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Special Expires 31 Mar 2019
It is located in the midst of our 14 ha (35 acres) fore... More
It is located in the midst of our 14 ha (35 acres) forest property, and is the ONLY guest accommodation, set well apart from the main house, thus ensuring your privacy and undisturbed viewing of birds and other wildlife.
About Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers’ Cabin
Forest Retreat for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
The modern self-contained cabin (with en-suite and well-equipped kitchen) with its own private veranda, is laid out for 1 or 2 guests. It is located in the midst of our 14 ha (35 acres) forest property, and is the ONLY guest accommodation, set well apart from the main house, thus ensuring your privacy and undisturbed viewing of birds and other wildlife.
Being close to the end of a No Through Road and adjoining Mt.Hypipamee and Herberton Range National Parks, you can really get away from man-made noises and distractions. The cabin’s veranda, orientated towards our small creek, is an ideal spot for watching wildlife. Every so often one of our Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos shows up right next to the cabin. Cassowaries occasionally wander along the creeks, especially when there is a lot of forest fruit to be found.
The vegetation consists of tall open forest, with the dominant trees being 30-40m tall Rose Gums (Eucalyptus grandis), Red Mahogany (E. resinifera) and Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera). The diverse understorey contains many rainforest species, which also grow along the creeks.
This transition zone (ecotone) between rainforest and tall eucalypt forest supports an equally rich fauna: there are more possum and glider species here than anywhere else in the world (11 identified on our property, including the northern subspecies of the Yellow-bellied Glider). Leaf-tailed Geckos, Water Dragons and Boyd’s Forest Dragons are numerous, and there are more than 10 species of frogs.
Birds of the rainforest, like Victoria’s Riflebirds, Yellow-breasted Boatbills and Superb Fruit-doves, mingle with those at home in the drier forests, like Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Crested Shrike-tits, Eastern Spinebills and Spotted Pardalotes.
There are several kilometres of marked walking tracks, including a self-guided botanical walk, and we can provide you with a map and bird list.
We are ideally located close to a number of very diverse ecosystems.
Accommodation & rates
The cabin is laid out for 1 or 2 adults. It is fully self-contained and has:
● en-suite bathroom,
● queen-size bed (an extra single bed can be provided, if you prefer to sleep separately)
● well-equipped kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave oven, toaster oven (for pizza and bakes), 2 burner hot-plate, espresso machine, a range of condiments, teas and coffees, and 2 burner gas stove for outdoors
● ceiling fan and portable fan, hair dryer
● flued gas heater, electric blanket and extra blankets for the cooler winter months
● CD stereo system with USB port, flyscreens on all windows and door
● all linen and towels
● bird field guides and other nature reference books as well as a small number of science books and escapism novels, free WI-Fi.
- Arrival time: from 2 p.m.
- Check-out time: 10 a.m., earlier arrival/later check-out by arrangement.
- $125/1 night/2 guests
- $95/1 night/single guest
- $110/night for 2 nights/ 2 guests
- $85/night for 2 nights single guest
- $100/night for 3 to 6 nights/ 2 guests
- $80/night for 3 to 6 nights/single
- $620/week/2 guests
Birds and Birding
Being situated in the ecotone between rainforest and drier Eucalyptus forest, we get the best of both worlds.
The Atherton Tablelands are home to more than 320 species of birds, including 13 endemic species.
Of these endemics we have at least 11 on our property. Victoria's Riflebirds and Crested Shrike-tits can often be seen foraging for insects amongst lose tree bark.
Pied Monarch Flycatchers spiral around tree trunks like tree-creepers, Grey Fantails are never far away as they opportunistically feed on insects disturbed by the other birds.
Apart from the regular visits by King Parrots, several species of lorikeets are making their presence known with their noisy chatter when trees are flowering.
During those periods, the numbers of resident honeyeaters (about 9 species) increase substantially by an influx of seasonal visitors.
Our forest produces bumper crops of seasonal berries and other juicy fruits, which attract large flocks of Superb Fruit-doves, Topknot Pigeons, Satin Bowerbirds and other frugivores.
Nearby birding hot spots are Mt Hypipamee ("The Crater") National Park for upland rainforest species,Hasties Swamp, with its 2-storey bird hide, for waterbirds, raptors and some open forest species, and Bromfield Swamp, where Brolgas and Sarus Cranes fly in to roost in the late afternoon in the winter months (June to November).
We can provide you with additional information on birding and wildlife areas in the Atherton Tablelands and along the coast, and also help with guided tours.
There are more species of possums and gliders in this area than anywhere else in Australia or the world.
We have rainforest specialists as well as species that mainly feed on eucalyptus leaves. Common Brushtail Possums here interbreed with Coppery Brushtails, which results in some bi-coloured individuals. As both species are not shy at all, you'll be able to watch them ambling past the veranda in the early evening, on their way to check the bird feeder for left-over fruit.
AND there are the Yellow-bellied Gliders, that make incisions into the bark of the Red Mahogany trees, to feed on the resulting sap exudate. These feed trees also attract Feathertail Gliders, Sugar Gliders, and a variety of birds and insects during the day. Yellow-bellied Gliders are very vocal creatures, and you can sometimes hear their characteristic calls when they are travelling through the forest. It is one of the weirdest calls you will ever hear!
On the ground you may see Red-legged Pademelons, Swamp Wallabies AND a loud crashing thump lets you know that a Lumholtz's Tree-kangaroo saw you first and jumped out of a tree.
Our little creek runs for most of the year, and you might spot a platypus or a similar-sized water rat (which is a very attractive-looking rodent).
At night very industrious bandicoots are poking their noses into the mulch layer and leaving cone-shaped holes behind, in their search for beetle larvae and other tasty morsels. Some are even bold enough to forage in the early afternoon in broad daylight.
Frogs and Reptiles
Our creek and the thick moist layer of mulch in the forest provide a habitat for frogs all year round. From the tiny Ornate Nursery Frogs, that are "beeping" all over the forest, to the big Barred Frogs, with their deep croak, we have at least 12 frog species on our property.
Waterdragons (agame lizards) have their favourite spots along the creek. Boyd's Forest Dragons are common and easiest seen when they are sleeping at night. During the day they have the habit of moving to the far side of "their" tree trunk, when one approaches them. And they often see you before you spot them!
The Northern Leaf-tailed Geckos emerge from their hiding places, often under lose bark, in the evenings and spend lot of their time clinging to the tree trunk in an upside-down position. They rely on their excellent camouflage, and usually stay put, even if you get close.
Of course, we have a few monitor lizards, too, many small skinks and several species of snakes.
In the larger, deeper sections of the creek you may also spot a turtle or two and maybe a platypus.
Butterflies & other invertebrates
The Australian Wet Tropics are not only home to 40% of Australian birds, but also to 68% of Australian butterflies. Of the roughly 435 butterfly species, 277 are found in North Queensland.
Close to 40000 species of insects have been recorded, including many large and colourful beetles and dragonflies.
The drier savannah country to the west adds to the variety of insects.
Our tropical climate also favours increased insect sizes, therefore you can find some of the largest insects in the world here:
-the world's largest dragonfly, the Giant Petaltail (Petalura ingentissima), with a wingspan of 160mm,
-Australia's largest butterfly, the Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion). The female has a wingspan of 150mm,
-Australia's largest moth, the Hercules Moth (Coscinocera hercules), with a wingspan of 270mm,
- the world's heaviest cockroach, the Giant Burrowing Cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros), which grows to over 80mm in lenght, weighs up to 30g and lives for up to 10 years,
-the world's strongest beetle, the Rhinoceros Beetle (Xylotrupes ulysses), up to 60mm long, and able to lift 850 times its own body weight,
-the largest stick insects here are almost half a meter long. We have the world's loudest cicadas, and Australia's (and possibly the world's) largest ant, the 36mm long Bulldog Ant.
Some of the insects, which can be observed on our property:
-a large variety of butterflies (the beautiful Regent Skippers are especially numerous from November to Marchl) and moths (to attract the latter, we set up a mercury vapour light and a white sheet on some evenings),
-fireflies in spring and summer, emerging from the creek area and dispersing through the forest,
-Giant Petaltails cruising through the forest in summer,
-many different katydids and grasshoppers, as well as beetles and stick insects.
-several species of cicadas. The giant, aptly named, Red Roarers fortunately only have bumper adult populations every 5 to 7 years for a few weeks in early summer (they can be very noisy).
Following is a list of butterfly species, which we have identified on our property so far. We only photograph, do not capture them, thus the patchy nature of our list.
The vegetation type on our property is called ‘ tall open forest’ or ‘wet sclerophyll forest’, with the dominant trees being smooth-barked Rose Gums (Eucalyptus grandis) along the creeks and gullies, Red Mahogany (E. resinifera) and Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), interspersed with Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus)and Casuarinas (Allocasuarina torulosa) .
The understorey consists mainly of sclerophyll (hard-leaved) shrubs and numerous rainforest pioneers, usually easily recognized by their softer, larger leaves.
The ground layer is made up of grasses, native ginger and ground orchids. Many (tasty, from a tree-kangaroo’s perspective) vines often reach up into the canopy and represent a significant amount of foliage. We regularily find traces of possum or tree-roo feeding activities: many leaves scattered on the ground (often sprinkled with droppings) across a small area. Remarkably, often only the leaf stalkes have been eaten, maybe they are more nutrious than the rest of the leaf?
Along the walking tracks, we labelled the dominant plants and some rarities, more to be added over time.
We are in a transition zone (ecotone) between rainforest and sclerophyll forest, which results in a very diverse plant community. Rainforest species, many of them pioneers, are spreading from the nearby rainforest (about 400m to the east) along the creeks and the larger gully, but seedlings are also sprouting throughout the drier parts of the forest, probably from bird droppings. Some of these rainforest species also occur in wet sclerophyll forest.
The sclerophyll forest is more open than rainforest, making it easier to observe birds (although they can be fairly high up in the canopy).
There are many species of orchids in our forest, several still undescribed (like the large Greenhood Orchid near our driveway). Most species of Australian orchids are terrestrial, becoming only conspicuous when they are in flower. Epiphytes are numerous.
News By Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers’ Cabin
By Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers’ Cabin
25 Sep 2018
Victoria’s Riflebird (Ptiloris victoriae) is one of 3 species of birds of paradise (family Paradisaeidae) in Australia.
They are common in our part of the world, and relatively easy to observe on our property. They often investigate rough-barked tree trunks for insects and spiders, behaving like treecreepers. They also check out strips of hanging bark on Rose Gums.
The males use the tops of dead tree trunks, or sometimes horizontal branches, to perform their courtship dances, mainly between July and December.
Knowing their preferences, we levelled the top of a splintered dead trunk near the cabin, and it worked much faster than anticipated! Within a couple of days, a juvenile and an adult bird took turns on the new perch.
Looking impressive, but not a patch on the adult version:
It takes 4-5 years until a young male develops his velvety black adult plumage with iridescent metallic cap, throat and tail. Until then he looks very similar to the female birds.
Still wearing his immature outfit doesn’t stop him from displaying, though. It takes years of practice to get the moves right and entice a female!
The adult male watched for a while and then flew in to give a more refined performance. He even dazzled the camera, which quickly lost its focus!
Well, the difficulty of focussing might be related to the fact, that the riflebird’s black is the blackest black in nature. It absorbs 99.95% of light, so that even our eyes can’t focus on it properly. A possible reason for being so black might be that the contrast with his brightly coloured feathers makes those look even brighter, and, presumably, more attractive to the female. (You can read more on that topic in the June 2018 Australian Birdlife magazine).
These two males displayed without a female being present. Probably just showing off to each other!
Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers’ Cabin Reviews
How to get to Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers’ Cabin
114 Webster Rd, Wondecla QLD 4887