Thursday, 10 October 2013

Daintree River

A 3:30AM start for the drive from Cairns to Daintree this morning was rewarded with a fantastic birding cruise with Bruce Belcher's Daintree River Cruises. Just my wife and I with Bruce on the boat armed with 3 cameras and 2 pairs of binoculars.

The first bird of the cruise arrived before we left the dock.

Welcome Swallow, Daintree River Qld

 We started by cruising along a side branch of the river

Lots of birds were heard calling from the tree tops and from deep in the foliage but few allowed close-up views until we spotted this Graceful Honeyeater (lifer number 1 for the day).

Graceful Honeyeater, Daintree River Qld

As we entered the mainstream of the river

we came across a large male crocodile basking on a sandbank.

Estuarine Crocodile, Daintree River Qld

along with two species of egret

Little Egret, Daintree River Qld
Eastern Great Egret, Daintree River Qld

We cruised along close to the bank and spotted an Azure Kingfisher alight on a branch just on front of the boat. Bruce cut the engine and we floated close enough to get a great view of this spectacular little bird.

Azure Kingfisher, Daintree River Qld

It even turned around to allow front and rear views. Quite the experienced photographic model :-)

Azure Kingfisher, Daintree River Qld

My wife was itching to see a sunbird as we had seen their nests hanging from branches along the river bank and spotted flashes of yellow in the vegetation. We had just about resigned ourselves to missing clear views of these birds when this female landed on a nest right next to us.

Olive-backed Sunbird (female), Daintree River Qld

The male was around but did not come close enough for a photograph. Other, more bedraggled, hanging nests were also common and, again, we eventually spied one of their owners.

Large-billed Gerygone, Daintree River Qld

With all of the mangroves along the river bank we expected to find Striated Heron and eventually did.

Striated Heron, Daintree River Qld

Just before we arrived back at the dock, a Whistling Kite landed in a tree close to the bank, albeit fairly high above us.

Whistling Kite, Daintree River Qld

In all, 26 species of birds and 6 crocs....what a great morning!


  1. HI Ian what a wonderful trip down the river. I did a similar one when I wa in that area and saw a lot of the bbirds that you saw. I did not see the Azure Kingfisher and the shots that you got are wonderful however I did see the Little Kingfisher but did not get a good photo. it was grea that you saw 6 crosc. I look forward to where you aregoing next adn what you will see.

    1. Thanks Margaret,
      Yes, the Daintree Cruise was a highlight. The Little Kingfisher remains on my wishlist - a good reason to go back :-)
      I am enjoying reliving this trip a few weeks on. Glad you're enjoying it with me.
      Cheers, Ian


Apologies for the inconvenience but I have had to turn on word verification to avoid spam (I was getting 10-20 a week)

Birding and Natural History Blogs - Australia

Birding Blogs - Worldwide