Top End Tour - Birds and Wildlife of Kakadu and the Kimberley - 11th - 19th July 2022

Gouldian Finch - Alfred Schulte - Inala Nature Tours
Gouldian Finch - Alfred Schulte - Inala Nature Tours
Tour date: 
Monday, 11 July 2022 to Tuesday, 19 July 2022
Duration: 
9 days
Price: 
AU $5,695 per person (Single supplement: AU $1,100)
Highlights: 
Around 200 species of birds including range-restricted species like Hooded Parrot, Rainbow Pitta, Banded Fruit Dove, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, White-quilled and Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon, Gouldian Finch and Yellow Chat. Sought-after mammals include Short-eared and Wilkin’s Rock-wallaby, Antilopine and Black Wallaroo, Black Flying-fox and Dingo. Enjoy Kakadu’s vast wetlands, the Kimberley including Lake Argyle, as well as spectacular scenery, indigenous rock art and amazing boab trees (Adansonia gregorii).
Overview: 

This tour explores some of Australia's most iconic areas of Northern Australia, including Kakadu and the Kimberley. Some of our most sought-after birds, including Gouldian Finch and Hooded Parrot inhabit some of our most stunning landscapes. Join us on our next journey across Australia’s Top End!

This small group tour has been designed to follow our Red Centre tour (5-10 July 2022)
This small group tour has been designed to precede our Kimberley ( Kununurra to Broome ) tour and our Broome-Dampier Peninsula tour which allows for maximum flexibility in exploring this remote and little-explored area of Outback north-western Australia.

Start Location: 
Darwin NT
Australia
Finish location: 
Kununurra NT
Australia

Inala’s Top End Tour - Birds and Wildlife of Kakadu and the Kimberley 11th - 19th July 2022
 

ITINERARY OUTLINE:

Day 1. Mon 11 July 2022. Tour starts am today. Explore Darwin area
Day 2. Tue 12 June 2022. Darwin to Jabiru, Kakadu
Day 3. Wed 13 June 2022. Jabiru to Cooinda, Kakadu
Day 4. Thu 14 June 2022. Kakadu to Pine Creek
Day 5. Fri 15 June 2022. Pine Creek to Timber Creek
Day 6. Sat 16 July 2022. Timber Creek
Day 7. Sun 17 July 2022. Timber Creek to Kununurra
Day 8. Mon 18 July 2022. Kununurra
Day 9. Tue 19 July 2022. Kununurra and depart 

Overview: 

This tour explores some of Australia's most iconic areas of Northern Australia, including Kakadu and the Kimberley. Some of our most sought-after birds, including Gouldian Finch and Hooded Parrot inhabit some of our most stunning landscapes. Join us for on our next journey across Australia’s Top End!

Highlights: 

Around 200 species of birds including range-restricted species like Hooded Parrot, Rainbow Pitta, Banded Fruit Dove, Sandstone Shrike-thrush, White-quilled and Chestnut-quilled Rock-pigeon, Gouldian Finch and Yellow Chat. Sought-after mammals include Short-eared and Wilkin’s Rock-wallaby, Antilopine and Black Wallaroo, Black Flying-fox and Dingo. Enjoy Kakadu’s vast wetlands, the Kimberley including Lake Argyle, as well as spectacular scenery, indigenous rock art and amazing boab trees (Adansonia gregorii).

This small group tour has been designed to follow our Red Centre tour (5-10 July 2022)
This small group tour has been designed to precede our Kimberley ( Kununurra to Broome ) tour and our Broome-Dampier Peninsula tour which allows for maximum flexibility in exploring this remote and little-explored area of Outback north-western Australia.

DETAILED ITINERARY:

B- breakfast; L- lunch; D-dinner

Day 0. Sunday 10 July 2022.
Optional extra: Arrive Darwin or fly Alice Springs to Darwin if also taking our Red Centre tour. We can organise additional accommodation in Darwin tonight if required (not included in price except if taking both Red Centre and Top End combination).

Day 1. Monday 11 July 2022 Darwin and surrounds.
The tour will start in Darwin this morning. Darwin is surrounded by a fantastic diversity of habitat types that we will spend the day exploring for a range of interesting birds and mammals. Mangrove and monsoon forests are especially rich, hosting an impressive range of possible highlights includes the elusive Chestnut Rail, Rufous Owl, Orange-footed Scrub-fowl, Rose-crowned Fruit Dove, the striking Rainbow Pitta, Forest Kingfisher, Red-headed Myzomela, Mangrove Robin, Green Oriole, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Green-backed Gerygone, Spangled Drongo, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Great Bowerbird, Pheasant Coucal, Pied and Silver-backed Butcherbird and Red-collared Lorikeet.  Little Red Flying-fox and Agile Wallaby are possible mammal highlights.
Accommodation: Darwin (en suite hotel room). Meals included: L, D.

Day 2. Tuesday 12 July 2022. Darwin to Jabiru (Kakadu).
This morning we start the day with a visit to Fogg Dam. This well-known site is an excellent area for waterbirds including Magpie Goose, Green Pygmy-goose, Pied Heron, Glossy Ibis, the stately Brolga, White-browed Crake and the quirky Comb-crested Jacana. En route to Kakadu we will enjoy a stop at the Adelaide River crossing for lunch where we may see Mangrove Golden Whistler and a variety of flycatchers like Shining, Paperbark and Broad-billed Flycatchers. As we enter Kakadu we’ll start seeing iconic waterbirds like Magpie Goose, Plumed and Wandering Whistling Ducks, Radjah Shelduck, Black-necked Stork, and Green Pygmy-goose.  After dinner, if time permits, we may do some spotlighting for nocturnal species such as Southern Boobook, Tawny Frogmouth, Large-tailed Nightjar and Australian Owlet-nightjar.
Accommodation: Jabiru Hotel (en suite rooms). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 3. Wednesday 13 July 2022 Jabiru to Cooinda (Kakadu).
This morning we will visit Ubirr, a site of typical Arnhemland Escarpment rock outcrops, that is home to some impressive aboriginal rock art. The art depicts creation ancestors and animals of the area, including several fish and turtle species, wallabies and possums. Hopefully Wilkin’s Rock Wallabies may be present in the shade of the rocks, and birds we may see here include Sandstone Shrike-Thrush & Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon. Elsewhere throughout the park we’ll hope to connect with tropical woodland species like Partridge Pigeon (red eyed form), Rainbow Bee-eater, Black Bittern, Long-tailed Finch and Rufous-throated Honeyeater.
In the afternoon we will enjoy a cruise on the Yellow Waters Billabong, Kakadu’s best-known wetland. This impressive wetland of channels, swamps and floodplains is a delight to explore and is home to crocodiles a-plenty and a variety of waterbirds including Nankeen Night-heron, Black-necked Stork, Little Kingfisher, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Pied Heron and Purple Swamphen. The stately Great-billed Heron and Black Bittern may also be seen.  In the early evening we will check in to our accommodation, and after dinner if we’re feeling energetic we can spotlight for mammals like Black-footed Tree-rat and Savannah(Sugar) Glider.
Accommodation: Cooinda (en suite cabins).  Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 4. Thursday 14 July 2022 Cooinda to Pine Creek.
This morning we will make an early visit to Nourlangie Rock where we have a reasonable chance of seeing the range-restricted Black Wallaroo, Banded Fruit-dove and White-lined Honeyeater. Also here are Little Woodswallow, Black-tailed-treecreeper and the sandstone form of Helmeted Friarbird. We will then enjoy a last look around Kakadu before making our way out of the park and south west towards the Pine Creek area.  We will be sure to stop for any new birds and mammals on the way.
After checking in to our accommodations we will have a look about town where the highly sought-after Hooded Parrot may be coming in to water, and also Red-winged Parrot, Gouldian Finch, Northern Rosella, Red-backed Kingfisher, the delightful Red-backed Fairy-wren, Australian Figbird, Great Bowerbird and Masked, Long-tailed & Double-barred Finches are possible. 
Accommodation: Pine Creek (en suite rooms).  Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 5. Friday 15 July 2022 Pine Creek to Timber Creek.
Today we begin our journey west across the Top End. En route we have additional chances for Hooded Parrot and with luck, we may see the uncommon northern race of Crested Shrike-tit. We will explore the cane-grass habitat on the fringes of the Victoria River for the lovely Purple-crowned Fairy-wren and Yellow-rumped Mannikin. Freshwater Crocodiles are common here and, unlike their saltwater cousins, subsist mostly on fish, and thus pose little threat to large mammals (humans included!). Other possible species today include Red-tailed Black-cockatoo, Cockatiel, Rufous-throated, Black-chinned and Banded Honeyeaters and Buff-sided Robin. 
Accommodation: Timber Creek (en suite hotel room). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 6.  Saturday 16 July 2022. Timber Creek.
Today will be dedicated to continuing our search for the stunning Gouldian Finch. This area is also home to rich diversity of species and there will be plenty to keep us entertained while we search for our quarry. Highlights may include Spinifex Pigeon, Yellow-tinted & Grey-fronted Honeyeaters, Tawny Grassbird, Spotted Harrier, Star, Long-tailed & Masked Finches, and Chestnut-breasted and Yellow-rumped Mannikins.
Accommodation: Timber Creek (en suite hotel room). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 7. Sunday 17 July 2022 Timber Creek to Kununurra.
This morning we continue our sojourn west, and cross the Western Australia border. We will be on the lookout for the very rare Pictorella Mannikin, as well as Budgerigar, Australian Bustard, Diamond Dove and various raptors as we go, including Square-tailed Kite & Black-breasted Buzzard. While today is a travel day, we will be passing through spectacular countryside and making regular stops to stretch our legs and enjoy any birding highlights. In the late afternoon, we will arrive in Kununurra in the fabled Kimberley area.
Accommodation: Kununurra (en suite hotel room). Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 8. Monday 18 July 2022. Kununurra.
Today we have a full day to explore the riches of the Kimberley in the Kununurra area. A certain highlight is bound to be a boat trip on Lake Argyle, where we will enjoy a wonderful variety of waterbirds, as well as search for two very special birds, the highly sought-after Yellow Chat and White-quilled Rock Pigeon. Australian Reed-warbler may be seen in the lakeside vegetation, as might White-browed & Baillon’s Crakes, Crimson Finch and Pheasant Coucal. Local conditions will determine where we spend the rest of the day, with additional possible birding highlights such the localised Kimberley form of Purple-backed Fairy-wren, Northern Rosella, Silver-crowned Friarbird, White-gaped Honeyeater, Bar-breasted and Rufous-banded Honeyeaters, and Sandstone Shrike-thrush being possible. Mammals in the area include Short-eared Rock-Wallaby and Northern Nail-tail Wallaby.
Accommodation: Kununurra (en suite hotel room) Meals included: B, L, D.

Day 9. Tuesday 19 July 2022. Kununurra and depart.
Today after breakfast we will transfer to the Kununurra airport where the tour will end. Own arrangements for flights and transfers.
Meals included: B

Tour Price: 2022 price AU $5,695 per person sharing for a minimum group size of 6 people. Single supplement: AU $1,100.

Price includes: 8 nights’ accommodation, specialist guide and transport, meals, entrance fees and activities as mentioned in the itinerary.

Price does not include: International and domestic airfares, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, snacks, internet, laundry or other items of a personal nature.

This small group tour has been designed to follow our Red Centre tour (5-10 July 2022). If taking both sections we will organise accommodation in Darwin on 10 July for no additional cost plus offer a $200 discount which represents a saving of almost $500. Combination price $9,175 per person twin share and single supplement is $1620.

This small group tour has been designed to precede our Kimberley ( Kununurra to Broome ) tour and our Broome-Dampier Peninsula tour which allows for maximum flexibility in exploring this remote and little-explored area of Outback north-western Australia.

Please contact us for discounts applicable for combining further adjoining tours.

Additional accommodation: We would be pleased to arrange accommodation in Darwin on Sunday 11th July so that you will be available to maximise your birding and wildlife viewing experience in Darwin at the start of the tour on day 1 above.

Further Information:

Meals and drinks: Breakfast generally consists of a continental style breakfast with cereal, fruit and yoghurt and tea/coffee.  Full cooked breakfast is not generally offered at most locations.  Lunch will generally consist of a packed lunch style meal eaten in the field, with sandwich/filled roll, fruit, and a drink.  Dinner usually consists of several options for main with the choice of either an appetiser or dessert. Drinks (soft and alcoholic) are generally not included but at lunches and breakfasts juice may be made available.

The itinerary: Whilst we aim to follow the itinerary as planned, please note that the itinerary provided should only be used as a guideline.  Depending on individual trip circumstances, weather, and local information, the exact itinerary may not be strictly adhered to.  The guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as they see fit.

Click here to view an online doc with answers to all the most frequently asked questions about Inala Small Group Tours

Inala’s Top End Tour - Birds & Wildlife of Kakadu & the Kimberley
26th June - 3rd July 2021
Tour Leaders: Angus McNab and Tonia Cochran

( Note: This trip report is for an adapted itinerary due to Covid-related lockdowns, and the group were unable to cross to WA for two days in Kununurra. This is not normal.... )
 

Day 1. Saturday 26 June 2021 Darwin and surrounds.

The first day of our Inala Top End tour commenced early in the morning in the tropical city of Darwin. With multiple habitats to visit, our days timing depended on the dropping tide. To start, we explored around the city parks and visited the resident pair of Rufous Owls who still held the remains of last night’s dinner. Many common northern Australian birds made their songs heard through the city landscape, and discussions of taxonomic splits didn’t take long to come up with Blue-faced (White-quilled) Honeyeaters making an appearance. Subspecies variations also became apparent as the Striated Pardalotes called, somewhat unfamiliarly to those who are used to the call of the east coast. The highlight for most being the surprisingly confiding and photographable Rose-crowned Fruit-dove.

Stop two was the mangroves, although the heat of the day was becoming apparent, birds continued to sing out from the dense vegetation. Red-headed Myzomela, Mangrove Gerygone, Yellow white-eye, Brown Honeyeaters, Northern Fantail, Grey Whistler, Yellow Oriole, the ubiquitous Rainbow Bee-eater and Orange-footed Scrubfowl were vocal as we searched for the elusive Chestnut Rail. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for the call of ’I think I’ve got one’ to ring out as a large, chestnut coloured rail crept out from the mangroves of the opposite bank!

An impromptu stop at the treatment plant was not as tantalising as hoped, with few birds being visible but did provide a number of new species for the day, Australian Pratincole, Whiskered Terns, Plumed and Wandering Whistling Ducks and large numbers of Pied Herons.

It was a big day in the tropics but we had one final target, a bird on everyone’s wish list, the Rainbow Pitta. A short walk, through riparian rainforest, was quite until a small flock of Crimson Finches graced us with their presence as they came down to bathe. As we waited the call of the Rainbow Pitta could be heard close by….unfortunately other than a brief fly-by the bird wasn’t willing to show itself to our group.

 Day 2. Sunday 27 June 2021. Darwin to Jabiru (Kakadu). 3 hours

Day two started with breakfast in the dark, a theme we would become familiar with, but by departure the Red-collared Lorikeets, White-breasted Woodswallows and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were well and truly awake. As we began our journey, we picked up where we left off with the Rainbow Pitta. Heading back to the rainforest, we came across a good number of birds in the carpark and open areas with silver-backed Butcherbird, Rainbow Bee-eater, Rose-crowned Fruit-dove, Forest Kingfisher, Little Pied Cormorant and Green Oriole all showing themselves. Our hunt for the pitta was taken slowly as we came across numerous birds in the canopy, Little Bronze-cuckoo, Grey Whistler, Lemon-bellied Flyrobin and numerous cockatoos. Before long a pitta hopped onto the track and gave most of the group a look at the green-winged bird. As we hoped for it to return to the track, Northern Fantails and Arafura Shrike-thrush dropped in before we continued along the track.

After morning tea watching the Yellow-faced Snapping Turtles and large Barramundi taking fish from locals we headed off towards Fogg Dam.

The trip took a turn here, as we discovered that Darwin would be locked down at 1pm due to Covid cases being recorded in the state. This was to be problematic up until the end of the trip but more imminently meant we would have to skip our destination of Fogg Dam and continue outside of the local government area, to avoid our trip coming to a grinding halt. We made a brief stop at some mangroves to pick up Mangrove Golden Whistler and Broad-billed Flycatcher before continuing on to Kakadu National Park.

Late afternoon saw us arriving at the park and stopping in at some wetlands to try and make up for missing Fogg Dam. Fortunately, the most beautiful bird hide provided use the opportunity to watch Green Pygmy Goose, Wandering Whistling Ducks, Magpie Goose, Whiskered Terns, Black and Whistling Kites and a small family of Comb-crested Jacana go about their lives.

A lovely buffet dinner followed by a short night walk was meant to end our night, however around 10:30pm evacuation alarms forced everyone from their rooms and we were able to see Little Corella and Bush-stone Curlew who were disturbed as the hotel emptied out into the street.

Day 3. Monday 28 June 2021 Jabiru to Cooinda (Kakadu). 1 hour

When visiting Kakadu you can’t help but be impressed by the rock formations and history of the area, and we started the morning searching these rocky areas for local specialties. The morning started slowly but Australian Hobby, Crimson Finches, Northern Fantails (on nests) Little Woodswallows, and Rainbow Bee-eaters were on show and were as beautiful as the local viewpoint. Whilst enjoying the view a small flock of Long-tailed Finches landed almost at our feet, coming to drink and bathe in a small puddle in the rock.

Moving down to the river for lunch, we were able to see some ‘large swamp geckoes’ (Estuarine Crocodiles), floating in the water. We were also fortunate to find a more confiding Rainbow Pitta that allowed everyone in the group to get a look at, and even manage some photos!

 Moving further south we drove through some good Partridge Pigeon habitat but the birds remained elusive; instead we saw White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes, Black Kites and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos as we headed out for a sunset river cruise.

 A beautiful late afternoon river cruise showed us a huge number of birds, before we even left: kingfishers, fantails, honeyeaters, and cuckoo-shrikes were bathing near the boat. Big flocks of whistling ducks, Rajah Shelducks, Royal Spoonbills, Little, Intermediate and Great Egrets, Sacred and Azure Kingfishers and the cutest baby Black-fronted Dotterel were seen as we moved along the river. A number of Estuarine Crocodiles were present in the water and along the river’s edge, removing any desires for a swim, and large numbers of Swamp Buffalo didn’t make the land looked much friendlier; fortunately from the safety of the boat we were able to enjoy a beautiful sunset!

It wasn’t over yet! Before we finished for the night we were fortunate to see our first pair of Barking Owls in trees above our hotel.

 Day 4. Tuesday 29 June 2021 Cooinda to Pine Creek. 2 hours

Another early start and we were out to continue our search for Kakadu specialties. Only minutes after exiting the bus the deep call of the Black-breasted Fruit-dove was heard and after a short game of hide-and-seek the fruit-dove was seen by all. As we searched a number of birds were seen, Great Bowerbird, Helmeted Friarbird, Little Friarbird, Red-winged Parrot, and then unexpectedly in the woodland a pair of Sandstone Shrike Thrush were seen investigating a large dead tree. We continued our walk and from a lovely vista heard the distant call of the White-lined Honeyeater, Green Oriole, and Olive-backed Oriole coming up from the gully below us. We headed into the gully and a female Rufous Whistler sat low in a tree providing magical views. Although Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon evaded us this morning, we had a seen some other great birds.

A stop at another wetland provided us with a few new birds for the trip, Pacific Black Duck, White-faced Heron, Australian White Ibis were among the diverse range of species seen across the wetland.

We then began our journey to south and thanks to eagle-eyed Randall we were able to see three extremely well camouflaged Partridge Pigeons hiding from the heat of the day! Reaching our destination we had time to search for another major target, Hooded Parrot. Not wanting it to be easy, the Parrots were late to arrive for their evening drink, but came in numerous small flocks and surrounded us, landing in trees, on powerlines, on the road, the gutter and natures trip making sure we could see them from all angles.

 Day 5. Wednesday 30 June 2021 Pine Creek to Timber Creek.

Our first extensive travel day didn’t stop us from seeing some fantastic birds and we started where all good birding days do…at a sewerage plant J. A number of new birds for our trip were found, Australasian Grebe, Hardhead, Diamond Dove, Pied Butcherbird where amongst a cast of many utilising the ponds and surrounds. The local area was full of gigantic termite mounds and historic information providing many photographic opportunities. We made sure to check out the Hooded Parrots once more before we continued south in search of another flamboyantly coloured bird.

A big wet meant that rivers were full and small waterholes were few and far between but still present in the right areas, and as such finches could be found! As we headed to visit some smaller waterholes a Merten’s Water Monitor swam past and further along the riverbed we found our first finches for the day, Crimson Finches hiding in the Pandanus, from there we found Masked Finches in the shrubs, Double-barred Finches drinking and before long a small flock of gaudy Gouldian Finches nervously came to inspect the waterholes. Coming and going they weren’t sure about us and kept some distance but were able to be seen by all, although mostly juveniles there was briefly both red-headed and black-headed adults in the mix! There is never a good time to leave when Gouldian’s are about, but having all seen the birds we headed to for lunch.

After lunch we still had a considerable distance to drive and pushed the bus along, making a quick stop to look for the little known and poorly studied Northern form of the Crested Shrike-tit. Although unsuccessful in finding our target we did get to see Long-tailed Finches and Black-tailed Treecreepers, so worth the visit.

Day 6. Thursday 1 July 2021. Timber Creek.

There are always too many birds to look for, so why not just try for the more difficult birds and see what you can find along the way? Our target this morning was Chestnut-backed Button-quail….The beautiful morning conditions provided large numbers of finches and everyone got better views of Gouldian Finches than on previous days as they seemed to be in every second tree! Masked, Long-tailed and Crimson Finches were common but Honeyeaters almost stole the show with Grey-headed, Grey-fronted, Brown, Banded, Rufous-banded and Rufous-throated Honeyeaters being vocal, it was hard to know where to look. Varied Lorikeets were vocal as they whizzed overhead, but 10-15 birds decided to come and feed in the flowering Eucalypts in front of us, sitting in the open in the morning sun, their pastel colours beaming for all to see!

Moving on we searched along a larger river for Munia and Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens, and with large water bodies there is large bridges and with large bridges come Martins: both Fairy and Tree Martins buzzed overhead, their nests visible in the shade of the bridge. Exploring the local area we were somewhat perplexed as a brown a white bird of prey soared overhead- in a landscape of red rock and dust, the Eastern Osprey seemed somewhat out of place. Other predators could be seen Black and Whistling Kites and a small male Collared Sparrowhawk, all of which seemed more suited to the local environment.

A break in the afternoon, provided us with a chance to rest. Some took it as an opportunity to explore and watch what was described as Australia’s prettiest bird, the Buff-sided Robin, along the creek at our accommodation. Listening for birds made that little bit harder by the constant chatter of Black Flying-foxes and ever present Fresh-water Crocodiles sitting close to the path and under the small bridge. The afternoon allowed for more time along the riverbanks, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Double-barred Finches, and Sacred Kingfishers ever present. As we retired for the afternoon a Barking Owl was brought to our attention, roosting in a large tree it seemed perplexed about the snapping of cameras and multiple sets of binoculars on it.  

Day 7. Friday 2 July 2021 Timber Creek and Victoria River

The ever present issue of Covid forced us to deviate from our plans for the rest of the trip, Western Australia wouldn’t allow us to cross the border without 14 day Quarantine, and as that wasn’t a viable option, we opted to stay in the Northern Territory and bird our way back to Darwin. This allowed us a bit longer to try and find birds we hadn’t yet seen in the local area. After checking out the morning birds that had taken to living at the petrel station, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Great Bowerbird, Magpie-lark and Blue-faced (White-quilled) Honeyeaters we headed to look for more birds along the river system. Despite best efforts, some targets evaded us, so we headed to some trusty waterholes for lunch.

Whilst the waterholes produced the goods, the road itself wasn’t as forgiving. A blown tire slowed our progress, and whilst some of the group watched Gouldian Finches, Long-tailed Finches, Jacky Winter, Brown Falcon, Cockatiels and honeyeaters, a few members of the group with help from some lovely locals were able to get the tyre changed and have us back on the road.

Although behind schedule we visited another section of our local creek and surrounding savannah woodland and found a large flock of Star Finches! Like most of the finch flocks seen during this trip, most individuals were juveniles, but some stunningly red-faced adults were present in the mix. Grey Shrike-thrush, Crimson Finch and the ever present White-gaped Honeyeater finished off what had been a somewhat challenging day.

Day 8. Saturday 3 July 2021. Timber Creek - Katherine

Our final full day of birding saw us once again searching Pandanus-lined creeks and grassy woodlands, with finches, honeyeaters, flycatchers keeping us on our toes as they moved through the canopy and grass. Flowering trees once again proved to be our friend with Green Oriole, Great Bowerbird, Red-collared Lorikeet, Brown Honeyeater, Banded Honeyeater, White-gaped Honeyeater and our first Bar-breasted Honeyeater feeding extensively and continuously just in front of us. Suddenly a sharp alarm call and the birds dropped from the open and into the denser vegetation, suggesting something was wrong, seconds later a pair of *** were seen flying relatively low over the canopy, the cause of the disturbance.

It seemed that our previous visit to a lookout was one of the most enjoyable moments of the trip, so we ventured back up for an hour before we started our journey home. Although windier this morning, Gouldian Finches were quickly found as were many of the local honeyeaters. Being our last chance we again searched for Chestnut-backed Button-quail and it didn’t take long for three birds to be seen flying low and fast, fortunately for some observers, straight over their heads!

It was unfortunately then time to leave, and we had one last go at finding Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens. We had more luck this time, but unfortunately not enough luck for anyone to be happy with. The birds, although calling, remained just out of sight in the long grass.

Day 9. Saturday 3 July 2021. Katherine - Darwin

An early start allowed some of us to hear the final calls of the Barking Owls before they headed off to sleep and we headed to breakfast. With bags packed we started our journey to Darwin. Unable to stop within the Darwin/Palmerston/Litchfield Local Government Areas we were forced to drive directly to the Airport, but this didn’t stop us spotting birds from the windows, egrets, doves, Pheasant Coucal and multiple large flocks (100s) of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos were a nice end to what was a thoroughly enjoyable trip!

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