Jabiru Safari Lodge, Mareeba Wetlands

July 6, 2010

Mareeba Wetlands is one of those must-visit places in Australia. Waking in the safari tents to the rolling calls of White-browed Crakes then having coffee on the verandah overlooking the wetland is priceless.

A conservation refuge for wetland birds, Mareeba comprises several lake systems, some of which are inaccessible. So it's worth spending some time with 'Chook', the operator and guide, who has a deep understanding of the Australian bush and can find you birds like the often-elusive Black-throated Finch and the local 'black-backed' form of Brown Treecreeper (which is so unlike Brown Treecreeper).

The safari tents are located a couple of hundred metres from the lagoon. The only crocs in here are about half a dozen harmless introduced freshies, that have not yet successfully bred. The other important reintroduction program is for Gouldian Finches. You can see the aviary housing new birds at the wetland centre.

There's loads to see around during day and night. There are canoes to hire on the lake, which at its centre is only a couple of feet deep. Later in the season, Sarus Cranes congregate here in large numbers. There were none while we visited - a late season, though we did see them coming into Bromfield Swamp.

Whilst we were getting prepared for bed, we were visited by a Northern Quoll and we had Rufous Bettongs bouncing past as we sipped the local Mango Wine from the winery just outside Mareeba itself (well worth a visit). This is also one of the hotspots for the infamous Buff-breasted Buttonquail though it is a summer visitor and has not been seen for a few years in the Tableland area.

Without much effort, we managed to see about 70 species of bird and a few cool frogs, that hang around the visitor centre. It was good to challenge the kids to find Northern Dwarf Tree Frogs . They call loudly but are only a centimetre long.

Locations visited

Mareeba Wetlands Entrance Gate


Land Birds 67 species
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) 150
Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis) 50
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin (Lonchura castaneothorax) 35
Pale-headed Rosella (Platycercus adscitus) 30
Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) 30
Double-barred Finch (Taeniopygia bichenovii) 30
Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis) 25
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus) 20
Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) 20
Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus) 20
Green Pygmy Goose (Nettapus pulchellus) 20
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus) 15
Nankeen Night Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) 12
Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta) 12
Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis) 10
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 10
Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii) 8
Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia) 8
Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea) 8
Red-backed Fairywren (Malurus melanocephalus) 8
Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) 7
Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus) 6 race melanota (which looks very unlike Brown and is almost entirely arboreal)
White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis) 6
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) 6
Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus) 6
Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) 6
Scarlet Myzomela (Myzomela sanguinolenta) 6
Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) 6
Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) 6
White-bellied Cuckooshrike (Coracina papuensis) 6
Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) 5
Squatter Pigeon (Geophaps scripta) 5
Pheasant Coucal (Centropus phasianinus) 4
Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) 4
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) 3
White-throated Gerygone (Gerygone olivacea) 2
Great Bowerbird (Chlamydera nuchalis) 2
Brown Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus) 2
Red-winged Parrot (Aprosmictus erythropterus) 2
Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) 2
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus) 2
White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) 2
Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) 2
Lemon-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca flavigaster) 1
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) 1
Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) 1
Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) 1
Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis) 1
White-throated Nightjar (Eurostopodus mystacalis) 1
Yellow Honeyeater (Lichenostomus flavus) 1
Black Kite (Milvus migrans) 1
Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) 1
White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 1
Fairy Gerygone (Gerygone palpebrosa) 1
Australian Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles cristatus) 1
Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis) 1
Southern Boobook (Ninox boobook) 1
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) 1
Brown Honeyeater (Lichmera indistincta) 1
Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis) 1
Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus) 1
Olive-backed Oriole (Oriolus sagittatus) 1
White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea) 1
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) 1
Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea) 1
Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata) 1
Magpie-lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) 1
Seabirds 2 species
Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos) 15
Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) 6



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