A short trip over the Divide and through the dry country to the Gulf of Carpentaria where some very different species can be found. We visit the dams of Georgetown where a variety of finches, parrots and honeyeaters are amongst the birds that come to drink at dawn and dusk during the dry season when there is little water to be found elsewhere. From here we travel over to Normanton where there are some interesting wetlands before heading to Karumba, a small town on the south eastern side of the Gulf. Long renown as a destination for fishermen it is also a good venue for birders and a cruise out into the mangroves can be very rewarding.
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A very different avifauna than is found in the Wet Tropics around Cairns. We visit the dams around Georgetown where a variety of parrots, pigeons, finches and other bush birds come to drink in the cooler part of the day before heading over to the wetlands and mangroves of the Gulf region around Karumba and Normanton. Most birding is done in the cooler parts of the day and the hotter central part can be spent cooling off in the hotel swimming pool.
We suggest you bring with you:
This is not a difficult tour and is suitable for anyone with a moderate standard of fitness. Transport is in an air-conditioned vehicle. While the days can be hot even in mid winter, nights can be cool to cold.
Accommodation is in local motels with ensuite bathrooms.
Drive from Cairns to Georgetown stopping at various birding sites along the way. Once over the Divide you have left the lushness of the Wet Tropics behind and are into the dry cattle country and have your first chance of Emu and other Outback birds. You will arrive in Georgetown in time for a late afternoon visit to Cumberland Dam. This is often a good place to look for Budgerigars, Cockatiels, Zebra, Masked and Black-throated Finches. Red-backed Kingfisher plus water birds such as Magpie Geese and both Green and Cotton Pygmy Geese are also often seen.
Birding the dams and exploring the surrounding area at dusk and dawn. Specialities of the area include Australian Bustard, Spinifex Pigeon, Variegated Fairywren and Red-browed Pardalote.
The heat of the day can be spent relaxing in your room, by the pool, exploring the local area or visiting the town museum.
After another morning at the dams we will head over to Normanton. There are places we can stop off to bird along the way and a number of wetland areas around Normanton that are worth a look at. During the summer “Wet” months flocks of Sarus Cranes which have wintered on the Tablelands come here to breed.
Drive through an area of coastal wetlands between Normanton and Karumba. Brolga and Sarus Cranes, Red-necked Avocet, Marsh Sandpiper and Zitting Cisticola are amongst the birds that are often found here.
Full day birding around Karumba including a boat trip out into the mangroves for some speciality species such as Mangrove Fantail, Mangrove Robin and White-breasted Whistler.
Today we leave Karumba and drive back to Normanton for your flight back to Cairns.