Bird Watching in Tropical Queensland
The "Delightful Daintree'.
Recently I spent some peaceful days in the beautiful Daintree Rainforest, staying at Daintree Valley Haven, a 30 acre property 8km beyond the Daintree Village, at the end of the winding, scenic Stewart Creek Road.
On our way in we were welcomed by Forest Kingfishers - almost one to a fence post- and plenty of Cattle Egrets standing guard on and around the Brahminy Cattle. Apart from the abundance of birds (well over 120 species have so far been identified on the property) we were delighted by views of Australia's largest butterfly, the magnificent and spectacular Cairns Birdwing.
Yellow Orioles with their pleasant fluid bubbling call were plentiful, while Sunbirds fluttered around our bungalow and were a joy to watch. We were happy to add a new bird to both our list and the Daintree Valley Haven's list when we sighted an immature Bower's Shrike Thrush (Colluricincla boweri). It was fosicking for insects in the reeds and vines just outside our front door. This bird is found only in the upland rainforests of the Wet Tropics region. Luckily our visitor was an immature bird as this made identification much easier. Though the immature bird is similar to the female of the species it has rufous lores, eyebrow and eye ring, with quite distinctive rufous wing coverts. I hope one day to come across the adult male as I have read that it has a most remarkable song.
The Daintree River is a hub of bird activity.On one visit I sat by a rainforest pool that I knew the tiny, but beautiful, Little Kingfisher (Alcedo pusilla) frequented. These kingfishers are found only in the northern coastlands and are not easy to observe.
The water was dark and still, reflecting the tangle of over-hanging vines and palm leaves. A dipping dragonfly rippled the surface, then a Ulysses butterfly appeared. I thought this brilliant blue butterfly was the Little Kingfisher for a moment, as it was at least as large as the bird I was waiting to see. Then suddenly the Little Kingfisher darted to a small branch conveniently overhanging the pool. Diving swiftly into the pool after its prey, it then alighted again on the branch for a moment, before swiftly disappearing into the tangle of rainforest. Its upperparts were a deep, intense blue, underparts white and its black feet were very small, especially when compared with the large black beak
From my sketch-book
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