Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Daintree Wildlife

Chris Dahlberg's Daintree River tours >

25 Aug 10. Kingfisher morning. Laughing Kookaburra, Forest, Sacred, Azure and Little Kingfishers all seen this morning with a Blue-winged Kookaburra calling in the distance. With seven kingfisher species in the Daintree Valley at anytime of the year you could see all of them in one day if you went about it the right way.

16 Aug 10. Brown-backed Honeyeater. Announcing the arrival of spring the first Brown-backed Honeyeater arrived overnight and was straight into it's distinct vocalisation at dawn.

10 Aug 10. Black Bittern. The drizzly conditions may not suit human beings but they are good conditions for seeing some of the more secretive wildlife. Black Bittern and Great-billed Herons proved this point this morning. Other good birds included a Wompoo Fruit-Dove and lots of Double-eyed Fig-Parrots.

3 Aug 10. Spring has sprung. The calendar hasn't much place in the natural world. Already Eastern Koels are calling and it is warm enough to be spring. The mild winter resulted in reduced reptile sightings but on the plus side Great-billed Heron sightings are up on previous years.

23 Jul 10. Platypus, for only the 3rd time in 20 years a platypus has been sighted in the Daintree River. We were astonished as we observed an adult platypus for nearly 5 minutes as it swam alongside us in the clear water.

13 Jul 10. Great-billed Heron, Little Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth, Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo headed up a good birdwatching list despite the poor and un- seasonal weather. Good news: The Daintree Riverview Caravan park is open again under new ownership. Phone 0409627434

8 Jul 10. Great birdwatching morning. Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern, Little Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Little (Gould's) Bronze-Cuckoo, Nankeen Night Heron, Shining Flycatcher, Azure and Sacred kingfisher.

5 Jul 10. Not good weather for the start of the tourist season but we have been doing well showing our passengers some interesting wildlife on the Daintree River at dawn. We record our daily sightings here:

29 Jun 10.
Kingfisher Morning.
Six species in fact; Blue-winged Kookaburra, Laughing Kookaburra, Forest, Sacred, Azure and Little Kingfishers. Other good birds were; Great-billed Heron, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Cicadabird, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot and of course Saltwater Crocodile.

16 Jun 10. Little Kingfisher. This is a great time of year to see these secretive and very small kingfishers. A lowish tide is best and our strike rate for seeing them this month is 71%.

12 Jun 10. Well our 100% sighting record for Great-billed Herons came to a halt. All was not lost with some other specials, Green Tree Snake, Little Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth and Double-eyed Fig-Parrots being seen along with other more common birds.

3 Jun 10. Great-billed Heron. We saw a Great-billed Heron on every trip for May 2010. We have started June off well with another sighting plus some other really good hard to find birds. Little Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmoth, Wompoo Fruit-Dove were the best of these.

28 May 10. Great-billed Her0n record? With only 3 days to go it looks like we will have a 100% sighting record for the month. This has never been done before with our rarest bird. So far so good.

17 May 10. Our four best birds and a green tree snake. This morning we saw; Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern, Little Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth and a Green Tree Snake. There were other birds as well and they are shown on the daily checklist of our website.

15 May 10. Another good birdwatching morning. Best birds were Great-billed Heron, Little Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth, Lovely Fairy-wren and Double-eyed Fig-Parrots.

5 May 10. Birdwatching morning. This morning we saw our four best birds in the one trip. Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern, Little Kingfisher and Papuan Frogmouth.

2 May 10. Rare bird sightings. At this time of year it is rare to see Papuan Frogmouths (the bird is not rare but in autumn it is rare to see them).

On the way to work, in the dark one crashed into the back of the Jackeroo. I got out and went back to where it was on the road stunned. As I approached it took off and I thought that would be that. On the tour at 6:30 we took off in the boat and battling light rain went about our business seeing Shining Flychatchers, Azure kingfishers etc etc

Heading down Windy Reach I look out for frogmouths on the sunny side just in case and blow me down we got one. I was so happy for the passengers. We fussed around taking photos and such and headed off again. Not 100 metres were travelled when a Great-billed Heron showed itself. We got good enough looks at it, and it is a rare bird, and off again to Barratt creek where a Little Kingfisher zipped past the boat. The up shot of all that is: despite the miserable weather you can still get good results if only you try. Good news, by our next trip on Wednesday the weather will be better.
25 Apr 10. Breeding birds. Autumn is not a traditional time for birds to be breeding. Inside the tropiucs that idea does not apply. On our last two tours we had strong evidence of birds breeding. Masked Lapwings were seen copulating within metres of the tour boat on the first occaission. What made the biggest impression however were White-belleid Sea-Eagles copulating hundreds of metres away. Our attention was drawn to the spectacle by the accommpaning vocalisations that carried easily over the calm conditions at dawn. Spectacular and noisy.

17 Apr 10. Birdwatching joy. Visiting birdwatching were treated to our 3 rarest at dawn on the Daintree River. Great-billed Heron, Little Kingfisher and Black Bittern headed up an impressive wildlife list that included a Saltwater Crocodile, Green Tree Snake and another 4 kingfisher species.

15 Apr 10. Golden Pendas are in flower at present all the way through Daintree. They attract al ot of wildlife in this stage. The most common daytime visitor is the Rainbow Lorikeet and during the night time Spectacled Flying-foxes are attracted to the nectar.

13 Apr 10. Rainforest Specials. Victoria's Riflebird, Yellow Oriole, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Top-knot Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo-Dove put in an appearance this morning. Just prior to the trip we had 2 bat species, something that will happen again tomorrow morning.

11 Apr 10. Wonga Beach. Recent walks around Wonga Beach have been rewarded with Spectacled Flying-foxes along Marlin Drive near Oleander Drive and lots of vocalisations from Double-eyed Fig-Parrots. Bush Stone-curlews are active and vocal of a night time.

8 Apr 10. Channel-billed Cuckoos. 50+ Channel-billed Cuckoos cascaded out of a big fig tree across the river this morning. A spectacular sight that is rarely seen. The river is still up but expected to return to normal levels within a day or two.

2 Apr 10. Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern were the best on our first day back. The Daintree River is in flood and likely to stay that way for the time being.

14 Jan 10. Great- billed Heron. Fine conditions at last and a good run around the river. Best birds were; Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern and Pied Monarch.

11 Jan 10. Great-billed Heron. Lots of overnight rain produced the first flood of the Wet Season. Highlights of this morning's trip were: Great-billed Heron, 25+ Channel-billed Cuckoos, Comb-crested Jacana, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Azure Kingfishers, Yellow Oriole and Wompoo Fruit-Dove.

6 Jan 10. Great-billed Heron and great start to 2010. Several Black Bitterns showed themselves well enough for photographs along with Azure Kingfishers, Brown-backed and Graceful Honeyeaters.
We are now in the low season and do not run every day. If you would like to go out on this trip please contact me direct:
phone 40987997 or e-mail

24 Dec 09. Yes the 19th was our last trip of the year. We will start again on 5 Jan 2010.
Denise and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

19 Dec 09.
Last trip for the year?
Best birds this morning were; Pale-vented Bush-hen and Black Bitterns complemented with lots of Azure Kingfishers and Shining Flycatchers all of them being "good boat birds". We would like to thank all our passengers for their support throughout the year and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

12 Dec 09. Summer. Deep into summer now and we are not scheduling trips every day. There are reports of Barn Swallows at Newell Beach and Red-rumped Swallows at Somerset Drive. Somerset Drive runs off the Daintree Road just north of the Newell Beach turn off.

8 Dec 09.
Blooming Lilly Pillys.
The fresh water areas of the Daintree River are a hive of activity with the blooming of Lilly Pilly trees. Thousands of Rainbow Lorikeets have come in to feed on them. This did not escape the notice of a Peregrine Falcon, near the village, which created even more activity amongst them.

2 Dec 09. Black Bitterns. Following on from our November's 95% success rate we are seeing and photographing Black Bitterns. Hot days ahead will make for poor wildlife sightings through the summer unless you go out early. Our trip goes out at 6:00am and we are back by 8:00am before it gets too hot.

30 Nov 09. Oriental Cuckoos. With some degree of predictability Oriental Cuckoos have arrived in Daintree. This is the last of the migrants to arrive in Australia for the summer and they are not always seen. So far there have been three sightings from the boat in the last two days.

28 Nov 09. Great-billed Herons, Black Bitterns, Pale-vented Bush-hen, Papuan Frogmouths were the best birds this morning. There was also a savage inter-action between a Black Butcherbird and a Papuan Frogmouth in Barratt Creek. The consensus was that the Black Butcherbird was defending it's nest and was trying to drive the frogmouth off?