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The Cooktown Adventure

(The Avicultural Review August 1986 Vol. 8 No. 8)
(Printable Version - PDF file - Free Adobe Reader download)

By Tim Hall (aged 10½ years)

During the May school holidays, I was lucky enough to go on a trip from Sydney to my grandparents place in Cooktown.   After a four and a half flight to Cairns, my grandparents met me and we set off north for a six hour car trip on a very ROUGH road to Cooktown.

On the way, I saw many Brown Hawks hovering above sugar cane looking for food.  In some places, the sugar cane grows right up to the road and is three or four metres high.

After the cane farms, we entered the rainforest area where the trees made a green arch over the road.  Either side of the road there were tall trees that went on for kilometres.  These trees made homes for many tropical birds.

Every couple of kilometres there was a cattle grid and as we slowed down, it gave me a chance to study the little finches, doves and pigeons.  I was surprised at the number of Galahs I sighted during the whole time I was up there - it was only 10.  In the scattered farms there seemed to be a lot of Masked Plovers and I wondered if this was because they liked human contact.

On one rough section that they call a road, I saw two Palm Cockatoos and we came within a few hundred metres before they flew away into a tree.  They seemed very spooky and we couldn't get very close to them.  I had hoped to see more Palm Cockatoos, but these were the only ones I saw in the two weeks that we were up there.

I saw lots of birds on the trip up.  There were two Brolgas on the side of the road, so we stopped about five metres away and they strolled in front of us.  They seemed to think that we were not there.  Late in the afternoon, lots of wallabies appeared grazing on the grasses.

On my first day I explored Cooktown, which didn't take very long.  There were more Lorikeets than Sparrows and Myna birds in the town.  Large flocks of Lorikeets headed towards the mountains every evening.

Just on dusk, thousands of Flying Foxes blotted out the sky in their effort to reach the mountains.  Most of their day is spent in the Mangroves sleeping.

Near my grandmother's house many Golden Pheasants roam the paddocks.  I had hoped to see Pale-headed Rosellas, but to my surprise I only saw Eastern Rosellas.  While having a peaceful time fishing off the wharf, I could see the Lorikeets flying around the treetops along the river.

If you like fishing, bird watching and looking at old buildings, I think Cooktown, in far North Queensland, is a must.  I really enjoy my two week holiday.

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