Following our stopover at Mt Carbine (see following post) we continued north to the iconic hotel of Lions Den, at the northern end of the coastal Daintree-Bloomfield Road, for a two-night camp.
|Lions Den Hotel|
I've stayed here occasionally over the years and the place maintains its rustic charm, with a few rough edges.
The camping ground by the Annan River is pleasant enough, with Orange-footed Scrubfowl scraping around the tents. The river cuts through this charming countryside of hills and valleys with its interesting mix of rainforest, eucalypt and health-like scrub.
|With Charlie & Lewis Roberts, Shiptons Flat|
The highlight was a day spent in the Shiptons Flat area with brothers Lewis and Charlie Roberts - true bushies by any measure and third generation tin farmers and cattle ranchers. They were close friends with another friend of mine who lived locally, Jeanette Covacevich, who passed away recently. The stamina demonstrated by Charlie and Lewis, with his trademark bare feet, is something to behold.
We spent most of the day going up and down rainforest gullies in an unsuccessful search for Bennett's Tree-Kangaroo. Some compensation was on offer with good birds, notably White-streaked Honeyeater; Shiptons flat is at the southern end of this Cape York endemic's range. We flushed a Rufous Owl but did not manage to track it down for a photograph.
Graceful Honeyeater is a tad more mundane but it was good to see one again after so long.
|Lovely Fairywren pair|
Grey Whistler showed nicely.
The distinctive northern race of Pied Monarch put on a show.
was also present; this species is at the southern end of its range
here. However, there is considerable debate about whether these are true Tropical or if this is a hybrid zone with Large-billed Scrubwrens.
Black Butcherbird was among other birds present. List of species found in the Shiptons Flat area can be seen here.
We had a look at Black
Mountain as we headed on to Cooktown.