Monday, December 31, 2012

The Wet begins

As predicted, the delightful low-humidity days have finished after we received 80 ml of rain on Christmas Eve. Steamy days and warm nights for a while now.
The pond in full again and the frogs have abandoned the house in favour of their mating grounds. The pond is a favourite place, plus the swimming pool and any water features around the garden. Their persistent calling at night can be quite bothersome to the uninitiated. To us it is the soothing sounds of the Wet Season.

Litoria Leseuri
Birding is still good in Daintree at present. The Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher are at their nesting mounds,and while they are quieter, you can usually find a bird perched high up, not far from the nest. There appears to be at least three pairs along the first section of Stewart Creek Rd.
Papuan Frogmouth chicks seem to have all fledged, making them more difficult to see, but sightings of Little Kingfisher are happening and Black Bittern, Great-billed Heron and most of the other Daintree River specialities have been seen on early morning boat trips.
Latham's Snipe are feeding on the riverbanks and fields, plenty of Little Egret, Royal Spoonbill, ibis, cormorants and Magpie Geese along the banks of the Daintree River.

Royal Spoonbill
Double-eyed Fig-Parrots are excavataing nests in the garden at Red Mill House and our favourite pair of Yellow Oriole are feeding just  one chick on a nest very close to the front verandah.
A quick camping trip over Christmas to Malanda Falls was a lovely break with visits to favourite places like Mt Hypipamee, Curtain Fig, Lake Barrine. Great highland birds and very good views of Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo near the falls.

Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo.
Eye level, sitting quietly for ages and in daylight. An absolute treat!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!!





Friday, December 14, 2012

Last of the "Dry Season"

An unusual December in tropical Daintree with humid and warm weather but without the build-up of storms to date. Conditions are dry, leaves are falling, wetlands are shrinking and birds are seeking what water they can find. Even muddy, cow-filled ponds are attractive to some.

Glossy Ibis and Royal Spoonbill Daintree Dec 12
Large numbers of Magpie Goose are feeding in the fields on the banks of the Daintree River and passing overhead the village each morning and night as they roost along Barratt Creek. Their presence is not going un-noticed by at least one of the local Crocodiles!

Magpie Geese Daintree River Dec 12
Great bird sightings in Daintree including a nesting Papuan Frogmouth with chick on Stewart Creek Rd, Cicadabird, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Oriental Cuckoo, Great-billed Heron, Azure Kingfisher and many more.
In the gardens at Red Mill House a large Terminalia is fruiting, proving very popular with Australasian Figbird, Eastern Koel and Pied Imperial-Pigeon.

Pied Imperial Pigeon Red Mill House Dec 12
A fabulous time of year for frogs, and therefore snakes. Guests shared the swimming pool with this delightful Common Green Tree-Snake last week, who just missed his frog.

Common Green Tree-Snake Red Mill House Dec 12

Also looking for a feed has been this beautiful Amethystine Python - an absolute favourite with guests

Amethystine Python Red Mill House Dec 12
The rains will come soon enough - for now we are enjoying the wildlife treats that we have.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kingfishers and much more!

This is prime birdwatching time in Daintree and beyond. The weather is becoming warmer and there has been little rain (which means no mosquitoes) and the birds are becoming very visible around sources of water, whether it be a birdbath in the back garden and reducing wetland areas. It is a great time of year.

The Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers have paired up and started excavating the termite mounds.
This beautiful one is a regular at the end of Stewart Creek Rd, where at least three pairs are beginning to nest. Another two pairs are at the top of the same road, with at least two more just beyond Harlow's Bridge.

Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher - S. Isoe Nov 12

Papuan Frogmouth appear to be breeding successfully this year with 4 young spotted at different nests along the Daintree River. No sign of one on this nest a week ago. Brilliant disguise as always.

Papuan Frogmouth - S.Isoe Nov 12
Fairy-Wrens are making appearances all over, it seems, in quite large family groups. A group of Lovely Fairy-Wren are spending a lot of time between the bird-baths of Red Mill House and the overflow from the Daintree water supply tank. Another two groups are near the end of Stewart Creek Rd.
Red-backed Fairy-Wren, along with Golden-headed Cisticola, Tawny Grassbird and Chestnut-breasted Mannikin inhabit the grasslands just past the Harlow's Bridge.

Male Red-backed Fairy-Wren - S. Isoe Nov 12
Other great birds in Daintree this week include Black Bittern, Cotton Pygmy-Goose, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Double-eyed Fig-Parrott and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet.

Thanks to Isoe-san for the use of his beautiful photos.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Eclipse 2012 plus great birdwatching



What an amazing event the 2012 Total Solar Eclipse in Far North Queensland was! 
People came from far and wide, up to 50,000 extra people in the region we hear - from the seriously scientific to the seriously whacky, to the seriously obsessed. Some had been planning this for years and many had travelled half way around the world to see it.
The build-up to the event was full of anxiety as people jockeyed for positions to get the perfect view - the tropics in 'build-up' season is far from reliable weather-wise, and by being just after sunrise it didn't allow people to move to another location at the spur of the moment. So, lots of anxious moments when waking to cloud in the east that morning!
The Total Eclipse itself lasted for a little over two minutes and was amazing - if you think you have seen it all by viewing a partial eclipse before, you are seriously wrong!  The darkness, the drop in temperature, the shadows, that moment when you can take your silly glasses off and look directly at the sun, the sudden brightness when the sun emerges - it is like nothing else. Truly amazing. Even the biggest cynics (aka Andrew) were converted!


Red Mill House guests at the mouth of the Daintree River Nov 14 2012
Red Mill House guests all went with Sauce to the mouth of the Daintree River where we were on our own. We had great views of the moon coming over, but then as totality arrived a big black cloud came over  - - - - - -  it broke just long enough for us to ooh and aah and have a good look then clouded over again.

Those who were further inland got uninterrupted views. Phil Hart (who is staying at Red Mill House at the moment) was delighted to get the NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day with this wonderful image of the 'diamond ring' below.

It is not worth messing around with little cameras, there is just not enough time. Leave it to the experts!!



Phil Hart Total Solar Eclipse FNQ Nov 2012

Another classic image from Phil.


Phil Hart Total Solar Eclipse FNQ Nov 2012



Now to birds!! A number of Eclipse-followers are birders, so it has been busy in Daintree, with a wonderful couple of weeks of birding locally.
Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Pied Monarch, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and King Parrot in the rainforest.  Brown Quail, Red-backed Fairy-Wren, Tawny Grassbird, Little Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite in the fields. Cotton and Green Pygmy Goose and Magpie Goose, Bush Hen, Buff-banded Rail and Latham's Snipe on the Daintree River (or banks). Plus all our regulars of course! The only thing missing seems to be the Little Kingfisher.
The Cattle Egret are now well coloured in breeding plumage and will be heading off to breed in the Gulf soon.
Cattle Egret Nov 12





Saturday, November 10, 2012

Daintree Birdwatching Treats

November is a peak month for birding in Tropical North Queensland with excellent sightings reported in the Daintree Region.
Newcomers include Cotton Pygmy Goose x 2 on the Daintree River, King Parrots x about 8 in the Daintree Valley, Fan-tailed Cuckoo at Barratt Creek and Barn Owl on Stewart Creek Rd.
Other birds of note include Yellow-breasted Boatbill and Pied Monarch, as well as the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher at the end of Stewart Creek Rd. Tawny Grassbird, Red-backed Fairy-Wren, Golden-headed Cisticola and Chestnut-breasted Mannikin on the same road, but near Harlows Bridge in the grassy fields. Lots of good seed heads at the moment. Little Eagle and Brown Goshawk also seen.


Yellow-breasted Boatbill (Fred Forsell)



Several pair of Papuan Frogmouth are nesting above the banks of the Daintree River and Black Bittern are seen daily. Great-billed Heron carrying nesting material has been spotted heading upstream on Stewart Creek

Papuan Frogmouth ( Henri Brouchide)
The Total Solar Eclipse happens across the region between 6.38 and 6.40 am on Weds 14th, about which we are all very excited. We'll be down on the beach near the mouth of the Daintree River and are really keen to see what happens with the wildlife as we putter back up the river after it is all over.
Hopefully some pics next week! Fingers crossed for dry and sunny weather.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Daintree Birding etc

Lots of interesting things happening around Daintree at present for birdwatchers.
Yesterday we took both a drive to the end of Stewart Creek Rd in the Daintree Valley, plus a walk along the first section with guests, and picked up a very handy list for our efforts.
 Birds included Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Barred Cuckoo-Shrike, Dollarbird, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Lovely Fairy-Wren, Red-backed Fairy-Wren, Golden-headed Cisticola, Little Eagle and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot excavating a nest.
Very impressive!!

Dollarbird


UK wildlife video-maker Malcolm Rymer is in the TNQ region for three weeks collecting footage for a 2 hour video on Birdwatching in Tropical North Queensland, which he will have available for sale at next year's British Birdfair. He is receiving excellent support from some local birding businesses and some very generous local birders and has collected some great footage thus far. His comments about the region are very encouraging, and it's great to be involved in a project which will potentially bring more people to the region for birdwatching. Thanks to those who have been involved, for being generous with their time and knowledge and also for their openness when dealing with Malcolm.

Malcolm Rymer, Ann and Trish at Stewart Creek Bridge

While not daily, there have been sightings of Southern Cassowary north of the Daintree River. Four pairs of Papuan Frogmouth nesting on the Daintree River or creeks. Black Bitttern also seen.

Lots of activity in the garden at Red Mill House with good flowers and fruit about. Wompoo Fruit-Dove and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot both favourites. This very handsome Brush Turkey seems to be holding sway over any intruders at present.

Male Australian Brush Turkey

 It is also 'frog season' with many of the Giant White-lipped Green Tree Frogs taking refuge in the house each day, before making their way out at night to feed and frolic.
This chap stopped over on a tripod on his way out last night.

Litoria infrafrenata

A pot-plant dweller during the day!

Litoria bicolor
 And lastly, a sign-post 'pretend I'm not here' Graceful Tree-Frog. I'm surprised a Kookaburra didn't find him, but he survived the day.

Litoria gracilenta
You gotta love it!
We live in Paradise.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher has arrived!!

The last of our summer migrants are in!
Black Bittern has been seen for the past few days on the Daintree River and this morning the first Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher was heard and then seen on Stewart Creek Rd in the Daintree Valley by Robyn Lowth of Daintree Sunbird Farm.
We love this time of year!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Birdwatching season in Daintree


A great time of year for birding in Daintree. Some nice rain last week, then clear and dry again now. Just enough rain to top up the pond at Red Mill House so the Little Kingfisher and Azure Kingfisher both have space to feed.
Nesting activity is in full force with the Australian Figbird trying to dominate the yard - they are certainly the most common bird each day. A huge Milky Pine in the yard has several figbirds nesting, plus a Yellow Oriole and Helmeted Friarbird on nests. Probably more that we don't see, also!  Much disputing of territories going on!  The strangler figs are in full fruit, so there is plenty of food close by.

Male Australian Figbird
 The Black Butcherbird (not our favourite because they are such aggressive predators and we don't have a lot of space) have also been nesting in the Damson Plum. I know they have to feed their babies, but I do wish they wouldn't pick off our lovely frogs all the time.

Juvenile Black Butcherbird

 It is no wonder that our frogs like to hang out inside the house during the day, rather than in the garden.
Just don't tell the Health Inspector!!

Giant White-lipped Green Tree Frog
Other sightings locally include Pacific Baza along Stewart Creek Rd, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Cicadabird, Great-billed Heron and Papuan Frogmouth (also nesting).
Still hanging out for that first call of the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Springtime in Daintree

After a very dry and extremely pleasant few weeks, there has been some good showers here in the Wet Tropics over the last few days, refreshing the rainforest and greening everything up again. It was long overdue.
Birdlife has been fabulous with lots of nesting going on - Olive-backed Sunbirds are laying in some of the most inconvenient of places - hammocks, doorways etc. They are amazingly successful considering how trusting they are! We also have Yellow Oriole, Australian Figbird and Helmeted Friarbird nesting in the garden. Welcome Swallows and Mistletoebirds are feeding their young around town and, on the Daintree River, Wompoo Fruit Dove and Papuan Frogmouth are nesting while Double-eyed Fig-Parrots are madly feeding babies.
It is the season for Channel-billed Cuckoo (Storm Birds) and Australasian Koel to be seen, but particularly, heard. The Koels are always being chased noisily by the smaller birds as they parasitise the nests of the above-mentioned species. Fruit-eaters and usually quiet, the Koel can often be found in fruiting Alexandra Palms and several species of figs. A large bird with a bright red eye, the female has delightful markings, while the male is shiny and black.


Australian Koel - female (Fred Forsell)

Australian Koel - male (Fred Forsell)
Other good sightings in Daintree include Lovely Fairy-Wren on Stewart Creek Rd, Little Kingfisher on the pond at Red Mill House, Pacific Baza in Daintree Village and possibly the first sighting of Black Bittern this morning on the Daintree River.
Everyone is waiting anxiously for the first call of the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher returning from New Guinea.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The new Daintree Birdwatching Bulletin




Following the crash of the one existing computer in this house which supported Windows XP, we no longer have access to the Dreamweaver programme from which the Daintree Birdwatching Bulletin was created and maintained.
So - - - this blog is now the new Daintree Birdwatching Bulletin, which means I have to be a bit more vigilant  about keeping it updated!

September is a fabulous time of year in Daintree - warm, sunny, not humid and very few mosquitoes. With a couple of notable exceptions (Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and Black Bittern), all our summer migrants are here. Lots of nesting is going on making some birds like Great-billed Heron and Southern Cassowary more difficult to see, and others like Metallic Starling and Brown-backed Honeyeater are easier.

Good sightings of Little Kingfisher, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot and Pacific Baza in the garden at Red Mill House while Stewart Creek Rd has been handy for Lovely Fairy-Wren and Pied Monarch.

Very good sightings of Noisy Pitta on the track at the end of Cape Kimberly and there has been a very handsome, and somewhat 'friendly' sub-adult Southern Cassowary at Jindalba Boardwalk, as the following photos from Paul McLelland shows us.

Sub-adult Cassowary Jindalba Boardwalk

Sub-adult Cassowary Jindalba Boardwalk - a close look!
A male Cassowary with three chicks is also in the region of Jindalba, and also a large female. Most sightings seem have been early morning and it is has been difficult finding then during the day.

Other Daintree sightings include Topknot Pigeon, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Victoria's Riflebird and Shining Flycatcher. Check out our weekly sightings list for more details Red Mill House Sightings page

Monday, September 3, 2012

British Birdfair 2012



For the 3rd year in a row the Red Mill House team has organised and run the Australian Birdwatching display at the British Birdfair. A three-day event with over 23,000 people coming through, it is the biggest event of it's type in the world. With 7 display marques, plus three different lecture marques, optics, camera gear, travel companies, conservation groups etc, etc it is a fabulous weekend.
Being the first fine weekend for (seemingly) months, people were out in throngs and everyone had a great time. The mood was upbeat, being just after the very successful London Olympics


Australian Stand 2012
30 birdwatching-related businesses from around Australia were represented at the booth, with lots of requests for tours, guides and accommodation throughout Australia. Unfortunately the continually high Australian dollar has made it difficult attracting the Brits to Australia in the last few years, but it seems they are getting used to the idea and are now talking about visiting anyway. That is a big improvement on last year.

Busy Marque 4
It is non-stop talking for 3 days, but lots of fun.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Herons in the Daintree River

Herons are always a great bird to see - often secretive, sometimes bold and confiding.
The Daintree River is famous as one of the more reliable places to see the rather difficult Great-billed Heron, and this month has been no exception. They have been calling (a deep guttural sound) and are developing breeding plumage as shown in the photo below taken early in the month by Russ Jones on the Daintree. Pairs of birds have also been seen, which is a good sign. Last year was a successful season for breeding for the Great-billed Heron locally.

Great-billed Heron (Russell Jones)
 Other Herons on the Daintree River include Nankeen Night Heron and Striated Heron. White-faced Heron  and White-necked Heron are also seen in the Daintree Valley.


Striated Heron (Ian Worcester)
Good views of Black-necked Stork locally as well, completing the sought-after and spectacular large, aquatic species.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Southern Cassowary

The local Daintree Region Cassowary Group has been working hard at collecting data on the Southern Cassowary population in the Daintree Rainforest and building of a database of individual birds and their territories.
Fortunately, sightings north of the Daintree River have been frequent and varied recently, and Red Mill House guests have been able to help with data for the group.
Often people get so excited about seeing a Cassowary the photos are pretty ordinary, but Kath Jones from Victoria managed this lovely photo yesterday.


This male and his chick were seen near Noah Creek, and have also been spotted at Maardja Boardwalk in the last few days.
If you come across a Cassowary in the Daintree Rainforest, submit your sighting to DRCG via this weblink
http://daintreecassowary.org.au/submission
The more that is known about them, the better the chance of helping this rare and endangered (and beautiful) bird.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Beach favourites

A fairly miserable start to our normally-gorgeous-winters this year, with some rain and lots of cloudy days.
It hasn't been such great weather for getting out to The Great Barrier Reef, but there has been some good birdwatching along the beach areas.
Regular sightings of Beach Stone-Curlew are happening along Wonga Beach, at Newell Beach and along Myall Beach.



Restricted in range to the coastal parts of Northern Australia, the Beach Stone-Curlew (or Beach Thick-knee) inhabits the beaches (usually one pair for each beach) and are normally quite shy and easily disturbed. Tidal mudflats and mangroves are other suitable habitats.  They are often a difficult bird for visiting birdwatchers
With huge bills they feed on crabs and other marine invertebrates.

Other recent beach sighting include Collared Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Pied Oyster-Catcher and Grey-tailed Tattler, along with Osprey and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The 'Birding Journo Gods'


A special week for all the birding businesses from the Bird Trails Tropical Queensland group in Tropical North Queensland, with a week's visit to the region from a group of international birdwatching journalists. We all had the opportunity to host them and, all in all, they had a fabulous time.
We decided that the 'Birding Journo Gods' were watching out for us when they arrived in Daintree. After a few days of miserable rain, the sun came out and so did the birds.
A quick drive to the end of Stewart Creek Rd gave us some of our best birds with Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Victoria's Riflebird, Pied Monarch, Lovely Fairy-Wren, Cicadabird and many many more birds in feeding flocks, working their way through the forest. Couldn't get the grins off our faces!!

Hugh, Ed, Trish and Mike - Stewart Creek Rd
A fabulous couple of weeks for birdwatching in Daintree generally, with good regular views of Great-billed Heron on the Daintree River, a family of four Black-necked Stork on the banks of the river, Red-necked Crake, Pied Monarch and Little Kingfisher at Red Mill House, Cassowary sightings near Cape Trib and Little Eagle in the Daintree Valley.
All good, really!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Little Kingfisher is back!

After disappearing for a few months over the Wet Season, the Little Kingfisher has returned to the pond in the garden at Red Mill House.
Australia's smallest kingfisher, and probably the most elusive, this bird is a target species for many birdwatchers visiting tropical north Queensland, and Daintree in particular.
This lovely photo, taken last year by JJ Harrison from Tasmania, shows the Red Mill House Little Kingfisher looking more like a Puffin than a Kingfisher with his mouthful of fish!


The Little Kingfisher is a bird of lowland rainforest streams, preferring dark, narrow spaces with overhanging vegetation. It may also inhabit lakes, estuaries and coastal mangroves. It perches low, plunges deeply into the water for fish and small crustaceans and returns to perch. It will often bob it's head and wings while watching for prey. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Daintree River

After 9 years of enjoying the Daintree River from the outside,and only occasionally up-close, the Red Mill House crew have bought a little 'tinny' to enable us to spend more time on the river during the quiet times.
It's a beauty - 2 seats, 20HP motor, a full biminy roof and depth-sounder - everything we need bar a pair of binoculars and fishing rod!


Andrew and his 'liner'
 How wonderful it has been to drift down Barratt Creek looking at nests, into the by-wash for kingfishers, and way upstream to see Magpie Geese on the banks. It has been fun trying to spot tree snakes and water dragons and trying not to spot crocodiles that are longer than the boat!
The Daintree River has always been the best place to see wildlife and and in the past couple of weeks we have seen most of the target species for the area - Great-billed Heron, Little Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Black Bittern, Black-necked Stork, Cicadabird, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Shining Flycatcher, Channel-billed Cuckoo and many more.
Further downstream we make our way into the varied mangrove habitats of the Daintree River.


 Toward the ferry crossing a female crocodile named 'Lizzie' recently hatched her babies, and on this day up to 13 hatchlings has been sighted. They stay close together for the first few days and then will start to disperse.

3 day old crocodile
We're looking forward to discovering and learning more about the Daintree River during this 'wet season'

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Double-eyed Fig-Parrots

They are Australia's smallest parrot: are green, have a short tail, are about the size of a leaf, look like a leaf, and unless you see them land, are extremely difficult to see well. Most times it is 'chit, chit, chit' as a stubby, green flash flies overhead. A 'flying green potato' is a good description.

The Double-eyed Fig-Parrot usually excavates it's own nest in the dead extremities of  trees, and as the top breaks off, it will move it's way further down the tree until the usefulness of the tree is finished. Often a tree will be used for several years. You can see some shallow excavations in this photo of the male.

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot  (Keith Fisher - Kingfisher Park)
One such tree along Stewart Creek Rd came down in a storm last week and it was fascinating to see what a large cavity it creates for it's nest. The bird is only 13 cm in length, and the entrance is tiny, but the cavity is much bigger and beautifully formed.




This year seems to have been a particularly good breeding season for these birds.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Wet Season

While rain has been intermittent, it certainly feels like the wet season in Daintree.
Warm, humid and with the ever-present feeling of 'it's going to rain soon'. 380mm in January, so a gentle start to the year. We have just returned from Western Australia where it was 42 degrees every day (dry, dry heat), so it's nice to be home.
A real treat in the garden at Red Mill House yesterday while pruning - a beautiful, huge Northern Barred Frog  (Mixophyes schevilli). Note the barring on the legs and the fully webbed toes. It is an adult man's hand that it is sitting on, so - rather large!
Northern Barred Frog
 Another treat for the week is the continued presence of the Spotted Whistling Ducks ( a Philippines/PNG species) of which a group of 11 or so have been frequenting local ponds and dams and waterways over the past few months. Every time you think they have gone, they re-appear.
A terrible photo I know, but at least I know I have seen them!
Spotted Whistling Duck
Pied Monarch in the garden today, and Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher still busy along Stewart Creek Rd. Lots of Channel-billed Cuckoos and Double-eyed Fig-Parrots this year.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Year's resolution - blogging!!

Where does the time go?
My apologies for such a long absence - I was embarrassed to receive blog stats recently and see many people are looking at this blog, but that I have done nothing for such a long time. Thank you for your perseverance.

A New Year's resolution - to keep people informed and up to date this year about life and birding in the Daintree.

First things first though.
We have just returned from a wonderful month's holiday in Sri Lanka.
What a great destination for viewing wildlife and  to have the opportunity to meet such wonderful people who are happy to share their ancient, rich and diverse land with us. We took part in a private Birdwatching and Wildlife tour for 11 days, then spent another 2 1/2 weeks exploring the island by various means.
Many, many photos, but this is a favourite!!


Sri Lanka is experiencing a tourist boom, now that the conflicts are over and the rebuilding from the 2004 Tsunami is virtually complete. It is an easy and safe destination and very popular with northern Europeans at this time of year - why wouldn't it be? Wildlife tourism is also growing quickly, and we would recommend going sooner, rather than later, as there will probably be greater demand in the future, stretching the resources of the good nature guides and companies.
We travelled with, and would recommend Prasanjith Caldera from Walk with Jith, an excellent guide and organiser, who created the perfect tour for us, at a very good price. His other guides, Sam and Nandana, were also charming and knowledgeable and we enjoyed them all.
If you would like any more details, please just contact Andrew or Trish at Red Mill House.

So, back to Daintree - - and what a beautiful place at this time of year. To date, little rain and few mosquitoes, so everyone is happy.
The summer migrants are all here, with Pied Imperial Pigeon very common, flocks of Metallic Starlings feeding on forest fruits, Black Bittern on the Daintree River, and most spectacularly, the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher which are nesting in the termite mounds nearby. We were fortunate to rescue one of these that had been hit by a car recently. He seemed okay, which is great.


A juvenile Great-billed Heron is being seen regularly on the Daintree River, and some visitors have been lucky enough to watch Mum feeding it. Lots of new Double-eyed Fig-Parrots around also. It really is a great time for birding in Daintree.
This is an older photo now, but a classic just the same - taken on the road to Cape Tribulation by guests from Red Mill House late last year.


Another New Year's Resolution is to take more time birding this year. So lots of reports to come!!