Golden-shouldered Parrot Tour

5 Day Tour

6 birdwatchers maximum
Cairns – Musgrave – Lakefield National Park – Kingfisher Park (Julatten) – Cairns

The Golden-shouldered Parrot is one of the endangered birds of Australia and is endemic to the Musgrave area on Cape York Peninsula. Musgrave Station, a roadhouse on the unsealed and rugged road to the Tip of Cape York, is our base for two nights. It is a comfortable place to stay, basic but clean rooms with ceiling fans and 2 single beds.

During the nesting period, which takes place between February and June in most years, you have the best chance of seeing the parrots.

Day 1

Pick-up time in Cairns is approximately 7.00 am, and we travel via Mareeba with stops to look at birds on the way to Laura. Depending on the time of the year we travel through Lakefield National Park with its numerous lagoons and rivers and do birding in the southern parts. If there is still too much water in Lakefield, birds are dispersed and it’s not worth it to drive all the way through.

Arrival time in Musgrave is late afternoon / early evening.

Accommodation: Musgrave Station, Cape York

Day 2

The morning is spend looking for the Golden-shouldered Parrots and other important birds like Black-backed Butcherbirds, Masked Finches and Red-browed Pardalotes.

After a big lunch we travel to Marina Plains in the northern part of Lakefield and look for Black-throated Finches, Star Finches, Banded, Bar-breasted and Rufous-throated Honeyeaters and more.

In the early evening we have our take-away dinner (sandwiches, etc) to a location in Lakefield Nat. Park., where we wait for darkness. We then drive slowly through the grassland habitats and look for Barn, Barking, Boobook and Grass Owls, and we often encounter Frogmouths and Nightjars. Quite often we see the Northern Nailtail Wallaby.

We are usually back at Musgrave at about 9.00 pm

Accommodation: Musgrave Station, Cape York

Day 3

After some local birdwatching we drive via the Golden-shouldered Parrot locations south and might stop at the Quinkan Aboriginal Painting (Split Rock), depending on interest. Around Mt Carbine we look for Squatter Pigeon and should arrive at Julatten and the Kingfisher Birdwatchers Lodge in the northern part of the Tablelands at about 5.00 pm.

This spot is well known for its bird life and is the prime spot for all kind of birds, from dry woodland nearby to grassland. The rooms are set in lush rainforest with birds present at your fingertips.

Accommodation: Kingfisher Birdwatchers Lodge, Julatten

Day 4

We depart Julatten very early and drive down to the coast. On the Daintree River we take the well- known River Cruise with Murray Hunt (formally Chris Dahlberg’s tour), who specialises in tours taking out birdwatchers. Highlights are Great- billed Herons and Little Kingfishers, and it’s not uncommon to see 40 species of birds.

We return to the Julatten area, which is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area between Cooktown and Townsville. It is one of the best and most famous birding regions in Australia. 14 species of birds are endemic to the highland and lowland rainforests, which receive the highest rainfall of the Australian mainland. That accounts for its natural beauty, clear creeks with Platypus and a large number of endemic frogs and possums.

We spend some time in the local area, and at night we look for nocturnal birds.

Accommodation: Kingfisher Birdwatchers Lodge, Julatten

Day 5

This morning we travel to the rainforest on nearby Mt Lewis, which has the only reliable population of Blue-faced Finches. These Finches are best seen between January and May at Mt Lewis, plus you have good chances of seeing a few endemic rainforest birds in this fantastic and remote location.

Depending of how much time we spend on Mt Lewis we might drive in the afternoon towards Yungaburra, which is in the southern part of the Tablelands. Places like Lake Barrine, Mt Hypipamee and Hastie’s Swamp are the spots for the endemic highland rainforest birds and many others.

Most birding regions are between 700 and 1000 metres above sea level, so temperatures can be 10 degrees Celsius lower than coastal Cairns and Mission Beach.

We return to Cairns, where we arrive in the late afternoon / early evening.

Transport is in a 6 (forward-facing) seater Toyota 4WD troop carrier, and we carry a satellite phone and a First-Aid Kit. Six birdwatchers are the maximum on this excellent tour. We always search for, and concentrate, on the endemic and special birds of each region and generally have great views of them. Of course we also enjoy looking at all the other birds encountered