Tuesday, July 7, 2009

South Alligator River

As tourists we did the obligatory jumping crocodile cruise, and while it was interesting to see the crocs up close and amazing to see how fast and far they can move when tempted by the promise of food, the highlight of the cruise was the kites and sea-eagle that flew so close they were almost impossible to capture - though I used a good part of a card trying. I was thrilled with some of the images I managed with my ancient reflexes.

On to Aroura Kakadu where we set up camp, then wandered over to the beer garden where a large flock of corellas made it hard to think and impossible to talk. Refreshed and fed, we took the torches out for a walk watching a colony of Black Flying Foxes going about their business. An owl flew over which may have been a barn owl, barking owls barked, and unseen things skittered around in the undergrowth. I'm not very good at spotlight walks.

Next morning, early, we did the Gungarre Walk which starts and ends at the resort. Around 3k in length, it passes through monsoonal vine forest, across a floodplain beside a billabong and through fringing woodland in a loop. The combination provided a good range of birds, and some excellent photo opportunities. The bee-eaters at the billabong were fascinating, flying low over thewater and returning to their perch - a loud clack indicating a catch. Kookaburras sounded as though they were trying to laugh, but couldn't quite get it. Dozens of fig birds and orioles were feeding in the trees. The billabong was covered with water lillies and water birds. Tiny terns cruised the far bank, staying out of camera range.

A bench seat at the edge of the water looked inviting, despite the crocodile warning signs.

Bird list:

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii (pictured above)
Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius reinwardt
Plumed Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna eytoni
Green Pygmy-Goose Nettapus pulchellus
Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis molucca
Black-necked Stork Ehippioryhnchus asiaticus
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus
Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata
Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis
Pied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula bicolour
Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
Red-collared Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
Red-winged Parrot Aprosmictus erythropterus
Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus
Rainbow Pitta Pitta iris
White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis
Lemon-bellied Flycatcher Microeca flavigaster
Australasian Figbird Sphecotheres viridis
Yellow Oriole Oriolus flavocinctus

1 comment:

  1. We have alligators here in FL. But we don't feed them because they tend to think of food and humans together..and they end up hurting someone or getting shot. I wonder if any of the "jumping" crocs have ever tried to help themselves to food from boats other than the cruise boats?

    I have been enjoying your blog and will be following for more of your adventures.