Cassowary House is beautifully sited in one of Australia’s top birding and wildlife regions. Within easy reach there are a wide variety of habitat types. Most of the areas top spots can be reached in a series of easy day trips. We are happy to help with bird and wildlife site information and tell you about other tourist based activities you might enjoy.
In the immediate area we can offer:
Black Mountain Road
One of the great birding roads, in rainforest habitat, close to Kuranda, with a good chance of Cassowary, plus Red-necked Crake, Wompoo and Superb Fruit-Doves, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Barred Cuckoo-shrike, Lovely Fairywren, White-eared, Spectacled, Black-faced and Pied monarchs, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Chowchilla, Victoria’s Riflebird and Spotted Catbird and many more.
Just a leisurely walk around Kuranda township can offer a good birding experience. The huge fig trees along the main street are often an excellent place to see Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, a variety of Lorikeets and the ever present Figbirds. There is an excellent walking trail around the town. Start at the train station where Kookaburras are often seen and walk along the river looking for Pacific Black Duck, Hardheads, a variety of cormorants and if you are lucky a Baza, Osprey or Brahminy Kite. Azure Kingfishers are often seen around the area where Jum Rum Creek enters the Barron and a freshwater crocodile can also often be seen from here sunning himself on the opposite bank. Continue up through the forest where it is possible to see Wompoo Pigeons, Black Butcherbirds and in summer even the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, to end up by Batreach- the Bat Rehabilitation centre.
Barron Falls Lookout
A network of walking trails leads you down to a series of lookouts over the Barron Falls. Cut through rainforest they offer the birder another chance of rainforest species. Watch out for White-throated Needletails that follow the storm fronts at the start of the rains.
Davies Creek National Park
This popular picnic spot is both scenic and worth a visit by birdwatchers with riparian forest and dry country birds. For the more active and fit birder there is an strenuous hike up into the Lamb Ranges and Kahlpalim Rock which offers extensive views across the local area and which passes through some excellent mixed eucalyptus forest. The highlight of this hike for many would be the bowers of the Golden Bowerbird which can be seen right alongside the track towards the summit.
Tinaroo Creek Road
Driving the length of this road near Mareeba gives a good chance of Squatter Pigeon, Pale-headed Rosella, Yellow Honeyeater, Brown Tree-creeper, Great Bowerbird and perhaps Black-throated Finch. Sometimes has Black Bittern in the wet, and Sarus Crane in the winter months.
Emerald Creek Falls
Riparian forest and wet-sclerophyll, good for Pale-headed Rosella, honeyeaters including Bridled (in winter), Yellow and White-naped, White-browed Robin, Weebill and a chance of Rufous Owl.
A great site for dry country species such as Squatter Pigeon, Brown Tree-creeper, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Weebill, Grey-crowned Babbler, and Black-throated Finch. The lagoons can hold Brolga and both pygmy-geese, Comb-crested Jacana and a variety of ducks. Wedge-tailed Eagle is regular.
Mareeba Dry Counrty
Eastern Grey Kangaroo’s, Mareeba Rock Wallabies, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo’s, Squatter Pigeons, Red-backed Fairywrens, Babblers, a variety of Finches, Honeyeaters and lots of other dry country birds.
Home to large flocks of waders this is a priority for all serious birders. A pleasant walk can be taken from the mangroves at the northern end where Mangrove Robin and Collared Kingfisher can often be found, along the edge of the mudflats to the pier in the south. Amongst others expect to see Greater and Lesser Sandplover, Great Knot, Grey-tailed Tattler,Terek Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Eastern Curlew and Eurasian Whimbrel, Black Bar-tailed Godwits, Australian Pelicans, small numbers of many of these are present during the austral winter. The trees along the walkway are often good for Double-eyed Fig-Parrots and Varied Honeyeater. Both Beach and Bush Stone Curlews can sometimes be seen here on the grass, particularly at night.
Centenary Lakes and the Botanic Gardens
A pleasant time can be spent wandering through the gardens and around the lakes. Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Magpie Goose, Black Bittern (summer), White-browed Crake, Papuan Frogmouth, Torresian Imperial Pigeon (summer), Collared and perhaps Little Kingfisher, Lovely Fairywrens, Brown-backed Honeyeater and Yellow Oriole are all possibilities.
The pond at the northern end of Wattle Street is a great little birding spot and well worth checking out. Green Pygmy Geese, Plumed and Wandering Whistling Ducks are on the pond while Australian Darters, Yellow Oriole, Leaden Flycatcher, Brown-backed Honeyeater, Yellow-bellied Sunbirds can be seen in the fringing eucalypts, Crimson Finch, Chestnut-breasted and Nutmeg Mannikins and Australian Pipits are often in the grass nearby
At the mouth of the Barron River this is another good area for shorebirds. Check the river banks for Beach Stone Curlew and a chance of Great-billed Heron and the sand spit for the same species as on the Esplanade. The terns can include both Lesser-crested, Crested and Little Terns.
A great place to snorkel and also to see the seabird breeding colony. Brown and perhaps Black Noddies, Crested, Lesser Crested and Little Terns and occasionally Black-naped and Roseate plus the chance of both Lesser and Greater Frigate-bird. with Brown Booby regular and both Masked and Red-footed as occasional visitors
Slightly further afield (it is only a 45 minute drive to Atherton) the Southern Tablelands offer us a wealth of mid and high altitude sites, all of which can be rached by a 2WD vehicle. Here are some of the best.
A small wetland area where vast numbers of Whistling Ducks and Magpie Geese gather in the winter months. A good place for Buff-banded Rail, Purple Swamphen and other crakes particularly when the mud is exposed. Spotted and Swamp Harriers, White-bellied Sea Eagles and Black Kites are often seen over the reed beds.
The Crater Lakes
Lake Eacham and Barrine are lakes found in old volcanic craters. They are great spots for Tooth-billed Bowerbird, White-eared Monarch, Grey-headed Robin, and White-throated Tree-creeper. Lake Barrine is a good place for Great-crested Grebe.
This impressive strangler fig is a good place to see Bower’s Shrike- thrush, Large-billed Scrubwren, Pied, Spectacled and Black-eared Monarchs, Golden Whistler, Chowchilla and Eastern Whipbird. Always check out the tangled fig as tree kangaroos are frequently seen resting during the day.
One of the best sites for high altitude specials such as Mountain Thornbill, Atherton Scrubwren and Fernwren. Bridled Honeyeater and Grey-headed Robin frequent the car park and Golden Bowerbirds can often be seen feeding along the approach road.
A great place to watch Sarus Cranes and Brolgas fly into roost in the evening from April to November. Good for raptors as well
To the north the Daintree River offers a great opportunity for bird and wildlife cruises, the Mt Lewis massif offers another chance for the high altitude species and is a great place to bird though not always easily accessible by 2WD vehicles. Mary Farms is a great place for Australian Bustard whilst Mt Carbine is good for dry country birds such as Apostle Birds and a variety of finches. Lake Mitchell is another good wetland area. Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo and Platypus can be seen during the day on the Southern Tablelands but for most Australian mammals night viewing is required because they are predominately nocturnal.