Sunday, May 15, 2016

Top End ~ Part Four

Goshawk and Fruit-doves

After her stay in the service centre, Troopi was raring to get out and do some birding. We decided to give one last go at the Yellow-rumped Mannikins that had eluded us everywhere (and most everyone else too this year) except for our friend, Laurie Ross. He had seen several only eleven days ago in the Victoria River area. We went out there. They were not there, but it is lovely and we had fun. Except when Lynn sat down very unexpectedly in the rocks of the riverbed and bruised her tailbone. Ow. I am grateful she did not injure herself more seriously.

Victoria River
Lynn at the Escarpment Walk car park... there can be Mannikins there, but not lately.
Victoria River riverbed with a lot of rocks that can bang a tailbone. There were Yellow-rumped Mannikins here just eleven days ago.
Victoria River Bridge... another good spot for Yellow-rumped Mannikins, but not now...
Next we headed for Kakadu. Stopping in Katherine we picked up a few things and mailed a birthday card to one of our granddaughters. After crossing into Kakadu (and buying our park pass) we spotted a Red Goshawk! Always an awesome bird to see! I am grateful! I shot a few photos and we left her alone.
Red Goshawk


After years of having nested there, the famous Mataranka Red Goshawk was just about hounded out of existence by photographers. A very small minority of “wildlife photographers” will climb trees, trespass, blast with flashes and otherwise harass birds to get photos. I have friends who are very much into photographing birds, and all of them treat the birds with the respect they deserve. I am grateful for them.

We spent the night camping at the lovely Gagudju Lodge in Cooinda in Kakadu. It is beautiful there, but the mozzies are ridiculous. It is a long-standing joke that mosquitoes don’t bother me and it is true. They do not. But this was craziness. I even itched (for about an hour, then the bites went away). Anyway, there were too damn many mozzies for either of us. We did see a Barking Owl. We had heard them in a few places, but needed to see one for the year list. Lynn came down from Troopi's pop top and saw the owl in her jammies (how it got in her pajamas I have no idea... thank you, Groucho). Using the dim light of my flashlight, I was able to grab a recording shot. Then we left the next morning before dawn and headed to Gubara Pools.
Barking Owl
It is at least a 6 kilometer walk round trip to the rainforest area and the pools. We went there with one main target... Banded Fruit-dove. Again, our friend Laurie had been out there recently and had seen several. Our friend, Robert had been out there just a few days ago and had seen some as well. This would be a lifer for me. But not for Lynn. In 2012, when we had spent a few days birding up here, Lynn had been the only one of us to spot the Banded Fruit-dove that appeared high in the canopy and then quickly disappeared. Yet she hiked all the way out there with me, even with a sore tailbone. I am grateful.

We started down the walk at 7:15 and arrived at the Gubarra pools about an hour later. It was a quiet hike out, without many birds. We made our way along the creek to the larger pool at the end and began looking. I went a bit further along the edge of the pool and keep searching through the trees around it. And then I got to say, “I’ve got them. Two of them!” Lynn was soon on them from her vantage point, but I had them straight on from where I was standing. Sweet! I am so very grateful.
Banded Fruit-dove! YES
Another one

My Lifer Selfie for Banded Fruit-dove! That is the pool behind us. 
Heading out. We had been there and seen the doves (there are no crocs).
The walk back was much hotter and we neither heard, nor saw, any White-lined Honeyeaters, or Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeons (neither are life birds, but we want them on the year list). So we are staying the night in Jabiru and giving the area of the Nourlangi Rock a look in the morning. Right now I am relaxing in more comfort than I can afford, and I just had Lifer Pie in the form of ice cream on a stick. I am so grateful. I will keep you posted.

RB Life List: 645
Lynn Life List: 624
Couple’s Year List: 604

Peace. Love. Birds.

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