Trip report: Australia’s Top End, Victoria River to Kakadu (Oct 2011)

Guided by Nick Leseberg.

From the outset I knew this trip was going to be a challenge; with such a short amount of time, so many birds, and such a large area to cover, it was always going to be tough to fit everything in. Luckily though, it was one of those trips where the birds just fall into place. Nearly everywhere we stopped the birds leapt out at us, and with plenty of rain early in the year followed by a long dry spell, conditions were set for the perfect Top End birding trip.

The birding highlights were frequent, and it’s difficult to narrow them down. In the end we couldn’t decide on a top spot, with the result a hard fought battle between a gorgeous pair of Rainbow Pittas, an extremely rare Red Goshawk standing guard over its chick in the nest, and that avian icon of the Northern Territory, the incomparable Gouldian Finch. Throw in with all the fantastic birds the impressive Victoria River escarpments, the clouds of wildlife on the Yellow Water billabong and the gorgeous sunrises over Arnhem Land, it was easy to see why the Top End is one of my favorite places to go birding in Australia.

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