Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Queensland Road Trip 13: Etty Bay & Cassowary

Southern Cassowary

Following our visit to Cairns (see following post) we headed south to the pretty coastal settlement of Etty Bay, south-east of Innisfail.

Southern Cassowary
Etty Bay is arguably the best place in Australia to see the Southern Cassowary - the avian icon of the wet tropics. We had a cassowary wandering by the roadside as soon as we arrived at Etty Bay.
Arrival at Etty Bay
We saw the birds repeatedly during our two days camped in the caravan park, seeing about half the local population of 10-12 birds.

Southern Cassowary checks out the campervan
Cassowaries wandered freely through the camping ground and along Etty Bay's small street, oblivious to human interlopers other than hoping to be fed. Feeding the cassowaries is discouraged but people were doing it anyway.

Southern Cassowary
The female cassowary appears to be larger with brighter wattles. The birds were mostly singles but occasionally a pair would wander through the camping ground.

Cassowary on road
I found one bird 2.5km before the settlement and another 1.5km before; both cassowaries were wandering along the road. They ignored vehicles that slowed to let them pass and even the tooting of horns left them unmoved. Too many cassowaries are killed along the so-called Cassowary Coast between Innisfail and Tully, which contains the highest concentration of the species in Australia.


Etty Bay
Our camp at Etty Bay was by a lovely beach with its backdrop of the rainforests of Moresby Range National Park.
Blue Ulysses
Butterflies included the spectacular Blue Ulysses.


Shining Starlings
Shining Starlings again were in unusually large numbers for this time of the year.


Spectacled Flying-Fox
Spectacled Flying-Foxes were in the camping ground trees at night.


No stranger to humans



















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