Day 1 Saturday
Mangroves, rainforest, wetlands and Botanic Gardens
This morning, if the tide is right, we'll bird the Darwin mangroves concentrating
on the most difficult specieschestnut railwhile the
more easily seen species include red-headed honeyeater and yellow
Later we'll visit some patches of monsoon rainforest where target birds
will include the spectacular rainbow pitta and rose-crowned
fruit-dove. Also here we should see large-billed and green-backed
gerygones and possibly mangrove golden whistler. We
should get pied imperial pigeon perched on powerlines around Darwin
We'll lunch at the Darwin Botanic Gardens where rufous owl might
be our just dessert for a tough morning's birding. Nearby wetlands and
mudflats should set our bird list soaring in the afternoon.
Day 2 Sunday 5 June
More mangroves are on the agenda this morning, giving us another chance
should we need it for chestnut rail. Other species could include
mangrove robin, shining flycatcher, mangrove grey fantail
and melodic mangrove gerygone. Pied heron and radjah
shelduck should be about and there is a chance for grey goshawk.
We will lunch at Howard Springs where we have a chance for rose-crowned
fruit dove and rainbow pitta and less glamorous species like
lemon-bellied flycatcher and spangled drongo.
Collared kingfisher and beach stone curlew are on the agenda
late afternoon. We'll witness the sun setting spectacularly beyond the
ocean's horizon after which we'll spotlight for large-tailed nightjar
and barking owl. Dinner at Darwin's best waterside restaurant will
finish our day.
Day 3 Monday 6 June
Darwin to South Alligator Village
We leave Darwin this morning travelling east to Kakadu NP. En route to
Kakadu we will visit Fogg Dam where the patch of monsoon rainforest is
alive with birds. It often produces little bronze-cuckoo and brush
cuckoo, bar-breasted and rufous-banded honeyeaters as
well as rainbow pitta. White-browed crake can often be seen
on the wetland and we could see our first brolgas here, plus a
variety of waterbirds. After lunch we will make a stop at Adelaide River
for the stunning mangrove golden whistler should we still need
it. If we have the energy tonight, we'll spotlight around South Alligator
for barking owl, spotted nightjar, northern brushtail
Overnight: Kakadu Resort
Day 4 Tuesday
South Alligator Village to Cooinda
The South Alligator floodplain can be an excellent area for raptors such
as both spotted and swamp harriers, black-shouldered
kite, brown falcon and black-breasted buzzard, and sometimes
a surprise or two. It can also be good for zitting and golden-headed
cisticolas and Australian pratincole, and occasionally Australian
bustard. The patch of monsoon rainforest at South Alligator can be
good for rufous fantail and cicadabird. We will also visit
some of Kakadu's famous wetlands where we should see green pygmy-goose
and wandering and plumed whistling-duck. The spectacular
Arnhem Land escarpment will come into view today. We will be on the lookout
for woodland birds including partridge pigeon and black-tailed
Overnight: Gagudgi Lodge, Cooinda
Day 5 Wednesday 8 June
This morning we will visit the Arnhem Land escarpment where our main quarry
will be the elusive black-banded pigeon one of the hardest
birds to see in Kakadu NP. Other possibilities here include Top end endemics
such as white-lined honeyeater and sandstone shrike-thrush.
Both species have beautiful melodic calls that echo through the escarpment.
The Arnhem Land race of the variegated fairy-wren (race dulcis)
can be seen here. We'll also visit one of Kakadu's major Aboriginal rock
art sites. After lunch we will check out some of the swamps around Cooinda
where we have a chance for the elusive great-billed heron, and
have another chance for large-tailed nightjar and grey goshawk.
Overnight: Gagudgi Lodge, Cooinda
Day 6 Thursday
Cooinda to Mary River Roadhouse
A good list of waterbirds will be had this morning as we cruise, on private
charter, the beautiful Yellow Water billabong. We hope to see the aptly
named little kingfisher, as well as the more common but still gorgeous
azure kingfisher. We'll also be on the lookout for black bittern.
The cruise is also good for bush birds, the most attractive of which is
the delightful white-browed robin. Nearby woodland could produce
owlet nightjar not such an easy bird to see in the Top End.
Later, we travel south, checking out woodland for chestnut-backed button-quail
and looking out for some of the area's delightful finches, such as
masked and long-tailed, and the diminutive diamond dove
the smallest member of the pigeon family in the world.
Overnight: Mary River Roadhouse
Day 7 Friday 10 June
Mary River to Pine Creek
An early start this morning as we make our way back to Kakadu NP to Gunlom
Falls for our final assault on the Arnhem Land endemics. Leaving the best
till last, we seek the delightful white-throated grasswren in amongst
the boulders and spinifex at the top of the escarpment. Also up here we
seek the oddly proportioned chestnut-quilled rock pigeon, its colours
perfectly camouflaged against the rocks on which it lives. After lunch
we will leave Kakadu NP behind and head towards Pine Creek. We'll be on
the look out for hooded parrot; a quite rare and beautiful parrot
that nests in termite mounds and inhabits the stony hills, often feeding
in recently burnt areas.
Overnight: Pine Creek
Day 8 Saturday 11 June
Pine Creek to Katherine
This morning gives us more chances for hooded parrot as well as
northern rosella and plenty of great bowerbirds; their bowers
scattered around Pine Creek. We will then travel south of Katherine where
we have a chance for the most elusive of raptors, the red goshawk.
Several pairs of red goshawks reside in the area. We will also
be on the lookout for Gouldian and star finches. We might
also see our first cockatiels today as well as rufous-throated
and yellow-tufted honeyeaters and perhaps the beautiful
white-winged form of the varied sittella in the dry woodland.
Day 9 Sunday 12 June
Katherine to Victoria River
This morning we will be on the lookout for the rare northern shrike-tit
that lives in the woodland about Katherine as well as the golden-backed
form of black-chinned honeyeater. Travelling west we will have
more chances for Gouldian and star finches, as well as chestnut-backed
button-quail. Budgerigars can occasionally be seen in this
area and of course, we will be ever alert for raptors.
Overnight: Victoria River Roadhouse
Day 10 Monday 13 June
Victoria River to Timber Creek
Birding the canegrass along the Victoria River should deliver purple-crowned
fairy-wren, yellow-rumped mannikin and star finch. These
species have declined in number and have a restricted distribution. Freshwater
crocodiles are also common in the Victoria River. We then head west
to bird the dry woodland for species such as red-browed pardalote and
red-backed kingfisher. If the bloodwoods are flowering, the varied
lorikeets should be about.
Overnight: Timber Creek Motel
Day 11 Tuesday 14 June
Timber Creek to Kununurra
We have another chance this morning for the ever-declining Gouldian
finchoften seen at water in Timber Creek or nearby woodlands.
Black-chinned (golden-backed form), yellow-tinted, rufous-throated,
grey-fronted and banded honeyeaters are some of the species
which are seen in the flowering eucalypts and grevilleas in the area.
After lunch, we shall continue west, crossing the Western Australia border.
We will keep an eye out for pictorella mannikin, and raptors, such
as square-tailed kite and black-breasted buzzard.
Day 12 Wednesday 15 June
A big bird list is assured when we take a boat trip on Lake Argyle this
morning. Notable species include yellow chat and white-quilled
rock-pigeon, and a great list of waterbirds, as well as short-eared
rock wallaby and northern nail-tail wallaby. Later
we should have close up views of the delightful spinifex pigeon
and we will check out reed beds for crakes and bitterns.
Day 13 Thursday 16 June
Driving northwest this morning to Wyndham, we check out areas for finches,
including pictorella mannikin and Gouldian finchif
we still need them. In Wyndham we will explore the mangroves for white-breasted
whistler, mangrove grey fantail and the Kimberley form of lemon-breasted
flycatcher. Later we will visit grassy plains and swamps where we
have a chance for Australian pratincole and several species of
button-quail. Spotted harrier and black falcon frequent
this area; and there is always the chance of shorebirds.
Day 14 Friday 17 June
Kununurra Mitchell Falls
Today we charter a plane to Mitchell Plateau and then transfer by helicopter
to the car park of Mitchell Falls. Our chief purpose is to seek out the
black grasswren the most isolated of the grasswrens-which
inhabits the boulders and spinifex around Mitchell Falls. Another species
we may see in this area is the rare yellow-eyed form of the partridge
pigeon; the Mitchell Plateau is the last stronghold for that race.
The scenic view on the flight across the Kimberley is spectacular. We
return to Kununurra late afternoon.
Day 15 Saturday 18 June
Today we start our journey back to Darwin, perhaps doing a quick
bird around Kununurra before we leave if we are still missing some species.
We'll be looking out for rare raptors, such as black-breasted buzzard,
square-tailed kite, spotted harrier and grey falcon,
on the return journey to Katherine
Day 16 Sunday 19 June
On the drive back to Darwin we will stop at Adelaide River War Cemetery
to seek out the silver-backed race of grey butcherbird. Back in
Darwin we will have a final shot at any Darwin species missed.
$5,880.00 AUD twin share* (includes GST )
single supplement applies to single rooms: $804.00 AUD
motel accommodation from 4 June to and including 19 June
from breakfast on day 1 to dinner on day 16; participants pay for their
own breakfasts on 20 June
transport; cost does not include airfares except the Mitchell Plateau
Restricted to 2 bags per person, preferably soft bags
warm to hot, mostly dryexpect temperatures from
25¼ -35¼C (77¼ -95¼F).
is no camping on this tour