent birding the mid level sites of the Southern Tablelands with an experienced bird guide. Depending on client “wish list” there are a number of sites that can be visited. A tour for someone just out for a good days birding will be different than one for someone with a hit list. One days birding is not enough time to do full justice to the Tablelands but will give you a good introduction to the birds you can see in this area.

We suggest you bring with you:

  • comfortable covered walking shoes - while there are no major hikes during this tour there will be some walking on potentially rough paths
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirt and long trousers- some rainforest plants can be rather scratchy
  • Lightweight raingear
  • Jumper or sweatshirt for higher altitudes particularly in winter
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera and binoculars
Sample Itinerary

Itinerary

Pick up from accommodation is usually at around 7am unless arranged otherwise. From there you will make your way to some of the bestow the mid-altitude birding areas. These will vary depending on your pick up point, the weather, what birds are around at the time you are visiting and how long you wish to remain at each site. Some of the best sites with a sample of the birds that can be seen at them are listed below.
You will be returned to your accommodation usually around 5pm.

Kuranda and Cassowary House

If your accommodation is in Cairns and you come up the Kuranda Range onto the Tablelands, your first stop is likely to be Kuranda where you will visit Black Mountain Road in the hope of coinciding with a Cassowary. These elusive birds visit the property at Cassowary House most days and can often be seen in the grounds and even crossing the road to get there. Victoria’s Riflebird, Spotted Catbird, Black Butcherbird, Emerald Ground Dove and a variety of honeyeaters including the locally endemic Macleay’s and recently split Cryptic are amongst the birds that come to feed near the house in the morning. A walk along the driveway and Black Mountain Road can yield 4 species of monarch, 3 species of fruit dove, boatbills, Gerygones, perhaps Chowchilla and if you are lucky Red-necked Crake and much more.

Mareeba, dry country & Atherton

The dry country around Mareeba is very different from the rainforest where we will spend most of the day. Here the impressive Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Kookaburras, Pheasant Coucals, Red-winged Parrots, Pale-headed Rosellas, Weebills, Squatter Pigeons and Tawny Frogmouths are all possibilities along with Red backed Fairywrens, babblers and a variety of finches. As you head towards Atherton if it is winter, stately Cranes can often be seen in the cut cane fields beside the road. During the austral summer the cane grows tall and most of the Sarus cranes fly to the Gulf of Carpentaria to breed.

Hasties Swamp

Beyond Atherton you may visit Hasties Swamp – a very busy wetland area where thousands of Plumed and Wandering Whistling Ducks as well as vast flocks of Magpie Geese can be seen. Pink-billed Duck, Black Swan, Hardhead, Green and Cotton Pigmy Geese and Freckled Duck are some of the other species that can be seen. Both Yellow-billed and Royal Spoonbill have been recorded plus a variety of egrets, crakes and rails. Raptors are common overhead including Wedge-tailed Eagle, Australian Kestrel, Brown Falcon, Brahminy Kite.

The Curtain Fig

The spectacular Curtain Fig near Yungaburra is an immense strangler fig with a specially constructed boardwalk around it giving easy access for all. It is great for monarchs, Bowers Shrike-Thrush, Chowchilla, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Large-billed Scrubwren and many more species.

This is a good place for spotlighting for mammals and is a regular site for Lesser Sooty Owl.

The Crater Lakes

Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham are known as the Crater Lakes because they developed in volcanic craters. Lake Barrine is particularly good for for Tooth-billed Catbird, a bowerbird which does not make a bower. Instead it makes a stage with the silver underside of leaves and then selects an adjacent sapling in which to sit and sing its ventriloquial song. Australasian Grebe, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Victoria’s Riflebird and many other birds can also be seen around the lakes and if you are very lucky you may see Australia’s smallest kangaroo the Musky Rat Kangaroo.

The Cathedral Fig

This is another strangler fig with a specially constructed wooden boardwalk around it. It has similar birds to the Curtain Fig but is often easier for Chowchilla, probably because it is less busy.

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