Thursday, March 11, 2010

Birdwatching in the Daintree

Welcome to the first of the updates on the birdlife of the Daintree.

A little background:
Daintree, in Tropical North Queensland, is internationally recognised as one of Australia's premier birdwatching locations. Over 430 species of birds have been recorded in the area encompassing the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef region of Australia. This is more than half the bird species for the entire continent. By combining visits to Daintree on the coastal lowlands, the upland rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands and the drier country of Mareeba and beyond, plus the tidal flats and off-shore islands, birders can appreciate the great diversity and number of the region’s birds within only 1 ½ hour’s drive from Cairns.
Summer migrants to Daintree, including Black Bittern, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Channel-billed Cuckoo and Metallic Starling, are seen from October/November until March/April, making it the best time of year for Daintree birdwatching, despite the chance of rain.
So, with this in mind, it is a fabulous time of the year to be birding in Daintree.
Recent sightings of interest include Southern Cassowary (both north and south of the Daintree River), Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher as they feed up their young preparing to fly back to New Guinea for the winter,

Great-billed Heron building a nest on the Daintree River, Azure Kingfisher and the elusive Little Kingfisher, who disappears into the Mangroves for breeding over the wet season, but is becoming much more visible again in the last week or so.