It was 2 am the still moon lit sky was screaming for help. Sitting straight immediately from the bed, I rose concerned the raucous might wake our guests some 300 metres from where I lay. The unmistakable cry for help from the trapped Kookaburra, continuously screeched into the full moon. A murder was underway!
Grabbing a torch I raced out into the night to assist or shut the noise down. Some 16 metres up a black butt tree, one of many in the vast expanse of our front yard, our local Rufous Owl had a firm hold within his dangling talons a Kookaburra; the other foot firmly holding the branch. A sight we had seen a few times before. Quickly I was able to obtain from the lawn, several hard wood branches to throw. Many attempts and close misses later, this old owl knew the routine.
Crazy humans trying to get an easy hand on my dinner, not tonight you won’t! We have successful saves before.
A couple of strong strangles with the beak, the noise ceased. Immediately in graceful swoop of the lawn, over the driveway, then deep into the rainforest she disappears with her feed.
The night again falls silent……………
These above shots above were taken on another evening. Under camouflage of the ferns, I became the prey whilst taking photos of the Rufous. She grabbed my hand and camera throwing the camera to the lawn some metres away. My hand was bleeding from 4 large punctures from her talons. What an unforgettable experience to say the least. The camera still works, my hand is fine!
In 2020, Cooktown will celebrate our shared history in the spirit of reconciliation on the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s sojourn in
the mouth of the Endeavour River. We invite you on a voyage of discovery through the events that shaped the history of our nation. Inspired by the history of the encounters between the Europeans and Australia’s first peoples, we will work in partnership to educate and inspire individuals and communities and build a stronger future through a greater understanding of past events. Cooktown 2020 is a 48-day festival commemorating the arrival of James Cook 250 years ago, the scientific discoveries that were recorded during his 48 days on shore and the interactions that occurred between the crew and
the Guugu Yimithirr people. We welcome you to get on board and share our stories.
Australia has approximately 800 native bird species, from the iconic emu and the good humoured kookaburra, to the eye-dazzling (critically endangered) orange-bellied parrot, or the rare Victoria Riffle Bird. Greater Cooktown is a birdwatchers paradise – almost 200 bird species are documented at Mungumby throughout the year.
The Greater Cooktown region, Cape York and Atherton Tablelands are rated by many in their Top Ten Bird watching spots in Australia. Whether you’re a hardcore twitcher with multiple species ticked off or have a casual interest in birds, bird watching is a terrific excuse to get amongst nature.
Helpful Bird Watching Tips
Take your time – don’t rush. By walking slowly you will see more birds, especially the quiet or skulking ones.
Make sure to listen for birds calling. These records are as valuable as those of birds seen. Take time to follow up unfamiliar calls (never ignore them!).
Don’t just record the obvious species (e.g. large birds or birds that are calling vociferously). You should be aware that there will also be less-obvious species present, so look and listen carefully, and make sure to check all likely areas.
Listen for noises other than bird calls. For example, Crested Shrike-tits are often first detected by the sound of them tearing at bark with their stout beaks; and parrots quietly feeding in the treetops are often first detected by the sound of dropped seed-pods falling to the ground.
Be quiet. It lets you hear more birds and disturbs them less. However, talk in your normal voice. Never shout, and try not to whisper, as sibilant noises may disturb birds; many species use similar sounds to indicate alarm or aggression.
Avoid wearing bright clothing or clothing that rustles.
Try to go bird watching early in the morning. Birds are more active then, and tend to call more often.
Try to avoid bird watching on windy days. Wind makes it more difficult to hear birds calling, and they are also less active in these conditions.
Try to avoid bird watching on hot days. Birds are inactive during the heat of the day, and are difficult to find. If hot weather is unavoidable, go bird watching early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when it is cooler and birds are likely to be more active.
Birds are more easily detected in open habitats than in more heavily wooded ones. However, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security in open areas, as cryptic species can be easily missed. In all habitats, take your time and you will see more birds.
Please respect private property; always ask for permission before entering private property.
How to go bird watching in an open forest or woodland
Scan the ground for any birds
Check out the shrubs in the undergrowth
Check out the trunks of the larger trees, and the lower branches
Check the canopy of the trees
If there are any clearings, check the airspace above for aerial species like raptors, swallows or swifts
How to go bird watching in a wetland
Scan the nearest water edges for any birds
Check out the marginal vegetation
Check areas of open water
Scan the far banks
Check the tops of trees for roosting or nesting waterbirds
How to go bird watching on a beach
Scan the water’s edge for any birds; also check exposed rock platforms if present
Check out the upper beach and foredunes and associated marginal vegetation
Check areas of open beach, including among clumps of beach cast seaweed
Enjoy, take care and make the most of your time here!
As a family owned and operated local business the lodge has played an
active role in Cooktown’s business community for the past 30 years.
Australian Pacific Lodges for the past 17 years of ownership has taken
the property to new heights. Our CEO has 30 years Tropical Far North
Queensland tourism experience. “From purchase till today we always find it challenging to get people to come and explore the greater Cooktown region or understand how much this region has to offer” said Hamish Haslop. However history, the adventure and our regions genuine culture is so rich, well travelled travellers and travel agents in the know find us. 80% of our business comes internationally through traditional distribution systems, we have also seen strong growth in the corporate market. Locals from Port Douglas, Mossman, Townsville and the Tablelands who wish to enjoy the regions history and nature from a unique base, versus a motel will stay at Mungumby Lodge.