Australia - Brisbane, O'Reilly's, Darwin & Kakadu

Dates TBA  Nov - 2012

Regent BowerbirdOur tour will commence in Brisbane from where we will visit a few sites before making our way towards Lamington National Park and the famous O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat. Amongst the forests and surrounds we can look for species such as the remarkable Albert’s Lyrebird, Paradise Riflebird, Regent Bowerbird, Green Catbird and Logrunner. On another day we will search the Eucalypt woodland for Spotted Quail-thrush, Red-browed Treecreeper, Spotted Pardalote, and gorgeous Fairy-wrens. Moving on we will look for a variety of waterfowl, parrots, honeyeaters and raptors including both Little Eagle and Powerful Owl. Flying to Darwin allows us to check Holmes Jungle and some sewerage ponds for stunning species like Rainbow Pitta and Azure Kingfisher, while the famous Kakadu National Park and its incredible wildlife is sure to be highlight. One morning we will take a cruise on Yellow Water, one of Australia's most important areas for waterfowl, where it is possible to see up to 70 species, including Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Black-fronted Dotterel, Forest & Little Kingfishers and possibly Banded Fruit-dove, Great Bowerbird and Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon. Another boat trip, has us search for the rare Hooded Parrot and finishing off with Blue-winged Kookaburra and Red-tailed Black-cockatoo this sets us up for a spectacular trip.  

Targets:
 
  • Albert's Lyrebird
  • Regent Bowerbird
  • Noisy Pitta
  • Paradise Riflebird
  • Partridge Pigeon      
  • Chestnut Rail
  • Spotted Quail-thrush
  • Azure Kingfisher
  • Australian Logrunner
  • Gouldian Finch
  • Hooded Parrot
  • Spotted Pardalote
  • Rainbow Pitta
  • Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
  • Satin Bowerbird
  • Purple-crowned Fairywren
  • Blue-winged Kookaburra
  • Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon
 
Day 1    Brisbane
Plan to arrive on Sunday 3rd July where we will overnight in Brisbane. Night Brisbane
 
Days 2 - 4   O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
Satin Bowerbird - femaleOur introduction to Australia's wonderful birds will include visits to several birding sites such as Minnippi Parklands and Fred Bucholz Park (and lake) as we make our way towards Lamington National Park . After lunch we will take a slow drive up the mountains to O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat arriving mid afternoon. Over the next days we will bird Lamington National Park in the vicinity of O'Reilly's Guesthouse. We will take walks in the morning and afternoon looking for special birds such as Paradise Riflebird, Regent Bowerbird, Satin Bowerbird, Green Catbird, Womba Pigeon, Pale Yellow Robin, Crested Shrike-Tit, Black-faced Monarch, Bassian Thrush, White-throated Gerygone, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Pied Currawong, Logrunner among others. Both Crimson Rosellas and Australian King Parrot will entertain us as they fly in for their daily feed. A special effort will be made to try and see the elusive Albert's Lyrebird. A bird famed for its extraordinary powers of mimicry, it would be a thrill to just hear such amazing vocalisation. We'll also drive out of the rainforest to the more open Eucalypt woodland of Duck Creek Road where a variety of different species are possible including noisy Bell Miners, Red-browed Treecreeper, Spotted Quail-thrush, Spotted Pardalote, several fairy-wrens and various honeyeaters. If we are lucky we come across Glossy Black Cockatoo or a smart looking Rose Robin. One evening we will go out for a night drive to look for night birds such as Southern Boobook, Tawny and Marbled Frogmouth. We can also see a variety of mammals with several possum species coming to feed by the restaurant at night. Three nights O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.
 
Day 5   O'Reilly's - Stanthorpe
We will leave O'Reilly's after breakfast and head down off the mountain where we have better chances to find Pale-headed Spotted Quail-thrushRosella, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Spangled Drongo and Torresian Crow, and then we head west to the Great Dividing Range passing through Cunningham's Gap. Continuing through Warwick and on to Stanthorpe and Girraween National Park where we will look for a number of different raptor species, Red-winged Parakeet, Red-rumped Parakeet, Apostlebirds, and Fairy Martin. Yellow-tufted, White-plumed, and White-eared Honeyeater. This is also a good place to look for Common Wombat which would be a nice addition to our trip list.
One night Stanthorpe.

Day 6   Coolmunda Dam - Millmerran - Towoomba – Warwick
After breakfast we will head north-west to Inglewood through some woodland areas, then more open farming country. We will visit Coolmunda Dam looking for waterfowl such as Plumed and Wandering Whistling-ducks, Black Swans, Pacific Black Ducks, Magpie Geese, Purple Swamphens, Australian White Ibis, and Black-necked Stork, before heading back north-east to Millmerran. We will pass through grain and cotton growing areas on our way to Towoomba area. Possible species include more finches, Little Eagle and other raptors. One night Warwick

Day 7   Lockyer Valley - Brisbane
Laughing KookaburraToday we spend most of day in the bird rich Lockyer Valley where there are a range of habitats including wetlands, woodlands, and open farming country. Here we can expect such delights as Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Little Pied Cormorant, Straw-necked Ibis, Nankeen Kestrel, Masked Lapwing, Spotted Turtle-Dove, Crested Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Galah, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet and Pale-headed Rosella if that was not enough we could add any of the following with Azure Kingfisher, Laughing Kookaburra, Variegated Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Superb Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote, White-browed Scrubwren, Weebill, Western Gerygone, Yellow Thornbill, Striped Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Eastern Whipbird, Golden Whistler, Rufous Whistler, Magpie-lark, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Butcherbird, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Zebra Finch, Double-barred Finch, Welcome Swallow and Silvereye. In the afternoon we head back to Brisbane for the night, possibly looking for Powerful Owl and other nocturnal birds late afternoon.  One night Brisbane.  
 
Days 8 - 9   Brisbane - Darwin
Today we take a morning flight from Brisbane to Darwin arriving in Darwin in late morning and heading to Knuckeys Lagoons, East Point and Botanic Gardens for birding during the afternoon. We should connect with Orange-footed Scrubfowl and even Beach Thick-kneeAgile Wallabies that graze on the short turf. Depending upon the tide we may check the exposed reefs for roosting waders which are likely to include Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey-tailed Tattler, Curlew Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint and Red-capped Plover. If the tide is low Eastern Reef Egrets and Striated Herons can be watched feeding. Other memorable species should include Rose-crowned Fruit Dove, Pied Imperial Pigeon, and with a little luck Rufous Owl The next day we'll start early with breakfast at Buffalo Creek where we will look for the elusive Chestnut Rail, a species that can prove difficult as it spends its time amongst the mangroves. Other birds here should include Black Butcherbirds, Green-backed and Mangrove Gerygones, Mangrove Robin, Mangrove Fantail, Red-headed Honeyeater and Yellow White-eyes. This will probably be our best chance of a Freshwater Crocodile. We will tour the local area visiting a range of habitats including Jungle and Sewage Ponds where other species likely to be seen include Australian Pratincole, Azure and Forest Kingfishers, Radjah Shelduck, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Emerald Dove, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian Koel, Helmeted, Silver-crowned and Little Friarbird, Lemon-bellied and Shining Flycatchers, Red-headed Honeyeater, Spangled Drongo, Little Shrike-Thrush, Yellow and Olive-backed Orioles, Figbirdand and several species of finch such as Chestnut-breasted Mannikins and colourful Crimson Finches. One of the prizes of this area is the gorgeous Rainbow Pitta which unlike most species of pitta can show itself very well. Various seabirds and waders are also possible with a chance of the elusive Beach Thick-knee.and in the early evening we may again visit the Botanical Gardens to look for Rufous Owl.  Two nights Darwin.

Days 10 - 11   Darwin - Kakadu National Park 
After breakfast, we will drive 'down the track' from Darwin heading for Kakadu National Park, where we will look for Black-faced Woodswallow and Horsfield's Bushlark. Stopping at Fogg Dam and the Mamukala Wetlands we can keep a lookout for Black-fronted Dotterellarge flocks of ducks and Magpie Geese, as well as the scarce Black Bittern, Pied Heron, Comb-crested Jacana, Plumed Whistling-duck, White-browed and Baillon's Crakes, Brolga, Black-necked Stork, Royal Spoonbill, Green Pygmy-goose, Grey Whistler, Broad-billed and Restless Flycatcher, Rufous Fantail, White-gaped Honeyeater, Tawny Grassbird and Golden-headed Cisticola. Other birding stops may yield Partridge Pigeon, Rose-crowned Fruit-dove, Blue-faced Honeyeater and Black-tailed Treecreeper. Various raptors including Spotted Harrier, Whistling Kite and White-bellied Sea-eagle are likely to be seen today.
The next day we will take a cruise on Yellow Water, one of Australia's most important areas for waterfowl. It is possible to see up to 70 species here including White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Darter, Great-billed & Pied Herons, Straw-necked Ibis, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Black-fronted Dotterel, Forest & Little Kingfishers, Plumed & Wandering Whistling-ducks, Green Pygmy-Goose and Restless Flycatcher. Later, we will visit Nourlangie Rock to view the famous aboriginal rock art and possibly see Banded Fruit-dove, Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon, Great Bowerbird and White-lined Honeyeater. Pacific Baza and Australian Hobby are likely around the lodge as well as Varied and Rainbow Lorikeets.  
Two nights Kakadu.   

Day 12   Kakadu - Pine Creek
We will drive south today in Kakadu visiting Mardugal and Gunlom (Waterfall Creek) areas looking for species such as Banded PLumed Whistling-DuckFruit-Dove, Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon, Partridge Pigeon, various honeyeaters and finches. In the afternoon we will leave Kakadu National Park and head to Pine Creek where we will overnight. Stops along the way may yield Northern Rosella and Varied Lorikeet.From here we head south with several stops looking for finches including Crimson & Long-tailed as well as Northern Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet, Dollarbird, and Silver-crowned Friarbird. In the afternoon we will stop at Edith Falls in Nitmiluk National Park where Gouldian, Double-barred and other finches and Banded Fruit-Dove can be found. There is also an opportunity for a cooling swim here. Our destination tonight is Katherine. The next day, we visit the spectacular Katherine Gorge in the Nitmiluk National Park, taking a boat cruise to view the spectacular scenery and observe wildlife including Freshwater Crocodiles. In the afternoon we will bird around Katherine looking for Red-backed Kingfisher, Chestnut-backed Button Quail, Little Corella, Apostlebird and Grey-crowned Babbler. Late afternoon we will visit areas to the west of Katherine.  One night Pine Creek.
 
Days 13 - 14   Pine Creek - Katherine
Today we have an early start looking for Hooded Parrot, and then we will drive to Copperfield Dam for a birding breakfast. Mangrove RobinFrom here we head south with several stops looking for finches including Crimson and Long-tailed as well as Northern Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet, Dollarbird, and Silver-crowned Friarbird. In the afternoon we will stop at Edith Falls in Nitmiluk National Park where Gouldian, Double-barred and other finches and Banded Fruit-Dove can be found. There is also an opportunity for a cooling swim here. Our destination tonight is Katherine. The next day, we visit the spectacular Katherine Gorge in the Nitmiluk National Park, taking a boat cruise to view the spectacular scenery and observe wildlife including Freshwater Crocodiles. In the afternoon we will bird around Katherine looking for Red-backed Kingfisher, Chestnut-backed Button Quail, Little Corella, Varied Lorikeet, Cockatiel, Yellow-tinted and Banded Honeyeaters, Apostlebird, Grey-crowned Babbler, Masked and Star Finch. Around this former gold mining town we also hope to see the smart looking Black-fronted Dotterel. Nearby deep valleys and dramatic gorges play host to Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens, White-quilled Rock Pigeon, Spinifex
Pigeon, Grey-fronted Honeyeater, Red-capped Robin and Crimson Chat, while more open areas hold Square-tailed Kite, Black-breasted Buzzard and Spotted Harrier. Others creatures of interest include Frill-necked Lizards, Agile Wallabies and Black Wallaroos. 
Two nights Katherine.
 
Day 15   Katherine - Darwin
KoalaToday we travel back to Darwin visiting the spectacular Litchfield National Park with its weathered sandstone and perennial rivers. Many spectacular birds are also found here including Blue-winged Kookaburra and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Great Bowerbird, Dollarbird and Rainbow Bee-eater, plus opportunities for mammals such as Dingo, Wallaroo, Agile Wallaby, Sugar Glider, Northern Brushtail Possum, Black and Little Red Flying Foxes. We will also visit Howard Springs which is a great to look for Rainbow Pitta and other species we may have missed. One night Darwin.
 
Day 16   Darwin - Brisbane
This morning we will bird around Darwin to mop up stragglers and then fly to Brisbane. On arrival we will check into our hotel for the last night of the tour.
One night Brisbane.
 
Day 17   Depart Brisbane
Plan to depart this morning on our international return flight
 
 
Leaders:   Steve Bird & Gina Nichol
 
Tour price:  £TBA
 
Single supplement: £TBA            Deposit: £400.00

Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 4 with and maximum 10 with 2 leaders.

Included in cost: Accommodation based on twin rooms en-suite, packed lunches, transport throughout the tour, internal flights, national park and reserve entrance fees, drinks, and services of guides and leaders

Not included: International flight, insurance, 2 boat trips, dinners (please allow £15 - £20 per dinner), alcoholic drinks and items of a personal nature.

Accommodation: A range of accommodation with most being very good. All lodges and hotels are en-suite. And importantly all accommodations are close to the birding areas we wish to visit.

Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with full days of birding in a variety of habitats, most of which are dry. We have several boats trips , and will be birding within National Parks and many areas that offer easy birding.

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