Trip Report: Australia July/August 2004 - Page 3
July 23, Kakadu
Leaving Jabiru, we headed south and enroute we saw a fine male Emu, surprisingly the only one of the entire trip. At Nourlangie the only new bird we added was Black-tailed Treecreeper but there was plenty of Aboriginal rock art to look at.
We also birded at Gubara before arriving at Cooinda, our base for the next two nights. The accommodation here was awful, a tiny metal shack with room only for two sets of bunk beds. We birded the boardwalk by the boat ramp where an Intermediate Egret fed within touching distance.
July 24, Kakadu
We had pre-booked the 06.45 Yellow Waters Cruise which was just as well as both boats were full. As we waited to board, a Great-billed Heron flew over, one of the target birds for this boat trip; needless to say we didn't actually see one from the boat although there were several White-necked Herons.
Our guide was more of an expert on Salties than birds but that wasn't a problem as the birds are very easy to see and offer good photographic opportunities. We saw several Azure Kingfishers but failed to find Little Kingfisher. Afterwards, we birded the boardwalk area again, picking up a Collared Sparrowhawk, before heading off to Mardugal, although we didn't see anything of note there. In the afternoon we elected to try Nourlangie again as it is the best site for two key species. On the way we stopped by the road and saw a flock of 20 Partridge Pigeons. Our decision soon paid off as we found White-lined Honeyeater and Banded Fruit-Dove, unfortunately Neil missed both of them as he had stopped to photograph Blue-winged Kookaburra!
July 25, Pine Creek
Our last day in Kakadu NP, we visited Mardugal again for a couple of hours and this time were rewarded with three new birds: Rufous-throated, Bar-breasted and Banded Honeyeaters. A grey phase Grey Goshawk was the only notable bird at Bukbukluk. We lunched at Mayse's Café in Pine Creek where Great Bowerbird, Yellow Miner, Pied Butcherbird and Blue-faced Honeyeater were making the most of scraps left behind by diners.
We checked in at Bonrook Country Stay, by far and away the best place to stay in at Pine Creek. Although it's a few kilometres outside the town it has extensive grounds, including breeding Hooded Parrot (in the wet season) and Australian Bustard which can be seen along the entrance track (unfortunately not by us!). We returned to the town and visited the Sewage Works (what birding trip would be complete without a visit to one of these?) and the Water Tower, both potential areas for Hooded Parrot but we were not in luck, adding only Grey Teal and Black-fronted Dotterel. Driving into town that evening for a meal we saw a Western Brown Snake cross the highway. It stopped by the roadside and became very aggressive, striking out at the Road Trains (multi-trailered trucks)! On our return to Bonrook we saw three Spotted Nightjars on the entrance track and dozens of the dreaded Cane Toads.