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Australia plus a day in New Zealand, Nov/Dec 2017

Sheridan and I spent part of November 25/26, 2017 in New Zealand, followed by fifteen days in Australia.

We visited Miranda, Mangere, and Waitakere near Auckland, NZ, and then around Cairns, around Darwin, and around Melbourne plus Victoria's Malee in Australia.

As usual, the quality of my photos varies from very good to rather poor - but identifiable!

Here is a quick summary of the highlights (in no particular order) for each area we went-to:

Wrybill, NZ Dotterel, Paradise Shelduck, Black-billed Gull, White-fronted Tern and Tui during our one-day stopover in Auckland, NZ.

Arm's-length encounters with Cassowaries; Victoria's Riflebird, Noisy Pitta, Red-necked Crake, Spotted and Tooth-billed Catbirds, Gray Goshawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher, Australian Bustard, Brolga, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Chowchilla, Red-backed FairyWren, Scarlet Honeyeater, McKleay's Honeyeater, Black Butcherbird, Pied Monarch, Mangrove Robin, Varied Honeyeater, Atherton Scrubwren, Mountain Thornbill, Bower's Shrike-Thrush, Squatter Pigeon, Black Bittern, Beach Thick-knee, Collared/Mangrove Kingfisher and Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove during four days in the Cairns area. Also watched a Platypus swim past us!

Hooded Parrot, Rainbow Pitta, Star and Double-barred Finches, Great-billed Heron, Black-necked Stork, Rajah Shelduck, Brown Quail, Collared Sparrowhawk, Arufara Fantail, Mangrove, Large-billed and Green-backed Gerygones, White-gaped, White-throated, Bar-breasted, Red-headed, Rufous-banded, and Rufous-throated Honeyeaters, Gray-tailed Tattler, Silver-backed Butcherbird, Red-backed Kingfisher, Yellow/Green and Olive-backed Orioles, Broad-billed, Shining and Paperbark Flycatchers, Black-breasted Kite, Northern Rosella, Varied Lorikeet, Red-necked Rainbow Lorikeet and Cockatiel (wild ones!) during four days in the Darwin/Kakadu area.

Pacific Gull (what a bill!), Banded Stilt, Red-necked Avocet, Hooded Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Cape Barren Goose, Superb Lyrebird, Little Penguin, Tawny Frogmouth, Black and Brown Falcons, Little Eagle, Brown Goshawk, Musk, Freckled, and Pink-eared Ducks, White-winged, Superb, Splendid and Variegated FairyWrens, five Thornbills, Chestnut-crowned Babbler, Gilbert's Whistler, Orange Chat, Hooded Robin, Purple-gaped, New Holland, Yellow-throated, Black and Pied Honeyeaters, Spotless, Baillon's, and Australian (Spotted) Crakes, Buff-banded Rail, Brush and Common Bronzewings, Regent, Red-rumped, Mulga, and Australian King Parrots, and wild Budgerigars all in Victoria State. Although we don't count human-assisted birds, we did have a really enjoyable experience watching (and videoing) two first-cycle Orange-bellied Parrots feeding on dock at Werribee; they were ringed, and were from the preceding nesting season (probably captive-bred) in Tasmania that had flown to Werribee for the winter but had not (yet?) returned in the spring. We also watched Eastern Grey Kangaroos boxing, and found an active male Koala in the very last afternoon.

NEW ZEALAND:- The Firth of Thames at and north of Miranda; Island Road to Puketutu Island (Mangere WTP); Waitakere Ranges Regional Park - all within an hour of Auckland Airport.

CAIRNS AREA:- Cassowary House; Cattana Wetland, Kingfisher Park; Mount Lewis; greater Julatten area; Mount Molloy; Cairns (Esplanade, Pioneer Cemetery; south boat ramp); France Turf Farm.

DARWIN AREA:- In and around Darwin; Fogg Dam; Arnhem Hwy; Mary River crossing; Mamulka Wetlands; Jabiru; Kakadu Hwy; Nourlangie; Yellow Water; Pine Creek; Stuart Hwy.

VICTORIA:- Melbourne area (Woodlands Historic Park; Dandenong Ranges NP; Phillip Ilsand; Werribee WTP, Brisbane Ranges), Bendigo, and the Northern Murray River area (Kerang, Goschen, Sea Lake, Hattah-Kulkyne NP, Wyperfield NP).