Our first full day at the wonderful Cassowary House started with a Little Shrike-Thrush in the gardens, followed by our first Rufous Fantail and Fairy Gerygone. All of a sudden we heard the shout of "cassowary" form Sue and we legged it onto the verandah where a male Southern Cassowary and his 3 young were feeding below us. What a strange looking bird, almost prehistoric in fact. So we ate an awesome breakfast on the verandah overlooking the Cassowary family and also enjoying our first Macleay's Honeyeater and a very obliging Black Butcherbird coming on to the feeders. With Dusky Rat Kangaroo and Orange-footed Scrubfowl feeding below us.
Phil Gregory told us that the high street in Kuranda was full of fruiting trees and we should try there for fig-parrot, so off we went straight after breakfast. The small 'touristy' town was alive with birds, with hundreds of Australian Figbirds, many Barred Cuckooshrikes, stonking Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Mistletoebird and our only Double-eyed Fig-Parrots of the whole trip. We had to wait quite a while before the fig-parrots came in but the wait was definitely worthwhile - what a bird. A flyover Grey Goshawk was a real bonus here too.
|Australian Figbird (female)|
|Australian Figbird (male)|
From here we visited the Cattana Wetlands, a series of lagoons surrounded by some decent habitat. One of the main prizes here is Crimson Finch and a small group were seen here, but not by me! But we did get Comb-crested Jacana, Azure Kingfisher, Green Pygmy-Goose, Leaden Flycatcher, Large-billed Scrubwren, Brown-backed Honeyeater, Straw-necked Ibis, Little Eagle, Magpie Goose, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Black-necked Stork and White-faced Heron.
Nearby, a small pond beside a golf course at Yorkey's Knob was pretty quiet although an Eastern Osprey, White-bellied Cuckooshrike and Brown Honeyeater were seen.
Our last stop of the day was at Centenary Lakes in Cairns and this was one of our favourite places. It was something of a surprise to find such a bird-filled place in the middle of the city. Upon arrival we noted lots of Torresian Imperial-Pigeons flying around and some Rainbow Bee-eaters perched in the trees overhanging the lake. A pair of Radjah Shelducks looked stunning in the late afternoon light, whilst Australian Swiftlet, Common Cicadabird and Large-billed Gerygone were all new. We also got lucky bumping into a local birder who gave us a tipoff about a spot for Little Kingfisher, which showed nicely albeit distantly.
|Bird of the day was this Little Kingfisher - the only one of the trip|
|Pacific Black Duck is very common|
|Straw-necked and Australian White Ibis|
We stayed until after dark in the vain hope of some nightbirds before returning to Cassowary House.