Birds you have to leave state for

I can’t believe I haven’t talked to you about this yet, but in the middle of June we flew up to Cairns for a little holiday and it was the best!!

Ever since I was born, and right up until a few years ago, our annual holiday was in the Easter school holidays at Merimbula, or nearby. It is fabulous, so so beautiful and we absolutely love going there; it’s our second home town. ┬áIt was our routine, we always knew when the break was coming, where we were going and had that anticipation.

It was varied to the summer holidays once cos my brother was due to be born in the Easter holidays. And another year we went to visit friends in Newcastle instead, but generally it was fixed in stone. The tradition continued well into my uni years after I left home, and quite a few years into married life, and it’s still lovely, but we want to see some other places. We try to go somewhere new for a week once a year at least, and get away for a weekend for our anniversary. In the 7.5 years that we’ve been married, we’ve slowly made our way around the country: Tasmania road trip, Woolongong, Narooma, Canberra on his work for 3 months, Perth, Airey’s Inlet, Gippsland Lakes, Darwin, Sydney, and we have also managed to get to New Zealand, most of South America and Bali. But Queensland we haven’t gotten to til now.

This year we wanted to try something new and go on holidays somewhere warm during winter. Up til now most of our holidays have been in the summer or Easter. We decided on Cairns and thought we’d go maybe around July-August. But then, out of nowhere, hubby’s work needed him to go to Cairns for a week of work!! Bingo! So he headed up at the start of the week, and I flew up Friday morning, and we got a weekend on his work’s tab at the same hotel! We had to pay for my flights, but as a getaway goes it was the cheapest we’ve ever done! And we really loved it! We had Friday til Monday afternoon but it felt like we had a week, and we got to indulge in seafood, cycling for hubby with a random new friend, and loads of birding for me; could anything be more perfect?? 28 degrees by day, 18 by night; bliss.

Over the 3.5 days I had up there I managed to photograph 70 different species of birds and out of those 36 were brand new species to me that I’d never come across before!! This is the advantage of vastly changing climates. Far North Queensland is so tropical and couldn’t be more different in climate from southern Australia, as well as being geographically at the opposite end of the country. So you find a lot of birds up there that you’ll either never see out of that state, or maybe in NSW but never ever in Victoria. Yet some Victorian species can live quite happily up there. It’s all very fascinating to me, but maybe not so much to you. So let’s get on with the photo gallery!

Brown Honeyeater at the airport, the first lifer

Brown Honeyeater – that little tear drop behind the eye tells you the ID

IMG_6852-2.jpg

Male Australasian Figbird – striking, isn’t he?

IMG_6927-3.jpg

Yellow Honeyeater

IMG_6954-2

Varied Honeyeater

IMG_7170-2

Australasian Gull-billed Tern

IMG_8310-2.jpg

Scaly-breasted munia, or Nutmeg Mannikin

IMG_8791-2.jpg

Yellow-spotted honeyeater blending in so well under the mangroves

IMG_8862-2.jpg

Okay not a bird but so stunning!

IMG_8997-2.jpg

My best attempt at a bird-in-flight pic of a Rainbow Bee-eater…they do occur in Victoria, but I’ve never seen one so I’m claiming ignorance

IMG_9266-2.jpg

Dusky Honeyeater

IMG_9319-2.jpg

Forest Kingfisher

IMG_9405-2.jpg

Yellow-breasted Boatbill…poor photo but a fascinating little creature

IMG_9516-2.jpg

Little Shrike-thrush…most photos aren’t an easy shot, many are difficult angles through sticks, leaves, shadow and more

IMG_9538-2 Yellow-Spotted Honeyeater.jpg

Graceful Honeyeater, different from the Yellow-Spotted because the spot is oblong here

IMG_9602-2.jpg

Australian Brush-turkey

IMG_0003-2

Bar-shouldered Dove

IMG_0069-2 (2).jpg

Comb-crested Jacana

IMG_0116-2

Green Pygmy-Goose

IMG_0246-2.jpg

Spangled Drongo – yep there’s actually such a thing as a Drongo!

IMG_0221-2.jpg

A blurry Orange-Footed Scrubfowl

IMG_0263-2

Brahiminy Kite, such a distinctive bird of prey shot from a moving car!

IMG_9768-2.jpg

Spectacled Monarch, fast and hard to catch in the bad light of the mangroves. It’s ironic: gorgeous birds live in the mangroves but they’re hard to see

IMG_9799-2.jpg

Collared/Torresian Kingfisher – just stunning!

IMG_9817-2.jpg

A typical mangroves shot: a blurry Shining Flycatcher

IMG_8535-2 Black-naped tern, brown booby, brown-common noddy.jpg

Black-naped Tern, the flying white bird with the cool tail – shot 30km out to sea from our snorkelling boat

IMG_8524-2 Common Noddy

The dark birds with white heads are Noddies – couldn’t get a good photo between the movement of our boat, the movement of their platform and a low shutter speed! There were Black and Brown/Common Noddies

IMG_8893-2.jpg

These Bush-stone Curlews are so odd! Apart from their creepy big eyes, they hang out at the cemetery and all night long they wail! It sounds like someone’s heart has just been broken and they are keening their soul out!! We could hear it INSIDE the hotel room all through the first night, somewhat disturbing!

I hope you enjoyed the fruit of my walking, driving and boating around Cairns.