The Gulf Savannah draws bird watchers from around the world to see endemic species, migrants and mass gatherings across a wide range of habitats. However you don’t have to be an expert – bird watching is simply a very enjoyable way to learn more about the changing environments you are passing through and take a closer look at some of the stunning wildlife on show in areas such as the Gulf Savannah.
Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for a bird walk, and places with water and more dense vegetation are generally good places to explore.
You’ll need a pair of binoculars and a bird field guide such as:
- Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by Ken Simpson and Nicholas Day
- Field Guide to Australian Birds by Michael Morecombe (also available as a smart phone app)
These books provide lots of general tips and make it easy to identify species.
Hot Spots for Bird Watching
- Undara Experience – eucalypt woodland birds
- Cumberland Chimney – 20 km west of Georgetown, where the dam is a base for several species
- Flat Creek Station – 45 Km South West of Georgetown including Gouldian finch breeding
- Croydon – local wetlands, open grass plains, bushland and wet season creeks
- Lake Belmore – year round water maintains many bird populations
- Mutton hole wetlands beside Normanton and continuing road to Karumba features brolgas, sarus cranes, pratincoles and many more species
- Karumba’s cruise operators for Osprey, Great Billed Heron and mangrove species
- The road between Normanton and Burketown, particularly isolated spots creek crossings
- Burke Shire features several different nearby habitats – savannah woodlands, open savannah plains, lush riverine remnant rainforest and rocky spinifex escarpments all support a wide variety of bird species
Call into the local Visitor Information Centres for advice on the best seasonal spots and recent sightings.