North Queensland, Day 14, 2 August 2017. Yungaburra, Lake Eacham, Lake Barine and Cairns Esplanade

The final phase of the trip - back to Cairns.

I left Atherton nice and early as I wanted to get to the Curtain Fig Tree just outside Yungaburra before the crowds. In the end I was so early I was the first one there! I was greeted by Eastern Whipbirds calling all over the place and with some patience I got some nice views of two and onto the list it went. Also around the tree/boardwalk were 2 Grey-headed Robins, a Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Australian Brush Turkeys, Wompoo Fruit Dove and a family party of Wild Pigs.

Next up was the small town of Yungaburra. The town is supposed to be site for Australian King Parrot and White-headed Pigeon. I scored with the former but not the latter! Wandering around the town I also had Laughing Dove, 4 Crested Pigeons, Helmeted Friarbird, c25 Australian Figbirds in a single tree, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike and Pied Currawong before I reatreated to the Whistlestop Cafe (highly recommended) for a coffee and sausage roll!   

Australian King Parrot

I called in to Eacham Lake next, the first of the so-called 'Crater Lakes' and I have to say it was really nice. On the entrance track I jammed in on a great Bower's Shrike Thrush which even hung around for a photo or two. Around the edge of the carpark beside the lake was a copse that held Pied Monarch, a gorgeous male Golden Whistler, Little Shrike Thrush, Brown Greygone and 3 Pale Yellow Robins I did a short walk around the north shore of the lake clocking up 3 Lewin's Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebill, Wompoo Fruit Dove and Spectacled Monarch. The lake itself held 3 Great Crested Grebes and Little Pied Cormorant but nothing else.

Bower's Shrike Thrush

Pale Yellow Robin

Brown Gerygone

Golden Whistler

Pied Monarch

Eastern Spinebill

Lake Barine by complete contrast was disappointing and I stayed a very short time just seeing Spotted Catbird and a few Atherton Scrubwrens.

It was time to wind my way through the hills of the Gillies Range and back down to the coast and Cairns. I took a while as the winding road seems to go on forever but I finally got there and headed for a spot I'd been told about that holds a roosting Rufous Owl. It was an immense fig tree in Les Davies Park just off McKenzie Street. Despite going round and round the tree for an eternity I couldn't find I though so moved on to the Esplanade. At the north end I was delighted to find a Mangrove Robin that responded very quickly to playback before I headed to the main part of the Esplanade for some wader action. I bumped into a Scottish birder here and together we had 1 Terek Sandpiper, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, c8 Red-capped Plovers, c5 Greater Sandplovers, 8 Black-fronted Dotterel, c30 Whimbrel, 2 Far-eastern Curlew, c6 Bar-tailed Godwits, c25 Great Knot, 2 Grey-tailed Tattlers and a Greenshank. There we also loads of Gull-billed and Australian Gull-billed Terns, several Caspian Terns, Silver Gulls, and 1 Crested Tern. As the tide rose I walked south and soon met up with the local birders who congregate at a particular bench every day. From here I had White-bellied Sea Eagle, Brahminy Kite, 15 Australian Pelicans, White-faced Heron and Pacific Reef Egret and the waders again as they got pushed up on the last bit of mud. Unfortunately I found about about the favoured location of a Double-banded Plover a bit too late as the tide had covered the spot and it had departed for wherever it roosted. Land birds of note seen were a Double-eyed Fig Parrot, a noisy colony of Metallic Starlings, Common Mynas, Black Butcherbird and Spangled Drongo.

With the light fading I made my way to Cool Waters Holiday Park on the extreme west side of the city, my new abode for the final 2 nights.               

Mangrove Robin

Common Myna

Silver Gull

Caspian Terns

Common and Australian Gull-billed Terns

Pacific Reef Egret

Great Knots etc

Grey-tailed Tattler etc

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