Trip Report: Australia July/August 2004 - Page 2

July 20, to Mary River Park
We checked out of our hotel and left Darwin behind and headed out to Fogg Dam. Here we were greeted by spectacular numbers of wildfowl, including c1000 Magpie Geese and our first Radjah Shelduck. Herons were also super abundant with 200 Pied Herons, 50 Royal Spoonbills and hundreds of egrets.

Magpie Geese & Intermediate Egret Pied Heron

Raptors were naturally in attendance and we found our first Swamp Harrier here. Strangely enough, this was the only place we saw Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove. A short drive down the Marrakai Drive got us a covey of Chestnut-backed Button-quail. We called in at Bird Billabong but didn't walk down to the water as a recent fire had burnt all the vegetation, so we drove on to Mary River Park where we were staying overnight and explored the area instead. We had our first views of Great Bowerbird here and several species of honeyeater.

July 21, Kakadu
Up at dawn, we were a bit surprised to find it was cold. A walk along the river trail produced our first Arafura Fantail, a split from Rufous. After breakfast we booked onto a river cruise where we had our first 'Salties' - Estuarine Crocodile - as well as several fish-eating (rather than flesh-eating) Freshwater Crocodiles. Birds included a white Grey Goshawk and a Little Eagle.

Estuarine Crocodile - 'Saltie'

After the boat trip we continued on and entered Kakadu NP. After stopping for a flock of 200 Little Corellas, we lunched at South Alligator. Our original plan was to stay here but it had already booked up a month before.

The next stop was at Mamukala which held a lot of waterfowl including 300 Green Pygmy Geese. After checking in to our accommodation for the next two nights in Lakeview Park in Jabiru, we spent the rest of the afternoon at Gungarre.

July 22, Kakadu
Another dawn start so we could get to Bardejilidji early. On the way we saw three Black-necked Storks by the side of the road. Following up an unusual song (quite Nightingale like), we found our first Sandstone Shrike-thrush but no sign of any Rock-Pigeons.

Searching for Sandstone Shrike-thrush at Bardejilidji Preying Mantis

At Manngarre the only wildlife of note was a Preying Mantis. After sitting out the midday sun back at our bush bungalow we went back to Bardejilidji. Walking up one of the surrounding slopes to photograph the outcrop I flushed a pigeon, fortunately it landed and we all had good views of Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon, a key target species that is endemic to this part of the Northern Territory. We ate at the local social club which was a good choice as a pair of Bush Stone-Curlews flew into the back garden after dark!

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