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Thursday 18th November - Sunday 21st November 2010

Guy Dutson

Australia is a huge country full of wonderfully gaudy, eccentric and tame birds. On this tour, we found nearly all of the East Australian endemics and many continental endemics, from Sydney north to Cape York. The extension took us into the heart of Cape York, the rocky hills of Mount Isa and the outback of Cunnamulla. As well as seeing a massive total of 433 species, we took time to indulge and enjoy many prolonged close encounters with rare, beautiful and iconic species. Highlights of the main tour included great views of the skulking Ground Parrot, rare Eastern Bristlebird, brilliant Turquoise Parrot and extremely rare Regent Honeyeater around Sydney, five albatrosses and Rufous Scrub-bird from Newcastle, phosphorescent Regent Bowerbirds and other regional endemics inland of Brisbane, the isolated Eungella Honeyeater, and all 14 tropical rainforest endemics around Cairns, among a total of 361 species. On the extension, we found Red Goshawk, Golden-shouldered Parrot, Tropical Scrubwren and Star Finch on the Cape York Peninsula, Carpentarian and Kalkadoon Grasswrens around Mount Isa, and Bourke’s Parrot, Hall’s Babbler and Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush around Cunnamulla. We also found a host of other north and inland Australian endemics in this outback adventure, adding 75 species to the main tour. Overall favourites included 27 species of parrots and 14 species of finches as well as the classics such as Southern Cassowary, Black Swan, Laughing Kookaburra, Superb Lyrebird and Satin Bowerbird. Perhaps the greatest wonder was reserved for the incredibly unusual mammals, with excellent views of Platypus, Echidna, Koala and 11 species of kangaroo and wallaby.