Field Guides
Home Tours Guides News About Us FAQ Contact Us
Field Guides Tour Report
Oct 8, 2017 to Oct 26, 2017
Jay VanderGaast

We had one of the best views of the wonderful Blue Bird-of-Paradise ever! We didn't vote on it, but this gorgeous male cooperated so well that he was probably the bird of the trip! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

It's not often I get the chance to lead such a small group, so this additional trip was a real treat for me. With just 3 participants, I was able to do all the driving in Australia, so we were much more flexible and mobile than usual, which, I for one, really liked. We still did the same things I usually do on this tour, but it seemed like we had more free time to try a couple of new things, too, and overall, they worked out beautifully.

Kicking things off in the Cairns region, the tour started off strong with the likes of nesting Australasian Darters and a pair of Radjah Shelducks at the Yorkey's Knob Golf Course, plus a bonus pair of Crimson Finches (a rather scarce species on this tour route), as well as outstanding views of 4 White-browed Crakes at the Cattana Wetlands. A late afternoon walk along the Esplanade gave us a good selection of shorebirds including at least 5 Terek Sandpipers for a nice finish to the day.

Next, we were up into the Atherton Tablelands for several days in one of my favorite regions of the country. A close encounter with a female Southern Cassowary was a treat, as always, at the aptly-named Cassowary House, as were some great looks at both Brolga and Sarus Cranes side-by-side for a super comparison. Many of the Atherton Tablelands specialties came through nicely, including young male Victoria's Riflebirds displaying on an exposed dead tree above our lodging, a very approachable Tooth-billed Catbird at his leaf-covered display area, and a quartet of awesome Chowchillas on our third and final attempt! Incredible views of both White-browed Robins and Lovely Fairywrens were a big bonus at a new site we managed to work into the itinerary, and amazing looks at a Sooty Owl were a highlight of a spotlighting foray one night. Mammals were excellent here too, and we enjoyed superb sightings of Platypus, Sugar Glider, Striped Possum, Green Ringtail Possum, and a mom and baby Lumholtz's Tree-Kangaroo, among others.

From Cairns, we made the short hop across the Torres Strait to Papua New Guinea, though it seemed like we'd landed in a completely different world. Birding began in the Port Moresby region, with a stop at PAU starting things off nice and easy with a good assortment of waterbirds (including Rufous Night-Heron and Pied Heron) and a small selection of endemics like the lovely Orange-fronted Fruit-Dove, White-shouldered Fairywrens, and Yellow-faced Myna among them. Things got even more serious the next morning with our first visit to the wonderful Varirata NP. Among many excellent sightings there, standouts included a remarkably unwary Yellow-legged Brush-Turkey (first I've seen in the park!), striking Pacific Bazas, several scarce Purple-tailed Imperial-Pigeons, two species of paradise-kingfishers, and Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise.

Moving up to the highlands, we had several days to track down the many specialties of PNG's mountain regions. Birds-of-Paradise are always foremost on folk's minds here, and I think we did pretty well overall, with perhaps my best-ever encounter with the magnificent Blue-BoP, plus excellent male Lesser BoP, Brown Sicklebill, and Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, and a bonus Short-tailed Paradigalla highlighting the group. Among the many other standouts we saw here were a very cooperative White-breasted Fruit-Dove, Rufous-throated and White-eared bronze-cuckoos, the scarce Mountain Kingfisher, Madaraz's Tiger-Parrot, Goldie's and Orange-billed Lorikeets, beautiful Red-collared Myzomelas, Fan-tailed and Crested berrypeckers, Blue-capped Ifrita, Regent Whistler, a male Garnet Robin, and Mountain Firetail. A return visit to Varirata closed out our time in PNG, and gave us a handful of new birds, with a surprise Gray-headed Goshawk, Superb Fruit-Dove, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, and Growling Riflebird some of the best.

The incomparable O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat was up next, and as usual, there were plenty of wonderful birds to keep us busy. The usual assortment of showy species- Australian King-Parrot, Crimson Rosella, Regent Bowerbird- were a treat as always, and we did well with many of the other local specialties as well. A pair of Southern Boobook showed well on our post-dinner excursion one evening, and Noisy Pitta, Green Catbird, both Spotted and Striated pardalotes, Australian Logrunners, all three possible monarchs, a gorgeous male Paradise Riflebird, and finally, a male Albert's Lyrebird, all came through beautifully before we had to head back to Brisbane. Oh, a Koala in the eucalyptus forest below the lodge was also a treat here. We finished up the tour in the Sydney region, successfully tracking down the other lyrebird (Superb) and a handful of other species (Topknot Pigeon, New Holland Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Red and Little wattlebirds), ending what was a truly enjoyable couple of weeks down under!

I just want to thank each of you for being such enjoyable travel companions, which is especially critical in such a small group. I hope that you all enjoyed your further travels in Australia after the tour ended, and that you made it home in good health, and full of wonderful memories of the trip. It was a real pleasure traveling with you all, and I hope to have the opportunity to do so again on another tour someday soon!


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

Four shy White-browed Crakes put on a good show for us at Cattana Wetlands. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Casuariidae (Cassowaries and Emu)
SOUTHERN CASSOWARY (Casuarius casuarius) – If you want to see a cassowary, there's no better place than Cassowary House. We hadn't been there long when a female strolled out of the forest and began feeding below the balcony we were standing on. After we'd moved down to ground level to get better pictures, she walked right in between us to settle down in a favorite resting spot, where she remained until we left. [E]
Anseranatidae (Magpie Goose)
MAGPIE GOOSE (Anseranas semipalmata) – An impressive number of these strange geese, several hundred at least, gathered in a stubble field on our way out of the Mareeba Wetlands, with more flying in by the minute. [E]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
PLUMED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna eytoni) – My estimate of about 2500 of these elegant ducks at Hasties Swamp might have been far under what were really there. The count of 28 at PAU was much more accurate. [E]
WANDERING WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna arcuata) – A few were mixed in with the numerous Plumed Whistling-Ducks at Hasties Swamp, where they stood out by their richer-chestnut chests, their black, not pink, bills, and the black line from the top of their heads down the back of their necks. We also saw about 50 of these at PAU.
BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus) – Swan Lake at the Port of Brisbane got that name for a reason, that reason being there are plenty of swans there. About 35 this time, though there are often far more.
RADJAH SHELDUCK (Tadorna radjah) – Malcolm spotted a couple of these lovely ducks at the Yorkey's Knob golf course pond, where I had never seen them before. Another 4 were seen at PAU.
GREEN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus pulchellus) – The patterning on these tiny geese is really lovely when seen well, and we did see them beautifully our first afternoon out at the Cattana Wetlands. [E]
MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata) – Mainly around Sydney, where the habituated ones at Royal NP gave especially good views. [E]
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa) – Takes the place of our Mallard back home, being the common dabbling duck pretty much anywhere there was some decent habitat, both in Australia and PNG.
GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis) – A common duck in Australia, but the 21 at the PAU ponds were a surprise, as 2 there in July were my first for the country, and a lifer for local guide Leonard.
CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) – Usually these outnumber Gray Teal at the Port of Brisbane wetlands, but that wasn't the case this trip, as we saw only about 10 of these there. [E]
PINK-EARED DUCK (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) – I just love these bizarre and beautiful ducks, so was happy to see a good number on the water at Hasties Swamp, though it was sad to see an injured bird being targeted by a marauding Whistling Kite. The duck escaped while we watched, but it didn't look like it would last long. [E]
WHITE-EYED DUCK (Aythya australis) – I kind of prefer the old name, Hardhead, for this species. There were a bunch of these at Hasties Swamp this year.
Megapodiidae (Megapodes)
AUSTRALIAN BRUSHTURKEY (Alectura lathami) – Common and tame in the eastern rainforests. One bird even greeted us at the Brisbane airport on our arrival there. [E]
YELLOW-LEGGED BRUSHTURKEY (Talegalla fuscirostris) – Unlike their Australian counterparts, New Guinea brushturkeys are generally pretty shy, of necessity, as the ones that aren't don't last long. So it was a real surprise to see this bird casually strolling along the track, feeding, at Varirata, seemingly unconcerned by our presence. This was the first time I've ever seen one at the park, though I hear them there regularly. [E]
ORANGE-FOOTED SCRUBFOWL (Megapodius reinwardt) – Pretty common in the Cairns region, and just about as tame as the brushturkey. Both species are so-called "incubator birds", building large mounds in which to incubate their eggs, with the males adding or removing material to maintain a steady temperature ideal for the development of the embryos. When the chicks finally hatch, they dig themselves out and are completely independent.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
BROWN QUAIL (Synoicus ypsilophorus) – Our local guide, Mark, spotted these in the grasslands along the Varirata entrance road, and got us on to them as they crossed the road and scuttled along the edge for a bit.

Yellow Honeyeater is a common bird in Australia in the Cairns area. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)
AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) – Widespread, but most numerous at Hasties Swamp, where I estimated at least 80, all of which were in non-breeding plumage.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus australis) – As usual, seen only on Lake Barrine, where there were plenty.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Microcarbo melanoleucos) – Quite common at suitable wetlands in both countries.
GREAT CORMORANT (AUSTRALASIAN) (Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae) – A couple flew in and roosted along the stream as we watched for platypus late one afternoon. We also saw a single bird at Wattamolla in Royal NP.
LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) – Even more common than the Little Pied Cormorant in wetlands in both countries, with a particularly sizable roost at PAU. [E]
PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varius) – Much larger than the Little Pied Cormorant, and much less widespread on the tour. We saw a few only at the Port of Brisbane wetlands. [E]
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae) – Seen at quite a few of the wetland sites visited, starting on our first afternoon, when we found a couple of nests with large, rather ugly youngsters at the pond at Yorkey's Knob. [EN]
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus) – The large numbers at Swan Lake in the Port of Brisbane wetlands were especially memorable. [E]
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PACIFIC HERON (Ardea pacifica) – Aka White-necked Heron. We saw just a few of these lovely herons, with an especially nice close one along the roadside as we came down the mountain from O'Reilly's. [E]
GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta) – Not uncommon in the north and at PAU, with just a few birds around Brisbane and Sydney. The gape line that extends past the eye is a good way to separate this species from the similar Intermediate Egret.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia) – Fairly common in Cairns area wetlands and at PAU.
WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae) – A lone bird was seen in the Atherton Tablelands, with a few more around Brisbane/Sydney.
PIED HERON (Egretta picata) – Four of these striking small herons were at the ponds at PAU.
CATTLE EGRET (EASTERN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus) – Quite common throughout.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – A lone bird was on the mudflats along the Cairns Esplanade on our first day.
RUFOUS NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax caledonicus) – Five birds in each of the two usual roost trees along the Cairns Esplanade and at PAU. Formerly called Nankeen Night-Heron, a name which is much more interesting, imho. [E]

We had good views of the lovely Forest Kingfisher in the Atherton Tablelands. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus) – We scoped a couple of these far below us in the Bromfield Swamp, then found another the next day at Hasties Swamp.
AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis moluccus) – Quite numerous at several Australian venues, including a bunch of them nesting below the flying fox roosts at Beenleigh. In PNG we saw them only at PAU. [N]
STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis) – Numerous and seen daily around Cairns, with quite a few in the Brisbane region as well. Hard to believe we've actually struggled for this species on some tours! [E]
ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia) – A high count of at least 110 birds at Swan Lake in the Port of Brisbane wetlands was pretty impressive!
YELLOW-BILLED SPOONBILL (Platalea flavipes) – We also had an unusually high count of this spoonbill, which we often miss on this tour, though the 9 at Hasties Swamp wasn't quite as impressive as our Royal Spoonbill tally. [E]
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
AUSTRALIAN KITE (Elanus axillaris) – Formerly lumped with several other "black-shouldered" kites around the world, but now a good species on its own. We had a few nice sightings in the Atherton Tablelands. [E]
PACIFIC BAZA (Aviceda subcristata) – Three birds on our first day at Varirata NP, included wonderful looks at a pair performing display flights over the picnic area.
PYGMY EAGLE (Hieraaetus weiskei) – After a strange-looking raptor that might have been this species was seen near the Lae River, it was good to get good looks at an unequivocal one the next day as we descended the Tonga Trail. [E]
BROWN GOSHAWK (Accipiter fasciatus) – One perched out at PAU was the final bird of our visit there. Another was seen zooming by at the Lesser BoP site.
GRAY-HEADED GOSHAWK (Accipiter poliocephalus) – A distant bird that Leonard spotted and scoped at Varirata was a bit of a surprise, as it was the first time I'd seen this species there.
BLACK KITE (BLACK) (Milvus migrans affinis) – Especially numerous in the PNG highlands, though there were plenty in the drier parts of the Atherton Tablelands as well.
WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus) – Especially common and seen well around Hasties Swamp, where one persistent bird tried again and again, without success, to nab an injured Pink-eared Duck.
BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus) – Surprisingly few of these lovely kites, which are often quite common. We saw a couple around Cairns our first day, then just one more near the Lae River.
WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – Super views of this impressive eagle on several occasions around Cairns, with another bird flying past the viewpoint at Wattamolla in Royal NP.
Otididae (Bustards)
AUSTRALIAN BUSTARD (Ardeotis australis) – Malcolm did well to spot this bird on the edge of a sugar cane field as we drove out from the Mareeba wetlands late one afternoon. [E]

Australasian Darters were seen a few times, including this family at their nest. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
BUFF-BANDED RAIL (Gallirallus philippensis) – A pair of these rails gave us great looks as they scuttled in and out of the vegetation in front of the hide at Hasties Swamp. Later the same day we also saw one along the creek during our platypus vigil.
WHITE-BROWED CRAKE (Amaurornis cinerea) – Fantastic views of these shy birds at Cattana Wetlands, where four of them fed in and out of the dense vegetation along the lake edge, often foraging in full view for lengthy periods.
AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus melanotus) – Abundant at several wetland areas in both Australia and PNG. Our final day we watched as an adult taught her youngsters how to stalk and capture french fries at the Audley Dance Hall in Royal NP.
DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa) – Strangely scarce in seemingly suitable wetlands around Cairns, but we saw lots at PAU and around Brisbane/Sydney.
EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra australis) – Abundant at most wetland sites visited in Australia.
Gruidae (Cranes)
SARUS CRANE (Antigone antigone gillae) – There weren't many cranes around this trip, but most of the ones we saw were this species, which has more extensive bare red skin on the neck and obvious pink legs.
BROLGA (Antigone rubicunda) – It took us a few tries, but we finally nailed down a trio of these cranes right alongside a few Sarus Cranes, giving us a great opportunity to study the differences between these very similar birds. [E]
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
BUSH THICK-KNEE (Burhinus grallarius) – Numerous in the Cairns region, where we saw or heard them daily. [E]
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus) – Seen mainly around the Cairns area wetlands, though the biggest count was about 50 at the shorebird roost at the Port of Brisbane.
Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)
PIED OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus longirostris) – A pair at the Port of Brisbane shorebird roost, though the one sitting on the nest might have been called a Sooty Oystercatcher had we left earlier. There was absolutely no white visible on this bird at first, and we were certain it was all black. But then it changed position just before we departed... oops! [EN]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis fulva) – Three birds on the lily pads on one of the PAU ponds were our only ones. [b]
MASKED LAPWING (MASKED) (Vanellus miles miles) – This form, which is all white below, is commonly found in PNG and the Cairns region.
MASKED LAPWING (BLACK-SHOULDERED) (Vanellus miles novaehollandiae) – And this race, which shows prominent black vertical bars on the sides of the breast, is the one we saw a few times around Brisbane.
GREATER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius leschenaultii) – A handful of these were on the mudflats along the Cairns Esplanade.
RED-CAPPED PLOVER (Charadrius ruficapillus) – A lone bird, unfortunately not showing much of a red cap, was on the beach along the Esplanade. [E]
RED-KNEED DOTTEREL (Erythrogonys cinctus) – One of these handsome small plovers was a nice find at Fred Bucholz Park on our way down from O'Reilly's. [E]

Amboyna Cuckoo-dove is common in PNG. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Elseyornis melanops) – A half dozen or more were seen at very close quarters along the Cairns Esplanade. [E]
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
COMB-CRESTED JACANA (Irediparra gallinacea) – Numerous at suitable wetlands around Cairns and at PAU.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
WHIMBREL (SIBERIAN) (Numenius phaeopus variegatus) – Fifty or more were among the many shorebirds at the south end of the Esplanade.
FAR EASTERN CURLEW (Numenius madagascariensis) – Great looks at a bunch of these on the Esplanade. Boy, those bills are impressive, aren't they?
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (MELANUROIDES) (Limosa limosa melanuroides) – The less common of the two godwits at Cairns. This species is more solidly and uniformly gray, with a contrasting black and white wing pattern in flight.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica) – Quite numerous along the shore at Cairns, where there heavily patterned plumage sets them apart from the Black-tailed Godwit.
GREAT KNOT (Calidris tenuirostris) – Only about 10 were tallied in the shorebird flocks along the Esplanade.
SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (Calidris acuminata) – Good numbers at the Esplanade's south end.
CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea) – A lone bird was seen well through the scope as it was with a handful of godwits and Great Knots on our final morning's pre-breakfast outing at Cairns.
RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis) – Just a handful of these small sandpipers were among the other species at Cairns.
TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus) – I've always liked this distinctive long-billed, short-legged sandpiper. They're pretty easy to pick out both by shape and behavior. We counted at least 5 among the shorebird crowds at the Esplanade.
GRAY-TAILED TATTLER (Tringa brevipes) – Another Esplanade only species,; we saw a fair number there this trip.
COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia) – A lone one was seen at the south end of the Esplanade.
MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis) – This dainty, pale sandpiper was a nice find at Hasties Swamp.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) – Common anywhere along the east coast of Australia, and it is the only regularly occurring gull species in any of the sites we visited.
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – A bunch were roosting on the mudflats along the Cairns Esplanade, and a few more were seen at the Port of Brisbane wetlands.

We saw Australasian Figbirds in both Australia, near Cairns, and in PNG at the Pacific Adventist University (PAU) grounds. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
WHITE-HEADED PIGEON (Columba leucomela) – One was on the road in front of the car as we drove out from Chamber's one morning, and a second one flew down to join it as we watched. They both seemed pretty reluctant to fly off, too, only grudgingly moving out of the way when we eventually drove by them. [E]
SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) – I think these used to be more numerous, but we saw them only along the Esplanade on our final morning in Cairns. [I]
BROWN CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia phasianella) – Regular in the fruiting trees around Chamber's in the early mornings, then seen daily in the forests around Brisbane and Sydney. [E]
AMBOYNA CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia amboinensis) – This species has gone through several splits/name changes. It was once lumped with Brown Cuckoo-Dove of Australia, then split off from that and called Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove, and finally split further and saddled with the current name. Whatever you call it, it is the commonly seen cuckoo-dove in much of PNG and we saw them often. [E]
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia nigrirostris) – One flew by along the entrance road to Varirata--the first I've ever seen in the region. Better views were had of a pair of perched birds below Kumul, where they are more regularly seen. [E]
PACIFIC EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps longirostris longirostris) – A couple of these lovely small doves were seen feeding on the driveway one morning as we left Chamber's.
CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes) – A common open-country pigeon of primarily drier regions of Australia. One unusual sighting came at the Port of Brisbane wetlands, where a bird flew hard into a construction fence, then fell out of the tree it had subsequently landed in. I picked it up and placed it in a shady spot to recover, and I guess it did, as it was gone when we checked back later. [E]
SQUATTER PIGEON (Geophaps scripta) – Granite Gorge is our only site for this species, and it came through once again. A group of 9 of these cool pigeons were calmly hanging around the campsite. [E]
WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) – A real beauty, and quite common in the eastern rainforests, though often tough to see other than at O'Reilly's, which is where we saw our only ones. [E]
PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida) – This tiny dove was only seen in the Cairns region and at PAU. [E]
BAR-SHOULDERED DOVE (Geopelia humeralis) – Sort of a larger version of the preceding species, and likewise seen only around Cairns and at PAU. [E]
PHEASANT PIGEON (Otidiphaps nobilis) – The distinctive call of this large pigeon was heard at Varirata. One day I'm going to actually see one of these birds! [E*]
WOMPOO FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus magnificus) – An oft-heard voice, and easily recognizable as it says its name. We also saw a few of these beauties. One in the Atherton region and a couple more at Varirata NP.
PINK-SPOTTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus perlatus) – The looks we had on our first visit to Varirata left a lot to be desired, but luckily we had time to go back on our final day in PNG, and that time we struck gold, getting killer scope views of a calling bird perched right out in the open, showing pink spots and all! [E]
ORANGE-FRONTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus aurantiifrons) – We only ever see this species at PAU, where they often perch up on treetops in the late afternoon. We only found 2 this trip, but they showed beautifully in the late afternoon light. [E]

We had a great look at this Pink-spotted Fruit-dove on our last day in PNG. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

SUPERB FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus superbus) – We only ever heard this species in Australia, but managed to find a few at Varirata, though they always seem especially wary there. Still, we had fine scope views of a male sitting quietly in the canopy.
ROSE-CROWNED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus regina) – Our only one came our last morning in Cairns, where we had incredible eye level views of a calling bird in the mangroves. [E]
BEAUTIFUL FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus pulchellus) – A calling bird near the picnic area at Varirata gave us fits as we just couldn't pin it down. When Leonard finally did spot it, it flew off just as we were trying to point it out and we never could relocate it. [E*]
WHITE-BREASTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus rivoli) – It's tough to pick out a favorite fruit-dove, as they're all pretty spectacular. This one might have been a favorite this trip though, as it rested on an open perch for a long time at the Blue BoP site along the Tonga Trail. [E]
ORANGE-BELLIED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus iozonus) – Our only one was a bit distant, though seen well enough through the scope along the Varirata entrance road. [E]
PURPLE-TAILED IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula rufigaster) – Generally pretty uncommon on this trip, though they occasionally appear at Varirata as they did this trip. We had great looks at several on our first visit to the park.
ZOE IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula zoeae) – The most often-encountered imperial-pigeon at Varirata, in my experience, though it never seems numerous. We had good scope views of single birds on each of our two visits. [E]
TORRESIAN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula spilorrhoa) – Abundant around Cairns, where it would be pretty hard to miss them. We also saw a handful at PAU.
TOPKNOT PIGEON (Lopholaimus antarcticus) – Though we saw a few flocks in the Atherton Tablelands, it wasn't until we got to Royal NP that we finally got some scope views and got to appreciate the bizarre "man-bun" for which they are named. [E]
PAPUAN MOUNTAIN-PIGEON (Gymnophaps albertisii) – Seen in pretty good numbers on both visits to Varirata. Despite the name, this pigeon seems far more numerous in the foothills than the higher mountains, though I have seen them up at Kumul in the past, too.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
PHEASANT COUCAL (Centropus phasianinus) – We had good views of one of these large cuckoos in the Atherton Tablelands, then several more at PAU and along the Varirata entrance road.
PACIFIC KOEL (AUSTRALIAN) (Eudynamys orientalis cyanocephalus) – Scarcer than usual, it seemed to me, but we had excellent scope views of a calling male at Hasties Swamp, and then heard several more around Brisbane and Sydney.
CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae) – This massive cuckoo didn't perform all that well this year, though we had okay views of a pair flying by at Granite Gorge, then a single in the suburbs of Sydney as we headed back to the hotel from Royal NP.
RUFOUS-THROATED BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx ruficollis) – Our lone sighting was of a calling bird that showed well in the garden clearing at the Murmur Pass site. [E]
SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus) – We finally caught up with this one on our final morning, at the start of the track at Royal NP.
WHITE-EARED BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx meyerii) – A completely unexpected sighting. We'd stopped at the Lai River to look for Torrent Flycatcher when I saw this bird fly into a nearby shrub. It was a surprise to see it was a male of this species, which I'd never seen in the area before. Not only that, it was a new bird for our local guide Wilson! We all had fine views as it chowed down on caterpillars for several minutes.

Leonard found us this cooperative Papuan Frogmouth on its nest. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

LITTLE BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx minutillus) – Great looks at a responsive bird during our stop at the Bromfield Swamp overlook. This bird was giving the long trill that at least one of the books implies is only given by the Gould's form of Little BC.
FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis) – Seen in both countries. In PNG we had a couple at the Lesser BoP site, while in Oz we saw two birds below the Kamarun overlook on a rainy morning.
BRUSH CUCKOO (Cacomantis variolosus) – Though we heard them in both countries, we only saw this drab cuckoo in PNG, both along the Varirata entrance road and at the Lesser BoP site.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
SOOTY OWL (LESSER) (Tyto tenebricosa multipunctata) – While spotlighting in the Atherton Tablelands, we quite luckily saw this bird fly up through the spotlight beam and land in a large tree overhanging the road. We hurried towards the tree and soon were enjoying smashing views of this beauty as it sat placidly overhead. [E]
Strigidae (Owls)
SOUTHERN BOOBOOK (Ninox novaeseelandiae) – On our owling session at O'Reilly's we eventually tracked down a pair of these common owls and managed to spot one sitting high in the canopy above the road. [E]
Podargidae (Frogmouths)
MARBLED FROGMOUTH (Podargus ocellatus) – Heard only at the same spot where we saw the boobooks. [*]
PAPUAN FROGMOUTH (Podargus papuensis) – After failing to find the usually reliable PAU birds, we were happy to learn that Leonard knew of a nest at Varirata, and we had great scope views of that bird on both our visits. [EN]
Aegothelidae (Owlet-nightjars)
BARRED OWLET-NIGHTJAR (Aegotheles bennettii) – Nice looks at the reliable one in its usual hollow tree at Varirata. [E]
Apodidae (Swifts)
GLOSSY SWIFTLET (Collocalia esculenta) – Common and seen daily in PNG.
MOUNTAIN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus hirundinaceus) – Fairly common in the PNG highlands where we saw them regularly. [E]
AUSTRALIAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus terraereginae) – Can be quite numerous in the Cairns region, and we saw them on a couple of days there. [E]
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
BLYTH'S HORNBILL (Rhyticeros plicatus) – These huge birds seem to be increasing at Varirata; at least I've been seeing them more regularly in recent years. We saw 3 birds on our first visit, then Kathy spotted one below the lookout on our second.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
COMMON KINGFISHER (Alcedo atthis) – A lone bird was scoped by one of the ponds at PAU.
AZURE KINGFISHER (Ceyx azureus) – We had nice looks at one on each of our visits to Varirata, then found one also along the river at Royal NP. [E]
LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae) – Such an Aussie icon. We saw these huge kingfishers numerous times at pretty much all the sites we visited in Australia. [E]
BLUE-WINGED KOOKABURRA (Dacelo leachii) – Generally prefers drier country than the preceding species. We had three birds along the road to the Mareeba Wetlands, then saw them again in the Port Moresby region. [E]

This Yellow-billed Kingfisher was seen at Varirata. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

RUFOUS-BELLIED KOOKABURRA (Dacelo gaudichaud) – A pair of these striking kookaburras showed well on our first visit to Varirata. [E]
FOREST KINGFISHER (Todiramphus macleayii) – Several in the Atherton Tablelands, the first being in the dry eucalyptus forest at Wondecla, where we enjoyed excellent scope views.
TORRESIAN KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sordidus) – Prior to the split, this was called Collared Kingfisher. We had some cooperative birds in the mangroves at Cairns.
SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus) – Few this trip, with just one in the tablelands, a couple on our way back to Brisbane, and several at Royal NP.
YELLOW-BILLED KINGFISHER (Syma torotoro) – Leonard usually spots these for us at Varirata, but Kathy beat him to it this time, picking out a calling bird high in some roadside casuarina trees on our second visit to the park. [E]
MOUNTAIN KINGFISHER (Syma megarhyncha) – Replaces the similar Yellow-billed at high elevations, but generally a much scarcer bird. We heard a couple calling along the Tonga trail, and ultimately tracked one down for some good scope views. [E]
BROWN-HEADED PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera danae) – Beautiful looks at these stunning kingfishers on our first visit to Varirata. [E]
BUFF-BREASTED PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera sylvia) – I was pleased to find a couple of these kingfishers at Varirata this trip, as I've rarely encountered this species there. [E]
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus) – Several excellent encounters in the Cairns region, with some especially photogenic birds at the Mareeba Wetlands.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis) – Not many this trip. We had singles in the Atherton Tablelands and at Varirata NP, then a couple of birds on our final day at Royal NP.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AUSTRALIAN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides) – The open agricultural areas of the Atherton region provided us our only ones this trip. [E]
Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii) – About 75 of these huge cockatoos were roosting and flying around a farmyard near Atherton, giving us super looks on our first day up there. [E]
GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla) – A recently ploughed field on the way up to O'Reilly's was crawling with birds, including at least 50 of these gorgeous cockatoos. That's a pretty good number for this trip, though it's nothing compared to the huge flocks of these that occur in some inland areas. [E]
LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea) – A bunch were with the Galahs in the ploughed field en route to O'Reilly's, and a few more were seen at Royal NP. [E]
SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO (Cacatua galerita) – Pretty widespread and numerous. We only missed these raucous birds in the PNG highlands.
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)
AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis) – Impossible to miss at O'Reilly's where they are habituated and often use peoples' heads as convenient perches. I actually prefer the wild birds at Royal NP, to tell the truth. [E]

We found Topknot Pigeon near Sydney, at Royal National Park, and had a good look at its unusual "hairstyle". Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

RED-WINGED PARROT (Aprosmictus erythropterus) – A pair of these dry-country parrots were a good find at the Mareeba Wetlands. [E]
ECLECTUS PARROT (Eclectus roratus) – A few of these were seen at Varirata NP, though mainly as flyovers.
RED-CHEEKED PARROT (Geoffroyus geoffroyi) – A lone bird was at PAU, and several more around the picnic area at Varirata NP. Both this and the Eclectus Parrot (along with a bunch of other birds) are found in Australia's Cape York region, but are far more widespread and common in PNG. [E]
BREHM'S TIGER-PARROT (Psittacella brehmii) – The only easy to find tiger-parrot, and that's only because they come to the Kumul Lodge feeders, where they're always fin to watch as they hop down the branches pivoting back and forth as they descend. [E]
MADARASZ'S TIGER-PARROT (Psittacella madaraszi) – A lone male of this small tiger-parrot showed pretty well at the Tonga Blue BoP site.
ORANGE-BILLED LORIKEET (Neopsittacus pullicauda) – The higher elevation counterpart of the very similar Yellow-billed Lorikeet. Kathy spotted our only one on the first afternoon at Kumul Lodge. [E]
CRIMSON ROSELLA (Platycercus elegans) – Like the king-parrots, these are common and cheeky at O'Reilly's, and also quite common, but considerably less cheeky, in the Sydney area. [E]
PALE-HEADED ROSELLA (Platycercus adscitus) – After unsatisfying views of one at Granite Gorge, we were pleased to run into a group of 5 at the Port of Brisbane wetlands, then to get even better views of a pair below the Kamarun Lookout on our rainy morning at O'Reilly's. [E]
DOUBLE-EYED FIG-PARROT (Cyclopsitta diophthalma) – Wonderful views of one in a large fruiting fig tree above the parking area for the Kuranda markets as we headed to the crepe place for lunch.
PAPUAN LORIKEET (Charmosyna papou) – The largest of the PNG highland lorikeets that are likely to be encountered on this trip, and readily distinguished in flight by their very long, yellow tails. We had a few flyovers during our stay at Kumul. [E]
BLACK-CAPPED LORY (Lorius lory) – Generally quite common along the Varirata entrance road, and we had some nice scope views of them there. [E]
LITTLE LORIKEET (Glossopsitta pusilla) – Though there were quite a few around at Wondecla, they can be terribly difficult to track down, and we had to be satisfied with some flight views of these tiny lorikeets. [E]
GOLDIE'S LORIKEET (Psitteuteles goldiei) – Some pretty good looks at a couple in a flowering tree that was also attracting in lots of honeyeaters on our first afternoon at Kumul Lodge. [E]
RAINBOW LORIKEET (COCONUT) (Trichoglossus haematodus haematodus) – This is the the PNG version of the species, a potential split in the future. They were common in the Port Moresby region.
RAINBOW LORIKEET (RAINBOW) (Trichoglossus haematodus moluccanus) – And this is the Australian form, likewise a common bird and seen almost daily during our time in Oz.
SCALY-BREASTED LORIKEET (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus) – A couple of birds at Cattana Wetlands and another one at Wondecla a few days later were the only ones we had this trip. [E]

About 2500 Plumed Whistling-ducks were hanging out at Hasties Swamp; we also saw some at PAU. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Pittidae (Pittas)
HOODED PITTA (Pitta sordida) – At least 4 different birds were heard at Varirata, though not one of them came even close to showing itself. [*]
NOISY PITTA (Pitta versicolor) – It took some time to find a cooperative bird, but we finally tracked one down near O'Reilly's and got pretty nice scope views of it as it sat in the subcanopy singing.
Menuridae (Lyrebirds)
ALBERT'S LYREBIRD (Menura alberti) – As is often the case, we were still looking for this elusive local specialty on the final day at O'Reilly's. We started down the Wishing Tree Track, and could hear one calling above the trail towards the staff residence. Backtracking to the raised boardwalk in back of the lower guest cabins, we spotted the bird foraging on the edge of the forest below, and had excellent looks as it scratched around and called loudly for several minutes. [E]
SUPERB LYREBIRD (Menura novaehollandiae) – The very next day after our Albert's Lyrebird experience, we found ourselves at Royal NP looking for this species. We ended up having to walk a long way down the Lady Carrington Track, but eventually we found a couple of them. The first male was a bit wary, running down the track ahed of us, but the other was a bit more cooperative, as it foraged in the leaf litter just off the trail. [E]
Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)
SPOTTED CATBIRD (Ailuroedus maculosus) – This is the catbird from the Atherton region, which we saw well at our lodging near Lake Eacham as well as at Cassowary House.
GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris) – Seems a bit harder to see than its northern cousin, but we had a few good looks at them around O'Reilly's, particularly one near Charlie's Waterhole. Another was seen as we searched for lyrebirds at Royal NP. [E]
TOOTH-BILLED CATBIRD (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) – The birds at Lake Barrine were vocal and active at their rudimentary bowers, and we got nice close views of them, with one bird being especially unwary and allowing close approach to its song perch. [E]
GOLDEN BOWERBIRD (Amblyornis newtoniana) – Apparently most of the adult males from known sites in the tablelands had disappeared over a 2 week period, so we had to settle for seeing a young male at a newly constructed bower (still an impressive bit of work!) at a long-used territory in the Crater Lakes NP. [E]
REGENT BOWERBIRD (Sericulus chrysocephalus) – No better place for these gorgeous birds than O'Reilly's. They are common there, and quite habituated, even landing on your hand if they think you've got some tidbit to offer. I've rarely seen these spectacular bowerbirds anywhere but here. [E]
SATIN BOWERBIRD (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) – Also very common and easy to see at O'Reilly's. Seeing a male at his bower was really a treat, and watching him hop over to pick up a misplaced blue bottle cap, then adding it to his collection and doing a little "redecorating" was especially fun! [E]
GREAT BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera nuchalis) – This is a pretty large, drab gray bird, but the little hidden pink nape patch is quite something, as is its huge bower. We saw several birds, and a well-decorated bower (lots of snail shells) at Granite Gorge. [E]
YELLOW-BREASTED BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera lauterbachi) – A PNG highland species that we saw nicely at the Lesser BoP site below Kumul Lodge. It would be nice if someone could find an accessible bower of this species.I've only ever seen one, and it's an impressive and unique 4-walled avenue bower. [E]
FAWN-BREASTED BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera cerviniventris) – Loads of these around PAU as usual. [E]
Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)
WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (Cormobates leucophaea) – The most widespread treecreeper on this tour route. We saw several in the Atherton Tablelands where the race minor (sometimes split as Little Treecreeper) occurs, as well as at Royal NP. [E]
BROWN TREECREEPER (Climacteris picumnus) – A dry country species that we saw both at Wondecla and Mareeba Wetlands. As Wondecla, I was surprised to see a White-throated Treecreeper in the same location as this species, but even there they separated out by habitat. The White-throated was in the relatively lush riparian growth along the stream, while this species stuck to the dry eucalyptus forest. [E]
Maluridae (Fairywrens)
VARIEGATED FAIRYWREN (Malurus lamberti) – These long-tailed beauties showed very nicely in the dry eucalyptus forest below O'Reilly's and at Royal NP. [E]

Rainbow Bee-eaters were certainly some of the most colorful birds we saw! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

LOVELY FAIRYWREN (Malurus amabilis) – Once considered conspecific with Variegated, but this much shorter-tailed species also shows a very distinct, blue-headed, female plumage. These have been tough recently at all our usual sites, so I was thrilled to find a new spot for them, and the pair there showed well with almost no effort on our part! [E]
SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus) – Very common and bold at O'Reilly's, where you've got to be careful not to step on them at times. [E]
RED-BACKED FAIRYWREN (Malurus melanocephalus) – A trio at the Bromfield Swamp lookout were very confiding and showed beautifully. [E]
WHITE-SHOULDERED FAIRYWREN (Malurus alboscapulatus) – The only one of PNG's fairywren species that is quite easy to see. We had nice looks at several our first afternoon at PNG, then others at the Lesser BoP site. [E]
Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) – We didn't catch up to this species until our final morning at Royal NP, but it was worth the wait for this stunning honeyeater! [E]
MARBLED HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius cinereus) – Pretty good looks at one at the Tonga Blue BoP site below Kumul. [E]
STREAK-HEADED HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius stictocephalus) – Very like friarbirds and Brown Orioles in appearance, at least with just a quick look, and often found together with them. We had a pair a Varirata NP. [E]
YELLOW-SPOTTED HONEYEATER (Meliphaga notata) – A single bird at Cattana Wetlands, and several more along Black Mountain Road. [E]
LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii) – The common eastern rainforest Meliphaga in Australia. We saw plenty daily in the right habitat. [E]
MOUNTAIN MELIPHAGA (Meliphaga orientalis) – Just one of a perplexing number of nearly identical species in PNG. This is one of the easier ones to identify, but only because it occurs at higher elevations than any other species. We saw them at the Lesser BoP site. [E]
GRACEFUL HONEYEATER (Meliphaga gracilis) – Mainly separable from the similar Yellow-spotted Honeyeater by call. We saw a lone bird along Black Mountain Road, and lucky for us it was calling. [E]
ELEGANT HONEYEATER (Meliphaga cinereifrons cinereifrons) – Another of the easier PNG Meliphagas to identify. These are common at Varirata, where we saw a few. [E]
YELLOW HONEYEATER (Stomiopera flava) – Quite a common species around Cairns and the Mareeba area, where we had good views at the wetlands and at Granite Gorge. [E]
YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops) – Seen first in the woodland around the hide at Hasties Swamp, but more regularly encountered in the drier woodland below O'Reilly's and at Royal NP. [E]
BLACK-THROATED HONEYEATER (Caligavis subfrenata) – I've never heard and seen so many around Kumul Lodge before. In fact, I've rarely had them right at the lodge. That big flowering tree was surely the draw for them. [E]

This is a small part of the good-sized flock of Royal Spoonbills we saw at Swan Lake. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

BELL MINER (Manorina melanophrys) – A visit to a colony of these lerp-loving honeyeaters is always a treat. I just love the bell-like tinkling calls. FYI, lerp is a sugary substance secreted by small leaf-eating Psyllid beetles on the underside of the leaves of affected trees. [E]
NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala) – We first met up with these in the dry regions of the Atherton Tablelands, but they were far more numerous in the Brisbane and Sydney areas. [E]
ORNATE MELIDECTES (Melidectes torquatus) – This fancy honeyeater showed well at the Lesser BoP site and again at Tonga. [E]
BELFORD'S MELIDECTES (Melidectes belfordi) – A very common and noisy bird of the higher regions we birded in PNG, including right around Kumul Lodge. [E]
YELLOW-BROWED MELIDECTES (Melidectes rufocrissalis) – This species occurs at elevations between the Ornate and Belford's, though it does overlap with both species. We had them alongside Ornate Melidectes at the Tonga Blue BoP site. [E]
BRIDLED HONEYEATER (Bolemoreus frenatus) – A specialty of high elevations in the Atherton Tablelands, where we found them quite easily at Mt Hypipamee, including one bird feeding on the ground next to the parking area. [E]
LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera) – Seen only at Royal NP, where we had a a few along the Lady Carrington Track, then more in the coastal scrub at Wattamolla. [E]
RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata) – Larger than the preceding species, and far outnumbered by it at Royal. We found just a single bird near the parking lot at Wattamolla. [E]
VARIED HONEYEATER (Gavicalis versicolor) – Not uncommon right along the Cairns Esplanade, especially towards the mangroves at the north end. [E]
MANGROVE HONEYEATER (Gavicalis fasciogularis) – Replaces the closely related Varied Honeyeater southwards from about Townsville. We tracked down a couple at the Port of Brisbane wetlands. [E]
FUSCOUS HONEYEATER (Ptilotula fusca) – The most numerous honeyeater in the dry eucalyptus forest at Wondecla. This population of yellow-faced birds has been proposed as a good species, Wondecla Honeyeater, though I don't really see that split happening. [E]
BROWN-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ramsayornis modestus) – A few birds around the pond at the Yorkey's Knob golf course on our first day in the field. [E]
RUFOUS-BANDED HONEYEATER (Conopophila albogularis) – Common around the ponds at PAU, where they are often bathing on the wing during our late afternoon visits. [E]
SMOKY HONEYEATER (Melipotes fumigatus) – Numerous in the highland forests of PNG. It's always fun watching these birds blush as they visit the feeders at Kumul. [E]
DUSKY MYZOMELA (Myzomela obscura) – This drab honeyeater was seen most days in the Cairns region.
PAPUAN BLACK MYZOMELA (Myzomela nigrita) – A pair of these were around the picnic area at Varirata NP. [E]

This male Lesser Bird-of-Paradise showed very well for us! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

ELFIN MYZOMELA (Myzomela adolphinae) – A lone red-headed male at the Lesser BoP site was our only record. [E]
SCARLET MYZOMELA (Myzomela sanguinolenta) – Seen a few times in the Atherton tablelands, with the best being an eye level bird seen from the hide at Hasties Swamp. [E]
RED-COLLARED MYZOMELA (Myzomela rosenbergii) – Like the Black-throated Honeyeater, this species was drawn in large numbers to a flowering tree right on the Kumul Lodge grounds. [E]
RUFOUS-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ptiloprora guisei) – The lower elevation counterpart of the very similar Gray-streaked Honeyeater. This species was seen only at the Murmur Pass site. [E]
GRAY-STREAKED HONEYEATER (Ptiloprora perstriata) – Common in the orange honeysuckle-like flowers at Kumul Lodge. [E]
BANDED HONEYEATER (Cissomela pectoralis) – Several of these well-marked honeyeaters were a bit of a surprise in flowering eucalyptus at Wondecla, where I had never seen them previously. [E]
BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta) – One of the most numerous honeyeaters in the Cairns region, with a few around Brisbane as well.
NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) – A very common species in the heathy scrub at Royal NP. [E]
WHITE-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris niger) – This strikingly-marked species showed very well in the lantana thickets along the stream at Wondecla. [E]
BLUE-FACED HONEYEATER (Entomyzon cyanotis) – Large and unmistakeable. We encountered this neat honeyeater on several occasions from Granite Gorge and the Mareeba Wetlands in the north, to the Port of Brisbane and Fred Bucholz park in the Brisbane region. [E]
WHITE-THROATED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus albogularis) – Seen in both countries, with several at Granite Gorge, then plenty more in the savanna along the Varirata NP entrance road. [E]
WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus lunatus) – Told from the very similar White-throated Honeyeater by the tiny bit of red skin around the eye on this species. A good look is required, for sure and we had reasonably good looks at several in the dry eucalyptus forest below O'Reilly's. [E]
MACLEAY'S HONEYEATER (Xanthotis macleayanus) – An Atherton Tablelands endemic. We saw them especially well at the Cassowary House feeders. [E]
STRIPED HONEYEATER (Plectorhyncha lanceolata) – A single bird at the Port of Brisbane wetlands was all we could muster up, but it's all we needed, too. [E]
LITTLE FRIARBIRD (Philemon citreogularis) – Never seems as numerous as the other friarbirds. We had a lone bird at Granite Gorge, then a couple more at the Mareeba Wetlands. [E]
HELMETED FRIARBIRD (NEW GUINEA) (Philemon buceroides novaeguineae) – This species is sometimes split into three, with this form being endemic to PNG, where we saw it commonly. [E]
HELMETED FRIARBIRD (HORNBILL) (Philemon buceroides yorki) – And this form is restricted to northern Queensland, where we saw them only on our first day around Cairns. [E]
NOISY FRIARBIRD (Philemon corniculatus) – Replaces the preceding species inland from Cairns, where it is numerous in the drier parts of the tablelands. Also seen commonly around Brisbane. [E]

We saw Rufous Night-heron at both Cairns and PAU early in the tour. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)
SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus) – We only saw one, but it was so close and low right next to the road at the Kamarun Lookout that who could ask for a better view? [E]
STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus) – We also saw just one of these, also at the Kamarun Lookout, shortly before the Spotted Pardalote turned up. This one gave us good scope views as it sang just below the viewpoint. [E]
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
RUSTY MOUSE-WARBLER (Crateroscelis murina) – As is often the case, we only heard this species at Varirata. [E*]
MOUNTAIN MOUSE-WARBLER (Crateroscelis robusta) – Good views of a couple of these as they foraged on the ground right beside the parking lot at Kumul Lodge. [E]
YELLOW-THROATED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis citreogularis) – A standout among a rather drab, homogeneous group of birds. We saw one of these dapper little birds in the Atherton Tablelands, then plenty more around O'Reilly's. [E]
WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis) – Also quite a handsome species, and a common bird in the eastern rainforests, especially so, and quite tame, at O'Reilly's. [E]
ATHERTON SCRUBWREN (Sericornis keri) – A trio of these very local scrubwrens showed well at Mt Hypipamee, where their calls and habit of feeding on and/or near the ground helped sort them out from the almost identical Large-billed Scrubwren. [E]
LARGE SCRUBWREN (Sericornis nouhuysi) – A small party of these birds were seen a few times around the lodge at Kumul. [E]
LARGE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis magnirostra) – Seen well at Lake Barrine and around Chambers. [E]
BUFF-FACED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis perspicillatus) – A few birds were seen during our Blue BoP quest at Tonga. [E]
PALE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis spilodera) – Great close views of one of these tail-wagging scrubwrens on our second visit to Varirata. I was pleased to get decent recordings of it, too, and to learn a new vocalization which I'd always attributed to Yellow-bellied Gerygone in the past. [E]
MOUNTAIN THORNBILL (Acanthiza katherina) – A lone bird at Mt Hypipamee was our only one of these high-elevation Atherton endemics. [E]
BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla) – Seen daily at O'Reilly's and Royal NP. [E]
YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) – Three of these mostly terrestrial thornbills were feeding in the picnic area at Fred Bucholz Park.
STRIATED THORNBILL (Acanthiza lineata) – Similar to the more numerous Brown Thornbill, but with a comparatively shorter beak and tail, and with fine white streaks on the crown. A quartet of these showed extremely well as they fussed around at eye level next to the road below O'Reilly's. [E]
FAIRY GERYGONE (Gerygone palpebrosa) – A male was in the company of a male White-Throated Gerygone at our platypus watching spot near Yungaburra, and another three were seen at close range along Black Mountain Road. [E]
WHITE-THROATED GERYGONE (Gerygone olivacea) – One of my favorite songsters in Australia. We saw and heard this one only at the platypus spot. [E]

Far Eastern Curlews showed well for us at the Esplanade. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

YELLOW-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone chrysogaster) – One with a small mixed flock along the stream-side track on our first visit to Varirata NP. [E]
LARGE-BILLED GERYGONE (Gerygone magnirostris) – A couple of birds showed well along the ponds at the Cattana Wetlands. [E]
BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki) – Though it looks pretty similar to Large-billed and Mangrove gerygones, this species lacks the sweet song of those two. We saw these daily at O'Reilly's and Royal NP. [E]
BROWN-BREASTED GERYGONE (Gerygone ruficollis) – Atypical scope views of a singing bird along the road near the Lesser BoP site. [E]
MANGROVE GERYGONE (Gerygone levigaster) – Very similar to Large-billed Gerygone (which also inhabits mangroves), but no overlap at the sites we visit on this trip. We easily found a bird foraging in the mangroves immediately on our arrival at the Port of Brisbane shorebird roost. [E]
Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)
GRAY-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus temporalis) – Granite Gorge is the only place we ever find this species on out tour route. This trip we had three birds foraging on the ground in the camping area. [E]
Orthonychidae (Logrunners)
AUSTRALIAN LOGRUNNER (Orthonyx temminckii) – There's something very endearing about these birds- they're beautifully patterned, they have a wonderfully unique sideways kicking motion when they forage, and they have a cool name to boot. Plus, they're pretty easy to see on the trails at O'Reilly's. What's not to like? [E]
CHOWCHILLA (Orthonyx spaldingii) – Closely related to the logrunner, but this bird is restricted to the Atherton Tablelands, where it is generally pretty tricky to find at this time of year. It took us three visits to Lake Barrine before I finally heard their telltale scratching on the forest floor, but it was worth it for the incredible looks we had at this party of 4 birds. [E]
Cnemophilidae (Satinbirds)
CRESTED SATINBIRD (Cnemophilus macgregorii) – I think Kathy was the only one still with me when a pair of these showed up near the cabins on our first afternoon at Kumul Lodge. [E]
Melanocharitidae (Berrypeckers and Longbills)
BLACK BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis nigra) – Leonard pointed out a lone male on our first visit to Varirata NP. [E]
FAN-TAILED BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis versteri) – A long-tailed male showed briefly at Tonga, then another turned up the following day near the feeders at Kumul. [E]
SPECTACLED LONGBILL (Oedistoma iliolophus) – Often a difficult bird to see well, but I think we managed to get pretty decent views of one along the trails at on our second visit to Varirata. [E]
Paramythiidae (Tit Berrypecker and Crested Berrypecker)
CRESTED BERRYPECKER (Paramythia montium) – Unfortunately not too cooperative this trip, tough we did have a couple of quick views, first from the balcony at Kumul, then briefly in the canopy as we walked the trails on our final morning there. [E]
Psophodidae (Whipbirds and Wedgebills)
EASTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes olivaceus) – Though quite common in the Atherton Tablelands, we only managed to see one bird there, and it wasn't until we got to O'Reilly's that we really got to see these birds well. [E]
Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers)
PAINTED QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma ajax) – A very shy and elusive ground bird of PNG's hill forests, and we only heard this species at Varirata NP. [E*]
CHESTNUT-BACKED JEWEL-BABBLER (Ptilorrhoa castanonota) – Ditto the comments from the quail-thrush. Also heard only at Varirata. [E*]

Orange-fronted Scrubfowl, one of three species of Megapodes we found. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Machaerirhynchidae (Boatbills)
BLACK-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus nigripectus) – We had okay looks at this wonderful little bird along the Kumul Lodge trails late one afternoon. [E]
YELLOW-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer) – A couple of birds showed pretty well at Lake Barrine, though they stayed pretty much directly overhead. Another was seen along Black Mountain Road. [E]
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus leucorynchus) – Common in the coastal regions around Cairns, as well as around Port Moresby.
DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus) – We only found a single bird this trip in the dry forest around Wondecla. [E]
Cracticidae (Bellmagpies and Allies)
BLACK-BACKED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus mentalis) – The butcherbird of open savanna country in the Port Moresby region. We saw a couple at PAU. [E]
GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus) – Our only sighting came at the end of our walk along the Lady Carrington Track at Royal on our final day, but at least we had a good look at it. [E]
HOODED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus cassicus) – Replaces the Black-backed Butcherbird in the rainforest areas, though the two do overlap a bit. We had them on both visits to Varirata. [E]
PIED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus nigrogularis) – The common, widespread butcherbird of eastern Australia, and we saw them pretty regularly. [E]
BLACK BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus quoyi) – Only around Cairns on the parts of Australia we visit, and we saw a couple there, including one on a nest at the Cattana Wetlands. We also had a single bird at Varirata NP on our second visit there. [N]
AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen) – Pretty numerous throughout most of the areas we visited in Australia, though seemingly absent around the city of Cairns. [E]
PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina) – Especially common around O'Reilly's, where a gang of them hung around the cafe waiting to grab any table scraps left unattended on the terrace. [E]
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
STOUT-BILLED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina caeruleogrisea) – The bulkiest of the cuckooshrikes, this species showed up on both our visits to Varirata, and was also seen at the Tonga Blue BoP site. [E]
BARRED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina lineata) – We saw both the nominate race, in which both sexes are barred below, and the race axillaris in which the male is all gray, but the female is barred. The former was seen in the tablelands region and around O'Reilly's, while the latter was the one seen at Varirata NP. [E]
BOYER'S CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina boyeri) – Not as numerous as they often are at Varirata, but we still saw small parties of this bird on each of our visits to the park. [E]
BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae) – Seen commonly throughout the eastern Australia region.
WHITE-BELLIED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina papuensis) – Seen quite regularly in both countries, with one nest found in each. We saw birds incubating on their ridiculously tiny nests both at Yorkey's Knob (ssp artamoides) and Varirata NP (ssp angustifrons). The ones we saw below Kumul lodge probably belonged to a 3rd ssp, papuensis. [N]

Australia and Papua New Guinea have some amazingly beautiful doves, such as this Rose-crowned Fruit-dove. We only saw this one, but had a great look at it! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

WHITE-WINGED TRILLER (Lalage tricolor) – A male with Varied Trillers at the Kamarun Lookout on the rainy morning there was a nice surprise, as we don't often see this species on this tour. [E]
VARIED TRILLER (Lalage leucomela) – Just a few sightings in the Cairns region, and a couple of birds at the Kamarun Lookout.
BLACK-BELLIED CICADABIRD (Edolisoma montanum) – A trio of these were at the Murmur Pass site, though they didn't show particularly well. [E]
COMMON CICADABIRD (Edolisoma tenuirostre) – Two females were seen, one each along the Varirata entrance road and at the Kama Lesser BoP site.
BLACK CICADABIRD (Edolisoma melan) – A pair was seen on both of our visits to Varirata NP. [E]
Falcunculidae (Shrike-tit)
CRESTED SHRIKE-TIT (EASTERN) (Falcunculus frontatus frontatus) – One of my favorite Australian birds. We had great looks at one in dry eucalyptus forest near Wondecla, then another one surprised us in the rainforest along the trails at O'Reilly's. [E]
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
RUSTY PITOHUI (Colluricincla ferruginea) – As usual rather elusive, though we had pretty decent views of a couple along the trails at Varirata. [E]
LITTLE SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla megarhyncha) – More often heard than seen, but we had a few looks at this widespread species in the Atherton Tablelands.
GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica) – We had a lone bird of the ssp superciliosa along the entrance road to Varirata NP, then saw the nominate form regularly around O'Reilly's. [E]
BOWER'S SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla boweri) – Several of these Atherton endemics were seen well, particularly the ones at Mt Hypipamee. [E]
REGENT WHISTLER (Pachycephala schlegelii) – This beauty turned up regularly in the forests around Kumul Lodge. [E]
GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis) – Common in Australia's eastern rainforests, and we saw them regularly.
BROWN-BACKED WHISTLER (Pachycephala modesta) – A couple of birds were seen daily around the feeders at Kumul. [E]
GRAY WHISTLER (GRAY-HEADED) (Pachycephala simplex peninsulae) – A couple of birds along Black Mountain Road were the only ones for the trip. [E]
WHITE-BELLIED WHISTLER (Pachycephala leucogastra) – A male of this local species was tallied along the Varirata entrance road on our first visit to the park. [E]
RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris) – First seen at Granite Gorge, where a very responsive male appeared right beside us for some incredible views. We had a few other sightings, but none that beat this one. [E]

We saw Pink-eared Ducks at Hasties Swamp; it's difficult to see any "pink", but they are still very unusual and interesting ducks! Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Oreoicidae (Australo-Papuan Bellbirds)
RUFOUS-NAPED BELLBIRD (Aleadryas rufinucha) – Seen daily at Kumul, including great views of one found by Malcolm as it foraged on the ground next to the parking area. [E]
PIPING BELLBIRD (Ornorectes cristatus) – Formerly called Crested Pitohui. We heard the incredible piping song of this elusive bird at Varirata. [E*]
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (NASUTUS GROUP) (Lanius schach stresemanni) – The only regularly-occurring shrike south of the Wallace's Line. We saw a lone bird as we drove back from the Lesser BoP site.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
HOODED PITOHUI (Pitohui dichrous) – Great looks at the famous bird with the toxic feathers on each of our visits to Varirata. [E]
BROWN ORIOLE (Oriolus szalayi) – One of our first PNG endemics, with nice views of one our first afternoon at PAU. [E]
OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE (Oriolus sagittatus) – Seen at several sites in Australia, from Granite Gorge and the Mareeba Wetlands south to Royal NP. [E]
GREEN ORIOLE (Oriolus flavocinctus) – As usual, we encountered this one only in the coastal Cairns region, where we had good views on our first afternoon at Cattana Wetlands. [E]
AUSTRALASIAN FIGBIRD (Sphecotheres vieilloti) – Numerous around Cairns, and we saw them also at PAU (race salvadorii). A few birds were seen around Brisbane, too. [E]
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SPANGLED DRONGO (Dicrurus bracteatus) – Seen in small numbers around Cairns, at Varirata NP, and O'Reilly's. Note that the race carbonarius, which we saw in PNG, is thought by some authorities to be a separate species, Papuan Drongo.
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
BLACK FANTAIL (Rhipidura atra) – Excellent looks at several birds, both black males and rufous females, along the Tonga Trail. [E]
NORTHERN FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufiventris) – One along Black Mountain road surprised me a bit, as I'd never had one along there before. [E]
WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys) – These were one of the most familiar birds by trip's end. We saw them every day in both countries. [E]
DIMORPHIC FANTAIL (Rhipidura brachyrhyncha) – Decent looks at a rufous-tailed bird at the Murmur Pass clearing. [E]
RUFOUS FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufifrons) – Several of these lovely fantails were seen nicely at O'Reilly's.
FRIENDLY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albolimbata) – Seen daily in the PNG highlands. [E]
CHESTNUT-BELLIED FANTAIL (Rhipidura hyperythra) – Another lovely fantail, this one showing well with mixed flocks in the forests at Varirata. [E]
GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa) – The common forest fantail of the Australia's eastern rainforest region. [E]
Ifritidae (Ifrita)
BLUE-CAPPED IFRITA (Ifrita kowaldi) – These endearing birds were seen beautifully several times as they fed around the lodge grounds at Kumul. Recently this bird has been placed in its own monotypic family. [E]
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
WHITE-EARED MONARCH (Carterornis leucotis) – I find this the toughest of the Australian monarchs to see well, but that wasn't the case this trip as we had incredible looks at one at the Kamarun Lookout. [E]
BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis) – Widespread in Australia's eastern rainforests, and we saw this beauty a number of times all along the east coast. [E]
SPECTACLED MONARCH (Symposiachrus trivirgatus) – A cooperative pair at the Kamarun Lookout gave us a monarch hat trick on the rainy morning we spent there. [E]

Another beautiful dove, this White-breasted Fruit-dove stayed in view for a good while. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

FRILLED MONARCH (Arses telescopthalmus) – Another fine monarch, this one is quite a common bird at Varirata NP. [E]
PIED MONARCH (Arses kaupi) – We wound up finding three of these brilliant Atherton endemics along Black Mountain Road. [E]
MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca) – A familiar bird of open country in Australia, where we saw them almost daily. [E]
LEADEN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra rubecula) – A couple of females our first afternoon near Cairns, and a nice male along the Varirata entrance road. It seems likely that at least some of the Myiagra flycatchers we saw our last morning at ROyal NP were also this species. [E]
SATIN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra cyanoleuca) – A very difficult bird to separate from Leaden Flycatcher, but the shape of the bottom edge of the dark bib is a good field mark. In Satin, that edge is concave, as the white reaches further up in the middle of the breast. That is the field mark we saw well on the male we found along Black Mountain Road. I was surprised as it seems Leaden would be the more likely here, especially at this time of year. [E]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
GRAY CROW (Corvus tristis) – I counted 9 of these strange-sounding crows in 2 groups on our first visit to Varirata. [E]
TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru) – Common around Port Moresby and the Brisbane area. [E]
AUSTRALIAN RAVEN (Corvus coronoides) – The common Corvid around Sydney, where we saw a handful. [E]
Corcoracidae (White-winged Chough and Apostlebird)
APOSTLEBIRD (Struthidea cinerea) – A group of 4 birds along the entrance road to the Mareeba Wetlands was a nice surprise, as I hadn't seen them here before.
Paradisaeidae (Birds-of-Paradise)
CRINKLE-COLLARED MANUCODE (Manucodia chalybatus) – Poor views of one in a fruiting fig at the Varirata Lookout on our first visit to the park, then much improved views of another in a different fruiting tree on our second visit. [E]
GLOSSY-MANTLED MANUCODE (Manucodia ater) – Pretty quiet this visit, and we heard just one at Varirata, giving the typical "tuning fork" call. [E*]
KING-OF-SAXONY BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Pteridophora alberti) – Frustrating. We could hear a male calling nearby at Murmur Pass, but we just couldn't locate him in the canopy. And then the rain started... [E]
SUPERB BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Lophorina superba) – We had a rather poor view of a male at the Lesser BoP site, then far better views of another the next morning at Tonga. Note that this bird has been split into 3 species, and the one we saw is now called the Greater Superb Bird-of-Paradise. [E]
PARADISE RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris paradiseus) – Endemic to the mountains of the east coast of NSW and southern Queensland, this is the riflebird found around O'Reilly's. We had decent views of a couple of females before finally connecting with a great male along the track behind Charlie's Waterhole. [E]
VICTORIA'S RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris victoriae) – And this one is restricted to the Atherton Tablelands region, where we saw them daily. Especially nice were the juvenile males that were practicing their display on a dead tree right above our lodge. [E]
MAGNIFICENT RIFLEBIRD (GROWLING) (Ptiloris magnificus intercedens) – This form is now split from Magnificent Riflebird and is now called Growling Riflebird. We heard their growling calls, and saw a couple of birds, at Varirata. [E]

Koalas are not easy to see on our tour route, so we were glad to find this one near O'Reilly's. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

BROWN SICKLEBILL (Epimachus meyeri) – Super scope views of a calling male giving his machine gun rattle at the Murmur Pass site. [E]
SHORT-TAILED PARADIGALLA (Paradigalla brevicauda) – One turned up at a fruiting tree at the Tonga Blue BoP site and we had great looks at it as it foraged for small fruits among the foliage. This was a first for me in the area, and a nice surprise as such.
STEPHANIE'S ASTRAPIA (Astrapia stephaniae) – A couple of females at the Murmur Pass site were all we could muster this trip. [E]
RIBBON-TAILED ASTRAPIA (Astrapia mayeri) – The Kumul Lodge feeders were attracting in more than I've seen there in some time, including a stunning long-tailed male, the first adult male with long tail plumes in ages here. [E]
BLUE BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea rudolphi) – Had we voted on it, I suspect this may have been the bird of the trip. One male posed beautifully for us at eye level, allowing plenty of time for us to get photos and to really drink him in. What a bird! [E]
LESSER BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea minor) – This one was no slouch either. The male was already up and calling from the exposed branches of a dead tree when we arrived at the Kama site, and we enjoyed a wonderful show that morning as he sat out several times in good light. One or two females joined him a couple of times at a nearby fruiting tree. [E]
RAGGIANA BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea raggiana) – Not quite as a good a showing as we generally hope from this species. We did get okay views of some males as they moved through the tops of the casuarina trees above their lek at Varirata, but they never did descend to the lek and moved off quickly. [E]
Melampittidae (Melampittas)
LESSER MELAMPITTA (Melampitta lugubris) – Pretty decent views of one of these sneaky birds along the trails at Kumul. [E]
Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)
TORRENT FLYCATCHER (Monachella muelleriana) – The reliable ones at the Lai River bridge showed well once again. [E]
LEMON-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Microeca flavigaster) – Quite common and easy to see in the savanna along the Varirata entrance road. [E]
GARNET ROBIN (Eugerygone rubra) – Quick but good looks at a gorgeous male of this gerygone-like bird in the forest at Kumul Lodge. [E]
ROSE ROBIN (Petroica rosea) – The only one we managed to see at O'Reilly's was an immature male with just a smidgen of rose on his breast. [E]
PALE-YELLOW ROBIN (Tregellasia capito) – We never see many of these robins on this tour, so it was great that the one we saw along the trail at Lake Barrine showed quite well. [E]
EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis) – A common forest bird around O'Reilly's and Royal NP. [E]
MANGROVE ROBIN (Eopsaltria pulverulenta) – After being quite easy the last several years, these birds were once again pretty elusive, but we finally managed to get good looks at a pair in the mangroves on the Cairns Esplanade. [E]
WHITE-BROWED ROBIN (Poecilodryas superciliosa) – Taking a chance to visit a new site doesn't always pay off, but it sure did this time, as we nailed incredible views of this robin as well as Lovely Fairywrens despite it being the middle of the day. [E]
WHITE-WINGED ROBIN (Peneothello sigillata) – A family group of these birds were regulars right around the lodge at Kumul. [E]
GRAY-HEADED ROBIN (Heteromyias cinereifrons) – Another Atherton endemic, this one is usually pretty easy to see, but they proved difficult this trip, perhaps as they were nesting. Our only one was on a nest near the Golden Bowerbird bower. [EN]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena) – The default swallow through much of Australia, where we saw them pretty much daily. [E]
PACIFIC SWALLOW (Hirundo tahitica) – Replaces Welcome Swallow in PNG, where it is likewise the default swallow. Mostly seen just around Port Moresby.
FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel) – Not many. Best seen at the Port of Brisbane Wetlands. [E]
TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans) – A few birds at Fred Bucholz Park on our way down from O'Reilly's were our only ones. [E]
Acrocephalidae (Reed-Warblers and Allies)
AUSTRALIAN REED-WARBLER (Acrocephalus australis) – Just one, seen extremely well as it fed in low lake-side vegetation in front of the hide at Hasties Swamp on each of our two visits. [E]
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
TAWNY GRASSBIRD (Megalurus timoriensis) – This is the Australian version of this bird. We saw just one at Fred Bucholz Park. [E]
TAWNY GRASSBIRD (PAPUAN) (Megalurus timoriensis macrurus) – This PNG version is sometimes split out as a good species. Though we heard several, they were very reluctant to show themselves this trip. [E*]

We saw a good number of Comb-crested Jacanas at PAU, and near Cairns. Photo by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)
BLACK-FRONTED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops minor) – A fruiting tree right next to one of the picnic shelters at Varirata was drawing in these dapper little white-eyes, giving us the chance for some excellent views of what can be a tough bird to see well. [E]
NEW GUINEA WHITE-EYE (Zosterops novaeguineae) – Several small flocks were seen in the areas below Kumul Lodge, particularly around the Lesser and Blue BoP sites. [E]
SILVER-EYE (Zosterops lateralis) – Widespread in Australia, but we really only saw a few, both in the Atherton Tablelands and around O'Reilly's.
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata) – Though this is a common bird of the PNG highlands, our only sightings came on the one day at the Lesser BoP site.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
BASSIAN THRUSH (Zoothera lunulata) – The two Australian thrushes offer one of the hardest identification challenges in the country. They are best separated by voice, as plumage differences are small and difficult to discern in the dark forest understory these birds frequent. We saw one of these along the Border Track, identified primarily by its strong response to taped song of this species. [E]
RUSSET-TAILED THRUSH (Zoothera heinei) – Several of these were singing around O'Reilly's, but we only saw one of them along the Villa Track as we searched for lyrebirds one morning. [E]
ISLAND THRUSH (Turdus poliocephalus) – One or two birds frequented the fruit feeders at Kumul Lodge.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
METALLIC STARLING (Aplonis metallica) – Numerous around Cairns, with some big clusters of nests (they nest colonially) around the Smithfield Shopping Center. Also seen in PNG around Port Moresby.
SINGING STARLING (Aplonis cantoroides) – Three adults among a bunch of Metallic Starlings at PAU on our first afternoon in PNG. [E]
YELLOW-FACED MYNA (Mino dumontii) – A couple of pairs were seen at PAU, then a single bird in the same tree with the Papuan Frogmouth nest at Varirata. [E]
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – A few birds around Sydney. [I]
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) – Unfortunately numerous all along the east coast of Australia. [I]
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
RED-CAPPED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum geelvinkianum) – Quite common and widespread in PNG, and we saw them at a few different sites, though they're quick, small and often tough to see. [E]
MISTLETOEBIRD (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) – A gorgeous male showed pretty well at Granite Gorge, and a pair were at the Port of Brisbane wetlands. [E]
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris jugularis) – Not uncommon around the Cairns region, where we saw them pretty much daily.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AUSTRALASIAN PIPIT (AUSTRALIAN) (Anthus novaeseelandiae australis) – We found quite a few in open country at various sites in the tablelands, then also had a couple in the Brisbane area, including one at the Kamarun Lookout.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – At a few locales around Cairns, especially the Gallo Dairyland farm. [I]
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) – Common now in PNG, where they have exploded in recent years. [I]

Guide Jay VanderGaast captured this video of a mother and baby Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
MOUNTAIN FIRETAIL (Oreostruthus fuliginosus) – We found a trio of these chunky finches around Kumul Lodge, which pleased me as I've been missing them there on recent visits. [E]
RED-BROWED FIRETAIL (Neochmia temporalis) – Quite a common bird in the eastern rainforests, and we saw them well at several sites, though it's hard to beat those close looks at the feeding station at O'Reilly's. [E]
CRIMSON FINCH (Neochmia phaeton) – Kathy spotted our only pair of these handsome finches on our first afternoon at Yorkey's Knob. [E]
DOUBLE-BARRED FINCH (Taeniopygia bichenovii) – There weren't as many as there usually are, but we had some excellent looks at the ones we did see around Granite Gorge. [E]
SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) – A flock of these are seemingly pretty regular in the seeding grasses near the north end of the Cairns Esplanade. [I]
HOODED MUNIA (Lonchura spectabilis) – A big flock below Kumul Lodge featured both white-bellied and buff-bellied birds, and it was interesting to see the two forms side by side. [E]
GRAY-HEADED MUNIA (Lonchura caniceps) – A big flock of 75+ birds were with a similar number of Chestnut-breasted Munias in the garden area at PAU. [E]
CHESTNUT-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura castaneothorax) – Aside from the big flock at PAU, we also saw this lovely munia in the Atherton Tablelands, including a big flock of 80-100 along the Mareeba Wetlands entrance road. [E]

SHORT-BEAKED ECHIDNA (Tachyglossus aculeatus) – I've never seen this animal on the tour before, so finding one below O'Reilly's would have been exciting enough, even without the second roadside one we found later the same afternoon. But the show-stopper was that third one we found at Royal NP, which allowed us to get right up to it as it gorged on ants at the base of a rotting stump. What a treat! [E]
PLATYPUS (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) – Our usual platypus spot came through once again, despite the large dog that plunged into the stream and splashed around shortly after we arrived to watch. Once the dog departed and things had settled down again, we enjoyed some excellent close views of a couple of these strange creatures. [E]
BROWN ANTECHINUS (Antechinus stuartii) – This is probably the small mouse-like animal we saw along the Lady Carrington Track on our last morning at Royal NP.
LONG-NOSED BANDICOOT (Peramelas nasuta) – Our night-spotting foray near Yungaburra was incredibly successful, netting us not only our Sooty Owl, but also several mammals, including three of these long-snouted, terrestrial marsupials. [E]
KOALA (Phascolarctos cinereus) – A successful late afternoon walk through eucalyptus forest below O'Reilly's was capped off with superb sightings of one of these iconic mammals, which isn't easy to find on this tour route. [E]
SHORT-EARED POSSUM (Trichosurus caninus) – Those dark brushtail possums we saw at O'Reilly's were this local species. [E]
SUGAR GLIDER (Petaurus breviceps) – Awesome views of a pair of these cute little animals at the feeding station at Chambers after dark. [E]
COMMON RINGTAIL POSSUM (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) – A couple of these were located during our walk along the boardwalk at O'Reilly's after supper, and another was seen walking across the road in front of the vehicle the following night. [E]
GREEN RINGTAIL POSSUM (Pseudochirops archeri) – We found 4 of these range-restricted possums during our spotlighting outing near Yungaburra, including nice looks at a mom with a baby. [E]
STRIPED POSSUM (Dactylopsila trivirgata) – This beauty is always nice to see at the Chambers honey feeders after dark. [E]
MUSKY RAT-KANGAROO (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus) – The smallest of the macropods, this rainforest species was seen well both at Lake Barrine and below the feeders at Cassowary House. [E]
RED-NECKED PADEMELON (Thylogale thetis) – The common pademelon around O'Reilly's, where they are easy to see in the open areas. [E]
RED-LEGGED PADEMELON (Thylogale stigmatica) – Generally shyer than the previous species, though they were regular at night around our cabins at Chambers. [E]
MAREEBA ROCK-WALLABY (Petrogale mareeba) – Endearing and approachable at Granite Gorge. [E]
LUMHOLTZ'S TREE KANGAROO (Dendrolagus lumholtzi) – Finding a mom and baby right next to the trail at Mt Hypipamee was awesome, seeing them climb a tree, answering the question of how they do it, was amazing, getting it on video: priceless! [E]
AGILE WALLABY (Macropus agilis) – A fairly common sight in the tablelands. [E]
RED-NECKED WALLABY (Macropus rufogriseus) – Quite a few in the pastureland in the hills below O'Reilly's, with some excellent views of several at the Kamarun Lookout. [E]
WHIPTAIL WALLABY (Macropus parryi) – Also called Pretty-face Wallaby, and for good reason. We saw just two on our way down from O'Reilly's as we headed to Brisbane airport. [E]
EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus giganteus) – A small group of these were in a scrubby field along the road into the Mareeba Wetlands. [E]
GRAY-HEADED FLYING-FOX (Pteropus poliocephalus) – Those huge roosts of flying foxes along the road between Beenleigh and Canungra were all of mostly this species, though it's possible there were a few others mixed in. We didn't look through them hard enough to find out. [E]
OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) – One was seen in the Atherton Tablelands. [I]
EUROPEAN BROWN HARE (Lepus europaeus) – A lone one at the Port of Brisbane wetlands. [I]
WHITE-TAILED RAT (Uromys caudimaculatus) – A couple of these large arboreal rats were seen on our Atherton Tableland night spotting outing.
BLACK-TAILED GIANT RAT (Uromys anak) – This huge rat turned up at the Kumul Lodge feeders nightly. [E]


In addition to all the birds and mammals, we saw a handful of other critters worth noting. Among them:

Frill-necked Lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingi): The large lizard along the track at Granite Gorge

Eastern Water Dragon (Physignathus lesueurii): a couple of these were at the platypus site.

Eastern Blue-tongued Skink (Tiliqua scincoides): one of these big guys was below the feeder at O'Reilly's.

Red-bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus): one of these beautiful, highly venomous snakes was seen along the Lady Carrington Track at Royal NP.

White-lipped Tree Frog (Litoria infrafrenata): several of these were asleep on the walls of the lodge at the Mareeba Wetlands.

Totals for the tour: 378 bird taxa and 24 mammal taxa