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Field Guides Tour Report
Australia Part 2 2019
Oct 22, 2019 to Nov 11, 2019
John Coons & Doug Gochfeld

Water is a precious resource in the Australian deserts, so watering holes like this one near Georgetown are incredible places for concentrating wildlife. Two of our most bird diverse excursions were on our mornings in this region. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Australia. A voyage to the land of Oz is guaranteed to be filled with novelty and wonder, regardless of whether we’ve been to the country previously. This was true for our group this year, with everyone coming away awed and excited by any number of a litany of great experiences, whether they had already been in the country for three weeks or were beginning their Aussie journey in Darwin.

Given the far-flung locales we visit, this itinerary often provides the full spectrum of weather, and this year that was true to the extreme. The drought which had gripped much of Australia for months on end was still in full effect upon our arrival at Darwin in the steamy Top End, and Georgetown was equally hot, though about as dry as Darwin was humid. The warmth persisted along the Queensland coast in Cairns, while weather on the Atherton Tablelands and at Lamington National Park was mild and quite pleasant, a prelude to the pendulum swinging the other way. During our final hours below O’Reilly’s, a system came through bringing with it strong winds (and a brush fire warning that unfortunately turned out all too prescient). Our arrival to Tasmania was greeted with a damp chill in the air and lines of rain squalls. The mountains, as one would expect, were cold as well, and as we pulled into our lodging here, we were met by white stuff coming down from the sky, in the form of fresh spring graupel. We figured that that would be the crescendo of the weather swing, but the climate see-saw’s tilt to the other side really culminated a couple of days later, when we found ourselves in a legitimate blizzard! Despite the various logistical (and dress code) challenges the weather provided, it didn’t prevent us from having a heckuva lot of fun and seeing more than a heckuva lot of birds.

Our days in Darwin produced some real goodies, starting off with coastal/riparian specialties like Red-headed Myzomela, Australian Yellow White-eye, Chestnut Rail, Torresian Kingfisher, Broad-billed Flycatcher, and Beach Thick-knee in all its larger-than-life (and most other shorebirds) glory. As for the rest of our bounty of birds up in the top end, we skipped out on clouds, and instead procured silver linings for our rainbows: scope views of a cooperative Rainbow Pitta, an incredibly tame Silver-backed Butcherbird, and a cooperative Silver-crowned Friarbird. A Great Bowerbird and its bower were fantastic (and it’s possible that the bower drew more attention than the bird itself), and just seconds after we began our search for the tricky Black-tailed Treecreeper, we found a group of them! We even got to throw in an audible at the last moment: capitalizing on some recent intel, we switched around our planned itinerary a bit for a chance to head south of Darwin to see some Gouldian Finches! This rare nomadic resident of Australia’s interior is not often seen near the coasts, but the drought had pushed them to a watered field at a caravan park south of Darwin. We chanced that despite the season’s very first rain, which often sends nomadic vagrants back to the interior, having just happened the afternoon before, the finches would still have the habit of coming in for at least one more morning. We left early, arriving before daybreak (and having a great Large-tailed Nightjar experience on the way there), and after some tense waiting saw somewhere in the vicinity of 50 Gouldian Finches, many flying over, but several in different plumages coming down into the trees around us. Phenomenal! We also connected with some not-always-easy Northern Rosellas, Pacific Emerald Dove, and Bar-breasted Honeyeater to boot. On the way home, we swung by Fogg Dam, changing the size of our target birds from tiny to huge, and seeing hundreds of the impressive Brolga and several Black-necked Storks (also known as the Australian Jabiru).

Heading to the east coast of Queensland, we birded the Cairns area for a bit, then made a long drive inland to get to the unique desert habitat around Georgetown. To try and constrain Georgetown to the description of “desert” isn’t entirely fair though, as the termite-mount laden landscape has patches of grassy savanna, and more heavily wooded dry forest- it really is unique. This dry landscape also happens to host a whole lot of cattle, and with cattle come cattle dams (called tanks in the American west). These dams are scattered widely over the landscape, and are separated enough from each other that these watering holes provide excellent oases for birds, which is our main focus when we’re birding out in this part of the country. On the way out to Georgetown we came across a several dry country and regional specialties, including Emu (with adorable young chick!), Australian Bustard, and Fairy Gerygone. During our two days in Georgetown, Apostlebirds dominated the landscape, but were liberally supplemented with some other fantastic birds including (but not limited to) Channel-billed Cuckoo, Squatter Pigeon, Diamond Dove, Yellow-tinted Honeyeater, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Latham’s Snipe, Common Bronzewing, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Red-browed Pardalote, more Blue-faced Honeyeaters than you’d ever think could fit into a single tree, and a special experience involving walk away views of a Red-backed Kingfisher. One of the highlights of the area is often the finch show, and amongst the good numbers of Double-barred Finches we found Zebra Finch, Black-throated Finch, and Masked Finch.

Going from the brown landscape of Georgetown to the lush rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands was striking. The Tablelands are essentially the breadbasket of Australia, with better soil than anywhere else in the country. Therefore, much of it has been cleared for agriculture, but with a few patches of rich rainforest still intact. The birds weren’t the only highlights here, as significant amounts of our attention were directed at Sugar Gliders, Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroos, Long-nosed Bandicoots, Red-necked Pademelons, Boyd’s Forest Dragon, and of course the incomparable Platypus! The birds were fantastic too though, with Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Pied Monarch, Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Black-breasted Boatbill, Bridled Honeyeater (finally) and Mountain Thornbill haunting the forests. Atherton Scrubwren, Golden Bowerbird, and the tough to find Fernwren were some of the specialties which in a normal year could’ve taken the prize for best bird of the region, but this wasn’t a normal year. Our biggest bird highlight here was a young male SOUTHERN CASSOWARY, which sprinted up the road shoulder to us and then spent about 45 minutes curiously walking around with the group inside the forest as we continued birding. This was a fantastic experience, and one which will be remembered for life by every single one of us.

When we got back to Cairns, those who wanted to came out for an afternoon walk along the Esplanade to look for shorebirds, and were rewarded not only with more excellent views and identification studies of a pile of interesting shorebirds but with a juvenile Asian Dowitcher which finally materialized as we were all on our way back to the hotel. Our final day and a half in northern Queensland provided us with the range restricted White-browed Robin, the nomadic Banded Honeyeater, Pale-yellow Robin, Macleay’s Honeyeater, and a male Victoria’s Riflebird on its display perch.

The next leg of our journey was down to Lamington National Park, where our base of operations was the one-of-a-kind O’Reilly’s. Our time at O’Reilly’s was filled with incomparable views of an array of fantastic birds. For starters there were the obligatory Regent and Satin Bowerbirds, Australian King-Parrots and Crimson Rosellas perching on our heads and scopes, and Superb Fairywrens boldly belting out their jumbled songs within feet of us. We saw Australian Logrunners, typically shy, out in the open, the oft-skulking Eastern Whipbirds at our feet, and Rufous Fantails, Eastern Yellow Robins and Yellow-browed Scrubwrens practically begging for food. Throw in Paradise Riflebird, Rose Robin, and a fantastic study of an Albert’s Lyrebird walking around the forest digging for food while using its versatile vocal repertoire to serenade us with some very unique sounds, and the grounds of O’Reilly’s seemed to have it all. Despite the richness of the grounds, we were able to pry ourselves away and explore the forests below the lodge, unearthing such gems Noisy Pitta, Red-browed Treecreeper, Varied Sittella, Bell Miner, White-eared Monarch, a brief view of some Glossy Black-Cockatoos flushed up by a Gray Goshawk, and the furry cherry on top: A Koala!

We scooted down the mountain and out of Lamington amidst high winds and made our escape to Tasmania before the major brushfires broke out across the region, finding ourselves in the much cooler environment of Launceston by midday. Despite the sporadic wetness from above, we immediately began picking up some Tassie endemics, such as Green Rosella, Yellow Wattlebird, and Black Currawong. The next day, as we headed west, we found some very cooperative Cape Barren Geese and a couple of Musk Ducks before continuing uphill, picking up Pink Robin and Tasmanian Thornbill along the way. Our couple of days in the mountains dodging the aforementioned sporty weather was enriching and restorative, as we got to experience the primeval fern-dominated forests that used to cover so much of Tasmania, but are scarcer by the year. These forests, while not technically cloud forests, really do have that ethereal ambiance usually reserved for the various cloud forests of the world. In addition to more endemics and difficult to see birds (Scrubtit, Flame Robin, Brush Bronzewing, Olive Whistler, Crescent Honeyeater, Striated Fieldwren for just a taste), our mammal experiences were off the charts. By day we saw Tasmanian Pademelons, Common Wombats and Short-beaked Echidna (including once when the two species were just feet apart!), and then by night we supplemented even more pademelons with Common Brushtail Possum, Spotted-tailed Quoll, and the mystical, magical, almost mythical Tasmanian Devil. This all would’ve been enough to declare a resounding success, but we still had our full day on Southern Tasmania’s Bruny Island in front of us. The trip to Bruny was a perfect cap on a fantastic three weeks of birding. Once we made it across to the island (the ferry ride provided Australasian Gannet and Black-faced Cormorant), we quickly found our final Tassie endemic, the Forty-spotted Pardalote - in fact, we found 160 spots worth of them! Also in the area, near a Pallid Cuckoo putting on a good show, and above a Flame Robin attending two fluffy nestlings, we found the rare Swift Parrot. These special Parrots migrate across the Bass Strait to the Australian mainland every southern fall, and come back again to Tasmania every spring to breed. Other highlights, including Black-headed Honeyeaters feeding fledglings, great views of Spotted Pardalote, a good study of the endangered Hooded Plover, fun with two species of oystercatchers, and a good show put on by a “Tasmanian” White-capped Albatross not-too-far offshore, took us through the rest of our time on the island, and we retired for a lovely final dinner in Hobart.

We both wish to thank you all for your convivial companionship during this cross-continent exploration of the land down under. We formed and cemented some splendid friendships during the course of the tour, and we hope to see you again in this sprawling yet small world of birding. Until then, fare thee well!

-Doug & John

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Southern Cassowary is always one of the star attractions of our time in northern Queensland, but rarely do we have an encounter like the one this year. This young male cassowary walked out of the forest and trotted right up to the group. Our initial nervousness (Cassowaries can sometimes be aggressive and dangerous) eventually switched over to bemusement as the cassowary hung out adjacent to the group during our time in the forest, curiously monitoring what we were doing in the area, and at one point even sitting down on its haunches as it watched us watch other birds! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Casuariidae (Cassowaries and Emu)
SOUTHERN CASSOWARY (Casuarius casuarius) – It was a tremendous surprise to be walking the road at The Crater and have this large and impressive species walk out of the forest right in front of us. It then followed us for a while and even along the trail for a bit. This was probably a two year old individual that was beginning to get some blue color on the bony casque of the head. A quite uncommon species, it is incredible to be surprised by a wild individual like this one. Yip! Yip! Yip!
EMU (Dromaius novaehollandiae) – While on our way to Georgetown we spotted a male with a chick just off the highway and we got turned around for a nice view. This stretch of road is the only area to expect this species on our route.
Anseranatidae (Magpie Goose)
MAGPIE GOOSE (Anseranas semipalmata) – We saw a lot of these especially in the Darwin area.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
PLUMED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna eytoni) – A few were seen with the big flock of ducks at Hasties Swamp.
WANDERING WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna arcuata) – We saw a fair number of these in the Darwin area and west of Cairns.
CAPE BARREN GOOSE (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) – Tasmania only. We saw at least 27 individuals around the pond on our first morning in Tasmania.
BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus) – Most of our sightings were in Tasmania but we had one or two on the day we drove to Georgetown.
RADJAH SHELDUCK (Radjah radjah) – We enjoyed good views near Darwin.

Fairywrens are one of the hallmarks of Australian avifauna, and we saw three species. The most obliging of the three, on the strength of the friendly (to anthropomorphize) individuals at O'Reilly's, was Superb Fairwywren. Superb indeed! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadornoides) – Tasmania only. A few were on the pond with the Cape Barren Geese.
GREEN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus pulchellus) – There were several individuals on the lakes near Darwin and in the dry country on our way to Georgetown.
COTTON PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus coromandelianus) – This species has declined in recent years so it was a treat to see a good number at Innot Hot Springs.
MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata)
AUSTRALIAN SHOVELER (Spatula rhynchotis) – Tasmania only. A few were seen on ponds near the Mountain Valley Lodge.
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis)
CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) – Tasmania only. We saw a few individuals at the Cape Barren Goose pond and again at the roadside pond near Mountain Valley Lodge.
PINK-EARED DUCK (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) – A few birds were seen on the dams in the Georgetown area. This is another quite unusual duck.
HARDHEAD (Aythya australis) – Also know as White-eyed Duck; we saw a few in the Georgetown area then again in Tasmania.
BLUE-BILLED DUCK (Oxyura australis) – Tasmania only. We first saw a female at the small pond near our lodge, then a male that Doug spotted at the rest stop lake on our way to Hobart.
MUSK DUCK (Biziura lobata) – Tasmania only. This very bizarre duck was seen on a roadside pond on our first morning in Tasmania.

Scrubfowl are easier to see, and less shy, in Northern Australia than perhaps any other place on the planet. Orange-footed Scrubfowl was one of two species of Megapodes (the mound builders) which we ran across on the tour, this one beautifully photographed by participant Becky Hansen,.

Megapodiidae (Megapodes)
AUSTRALIAN BRUSHTURKEY (Alectura lathami) – There were a lot of these on the Atherton Tableland and in the O'Reilly's area.
ORANGE-FOOTED SCRUBFOWL (Megapodius reinwardt) – This species is quite hard to see "in the wild" but they are quite conspicuous in the parks of the Darwin and Cairns area. We saw many in the Darwin Botanical Gardens.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)
HOARY-HEADED GREBE (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) – Tasmania only. A few were seen in ponds in the northern part of the island state.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus) – Doug counted 270 individuals on Lake Barrine on the Atherton Tableland.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
WHITE-HEADED PIGEON (Columba leucomela) – We only had a couple of fly-overs.
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) [I]
BROWN CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia phasianella) – We had our best looks around Chambers Wildlife Lodge.
PACIFIC EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps longirostris)
COMMON BRONZEWING (Phaps chalcoptera) – There were three individuals that walked up to the water hole at Georgetown.
BRUSH BRONZEWING (Phaps elegans) – We flushed a few in the vicinity of Mountain Valley Lodge and most of us got a great look at one near the bridge.
CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes) – We saw a good number in the dry country of Georgetown.
SQUATTER PIGEON (Geophaps scripta) – Our first ones were walking right down the middle of the highway at Mt. Garnet.
WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) – We had nice looks at this large pigeon at O'Reilly's, where one or two were seen on the lawn and near the feeding station.

Australian Ibis is often called a "garbage bird" by Aussies, because of the boldness they show in search of food around well-populated areas. When they're scrounging for scraps with dirty bodies and folded wings and they may not look like much, but watch them in flight and they're really quite striking, from their crimson-lined capes to the finely patterned black barring on their tertials and even down to their stripey shoes. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

DIAMOND DOVE (Geopelia cuneata) – We had scope views of about three birds at Georgetown.
PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida)
BAR-SHOULDERED DOVE (Geopelia humeralis)
WOMPOO FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus magnificus) – We enjoyed a couple of scope views of this fancy pigeon on the Atherton Tableland.
SUPERB FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus superbus) – One perched for a scope look at Chambers Wildlife Lodge.
ROSE-CROWNED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus regina) – On our first morning in Darwin we saw a couple of these small but colorful pigeons.
TOPKNOT PIGEON (Lopholaimus antarcticus) – We had a few nice sightings with our best views at The Crater.
Otididae (Bustards)
AUSTRALIAN BUSTARD (Ardeotis australis) – This large dry-country bird put on a nice show on a few occasions in the Georgetown area.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
PHEASANT COUCAL (Centropus phasianinus)
PACIFIC KOEL (AUSTRALIAN) (Eudynamys orientalis cyanocephalus) – We saw a male and female in the Darwin area early in the trip then heard a few more during the course of our trip.
CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae) – Surprisingly, we only saw one individual but it was a great view of a perched bird quite close to us at Georgetown. A strangely shaped species.
SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus)
LITTLE BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx minutillus) – Two or three showed in the Darwin area.
PALLID CUCKOO (Cacomantis pallidus) – Tasmania only. We had a nice look at a singing bird on Bruny Island.
FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis) – Nice views were seen of one at 40 Mile Scrub National Park.
BRUSH CUCKOO (Cacomantis variolosus) – We had our best one during our lunch stop at Howard Springs outside of Darwin.

Everyone who stayed up to watch for them on the Tasmania extension got some nice experiences watching Tasmanian Devils come around to our cabins after dark. This iconic species has been in dramatic freefall over the past decade or so as a cancer-causing virus has ripped through the population, making them very difficult to see in the wild. Thankfully, there are conservation efforts afoot on several fronts, from isolating disease free populations from diseased animals to figuring out how to cure and prevent the cancers. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Podargidae (Frogmouths)
TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides) – On our final morning at O'Reilly's we had a nice scope view of one on a nest at Luke's Farm.
PAPUAN FROGMOUTH (Podargus papuensis) – Clayton took us to a spot near Julatten and we had a nice look at this large species on a nest.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus macrurus) – We had nice looks at a flyover just before daylight near our Gouldian Finch site south of Darwin.
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-THROATED NEEDLETAIL (Hirundapus caudacutus) – On our final morning at O'Reilly's we had about four individuals flying overhead.
AUSTRALIAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus terraereginae) – A fair number number were seen in the Cairns and Tableland areas.
PACIFIC SWIFT (Apus pacificus) – Doug spotted a couple flying about overhead at the Tumbling Waters site south of Darwin.

There are two species of lyrebirds, well known for their exceptionally accurate mimicry of the environments in which they live, and on part two we target the more range-restricted of the two: Albert's Lyrebird. We had great luck early on our first morning of searching, finding this young male Albert's (it is much rustier-colored overall than the colder-toned Superb which inhabits forests to the south) using its strong claws to search the leaf litter for food, while also serenading us with some of its odd but beautiful vocal repertoire. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
CHESTNUT RAIL (Gallirallus castaneoventris) – We heard a calling bird in the mangroves near Darwin, and Jim and Martha got a brief look as it walked amongst the tangle of trunks and roots.
TASMANIAN NATIVEHEN (Tribonyx mortierii) – Tasmania only. This endemic to Tasmania was quite conspicuous in many of the areas we visited including just outside our cabins at Mountain Valley Lodge.
DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa) – Amazingly, our only ones were seen at Innot Hot Springs.
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)
AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus melanotus)
Gruidae (Cranes)
SARUS CRANE (Antigone antigone) – We had a group of 54 individuals in a stubble field near the town of Yungaburra on the Atherton Tableland.
BROLGA (Antigone rubicunda) – An impressive number were in the marshy area and dry lake bed at Fogg Dam. We estimated at least 200 individuals.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
BUSH THICK-KNEE (Burhinus grallarius) – We had nice looks at this dry country species in the Darwin area, then we heard them calling after dark on the Esplanade at Cairns.
BEACH THICK-KNEE (Esacus magnirostris) – A great looking member of the family. We enjoyed wonderful looks at this odd looking species on the rocks along the coast at Darwin.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus)

Australian Logrunner is a great bird with a great (and appropriate) name. We saw a pair on multiple days at O'Reilly's, though they were doing a lot more leaf tossing than log running. The female has more color, showing off this fancy orange throat where on the male there is merely a continuation of the white belly. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
PIED OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus longirostris)
SOOTY OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus fuliginosus) – Tasmania only. We saw a fair number along the shores on Bruny Island.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva) – We only had one on the shore at Darwin.
BANDED LAPWING (Vanellus tricolor) – Tasmania only. A scan of a large pasture in northern Tasmania found about five individuals.
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles) – I believe we saw this species everyday of the trip.
LESSER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius mongolus)
GREATER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius leschenaultii)
RED-KNEED DOTTEREL (Erythrogonys cinctus) – A sharply marked species; we saw a few at the dams in the Georgetown area.
HOODED PLOVER (Thinornis cucullatus) – Tasmania only. A single bird showed very well on Bruny Island. This species has been threatened for decades as they like the same sandy beaches for nesting that humans like for recreation.
BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Elseyornis melanops) – Good numbers were seen in a few places, especially around Cumberland and Durham Dams at Georgetown.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
COMB-CRESTED JACANA (Irediparra gallinacea)

Satin Bowerbirds have a real affinity to blue and purple shades, and the males collect blue objects at their bowers to entice females to come hither. Given the blue tones of the males, and the vibrant purple/blue eye of both sexes, this is perhaps fitting. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (SIBERIAN) (Numenius phaeopus variegatus) – We had sightings in both Darwin and Cairns.
FAR EASTERN CURLEW (Numenius madagascariensis) – This long-billed species was seen well on the Esplanade at Cairns.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica) – There were lots of these along the foreshore at Cairns.
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa limosa) – Our best views were at Darwin on our first day of birding.
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)
GREAT KNOT (Calidris tenuirostris)
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (Calidris acuminata) – We saw a handful along the coasts but we had better view at the dams at Georgetown.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – There were a few at the Cairns Esplanade.
RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis)
ASIAN DOWITCHER (Limnodromus semipalmatus) – This quite rare shorebird was seen well by the few folks that joined Doug for the afternoon check of the Cairns foreshore.
LATHAM'S SNIPE (Gallinago hardwickii) – After some checking, it seems this was the snipe we saw at Cumberland Dam, then we saw three more at the roadside pond in Tasmania.
TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)
COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos) – A few were seen along the coast in Darwin.
GRAY-TAILED TATTLER (Tringa brevipes)
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – There were not many seen but we scoped one at East Point in Darwin.
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)
WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola) – We saw one at Fogg Dam and another at Durham Dam near Georgetown.
Glareolidae (Pratincoles and Coursers)
AUSTRALIAN PRATINCOLE (Stiltia isabella) – We saw a few at Fogg Dam, then another was seen when we disembarked the plane at our stopover in Gove.

We got good views of the endangered Hooded Plover on Bruny Island. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) – This is really the only widespread gull in Australia.
PACIFIC GULL (Larus pacificus) – Tasmania only. This huge-billed species was seen well at Adventure Bay on Bruny Island.
KELP GULL (Larus dominicanus) – Tasmania only. We saw our first near Hobart then several more on our Bruny Island visit.
LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons) – A few were off the coast at Darwin.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)
WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)
GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii) – We saw several near Darwin, then a single individual on Bruny Island on our final day of birding.

Koala! After we stopped alongside the road below O'Reilly's to see some Glossy Black-Cockatoos flying over the valley, Judith looked up and spotted this Koala lounging in a neighboring tree. What a fantastic animal. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.

Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
WHITE-CAPPED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche cauta) – We did a couple of short sea watches from shore on Bruny Island and had about 3-4 of these large seabirds soaring, with one making a rather close approach.
Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)
SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna tenuirostris) – We never had any close ones but there were a good number seen on the horizon from Bruny Island.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
BLACK-NECKED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) – This giant bird was seen well at Fogg Dam.
Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)
AUSTRALASIAN GANNET (Morus serrator) – Tasmania only. We had nice views of at least eight individuals that we saw from the ferry and on Bruny Island.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae) – Very similar to the North American Anhinga; we saw a handful while birding the northern part of Queensland.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Microcarbo melanoleucos) – This was the most commonly seen of the cormorants we encountered.
GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo) – We saw one on the Tableland above Cairns and a few more on Tasmania.
LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)
PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varius) – One was seen near Darwin where it is not a common species.
BLACK-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscescens) – Tasmania only. A handful were seen near the ferry landing at Kettering in Tasmania.

The landscape of the dry savannah-like landscape around Georgetown is certainly one of the most distinctive landscapes we run into on this tour, with some sections being dominated by rock-hard termite mounds as far as the eye can see. Photo by participant Libby Zimmerman.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus) – This is the world's largest pelican.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PACIFIC HERON (Ardea pacifica)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Many were seen.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia) – Most of our sightings were from the Darwin area.
WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae) – We saw these on several days of the trip, including a few on Tasmania.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
PACIFIC REEF-HERON (Egretta sacra) – Along the coast in Darwin we saw a handful of dark morphs and at least one white morph individual.
PIED HERON (Egretta picata) – A fair number were seen at Manton Dam and again at Fogg Dam.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – I believe we only had a single fly-by along the Darwin coast.
RUFOUS NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax caledonicus) – A nicely marked heron; we saw our first at Tumbling Water then a few more at Georgetown.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – Most of our sightings were around the edges of freshwater ponds and lakes.
AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis molucca) – These were very widespread.
STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis)
ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia) – Our first were at Manton Dam but we ended up seeing these on several subsequent days.
YELLOW-BILLED SPOONBILL (Platalea flavipes) – A single bird was feeding on the shore of Cumberland Dam with five Royal Spoonbills nearby.

Among the twelve (for now) species which are truly endemic to Tasmania, Forty-spotted Pardalote is the most range-restricted, and we connected with it at very close range early in our visit to Bruny Island. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus axillaris)
PACIFIC BAZA (Aviceda subcristata) – We saw two individuals while birding on the Atherton Tableland.
WEDGE-TAILED EAGLE (Aquila audax) – Our first was seen near the race course at Georgetown, then we had a couple more, including one on Tasmania.
SWAMP HARRIER (Circus approximans) – Tasmania only. Mostly a southern Australia species; we saw two or three in various places in Tasmania.
GRAY GOSHAWK (Accipiter novaehollandiae) – A white morph of this species is was what put the Glossy Black-Cockatoo flock into flight as we worked the dry Eucalypt Forest at Lamington, though it disappeared down the valley fairly quickly.
BROWN GOSHAWK (Accipiter fasciatus) – We saw a pretty good one at Davies Creek.
COLLARED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter cirrocephalus)
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans) – These were quite common in most habitats until we got to southern Queensland and Tasmania.
WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus)
BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus) – Most often seen flying over mangroves; we had a few good views in the Darwin area.
WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – We saw this large eagle about six or seven different days, usually near water. We also had one fly up one of the rivers in northern Tasmania.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
SOOTY OWL (LESSER) (Tyto tenebricosa multipunctata) – One was heard at 3:30 am while we snoozed at Chambers Wildlife Lodge. [*]
Strigidae (Owls)
RUFOUS OWL (Ninox rufa) – We had great looks at this large owl at Chambers Wildlife Lodge, even getting it in the scope for a few minutes.
BARKING OWL (Ninox connivens) – A pair were seen during the day at the Darwin Botanic Gardens on our very first afternoon.
MOREPORK (TASMANIAN) (Ninox novaeseelandiae leucopsis) – A few of us saw this local specialty at Mountain Valley Lodge just before dark. This bird was considered conspecific with the Southern Boobook of mainland Australia, but recent work has shown it is more closely related to the similar Morepork of New Zealand. Both species are named for their similar sounding call.

Gouldian Finch is a species in decline, as well as one that doesn't tend to be seen near many human-inhabited places. This year, due to the intense drought across the continent, some dry country species dispersed farther towards the coast. Just before the tour, we got word of a flock of Gouldian Finches coming to a holiday park south of Darwin, and we were able to squeeze a visit into the schedule just as the first rains of the season came. We were able to see a few dozen of these striking finches just before they moved back into their preferred interior habitats. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae) – Once we left Darwin and the paperbark forests, we encountered this iconic Australian bird just about every day.
BLUE-WINGED KOOKABURRA (Dacelo leachii) – Quite similar to Laughing Kookaburra, this species is tied to melaleuca forests and the open country that we experienced in the Darwin and Georgetown areas.

Rainbow Bee-eaters were very widespread in our travels. Often lost in the ooing and aahing over the colorful brilliance of their plumage is just how voracious they are in their quest for insects, and we saw a good many dragonflys meet their demise in a Bee-eater's bill. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.

RED-BACKED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) – We spent some time searching for this dry country specialist before we found three near Cumberland Dam.
FOREST KINGFISHER (Todiramphus macleayii)
TORRESIAN KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sordidus) – A mangrove bird, and formerly known as Mangrove Kingfisher; we saw one along the mangrove boardwalk in Darwin and another near the Esplanade in Cairns.
SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus)
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus) – A quite colorful species that we saw many days of the trip. They often sit still on a branch or wire before darting out to snag a flying insect.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis) – Most of our sightings were in the north. This is the sole member of the Roller family in Australia.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AUSTRALIAN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides)
AUSTRALIAN HOBBY (Falco longipennis) – Tasmania only. We saw one flying overhead on our first afternoon in Tasmania.
BROWN FALCON (Falco berigora) – A widespread species in Australia that we saw near Georgetown before seeing a few more times in Tasmania.
Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii) – This was one of the first species we recorded as a group when we met at the Darwin airport. We ended up seeing flocks throughout the north.
GLOSSY BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus lathami) – This quite uncommon species was one we looked for below the O'Reilly's Lodge. Duncan heard a group calling out the window of the vehicle but all we got was a group of 18 flying through the trees and down the valley.
YELLOW-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus funereus) – Tasmania only. This is another southern Australian species that we saw on our first morning of birding where we had about 12 individuals in a flock feeding in some pine trees. We saw them a couple of more times while on the island state.
GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla)
LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea)
SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO (Cacatua galerita) – This well-known Australian bird was seen most days of the trip. It is an impressive looking parrot but you would not want a flock outside your window at 5:00 am.

What's better than a regular-sized Emu? A regular-sized Emu accessorizing itself with a miniature one! Check out the intricate head patterning on the very young Emu we encountered on our way out to Georgetown, it's like a maze was inked into its downy coat. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis) – We couldn't have had better views of this red and green parrot, as they were very confiding at O'Reilly's Guest House.
RED-WINGED PARROT (Aprosmictus erythropterus) – We saw several pairs of these unusual parrots in the Georgetown area.
SWIFT PARROT (Lathamus discolor) – Tasmania only. This threatened species was in short supply but we had great scope views of about three individuals on Bruny Island.
GREEN ROSELLA (Platycercus caledonicus) – Tasmania only. This Tasmanian endemic was one of the first birds we got a good view of on our first afternoon after arriving in Hobart.
CRIMSON ROSELLA (Platycercus elegans) – Most of us had an extremely close experience with this bird at O'Reilly's.
NORTHERN ROSELLA (Platycercus venustus) – One of the prettiest of the rosellas. We had a nice look at a couple of pairs at the Tumbling Waters Park while waiting for the Gouldian Finches.
PALE-HEADED ROSELLA (Platycercus adscitus) – A good number were seen in the Georgetown area.
DOUBLE-EYED FIG-PARROT (Cyclopsitta diophthalma) – After many fly-overs, we got scope views of a pair near the Curtain Fig Tree that seemed to be investigating a nest hole.
LITTLE LORIKEET (Glossopsitta pusilla) [*]
VARIED LORIKEET (Psitteuteles versicolor) – At Tumbling Waters, a couple of close fly-by groups shot over us.
RED-COLLARED LORIKEET (Trichoglossus rubritorquis) – Recently given full species status, this close relative of Rainbow Lorikeet was observed in good numbers at Darwin and vicinity.
RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus moluccanus moluccanus) – A most colorful species that almost overdoes it; we had many good views in the Cairns area.
SCALY-BREASTED LORIKEET (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus) – Jim had a few of these while we were in the forest chasing down the Fernwren.
Pittidae (Pittas)
NOISY PITTA (Pitta versicolor) – Usually a quite difficult species to get a look at; we had a scope view of one that Doug spotted in the rainforest below O'Reilly's that stayed perched for several minutes.
RAINBOW PITTA (Pitta iris) – A Top End species; we followed a calling individual and found it through the vegetation, but got it in the scope for a nice view.

Channel-billed Cuckoo is a fantastic bird, and we had one hanging around us for some of our first morning in the Georgetown area. Between the resonant call, unusual flight style, and interesting proportions (including that bill- oh my!), the species has a really prehistoric feel to it. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Menuridae (Lyrebirds)
ALBERT'S LYREBIRD (Menura alberti) – On our first morning at O'Reilly's we found a male feeding in the forest and road edge mulch near the closed campground. This can be a very difficult one in some years. A great bird.
Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)
SPOTTED CATBIRD (Ailuroedus maculosus) – The best show was put on by those at Chambers Wildlife Lodge.
GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris) – We heard them a lot in the forest and we finally tracked down this rainforest species at O'Reilly's.
TOOTH-BILLED BOWERBIRD (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) – A male was singing at its bower in the forest at Lake Barrine. This species clears a patch of leaves on the bare ground then selects certain leaves with a silvery underside and arranges them on the bare spot. Also known as the Stage Maker, he then uses this arena to entice a female.
GOLDEN BOWERBIRD (Amblyornis newtoniana) – We saw a male at an exquisite double-maypole bower but it was a very young male that hardly had a hint of yellow on it.
REGENT BOWERBIRD (Sericulus chrysocephalus) – Certainly the signature bird at O'Reilly's, this dazzling black and gold species was seen up close and personal each day there.
SATIN BOWERBIRD (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) – We were shown a nest with a female sitting on it but we also saw a male dutifully tending to his bower that was decorated by purple and blue objects that were arranged just so.
GREAT BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera nuchalis) – At Manton Dam, we saw a wonderful full bower with white snail shells. pieces of shiny glass, and white stones decorating it. The male was nearby keeping an eye on us. We saw a few more at Georgetown each day we were there.

Looking out from the mountains separating the fertile Atherton Tablelands from the coastal plain which encompasses Cairns and stretches to the shore of the Coral Sea beyond, it is hard to imagine that you are just a few hours drive from the deserts of Georgetown. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)
WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (Cormobates leucophaea) – We saw this species while looking for the Red-browed Treecreeper in the dry forest near O'Reilly's.
WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (LITTLE) (Cormobates leucophaea minor) – We had a few nice looks at this endemic subspecies to the Atherton Tableland. There has been talk of a split for many years.

Red-browed Treecreeper is often a difficult species to track down. As a matter of fact, it seemed more like this bird tracked US down than vice versa. It just appeared in front of us as we were in the midst of our great birding along Duck Creek Road. We got to watch it doing treecreepery things, as it examined every nook, cranny, and contour of the neighborhood tree bark in its quest for insects. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

RED-BROWED TREECREEPER (Climacteris erythrops) – After much searching, one suddenly appeared in a small tree right next to us along the Duck Creek Road.
BROWN TREECREEPER (Climacteris picumnus) – We saw a pair near Georgetown. This is the dark race that is often confused with the next species.
BLACK-TAILED TREECREEPER (Climacteris melanurus) – Our trip to Manton Dam paid off with good views of this local specialty.
Maluridae (Fairywrens)
VARIEGATED FAIRYWREN (Malurus lamberti) – A colorful male and a couple of females showed well along the Duck Creek Road near O'Reilly's.
SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus) – These were seen in good numbers at O'Reilly's and everyday in Tasmania where they are quite common and conspicuous.
RED-BACKED FAIRYWREN (Malurus melanocephalus) – A real dazzler, this small black bird with a bright red back was seen a handful of times in a variety of areas.
Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris)
YELLOW-SPOTTED HONEYEATER (Meliphaga notata) – We had nice looks at singing birds along Black Mountain Road and near Cassowary House.
LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii)
GRACEFUL HONEYEATER (Meliphaga gracilis) – A close relative of Yellow-spotted, we also saw this slightly smaller species along Black Mountain Road.
YELLOW HONEYEATER (Stomiopera flava) – This species is relatively common in the Georgetown area and we also saw one near Mount Molloy at the north end of the Atherton Tableland.
WHITE-GAPED HONEYEATER (Stomiopera unicolor) – A quite vocal northern species; we saw a fair number near Darwin.
YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops)
BELL MINER (Manorina melanophrys) – A quite unusual honeyeater in that the males form colonies and sound off with their bell-like call to attract females. We saw a few in the burned section of forest below O'Reilly's.
NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala) – Our best views were in Canungra, where we made the pit stop at the bottom of the mountain below O'Reilly's.
YELLOW-THROATED MINER (Manorina flavigula) – This is more of a drier country species than the preceding and we saw a few at Georgetown.

We had a blast watching the antics of the very social Apostlebird. They roamed around the Georgetown area in raucous troops (indeed, often numbering twelve individuals), and were often very confiding while we watched their interactions with fascination. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.

BRIDLED HONEYEATER (Bolemoreus frenatus) – It took some work, but we finally got views of this local species at The Crater on the Atherton Tableland.
LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera) – Tasmania only. Another unusual looking honeyeater; we had a couple show up rather close at the roadside pond near Mountain Valley Lodge.
YELLOW WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera paradoxa) – Tasmania only. Another of the twelve Tasmanian endemics, this is the largest Australian honeyeater and the males are much bigger than the females. It is unusual to have such sexual dimorphism in passerines.
VARIED HONEYEATER (Gavicalis versicolor) – We had nice looks on the Cairns Esplanade where they are quite noisy.
MANGROVE HONEYEATER (Gavicalis fasciogularis) – It took some looking but we found this mangrove specialist along the coast in a suburb of Brisbane.
YELLOW-TINTED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula flavescens) – A handful of this local species came down to the edge of Durham Dam to drink in the early morning.
FUSCOUS HONEYEATER (Ptilotula fusca) – We saw a good number of these in the dry forest on the side trip we took down the hill on the Atherton Tableland. This was species number 6900 for Larry.
BROWN-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ramsayornis modestus)
BAR-BREASTED HONEYEATER (Ramsayornis fasciatus) – This is a quite uncommon and irruptive species and we ended up getting it quite well in a small park near Darwin.
RUFOUS-BANDED HONEYEATER (Conopophila albogularis)
RUFOUS-THROATED HONEYEATER (Conopophila rufogularis) – A fair number were seen near Georgetown. This species actually only has a small triangle of red on the throat.

Black-headed Honeyeater is another Tassie endemic, and we had many encounters with this species, but none more memorable than the experience on Bruny Island of watching this adult being followed around by two hungy, hungry chickos! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

DUSKY MYZOMELA (Myzomela obscura) – This is the species that should have been named Brown Honeyeater. They were seen a few times amongst flowers and in gardens near Darwin and near Cairns.
RED-HEADED MYZOMELA (Myzomela erythrocephala) – An endemic to the mangroves of northern Australia; we saw a few, including some nice males near Darwin on our first afternoon there.
SCARLET MYZOMELA (Myzomela sanguinolenta)
BANDED HONEYEATER (Cissomela pectoralis) – A male appeared feeding in a flowering tree at the rest stop at Mount Molloy. It kept disappearing for minutes at a time only to pop up again near the same spot.
BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta) – Very common.
CRESCENT HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) – Tasmania only. After getting rained out of a couple of areas in Tasmania where this handsome honeyeater can be found, we saw it during our morning walk at Mountain Valley Lodge.
NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) – Tasmania only. This species is very common in southern Australia and the rain kept us from seeing more in Tasmania.
WHITE-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris niger) – Another quite local species; we saw a couple feeding in the red flowering trees at Wondecla.
YELLOW-THROATED HONEYEATER (Nesoptilotis flavicollis) – Tasmania only. A very pretty honeyeater and one of the Tasmanian endemics; we saw a few and had scope looks along the roadside near Mountain Valley.

We had a great view of this Red Kangaroo in the Georgetown area, as it foraged in a culvert near the road. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

BLUE-FACED HONEYEATER (Entomyzon cyanotis) – A boisterous and obvious species; we saw these in the Darwin area and again at Georgetown where there were about 16 in one tree.
WHITE-THROATED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus albogularis)
WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus lunatus) – A few were seen in the tall eucalypt forest along the Duck Creek Road.
BLACK-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus affinis) – Tasmania only. Another endemic that showed well a handful of times. We saw an adult feeding two brown headed juveniles.
STRONG-BILLED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus validirostris) – Tasmania only. We had to search a lot for this endemic to Tasmania. I'm sure the weather hampered our search earlier, but we found a pair in the tall forest along the river the day we left Mountain Valley Lodge.
MACLEAY'S HONEYEATER (Xanthotis macleayanus) – A few were visiting the sugar water feeders at Cassowary House.
LITTLE FRIARBIRD (Philemon citreogularis) – This was the most common of the friarbirds that we encountered.
HELMETED FRIARBIRD (HORNBILL) (Philemon buceroides yorki) – This is the form of Helmeted Friarbird that occurs in eastern Australia and we saw it along Black Mountain Road.
HELMETED FRIARBIRD (HELMETED) (Philemon buceroides gordoni) – This form was seen several times in the Darwin area with a good number visible at the flowering tree at Manton Dam.
SILVER-CROWNED FRIARBIRD (Philemon argenticeps) – The least common of the friarbirds; we found one feeding in the white flowers at Manton Dam.
NOISY FRIARBIRD (Philemon corniculatus) – A good number were seen in the Mt Garnet area where we had lunch on our way to Georgetown.

We saw Blue-faced Honeyeater in other locations around the north, but Georgetown provided the best experiences with them by a large measure. A charismatic flock of these oversized honeyeaters were swarming around the edges of Durham Dam on our great morning there. Watching two dozen of them comically line up on surrounding branches and put their heads together as if in a sports team huddle was one of the most interesting (and inexplicable!) behaviors we witnessed of any of the fauna we encountered. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)
SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus) – After getting not-so-great looks in the O'Reilly's area, we had a close view of a sharply marked male on Bruny Island.
FORTY-SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus quadragintus) – Tasmania only. Perhaps the rarest of the Tasmanian endemics in terms of overall numbers. We had nice looks at our first stop on Bruny Island. We ended up seeing three individuals.
RED-BROWED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus rubricatus) – Always a tough one. On this trip, we tracked down a calling bird at Georgetown that came in right above us near Cumberland Dam.
STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus) – We tried seeing a couple high in the trees along the Duck Creek Road but finally scored with it on Tasmania.
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
FERNWREN (Oreoscopus gutturalis) – A quite difficult species to first find then get a look at. We heard a singing bird in the tangle of forest near The Crater and finally got it to pop up and sit for a spell. A quite good looking relative of the scrubwrens.
YELLOW-THROATED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis citreogularis) – We saw several of these hopping around at our feet at O'Reilly's.
WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis)
TASMANIAN SCRUBWREN (Sericornis humilis) – Tasmania only. Always a tough one to see as it is in thick ferns near the ground, but we saw a few and got nice looks at this Tasmanian endemic.
ATHERTON SCRUBWREN (Sericornis keri) – A quite local species of the higher elevations of the Atherton Tableland; we saw it well at The Crater.
LARGE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis magnirostra)
SCRUBTIT (Acanthornis magna) – Tasmanian only. This is one of the least common of the Tasmanian endemics. We did a bit of looking and ended up with nice views of a pair down the road from Mountain Valley Lodge.

Red-backed Fairywren was our most widespread species of fairywren, and this didn't detract from the wow factor we felt every time we saw a male in its slick black-and-red plumage. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

STRIATED FIELDWREN (Calamanthus fuliginosus) – This handsome small wren-like bird gave us good views at Mountain Valley Lodge.
BUFF-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza reguloides)
MOUNTAIN THORNBILL (Acanthiza katherina) – A pair came in to view near The Crater.
BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla)
TASMANIAN THORNBILL (Acanthiza ewingii) – Tasmania only. We had to get good views of this small species and Tasmanian endemic to separate it from the more widespread Brown Thornbill.
YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) – Tasmania only. A single bird was seen well at Trevallyn Nature Reserve in Hobart before we saw a couple more later in the trip.
STRIATED THORNBILL (Acanthiza lineata)
WEEBILL (Smicrornis brevirostris) – A few of these tiny birds were seen well, right at our motel in Georgetown.
GREEN-BACKED GERYGONE (Gerygone chloronota)
FAIRY GERYGONE (Gerygone palpebrosa) – A couple of individuals made quick appearances at 40 Mile Scrib National Park.
WHITE-THROATED GERYGONE (Gerygone olivacea) – A beautiful songster; we heard and saw a couple of these in the Georgetown area.
LARGE-BILLED GERYGONE (Gerygone magnirostris) – We saw one coming to a nest at Tumbling Waters Park south of Darwin.
BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki)
MANGROVE GERYGONE (Gerygone levigaster) – Another local species; we saw at least two in the mangroves near Brisbane.
Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)
GRAY-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus temporalis)
Orthonychidae (Logrunners)
AUSTRALIAN LOGRUNNER (Orthonyx temminckii) – O'Reilly's is one of the best places to see this interesting species as it forages on the ground kicking leaves about.

This Mertens' Water Monitor was acting very territorial at Howard Springs. Photo by participant Libby Zimmerman.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
BARRED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina lineata) – We saw this species at The Crater and again at the Curtain Fig Tree.
BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae)
WHITE-WINGED TRILLER (Lalage tricolor) – A fair number were seen in the Darwin area.
VARIED TRILLER (Lalage leucomela)
COMMON CICADABIRD (Edolisoma tenuirostre) [*]
Neosittidae (Sittellas)
VARIED SITTELLA (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) – A widespread species in Australia that is not really common anywhere. We had nice looks at this nuthatch-like species along the Duck Creek Road near O'Reilly's.
Psophodidae (Whipbirds and Wedgebills)
EASTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes olivaceus) – A species that is often thought of as a real skulker; we had a few views before we got to O'Reilly's where some individuals hop about right in the open.
Falcunculidae (Shrike-tit)
CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (Falcunculus frontatus) [*]
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
BOWER'S SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla boweri) – An endemic species to the Atherton Tableland. We saw these each morning at Chambers Wildlife Lodge.
GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica) – A quite common voice of southern Queensland and Tasmania; we saw several.
LITTLE SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla megarhyncha) – Those that we saw in the Cairns area and on the Atherton Tableland were of the rufous subspecies.

Varied Sittella showed very well in the forest below O'Reilly's. Like pardalotes, sittellas spend much of their time flitting around high up, hiding among sittella-sized leaves or moving too quickly to get good views of. The views we had this year were atypically fantastic! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

OLIVE WHISTLER (Pachycephala olivacea) – Tasmania only. We had nice looks on our morning walk at Mountain Valley Lodge. This is a true southern species in Australia.
GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis)
BLACK-TAILED WHISTLER (Pachycephala melanura) – Unfortunately, our only one popped up for only a few seconds then disappeared as we birded along the Adelaide River.

Clayton was able to wrangle views of a couple of excellent Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroos during a lunch stop in the Atherton Tablelands. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

GRAY WHISTLER (BROWN) (Pachycephala simplex simplex)
RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris) – This is another widespread species in Australia.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE (Oriolus sagittatus) – A few showed well in the Darwin and Georgetown areas.
GREEN ORIOLE (Oriolus flavocinctus) – A quite common voice of the forests; we heard many more than we saw.
AUSTRALASIAN FIGBIRD (Sphecotheres vieilloti) – A quite colorful species; we saw both the green and yellow bellied forms.
Machaerirhynchidae (Boatbills)
YELLOW-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer) – One of my favorites; this small yellow and black flycatcher with a white throat was heard a few times before we got a good look at the Curtain Fig Tree.
Artamidae (Woodswallows, Bellmagpies, and Allies)
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus leucorynchus) – We saw these in most areas except in Tasmania.
BLACK-FACED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cinereus) – We saw a few in the Georgetown area, with our first one perched atop a termite mound.
DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus) – Most of our sightings were in Tasmania but we did see one at the southern end of the Atherton Tableland.
GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus)
SILVER-BACKED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus argenteus argenteus) – A somewhat recent split from Gray Butcherbird; we saw one near Darwin on our first morning.

We found a pair of Striated Pardalotes investigating this nest hole in a clay wall along the road in rural Tasmania. These were just about the best views possible of a pardalote, given their usual propensity for being in the very tops of tall Eucalyptus trees where they blend into the tops of the swaying trees as if they were just another leaf. Photo by participant Becky Hansen.

PIED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus nigrogularis) – A beautiful songster; we saw a good many, with one waking us up each morning at Georgetown with its wonderful vocals.
BLACK BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus quoyi)
AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen)
PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina) – These were especially common around O'Reilly's where they were quite conspicuous and vocal.
BLACK CURRAWONG (Strepera fuliginosa) – Tasmania only. Quite similar to the black form of Gray Currawong, this Tasmanian endemic was seen each day we were there. It is told from the following species by its black undertail.
GRAY CURRAWONG (CLINKING) (Strepera versicolor arguta) – Tasmania only. Unlike the mainland form, this subspecies is quite black with white undertail coverts.
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
NORTHERN FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufiventris) – We saw a few around Darwin and vicinity.
WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys)
RUFOUS FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufifrons) – A quite pretty fantail; we saw a few at O'Reilly's where a pair was working on a nest.
ARAFURA FANTAIL (Rhipidura dryas) – This is another species that made a very brief appearance along the Adelaide River east of Darwin but it really wasn't seen by anyone.
GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa) – We saw many, with even more in Tasmania than any other place.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SPANGLED DRONGO (Dicrurus bracteatus) – This is the only member of this Old World tropical family. We saw a few around Darwin then more in the Cairns area.

Rufous Fantails always seem curious, but this one at O'Reilly's seemed even more inquisitive than usual. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Paradisaeidae (Birds-of-Paradise)
PARADISE RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris paradiseus) – We had pretty good views of a young male that was calling from the trees near the lodge at O'Reilly's. This species tends to display from a horizontal limb instead of the top of a broken branch as in Victoria's Riflebird.
VICTORIA'S RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris victoriae) – We saw a number of young male or female-plumaged individuals at Chambers Wildlife Lodge and other areas of the Atherton Tableland, before we saw a male at Cassowary House that was calling from a large rainforest tree.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
WHITE-EARED MONARCH (Carterornis leucotis) – This is a quite uncommon bird throughout its limited range. We had a nice view of a singing bird along the road below O'Reilly's.
BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis) – We enjoyed good views of this orange breasted species in the forest at Chambers Wildlife Lodge. The next morning we saw the next species in the same place.
SPECTACLED MONARCH (Symposiachrus trivirgatus)
PIED MONARCH (Arses kaupi) – A distinctly marked black and white species that likes to perch sideways on tree trunks; we had a good view near the Curtain Fig Tree.
MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca) – Also known as mud lark. This bird was omnipresent during our time in country, and is an iconic bird, largely due to its commonness.
LEADEN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra rubecula)
BROAD-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Myiagra ruficollis) – Our first ones were at East Point at the edge of Darwin, and we had at least one more at Fogg Dam.
PAPERBARK FLYCATCHER (Myiagra nana) – This species can be quite common near lakes and dams in northern Australia.
SHINING FLYCATCHER (Myiagra alecto) – In this species, the males are all black and the females are quite pretty, with a cinnamon brown colored back and tail and white belly with black head.

Another species during our phenomenal morning's birding below O'Reilly's was this stonking male Variegated Fairywren. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Corcoracidae (White-winged Chough and Apostlebird)
APOSTLEBIRD (Struthidea cinerea) – This very unusual species was quite common in the Georgetown area, where it was quite conspicuous in its groups of twelve, as they seemingly go marauding about with their loud scratchy call.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru) – This was the only corvid we saw on the first part of the trip.
FOREST RAVEN (Corvus tasmanicus) – Tasmania only.

You'd be hard pressed to find something more adorable than a Sugar Glider! We had a neat experience with a couple after dark on the Atherton Tablelands. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)
LEMON-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Microeca flavigaster) – We saw a few in the Darwin area and heard more in the wetter forests.
SCARLET ROBIN (Petroica boodang) – Tasmania only. A quite pretty little flycatcher; we saw a male at Trevallyn on our first afternoon in Tasmania, then a few more including a female at Mountain Valley Lodge.
FLAME ROBIN (Petroica phoenicea) – Tasmania only. This species is, perhaps, tied to the forest a bit more than Scarlet Robin. We saw males and females at Mountain Valley Lodge.
ROSE ROBIN (Petroica rosea) – A beauty of the rainforests further north; we had wonderful looks at a cooperative male at O'Reilly's on a couple of occasions.
PINK ROBIN (Petroica rodinogaster) – Tasmania only. Not quite an endemic to Tasmania, as they migrate to the mainland and a few breed there. The pink breast color is nearly unique to this species.
DUSKY ROBIN (Melanodryas vittata) – Tasmania only. Not one of the most colorful robins, we were having a bit of trouble with this species in the inclement weather before Doug spotted this Tasmanian endemic in a forest clear-cut along the roadside.
PALE-YELLOW ROBIN (Tregellasia capito) – After a bit of looking, we found this bird along the drive going into Cassowary House.
EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis)
MANGROVE ROBIN (Eopsaltria pulverulenta) – Another specialty of the Cairns area, we saw this in the mangroves (where else) near our motel..
WHITE-BROWED ROBIN (Poecilodryas superciliosa) – A species that is quite limited in its range; we had a nice view of a cooperative individual along a creek on the Atherton Tableland.
GRAY-HEADED ROBIN (Heteromyias cinereifrons) – Another species that is restricted to the Atherton Tableland, there were a few seen around Chambers Wildlife Lodge and The Crater.
Alaudidae (Larks)
AUSTRALASIAN BUSHLARK (Mirafra javanica) [*]
EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) – We could not see this displaying bird in the rain in Tasmania. [I*]
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
GOLDEN-HEADED CISTICOLA (Cisticola exilis) – A couple or three were seen at Fogg Dam where the water was getting desperately low.
Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)
AUSTRALIAN REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus australis) – Somewhat similar to the North American Marsh Wren; we saw a singing bird at the pond near Innot Hot Springs on our way to Georgetown.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena)
FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel)
TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans) – After many in the Georgetown area, we saw a fair number in Tasmania as well.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
AUSTRALIAN YELLOW WHITE-EYE (Zosterops luteus) – A species that is endemic to the mangroves of northern Australia; we saw it on our first afternoon after arriving in Darwin.
SILVEREYE (Zosterops lateralis)

Yellow Wattlebird is another of the Tassie endemic honeyeaters, but by far the largest. We got to see a couple with wattles even longer than this individual's! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

Sturnidae (Starlings)
METALLIC STARLING (Aplonis metallica) – Our best views were at the colony at the edge of Cairns, where many birds were tending to the colonial nests in a huge tree.
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – Tasmania only. [I]
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BASSIAN THRUSH (Zoothera lunulata) – On our second morning at O'Reilly's, we found one along the boardwalk near the lodge as it foraged in the leaf litter.

We saw several bowers of Great Bowerbirds, each with a different assortent of precious artifacts laid out as if a red carpet in front of their avenue bowers. Here we almost fit participant Jim Jackson into the bower to try his hand at a bowerbird one-two step. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) – Tasmania only. [I]
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
MISTLETOEBIRD (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) – A quite colorful bird of a variety of habitats in Australia; we had several good views.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
RED-BROWED FIRETAIL (Neochmia temporalis) – This fancy little bird was seen several times including a pair building a nest.
CRIMSON FINCH (Neochmia phaeton) – At Yorkey's Knob we watched a pair flying into the bush and soon returning with blades of vegetation they were taking to a nest across the pond.
ZEBRA FINCH (Taeniopygia guttata) – One can't help but think these are escaped cage birds when you actually see them in the wild.
DOUBLE-BARRED FINCH (Taeniopygia bichenovii) – Another sharply marked species with exquisite little white dots on the wings.
MASKED FINCH (Poephila personata) – On our morning visit to Cumberland Dam near Georgetown, we had a loose group of about ten individuals feeding on the ground and perching in nearby trees.
BLACK-THROATED FINCH (Poephila cincta) – A specialty of northeast Australia; a handful of individuals were seen with the Masked Finches near Georgetown at the two dams we visited in the morning.
GOULDIAN FINCH (Erythrura gouldiae) – We enjoyed scope views of a group of these quite uncommon but incredibly colorful finches south of Darwin. This is generally a species that is well out of range of our route in the Darwin area, but due to the extended drought we learned of a caravan and camping park, Tumbling Waters, that was getting up to 400 individuals coming to drink on their lawn. We made arrangements to visit, and the afternoon before there was the first rain of the season which would have allowed these finches to drink almost anywhere. We arrived at early light and after waiting a spell, the first ones arrived and we had nice looks at this beauty. There were about 15-20 total individuals so not the incredible show we were hoping for, but a great bird we had never seen on this portion of the trip before. Thanks to the wonderful owners of the park to accommodate us!
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) – We scoped a pair at the pond at Yorkey's Knob. [I]
CHESTNUT-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura castaneothorax) – Stefan saw this distinctive species at Durham Dam near Georgetown.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AUSTRALASIAN PIPIT (AUSTRALIAN) (Anthus novaeseelandiae australis) – Each morning there was a cooperative individual perched atop a boulder in the meadow at Mountain Valley Lodge.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
EUROPEAN GREENFINCH (Chloris chloris) – Tasmania only. [I]
EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) – Tasmania only. [I]

Short-beaked Echidna is yet another in a long line of unique Australian land mammals. This individual was more confiding than many, as it didn't seem particularly concerned with our presence. Instead of burying its head in the ground and just showing its spiky bits, which it often does when in the vicinity of larger animals (such as humans), this one went on foraging with gusto. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

SHORT-BEAKED ECHIDNA (Tachyglossus aculeatus) – One of the world's most bizarre mammals. We had great looks at a few individuals in Tasmania. The soft sandy soils where we birded are ideal for echidnas, as they can easily burrow.
PLATYPUS (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) – One of the great mammals; there were at least three individuals at the site we visited just off the road. One of these fantastic creatures kept bobbing up after a dive and we had multiple views.
SPOTTED-TAILED QUOLL (Dasyurus maculatus) – Several of us saw this carnivorous marsupial at Mountain Valley Lodge. This is another species that is rarely seen in the wild.
TASMANIAN DEVIL (Sarcophilus harrisii) – Those of us who stayed up to watch had multiple views of this legendary species at Mountain Valley Lodge. The northwest part of Tasmania has been the stronghold for the remaining population of this highly threatened species.

Whiptail Wallabys are also known as Prettyface Wallabys, for reasons that are evident when you see one. This one paused with some grass in its mouth to see what we were all about. The joey in its pouch was happily ensconced though, and the only evidence, aside from the pouch bulge, of its presence was the tail hanging down out of the pouch. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

LONG-NOSED BANDICOOT (Peramelas nasuta) – At least one individual was conspicuous at the honey feeder at Chambers Wildlife Lodge.
COMMON WOMBAT (Vombatus ursinus) – As we got close to Cradle Mountain National Park, we had a few very nice views of another odd Australian mammal. We ended up seeing at least five individuals.
KOALA (Phascolarctos cinereus) – Judith spotted this all-time favorite sitting high in a eucalypt along the road below O'Reilly's Guest House. One of the cutest mammals anywhere.
COMMON BRUSHTAIL POSSUM (Trichosurus vulpecula) – A few were seen around the cabins at Mountain Valley Lodge.
SHORT-EARED POSSUM (Trichosurus caninus) – This was the species that came to the feeder at O'Reilly's during dinner.
SUGAR GLIDER (Petaurus breviceps) – Another very cute small mammal; there were two at the honey at Chambers Wildlife Lodge on our first evening there.
MUSKY RAT-KANGAROO (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus) – One or two were seen from the veranda at Cassowary House. This is the smallest of the kangaroos.
TASMANIAN PADEMELON (Thylogale billardierii) – A lot of these gathered on the lawn after dark at Mountain Valley Lodge.
RED-NECKED PADEMELON (Thylogale thetis) – Only a couple were spotted around O'Reilly's, where they are usually a lot more conspicuous.
LUMHOLTZ'S TREE KANGAROO (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) – We enjoyed watching two of these odd kangaroos at our lunch spot on the Atherton Tableland as they fed in trees just outside the cafe. Yes, a kangaroo that climbs trees!
AGILE WALLABY (Macropus agilis) – We saw a lot of these in the Darwin area then many more around Georgetown in Queensland.
RED-NECKED WALLABY (Macropus rufogriseus) – We saw a few of these on Tasmania.
WHIPTAIL WALLABY (Macropus parryi) – Also known as Pretty-faced Wallaby; we saw these on the grassy areas along the main road leading to O'Reilly's.
EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus giganteus) – We saw a few in the Georgetown area; this is the largest of the kangaroos.
RED KANGAROO (Macropus rufus) – A single individual was right next to the main road going west from Georgetown.
BLACK FLYING-FOX (Pteropus alecto) – We saw big numbers in the trees at Howard Springs and then Manton Dam near Darwin.
SPECTACLED FLYING-FOX (Pteropus conspicillatus) – This was the flying-fox that we saw roosting in the trees in Cairns.
OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) – Only a couple were seen. [I]
BUSH RAT (Rattus fuscipes) – Upon further review, it seems the native rat we saw below the O'Reilly's lodge may have been this species instead of the Australian Swamp Rat. This species is more associated to rainforests, while the Swamp Rat is more of a lowland heath species.
DINGO (Canis familiaris dingo) – Kristine saw a dark morph individual at O'Reilly's before we gathered in the morning.
FRILL-NECKED LIZARD (Chlamydosaurus kingii) – We saw one along the road near Georgetown.
BOYD'S FOREST DRAGON (Lophosaurus boydii) – Clayton spotted one in the forest at Lake Barrine as it clung to the side of a tree.

In Tasmania, we found ourselves enveloped in fabulous landscape after landscape, from snow covered mountains, to the ethereal rainforests reminiscent of tropical cloudforest, to the fern-dominated open lands and even to the sunny coast of Bruny Island. It was a wonderful few days to wrap up a fantastic tour! Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.

MERTENS' WATER MONITOR (Varanus mertensi) – A rather large individual showed well at Howard Springs.


Totals for the tour: 353 bird taxa and 24 mammal taxa