The poet Dorothea Mackellar captured the magic and majesty of Australia best in her poem “My Country”:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains;
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror—
The wide brown land for me!
Bill Thompson, III, never got to see the magic and majesty of Australia, which is one of only a few places not ticked off his travel bucket list. In honor and remembrance of him, we have chosen Australia as the first-ever BT3 Bucket List Reader Rendezvous. Each BT3 Bucket List Rendezvous will feature a destination or bird that Bill never got to see, while including very “Bill-like” activities (a snorkeling day trip being one of them on this Australia trip!) and a limited-edition BT3 goodie. Furthermore, a portion of your registration fee will be donated to the BT3 Young Birders Fund, which benefits four organizations that mentor and educate young birders and naturalists. We will have one BT3 Bucket List Rendezvous every year starting with this trip in 2020.
Bird Watcher’s Digest has partnered with Great Northern Tours to bring you this wonderful 16-day adventure! David Mead is the owner of Great Northern Tours and will be our local guide throughout the trip. Bruce Richardson will also be guiding and playing some music for us! If that isn’t enough of a treat, Raymond VanBuskirk, Wendy Clark, and Emily Nichols will be representing BWD on this tour.
Australia is a continent with a diverse array of habitat types, from desert to tropical rainforest, and dry bushland to alpine areas. The country has more than 800 bird species recorded, and because it is an island, many bird families, such as the bristlebirds, pardalotes, lyrebirds, and mudnesters, are endemic to “Down Under.” Furthermore, many more families are only found in Australia and New Guinea, such as the bowerbirds, fairy-wrens, emu-wrens, sitellas, and boatbills.
We will visit three regions of Australia in order to cover many of these habitats and increase the number of species we should see. We will visit Australia’s best birding spots, which also happen to have marvelous views! (Check out the gallery to see what we’re talking about!) We will visit the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics region of Far North Queensland, including the Daintree River, Mount Lewis, and the Atherton Tablelands, a haven for bowerbirds, parrots, and migratory birds. Then to the cool-temperate forests of the Great Dividing Range, home of the mountain ash, the largest flowering trees in the world, and beautiful birds such as the crimson rosella and eastern yellow robin.
Next, we’ll travel onward to the Box-Ironbark forests of northwestern Victoria, a haven for that very Australian bird family, the honeyeaters. We will then travel as far south as possible in Australia to Tasmania, with the chance of picking up all 12 Tasmanian endemics, as well as amazing mammals such as the Tasmanian devil, echidna, wombat, and tiger quolls. You will (of course) see a kangaroo or two as well!
Traveling in comfort and at a birder’s pace while staying in some of the best birding locations in Australia, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! This Rendezvous is limited to 13 participants, so be sure to register quickly if you are interested.
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