Sunday Night

Cairns

 

Today was my early day.† I had to meet my birdingpal, John, at 6:15, so I was up by 5:15.† It was completely dark out still, and it seems unnatural to me to be getting up that early.† I pulled myself out of bed, though and made my brekkie Ė a ham and cheese sandwich, with a pear and a mandarin.† Again.† I may not have much imagination, but I do enjoy my simple meals, although I would have enjoyed this one a bit more if it had been about an hour later.

 

I met John down in front of the building at 6:15, and we went to the Centenary Lakes, which are very close to here.† A total of about 15 people showed up eventually, and at 6:30 we started a very leisurely walk around the area.† The local bird club meets once a month to do this walk, so it was all familiar to everyone but me.† The people were very cordial and friendly to me.

 

Before we even got started, John was able to show me White-rumped Swiftlets flying around overhead, so I had my first lifer of the day before we even started the walk.† Yippee.† Next up was a really good look at a White-browed Crake, a secretive bird that I hadnít really expected to see, although I had seen them in 2002 on my first Aussie trip.† A while later, it was an excellent look through Johnís scope at a really beautiful little parrot called a Double-eyed Fig-Parrot.† It was a male, the more colorful gender in this case (and most cases, although not all).† Another lifer.

 

By the end of the walk, at about 9 oíclock, I had seen 5 trip species, of which 3 were lifers, and another one was a first for my Australian list.† I had seen that species, Nutmeg Mannikin, in Hawaii, but not here in Australia, before today.

 

While we were on the walk, one of the birders mentioned that he had a Papuan Frogmouth nesting in his yard, and asked if I was interested in seeing it.† Was I ever!† I had hoped to see that species in my next destination, Daintree Village, but I figured I only had a 50% chance of actually seeing it, so I jumped at the chance to see one here.† It is a really strange looking bird Ė see Photos11 for a picture.† It is a night bird, and normally roosts somewhere all day.† In this case, the bird was sitting on a nest, and the nest consisted of a few twigs on a branch.† You can see the twigs in my picture.† So, another lifer.

 

There were a couple of birds I hadnít seen yet on the Esplanade, so John and I went down there and we saw both of them, one of which was a lifer.† As a bonus, we also saw Little Terns, not a lifer for me, but a species I had not expected to see on this trip.† So, at the end of the day (that is, at 11 in the morning), I had seen a whopping 9 species for my trip list, and 5 of them were lifers, and one for my Australian list as well.† A truly outstanding day of birding.† Actually only 5 Ĺ hours of birding, but with the early start and the heat, I felt like it had been all day.† It was hot for me, but not nearly as hot as the last couple of days, and it was overcast, which helped a lot.

 

John had some things to do in the afternoon, and I was glad for a chance to come back to my room and cool off, but he offered to take me out again tomorrow morning.† We would have had to get another early start, though, and I decided that that would just be too hard on my old body, so I regretfully declined.† It would have been a great opportunity, but I just wasnít up to it.

 

So, I cooled off in my apartment, had some lunch, and did some planning for the rest of the trip, making target bird lists and thinking about where I might see which birds that I have not yet seen.

 

At about 1:30, I went back down to the Esplanade, where the tide was still coming in, and I took some pictures.† The birds were nice and close, and they had already been feeding all day, so mostly they were just sitting there, posing for pictures.† Photos11 has more than the normal ratio of bird pictures, Iím afraid.† I hung out there for about two hours before coming back here and starting on processing my pictures.

 

Dinner tonight was the leftover beef pie and the leftover tuna casserole from the last two nights, along with the rest of the veggies.† I donít expect to do any cooking in the next place I am staying, which is a bed and breakfast place in Daintree Village, which is as far north as I am planning to go.† Iíll eat lunch and dinner in restaurants, I think.† My room there is the last air conditioned place I am staying, other than the motel in Brisbane, the night before I fly out.† But, the two places after Daintree Village are up at some elevation, about 1500 feet for the first one, and about 2400 feet for the second one, so I should be pretty comfortable.† Iím big on comfort, in case you hadnít noticed.

 

Dial up internet has worked ok here, although it would be better if Telstra (the internet provider) would connect me every time.† At busy times, they answer their phone, but donít connect me.† This place I am staying charges me 80 cents each time I try, whether I get connected or not.† It will be interesting to see how much it costs me for phone calls when I check out tomorrow.† I may try to get them to cancel the charges for the times I didnít connect, but it isnít really their fault that Telstra answers the phone but doesnít connect me.

 

Iím trying to get on now, but it just wonít connect.† Iíll keep trying, and hopefully get this posted tonight, along with Photos11.† I finally connected, after five attempts.† The dial up connection is slow, though, and I have a lot of pictures to put up tonight, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes.† It is after 9 now, and I feel ready for bed.

 

My count now is 265 total for the trip, of which 59 are lifers, and 60 are new for my Australian list.† My Aussie list stands at 413 species now.

 

Barry Downunder, tired after a long day