Guided by Laurie Ross.This was a set departure tour.
The Eastern Australia Set Departure Tour introduces a huge amount of new birds and families to the majority of the group. We started the tour in Cairns in Far North Queensland, where we found ourselves surrounded by multiple habitats from the tidal mudflats of the Cairns Esplanade, the Great Barrier Reef and its sandy cays, lush lowland and highland rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands, and we even made it to the edge of the Outback near Mount Carbine; the next leg of the tour took us south to Southeast Queensland where we spent time in temperate rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests within Lamington National Park. The third, and my favorite leg, of the tour took us down to New South Wales, where we birded a huge variety of new habitats from coastal heathland to rocky shorelines and temperate rainforests in Royal National Park, to the mallee and brigalow of Inland New South Wales. The fourth and final leg of the tour saw us on the beautiful island state of Tasmania, where we found all 13 “Tassie” endemics. We had a huge list of highlights, from finding a roosting Lesser Sooty Owl in Malanda; to finding two roosting Powerful Owls near Brisbane; to having an Albert’s Lyrebird walk out in front of us at O Reilly’s; to seeing the rare and endangered Regent Honeyeaters in the Capertee Valley, and finding the endangered Swift Parrot on Bruny Island, in Tasmania. It was seriously hard coming up with the top five birds of the trip from the 413 we recorded; but after three rounds of voting we finally had a winner, the Powerful Owl (maybe because one of them had a possum in its talons!) from Brisbane took up top spot…
Top Five Birds of the Tour:
1 – Powerful Owl (JC Slaughter Falls, Brisbane)
2 – Plains Wanderer (Hay, New South Wales)
3 – Regent Honeyeater (Capertee Valley, New South Wales)
4 – Swift Parrott (Bruny Island, Tasmania)
5 – Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher (Daintree Village, Far North Queensland)