Eclipse 2012 plus great birdwatching

What an amazing event the 2012 Total Solar Eclipse in Far North Queensland was! 
People came from far and wide, up to 50,000 extra people in the region we hear – from the seriously scientific to the seriously whacky, to the seriously obsessed. Some had been planning this for years and many had travelled half way around the world to see it.
The build-up to the event was full of anxiety as people jockeyed for positions to get the perfect view – the tropics in ‘build-up’ season is far from reliable weather-wise, and by being just after sunrise it didn’t allow people to move to another location at the spur of the moment. So, lots of anxious moments when waking to cloud in the east that morning!
The Total Eclipse itself lasted for a little over two minutes and was amazing – if you think you have seen it all by viewing a partial eclipse before, you are seriously wrong!  The darkness, the drop in temperature, the shadows, that moment when you can take your silly glasses off and look directly at the sun, the sudden brightness when the sun emerges – it is like nothing else. Truly amazing. Even the biggest cynics (aka Andrew) were converted!
Red Mill House guests at the mouth of the Daintree River Nov 14 2012
Red Mill House guests all went with Sauce to the mouth of the Daintree River where we were on our own. We had great views of the moon coming over, but then as totality arrived a big black cloud came over  – – – – – –  it broke just long enough for us to ooh and aah and have a good look then clouded over again.
Those who were further inland got uninterrupted views. Phil Hart (who is staying at Red Mill House at the moment) was delighted to get the NASA Astronomy Photo of the Day with this wonderful image of the ‘diamond ring’ below.
It is not worth messing around with little cameras, there is just not enough time. Leave it to the experts!!
Phil Hart Total Solar Eclipse FNQ Nov 2012
Another classic image from Phil.
Phil Hart Total Solar Eclipse FNQ Nov 2012

Now to birds!! A number of Eclipse-followers are birders, so it has been busy in Daintree, with a wonderful couple of weeks of birding locally.
Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Pied Monarch, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and King Parrot in the rainforest.  Brown Quail, Red-backed Fairy-Wren, Tawny Grassbird, Little Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite in the fields. Cotton and Green Pygmy Goose and Magpie Goose, Bush Hen, Buff-banded Rail and Latham’s Snipe on the Daintree River (or banks). Plus all our regulars of course! The only thing missing seems to be the Little Kingfisher.
The Cattle Egret are now well coloured in breeding plumage and will be heading off to breed in the Gulf soon.

Cattle Egret Nov 12