Iron Range is one of the most famous birding sites in Australia with many spectacular and highly sought after species. Dense tropical rainforest mixes with open woodland and a variety of coastal habitats to create a diverse mosaic of birding opportunities.
On this trip it is possible see all the New Guinea/ Cape York specials including Spotted Whistling-duck, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot, Red-bellied Pitta (summer), Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Tropical Scrubwren, Green-backed Honeyeater, Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Yellow-legged Flycatcher, White-faced Robin, , Black-winged Monarch (from October), Black-backed Butcherbird, Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Magnificent Riflebird and Trumpet Manucode. There is also a chance of seeing three Cape York endemics, White-streaked Honeyeater, Northern Scrub-Robin and Frill-necked Monarch.
Other birds of interest include Rufous Owl, Marbled Frogmouth, Papuan Frogmouth, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher (from October), Red-headed Honeyeater, Broad-billed Flycatcher, White-eared Monarch, Mangrove Robin, and White-browed Robin.
We take our flight from Cairns to Lockhart River, and within minutes we will be birding the tropical rainforest and woodlands around Iron Range. We can visit the nesting tree of the Eclectus Parrots, and should see many of the New Guinea specials. After a picnic lunch we bird through the afternoon, and later we reach Portland Roads and our awesome accommodation at Portland House.
In the early morning we hope to find our first Palm Cockatoos as we drive towards the rainforest. Most of the day will be birding Iron Range National Park where we visit a number of different sites in search of Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Magnificent Riflebird and other specials. Late afternoon we return to our accommodation to relax.
The first part of the day is spent birding around Portland Roads, where we can visit a bower of the Fawn-breasted Bowerbird and search for mangrove species. A visit to Chilli Beach should produce a good selection of new species, including waders and terns. In the afternoon we head back to the rainforest and then do some night spotting. On our spotting trip we hope to see Marbled Frogmouth, Rufous Owl, and maybe a Cuscus or Python.
Today we will bird Iron Range in search of the more difficult species that may have eluded us. This may include Northern Scrub-robin, a cryptic sulker, and Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo. There is also a chance of visiting some different habitats around Lockhart River. Later we head back to Chilli Beach and observe the spectacular swirling flight of thousands of Metallic Starlings coming in to roost on dusk.
In the morning we say goodbye to Portland Roads and head towards the airport. On the way we may have time to bird the area around Iron Range in search of any species still required, or better views of our favourites. The tour concludes with our flight back to Cairns.
“We had a great trip up to Iron Range and we were very fortunate to see all the specials, thanks to you and your excellent eyes. I have birded with many excellent bird guides and you are definitely among the very best”
~ Jarmo Komi, Finland.
"We had a really fantastic time in Oz, and the undoubted highlight of it was our tour with you to Iron Range, which was absolutely excellent and certainly one of the highlights of our birding lives. Spending time with someone like you, who knows so much not only about the birds but about everything else there too, was great. We'd like to thank you for everything you did to make the trip such a success - the way you get people onto birds is outstanding. Once again, thanks so much for a brilliant trip"
~ Paul and Fi, UK.
"I can't thank you enough for the wonderful time up and around the Cape - you were great in the Atherton, but sensational in the Cape. This has really been the absolute highlight of my birding career, a thousand thanks"
~ Sue, Australia.