Danny Yee >> Bushwalking & Travel >> Cairns + the Daintree

Daintree River Cruise - wildlife and birds

We'd rung up the previous day to arrange this, having noticed in a brochure that special wildlife cruises were available on request. Getting out of bed at 5.30am for a 6.30am start was painful -- and the trip would have started even earlier if we hadn't had to catch the ferry which started running at 6am. Fortunately they provided coffee before we set off!

photo
a Jabiru stork
Our guide was Lee, a soft-spoken Texan who'd been in Australia for 34 years, and there was one other couple, English bird-watchers from Kent. There were apparently fewer birds around than usual, but we saw maybe fifteen species of birds and heard a few more, most of them new to us. Highlights were a pair of jabiru storks, a couple of azure kingfishers, a little kingfisher, a pair of sunbirds and their nest, and an osprey. We also saw three amethystine pythons curled up in trees hanging over the water, and a crocodile that slid away too far off for me to see.

Lee really knew his stuff -- he talked about the latest research on everything from mangroves to crocodiles -- and it was great to be on a small boat without screaming children.

Lee runs the Daintree River Cruise Centre (phone 07 4098 6115). Another birdwatching specialist who runs tours is Chris Dahlberg.
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