Photo Gallery View as slideshow
Photos by Gavin Bieber, David Fisher, and Tim Dolby
Our East Australia tour starts off in central Cairns, where fig trees often serve as banquet tables for Metallic Starlings.
and where the shoreline along the Cairns esplanade supports huge numbers of waders at this time of year,
We then will leave the coastline behind, climbing up to the idyllic Atherton Tablelands.
Our hotel in Yungaburra is a slice of country life,
and is well situated for us to access the remnant patches of rainforest that host birds like Australian Brush-Turkey,
several range-restricted birds like this Golden Bowerbird,
and more widespread ones like this Pied Monarch
Huge Brolga cranes feed in the many agricultural fields, and with luck
we might find some dapper Spotted Harriers atop roadside posts.
In the drier forests on the north side of the Tablelands we will find hulking Blue-winged Kookaburra,
gorgeous Blue-faced Honeyeater,
and will look for Australian Bustard.
We’ll move north to our base for the next two days at Kingfisher Park,
where we will enjoy meals outdoors,
and where almost anything might join us for breakfast.
It will feel like we have entered a new country, with hordes of new bird species at every turn, some comical like this Topknot Pigeon,
and some more imposing like this Southern Cassowary.
Moving down to the coast and the scenic Daintree River,
will allow us to seek out scarce species such as the huge Great-billed Heron,
and muppet-like Papuan Frogmouth.
and perhaps even that most Australian of animals - the Saltwater Crocodile.
Leaving north Queensland behind we will fly south to Brisbane and then the following day out to the beautiful Lady Elliot Island, near the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef.
Here Black Noddies are an abundant breeder,
but we’ll have to look hard through the Bridled Terns to find a Sooty Tern.
Ethereally white Red-tailed Tropicbirds nest here too,
and the snorkeling from shore provides a fantastic opportunity to view the reef.
Leaving the coast behind we’ll head south for a two night stay at the incomparable O’Reily’s Eco Lodge.
Here the birds are amazingly tame,
approachable (Australian King Parrot),
and curious (Eastern Yellow Robin).
We’ll look for more scarce and retiring species like this Paradise Riflebird as well
It’s not all birds here though, as Red-necked Pademelons dot the clearings,
Red-eyed Treefrogs serenade us at night,
and Leaf-tailed Geckos ply the forest edge.
The lodge mascot is the stunning Regent Bowerbird, which are surprisingly common around the grounds.
Our last few days will be spent around Sydney, where gorgeous coastlines and the Royal National Park
support Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos,
camps of Gray-headed Flying-Foxes,
the world’s best mimic, the Superb Lyrebird,
the enigmatic Origma, or Rockwarbler,
the impressive Powerful Owl.
and perhaps even an Echidna or two.
A day long pelagic trip out to the shelf break
will bring us to within meters of Wandering Albatross,
among their "smaller" Black-browed and White-capped relatives,
and Pterodromas such as this Great-winged Petrel.