Thursday, 4 June 2009

North of Atherton, Queensland - January

Whistling kite

Now, for a couple I met at the raptor watchpoint in the North York Moors, and for all the birds of prey we missed, here comes a discontinuity in the timeline of my Australian trip...

Sunday, the 25th, saw me take my leave of Atherton and head north for Mareeba Wetlands. As ever, my van wasn't supposed to tackle the dirt road and anyway the reserve was closed. I carried on past Lake Mitchell, which also didn't deliver, and stopped for lunch at Mount Molloy in the heat of the day. The pub provided a surprising array of dishes, so I knew I had only to snack it that evening.

The settlement itself – hardly a town – held good birding habitat but I elected to try the Peninsula Development Road to Mount Carbine, for a taste of drier Queensland. I had already scrubbed Cooktown from my itinerary, so I wasn't going all the way down the Road.

Various clouds threatened but no rain materialised, nor did any birds – only yet another lolly from the hamlet’s roadhouse. I headed back for the coast and Cape Tribulation. I was keen to spend the night in the relative coolness of the mountains, so Kingfisher Park, at the edge of the Tablelands, was a logical choice for campsite. Unsure how to find it, I was driving slower than even my customary snail-pace when yet another red-neck vehicle roared up behind me and overtook on a blind bend with horn blaring. A thousand heart attacks to you, scum!

As it happened, the Park was obvious but with only just room for me: it was hosting the annual long weekend get-together of the North Queensland branch of Birds Australia. This was a good thing: at last someone who could tell me what I was looking at! ⇐

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