What the visitor sees on a wildlife safari or cruise depends on the wildlife and the weather, but also on the guide’s interests and local knowledge. Daintree River Wild Watch advertised “Bird Watching and Photography Cruises” which ticked the boxes we wanted, and we were well rewarded.
Crocodiles are top of the list for most tourists, and we did see one, but the highlight for us was the Jabiru (Black-necked Stork, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) prancing around in the shallows to scare up his breakfast.
Our guide was happy about that sighting but even more pleased with the Great-billed Heron, which has a notional range from Mackay around the coast to the Kimberley but is rarely seen – anywhere in that range.
We also saw Azure Kingfisher, Striated Heron, Rufous Night Heron, Australasian Darter and Shining Flycatcher (links are to my photos on iNaturalist); also such relatively common NQ species as Welcome Swallow, Olive-backed (aka Yellow-bellied) Sunbird, Torres Strait Pigeon, Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret and Little Pied Cormorant.
Shrieks from the river bank led us to a large Common Tree Snake with a good grip on a Green Tree Frog. Images of such painful situations are not to everyone’s liking but it’s here for those who want to see it.
And just as we were about to give up and return to the Village, we finally saw the crocodile that everyone (else) was so keen on. Initially it was only the classic eye-bumps-and-nose view but it swam over to a submerged log to rest further out of the water.
I wonder if it knew how well camouflaged it was by the reflection of the log?
- Introduction and index to Cape York (Cooktown – Cape Trib – Chillagoe) blog posts late 2021.