Local birdwatchers twitch for Australia
A COUPLE from the Daintree will fly the flag for Australia at the largest birdwatching event in the world later this month.
Like the creatures they admire, avid birdwatchers and owners of Red Mill House Bed and Breakfast Andrew and Trish Forsyth will flock to Rutland, England for Birdfair 2010.
Flying from one of the furthest points to reach this international event, they will represent all of Australia, but specifically Tropical North Queensland at the gathering of “twitchers”.
“It’s the single best contact point for birdwatching,” Trish said.
“Traditionally, the Brits have always been our biggest market for birdwatching.”
While Trish has attended the event for the past three years, this will be the first year the couple is representing Australia.
With the support of Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Tourism Queensland, the pair will have a twostand display featuring information on Australian birds, landscape and more at the three-day event, which is expected to attract over 23,000 people.
“We plan to show people that Australia is a good value destination,” Trish said.
“Australia has over 320 endemic bird species, which means they don’t exist anywhere else in the world.”
Eyes are starting to increasingly stare at the colourful feathers in the trees rather than sharp teeth in the water along the Daintree River these days.
Home to over 700 species of bird like the blue sapphire-coloured little kingfisher and endangered southern cassowary, the Douglas region is a mecca for twitchers.
“The top of North Queensland is by far the best birdwatching region in Australia,” Trish said.
“Over half of Australian bird species come here over the year, which means people can come here and see a lot.”
Trish says while the area’s bird species have always been treasured, they’ve become more significant to the Daintree economy in the past decade.
“It’s very important and it’s growing,” she said. “Even though people come to see the crocodiles, over the past 10 years there’s been a huge increase of people who come to the area to birdwatch as well as businesses dedicated to birdwatching.”
“There are four river cruises where their main focus is birdwatching. For us at Red Mill, half of our accommodation is for birdwatchers.”
The British Birdwatching Fair kicks off on August 20.
Checking out the scenery: a little kingfifi sher next to the Red Mill House pond