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.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Around Oz Part 10: Darwin - Fogg Dam, Buffalo Creek, Casuarina

Rainbow Pitta
After leaving Kakadu National Park (see last post) we moved on to Fogg Dam, a well-known birding destination south-east of Darwin. We walked the rainforest trail and saw 3 or 4 Rainbow Pittas, hearing several more.

Grey (Brown) Whistler
Another species in good numbers was the Grey (Brown) Whistler, a potential split from the species that is widespread in New Guinea and eastern Indonesia.

Red-headed Honeyeater
Red-headed Honeyeater was lovely to see again. Other birds included Emerald Dove, Green-backed Gerygone and Broad-billed Flycatcher.

Monsoon rainforest - Fogg Dam
The monsoon rainforest in the Top End of the Northern Territory occurs in surprisingly small, well-defined patches in what is otherwise a huge expanse of tropical savannah woodland.

Among the many waterbirds present were a pair of Brolga with a recently fledged young. Less engrossing was the total absence of Freshwater Crocodiles: when I lived in Darwin in the early-1980s, many could be seen during a walk along the Fogg Dam causeway. Victims of cane toads, it seems. Yet a large trap had been set by NT authorities to catch a Saltwater Crocodile in the vicinity. Why bother?

Orange-footed Scrubfowl
Orange-footed Scrubfowl were common at Fogg Dam, and after we moved on to Darwin, we found they were numerous and tame everywhere. Odd that they aren't like that in north Queensland.
After Fogg Dam, we moved to the Lee Point Resort and Caravan Park - our over-priced home for the next week, though nicely located a fair distance from the CBD and close to the beaches. We were comfortably situated in a spot near an adjoining bushland reserve. Barking Owls and Bush Stone-Curlews are ever present.

Buffalo Creek
It was nice to be back in Darwin, a city I lived in once (early-1980s) and spent a good deal of time in on other occasions. Favourite spots revisited now included Buffalo Creek and Casuarina Beach.

Casuarina Beach
Large-billed Gerygone
A spot of birding one moring on Buffalo Creek with Greg, a fellow from Broome who is staying at our caravan park and is a keen bird photographer. We spent some time grappling with two Gerygones in the mangroves and monsoon forest - Large-billed and Green-backed. Other birds we saw included Grey Whistler, Yellow White-eye and Red-headed Honeyeater, with Black Butcherbird heard.

Green-backed Gerygone
World War II underground tunnels - Darwin
We did a walking historic tour of the Darwin CBD. Among the more interesting sites were  underground tunnels built after the Japanese bombing of Darwin during World War II to protect oil supplies from the bombers. I could not believe how much the Darwin CBD had changed since I lived in a city that I had been very fond of. I recognised major landmarks like the Victoria Hotel and the Tree of Knowledge, but so much was different.

Common Greenshank
We called in at the Port of Darwin. An overwintering Common Greenshank was on the mudflats along with Eastern Reef-Egret and Eastern Curlew.

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