Having left Cairns around 10 am we drove along the coastal road with some really nice views making our way North, planning on about 2 hours driving time to Daintree.

We stopped in the town of Mossman for lunch, and then went to Mossman Gorge, realizing that this would be more of a scenic tourist stop, rather than a bird watching area.  I guess we should have brought our swimmers !

Mossman Gorge

After the gorge we arrived a Red Mill House in Daintree around 2:30 pm.  Red Mill House was the only bed and breakfast on our trip, and the served a huge breakfast here in this breakfast nook, complete with lots of bird books.  The owners Trish and Andrew are enthusiastic birders and really make you feel at home.  Daintree is a very small village, the 2006 census records a population of 78, but tourism accounts for many more than that.

Red Mill House

 Having gotten the run down from Trish on the local birding spots we are off to Stewart Creek Rd later in the afternoon, and will visit this same road many times over the next three days.  We also bumped into an American birder, Fred, whose acquaintance will prove very fortuitous later in the trip!  On our first foray down Stewart Creek Rd we are really hoping for Lovely Fairywrens and Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers, a tall order indeed!  But we did get a Forest Kingfisher and our best shots of the entire trip of the Laughing Kookaburra.

Laughing Kookaburra

Next morning we had a private charter with the Daintree Boatman, Murray.  Although we are 20 km upstream from the ocean, the broad river is still tidal and it’s somewhere around low tide as we set off.

Daintree River

 Our first stops are several nesting birds, and Murray certainly knows where they all are as he’s out on the river everyday.  Here’s a Shining Flycatcher (female) sitting on her nest.

Shining Flycatcher (female)

 And here is a Brown-backed Honeyeater working on her nest.  Although not a pretty bird, this species is range restricted to Cairns and Cape York.

Brown-backed Honeyeater

 We also see a Large-billed Gerygone nest, but the specialty of the trip are two Papuan Frogmouth nests, the largest species of frogmouth and also range restricted to Cairns and Cape York.

Papuan Frogmouth

 We also encountered an Azure Kingfisher …

Azure Kingfisher

A White-faced Heron in nice light …

White-faced Heron

And a juvenile Great-billed Heron who is begging for food loudly !

Great-billed Heron (juvenile)

Altogether we got lots of great shots on this day, and the boat is just nice for 3 or even 4 photographers with tripod mounted lenses.

On the boat

On our next day, we take the car ferry across the Daintree River and drive up to Cape Tribulation in search of the uncommon Southern Cassowary.  We have taken several folks advise on where to look and spend the most time at Jindalba Boardwalk and find plenty of evidence of cassowary droppings.  Pok Zin sees some motion in the distance and may have gotten a glimpse, but nothing more solid than this would we get all day.  We did get the Little Shrike-thrush, Fairy Gerygone and the Black Butcherbird.

Jindalba Boardwalk

We only saw the cassowary on road signs 🙁

Dead Cassowary

When we got back from Cape Tribulation as a consolation we did get some decent shots of the Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

And the real joker of the trip, the Australian Brush-turkey.

Australian Brush-turkey (male)

Our last morning in Daintree on Stewart Creek Rd was a bit misty.  We stopped at a pond and got the Royal Spoonbill and caught the secretive Bush-hen bathing.  By now we have all at least seen the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, but all the sightings have been very high and photos if any simply record shots, our next chance will have to wait until our arrival at Kingfisher Park.

Stewart Creek Rd

At the very end of Stewart Creek Rd is a forested patch where the kingfishers were calling.  I did get a record shot of the Pied Monarch one of the 12 endemics of this region, and a shot of the Yellow-breasted Boatbill, range restricted to Cairns and Cape York.  Next stop Julatten.

Yellow-breasted Boatbill

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Wildlife Photography is My Passion