Trip report: Eastern Australia, from Top to Bottom (Oct-Nov 2006) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Iain Campbell and Sam Woods.

I was along on this trip as a co-guide to learn the tour for future departures,and having only limited experience in Australia previously could understand first hand the many appeals of birding this vast country. Almost all birders who join this tour, do so as first time visitors to the small continent of Australia. Therefore perhaps the most appealing aspect of this tour is the heaps of new families that are available. This was well illustrated on this tour where Bill counted 40 new families for himself at the end of it. Representatives from 87 different bird families were seen, including from all the Australian endemic families; and on one day out of Kingfisher Lodge we saw species from 36 different families in this one day alone! Many strange and bizarre families exist in Australia that many people have had no experience of before from Logrunners to Mud-nest Builders, while Lyrebirds, Birds of Paradise and Bowerbirds are perhaps more familiar from nature programs like David Attenborough’s landmark series ‘The Life of Birds’ that for many birders immortalized Superb Lyrebirds in their memories; while Honeyeaters, Sitellas and Pardalotes are generally much less known. Australia is certainly the realm of the quirky and strange such as the monstrous Cassowary (that put on a spectacular show for us in Cairns), although there are also more familiar birds like Parrots. However, for those who have only experienced the parrots of Asia and the Neotropics you are in for a surprise as the species here are generally boldly patterned and very brightly colored, making up some of the most colorful birds on the planet. Rightly earning Australia the nickname ‘Land of the Parrots’.

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