Friday, 18 June 2010

Birding in Australia's Top End

Just back from a work trip to Australia's Northern Territory, starting and ending in Darwin and taking in the Kakadu National Park, parts of the Arnhem Escarpment, and a three-day canoe safari down the Katherine River.

The birding was utterly astonishing, with all sorts of 'Top End' specials, such as Hooded Parrot, Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon, Banded Fruit Dove and the absurdly colourful Gouldian Finch (tracking these beauties down, thanks mainly to the patience and skill of our guide, Chris Parker, was one of the highlights), as well as a host of other species, nearly all new to me (never having been Down Under before). They included White-bellied Sea Eagle, pictured, which I took at Yellow Water, Cooinda - this bird was totally unfazed by our presence in a boat nearby, and fortunately held still for a few (non-digibinned) shots.

There were also wallabies, wallaroos, and both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. The 4.5-metre specimen pictured above showed up on the first day, just as we were having a sandwich and a cuppa at Fogg River Dam, close to Darwin. I managed to digi-bin the pic above (we were up in a viewing tower, so my hand wasn't shaking!).

Added to all that, there was loads of breathtaking scenery and a lot of Aboriginal rock art to enjoy, usually with the two combined. It's a wonderful part of the world, and I'll definitely be going back. I'll post more pics and reflections later, but having done the whole trip, including flights, within nine days, I think I need to get my head down first!

PS. It's always nice to learn new skills, so I should probably add that I was also introduced to the Tim Tam Slam, an Australian practice that takes dunking a chocolate biscuit in tea/coffee/hot chocolate to a whole new level. Utter genius.

1 comment:

JP - The Mistress of Corgi Manor said...

Beautiful pictures. My husband spent a lot of time in Australia on business several years ago, and I never get tired of looking at his photographs.
Where, though, it a photo of the Tim Tam Slam in action?