Articles - Birding NT: a reader’s report
Mist over Yellow Water Billabong. Tourism NT
Sally Brierley - Posted on 07 Jul 2010
To celebrate its 200th issue, Birdwatch teamed up with Tourism NT to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a birding holiday of a lifetime for two to Australia's Northern Territory. Sally Brierley was that lucky reader. Here is her report of that trip.
With much surprise and excitement that I had actually won the wonderful prize to spend a birdwatching week in Australia’s Northern Territory, my fellow Essex birding colleague John and I set off from Heathrow. We arrived in Darwin at 3 am on Monday 1 June, after waiting for dawn to break, and accompanied with our entire luggage, we went outside to Darwin Airport car park.
Our first Australian birds were Spangled Drongo, Rainbow Lorikeet, White-breasted Woodswallow, Australasian Figbird, several species of honeyeater and one of my target birds, a Blue-winged Kookaburra, sat in a tree in the car park. We spent the day in and around Darwin Museum and Art Gallery, where we quickly found Silver Gull, Whistling Kite, Eastern Osprey, Rainbow Bee-eater, Forest Kingfisher, Double-barred Finch and even a Striated Heron on the nearby pond.
|Sally Brierley (left) in front of a huge termite mound in Litchfield National Park.|
We were based at Feathers Sanctuary, a great bird place where they hand feed captive Brolgas and Black-necked Storks, among many others. From Feathers, we were picked up for our three-day trip to Kakadu National Park with Connections. Luke, our guide, was an avid birder, so we stopped frequently on the road for such mouth watering species as Mangrove Golden Whistler, Brown Goshawk and Spotted Harrier. We also encountered a Frill-necked Lizard and, if our photos were to confirm it, an endangered Black Falcon.
While in Kakadu, we climbed Gunlom Falls and saw Banded Fruit-Dove and Bush Stone-curlew, cruised the scenic Mary River and Yellow Waters Billabong, where we saw sea eagles, herons, Comb-crested Jacanas, darters, Brolgas, nesting Black-necked Storks and, of course, plenty of crocs! We camped at Murdudjurl, visiting an ancient Aboriginal site. Here we were treated to Red-backed Fairy-wren, my other target species. On our last day Luke took us to a place just outside Edith Falls for Crimson Finch, and none other than the beautiful Gouldian Finch.
The next day John and I were picked up for our culture trip into Litchfield National Park and Katherine. With its beautiful falls and amazing termite mounds, this was a very different place to Kakadu, the best sights being Katherine Gorge and Nitmiluk National Park.
During our seven days in Northern Territory, we saw over 150 species of birds, as well as crocodiles, Brown Tree Snakes, lizards, wallabies and Australian Dingoes. I had a great time and would definitely recommend it for a brilliant birding venue and a great holiday. Thank you so much Birdwatch and Tourism NT for running your 200th edition competition!
|Sally Brierley at Katherine Gorge.|