Djukbinj NP and Couzens Lookout, Mary River National Park June 6 - 8 2021
  Leaving Malaplains a small flock of, we think, dusky honeyeaters. Occupying the top of the tree.

The beak perhaps appears white because of the light, a black bill shining white?

  We fill up a fuel tank at Humpty Do, and passed the boxing crocodile.
  And the beautifully uniform mango trees.
  With not much further on, parallel to the road, a long, regular, patch of gravel. With regular lines of stakes.

The purpose of which must remain a mystery to us.

  Then suddenly, the landscape changes, we begin to see wetlands.
  Beatrice Hill. With sadly closed "Window on the Wetlands".

But constant reminders of competing jumping crocodile tours.

What have we come to?

  Who could resist a national park with a name like Djukbinj.

Pronounced Jook-bin.

Little Sister billabong.

We are beginning to wonder where all the birds are.

  Then Calf billabong.

A couple of egrets.

  The track becomes narrower.

All our maps seem to disagree with each other, at the same time as disagreeing with what we see in front of us.

  We are guessing the old road through the park. We turn back at the thought of potentially bottomless mud.

Even walking close we sank.

We found Twin billabong after returning to the main park road. A well formed road which led to the park boundary.

It should have continued, the trees had once been cleared, but there was no way forward. We tried the track along the fence line but that stopped in a pool of mud.

Nothing left but to return to the main road the same way we came into the park.

  A little short of energy we stopped for the night at Hardies Lagoon.

Some confusion as "Hardies Lagoon" is marked in different places on different maps.

This one is a campsite at a boat ramp on the southern end of the lagoon. Accessible from the south west on formed road.

The other is a national park campsite about 15km further north, accessible by 4wd tracks from the south east.

One of those "we need a boat" places.

  Onward, to Couzens Lookout in Mary River National Park.

We think Lotus plants along the river banks. We saw a few in Cape York but mostly water lillies there.

  A distinctive heart to the flowers.
  And we are brave enough to taste the seeds (despite being in a national park).
  Not much fishing access, someone dumped their dead fish carcasses at the most viable spot.

But the black-necked stork (aka Jabiru) didn't mind.

  Though it chose to fly away when it finally realised we were watching.
  Very elegant, long, slow, strong, beats of its wings.
  We've seen similar to this since 5-mile beach.

We think a lemon-bellied flycatcher.

In pairs, playing deep in the foliage.

  Sunset from the lookout across the river.
  We've just finished watching all the Jurassic Park movies.
  Looking south as the colours change with the dying sun.
  Next morning up at dawn. A walk around the billabong to Rockhole.

Animal tracks only, we push through the grass between road and billabong for about 20m and find ourselves in open ground.

  A mix of water buffalo and pigs on the tracks.

We happened on some pigs.

  Almost park like.
  With twisted, eerie, contorted paper barks, as the world awoke.
  Mostly egrets.
  North from the Rockhole boat ramp.
  Back the way we came. About 4.5km each way.

An agile wallaby.

  A couple of white-headed shelducks reminded us of Sweetwater in Lakefield National Park.

These two were much less nervous.

  More meadows. The dried mud, churned by buffalo and pigs was a bit heavy going so we searched for smoother tracks which were a little way from the water.
  There were three blue-winged kookaburras in this tree.

All bellowing out their raucous melody.

This topmost one was laughing at the moon, cleverly using its tail to balance.

  Dinner for the last two nights has been in daylight with a retreat inside at dusk as the mosquitoes arrive.

But before then, a variety of birds visit us.

This is one of a small flock of masked finches.

  A cuckoo (of indeterminate type).
  And a flock of birds that flew over then conveniently stopped for a short rest before continuing we know not where.
Shady Camp, Mary River National Park June 9 - 10 2021

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