Saturday Night

Cairns

 

I am really going to try to keep this one brief.† Yeah, sure, you say.† Well, I have to be up early tomorrow, and I want to get to bed early tonight.† Normal is 9:30.† Iím trying for 9, and it is already 8:12.

 

So, this morning I made myself a nice ham and cheese sandwich for brekkie, and had a pear and a mandarin with it.† Very nice, just my style.

 

After brekkie, I went out and switched my cars. †Now I have a RAV4, which seems OK.† It seems larger than the RAV4ís I have seen in the States, and it should do fine for me for the last week and a half of my trip.

 

I got back to my apartment and my Birdingpal guide for the day, Terry, showed up a bit before 10.† I showed him my list of birds I was still looking for, and it was probably kind of hard for him, because I have seen so much already.† All the easy ones are gone.

 

Anyway, we decided to target two kind of hard birds to see, the Lovely Fairy-wren and the Mangrove Robin.† Along the way, we also looked for other ones and saw some nice birds, but they were all ones I had seen before on this trip.† It was hot out there, and about 100% humidity, as far as I could tell.† We tried for Brown-backed Honeyeater, one I had seen briefly on the Townsville outing and wanted to see better, but we couldnít find any.† Got a good look at Yellow Honeyeaters, though, which was nice.† We tried for the Lovely Fairy-wren, but dipped on it.

 

Next we went to the mangroves just north of the Esplanade to look for the Mangrove Robin.† They eluded us for a while, but eventually we saw 2 or three of them, and I even got a decent picture (see Photos 10, going up tonight, hopefully).† My only new bird for the day, and it was a lifer.† Terry had brought me some 80% DEET insect repellant, which was very kind of him, as the sandflies can be terrible, evidently.† You canít even see them, and the bites are worse than Mosquito bites, and they last for days.† The DEET seems to have done the job.† It is a gel, and you spread it onto yourself Ė then wash your hands, so you donít ruin everything plastic that you touch.

 

We tried the Esplanade, but I had misunderstood the tide information, and it wasnít a good tide all afternoon there.† When the tide is too high, the birds either go elsewhere to rest, or they tuck in their heads and sleep until the tide starts going out again.† We saw some birds on the Esplanade today, but nothing new for me, and the numbers were much less than if the tide had been right.† It was a mistake I made when making my plans for the trip.† I thought I was picking a good tide day today, and I was wrong.

 

Terry took me to a nice Malaysian restaurant for lunch.† My first time in a Malaysian restaurant, I think, and it was excellent.† After lunch we again tried for the Fairy-wren and again went to the Esplanade (the other end this time, to see if anything different was hanging around there), but nothing new showed up.† I did get a picture of a male Figbird that I am happy with, though.† I also learned more about the waders on the beach, and how to recognize the various species.

 

My time in the heat and humidity and the little bit of walking we did really wore me out, so I was glad to get back to my apartment about 3.† I had a shower and went online, and chatted with my buddy Fred for a while, until it was drinkie time.† I processed pictures and had my humble dinner.† A frozen tuna casserole and two packs of my frozen veggies.† Again, my style of meal.† I enjoyed it.† A couple of jam tarts for dessert.

 

I finished processing pictures and made the album for Photos10, and now it is uploading to the website, as I type this.

 

Tomorrow morning another Birdingpal, John, is picking me up at 6:15 am, and we are going on the local bird club outing, to Centenary Lakes, which is very nearby to where I am staying.† I have been there a couple of times already, including with Terry today, but it will be interesting to see if there is any more to see early in the morning, and with a number of people looking for and listening for birds.† It will also be interesting to see how many birders show up for something like this.† After the walk around the lakes is done, John indicated he will take me to other places.† The tide should be better for the Esplanade tomorrow, too, so maybe I can get one or two of the 4 or 5 species that are often there, that I havenít seen yet.† I havenít really been there for a good tide situation yet.† It doesnít seem like it would be that hard to get there for a good tide, but the tides are extremely irregular and weird here, presumably because of the Great Barrier Reef offshore.† I wonít go into a lot of detail, but you can have a low, a high, and another low in about 4 hours, and then the rest of the day, the tide is coming in for the second high of the day.† And, the next day, they are completely different.† †I have no idea how they manage to predict them at all, they are so irregular.

 

I am worried about how much walking there might be tomorrow, and how the heat and humidity might get to me, but I was worried about today, too.† I did okay today, but it did wear me out, and I was ready to call it quits by 3 Ė and we started at 10.† Tomorrow we start at 6:30.† Does that mean I will be worn out by noon?† We shall see.

 

So, that is the story for today.† My totals are now 256 total, with 54 of those lifers.† At one point, I was wondering if I could reach 250 for the trip, and 50 lifers, and now those numbers have been exceeded, with a week and a half to go, in some really great birding places.† I am hoping now for as many as 280 total, with 65 lifers.† Maybe not possible, but an ambitious goal is always good.

 

By the way, in case you didnít find it, Photos09 was posted to a date a few days ago.† I am running behind on my Photos, although number 10, being uploaded now, will catch me up to the present, anyway.† So, if you missed number 9 Photos, go back and find it.

 

Barry Downunder, not acclimatized to the subtropics yet