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Meet the birds of Cairns, in the 'burbs and the bush

Thirty-six hours travel without much sleep is not the best preparation for birding. But birding is, I find, a great cure for jet lag: it gets me outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, and helps me recalibrate my body clock. Even more crucially, I know I’ll be so overwhelmed with the amazing birds I see that I’ll be able to forget my exhaustion – or at least keep birding right through it.

My guides are Doug Herrington and Murray Hunt from Birdlife Northern Queensland, two acknowledged experts on the birds of this part of Australia. But when we meet in the lobby of Cairns hotel, the first thing they do is apologise, for this is not really their home patch. Understandably, they prefer to spend most of their time looking for the myriad birds to be found outside Cairns, rather than those (mostly common) species that have learned to live alongside the holidaymakers in this busy metropolis by the sea.

They needn’t have worried – having never birded in Queensland, and only once visited Australia before, at least one in three of the species we see today will be new to me. Most of the others I haven’t seen since my last trip to Oz six years ago, so I have forgotten what many of them look like.

Read the full story at The Guardian website.

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